« السابقةمتابعة »
to present his copies to his patroness in person. He was within a year of eighty when he undertook this journey of about sixty miles on horseback, accompanied by his grandson and future biographer. His reception was | creditable to the Duchess, and the old man found his way home safely, and much gratified with his expedition.
In his 82d year he translated from Latin into blank verse of excellent quality, the Poemata Sacra of Andrew | Ramsay, to which he added a preface, which shows his prose style to be much inferior to his verse. This was his last work, for on May 29, 1784, as Burns says, he joined "the sons of the morning," and was buried beside his wife in the old burying-ground of Lochlee. Aberdeen granite slab, erected by subscription among his admirers, marks his last resting-place.
The defects in the plot of "Helenore" will be seen from the annexed prose story of it; and the specimens given are selected to represent its characteristic beauties.
The latest and best edition of Ross's published works, with life, and an account of his unpublished manuscripts, preserved in the Advocates' Library, is edited by Dr Longmuir, Edinburgh, 1865.
THE STORY OF HELENORE.
Nory and Lindy, as the hero and heroine of Ross's pastoral are familiarly known in the Mearns, are the children of two neighbouring cottars in the poetically named valley of Flaviana. They grow up from childhood as companions, and juvenile attachment in
sensibly ripens into mutual love. Their parents are pleased, and look upon their union in due time as a matter of
The expected time is now not far distant, when one of those events, not unusual in love affairs, intervenes to change the current of their destinies. A band of Highland plunderers, called Sevitians, make one of their predatory raids upon the glen, and sweep off almost all the live stock belonging to the peasantry. While defending their flocks and herds, Nory's father, Colin, and Lindy her lover, are made captives. Nory, fired by filial attachment, and the still stronger passion of love, follows in their track, but night coming on, she loses her way among the hills. Next morning she is discovered asleep by Olimund, the young Laird of BonnyHa, who is so fascinated with her beauty, that he remains by her till she awakes. He then kindly takes her home, and places her under the charge of his maiden aunt.
Meanwhile, Lindy and Colin have made their escape from their captors, by the assistance of Bydby, who has fallen in love with Lindy, and effected their release on condition of his marrying her. The three start for Flaviana together, but Lindy, to get quit of Bydby whom he has no thought of marrying, sends her back for his coat, which he left behind him, promising to wait her return. Bydby returns to find her lover fled, but she determines to follow. Passing Bonny-Ha, she falls in with Nory, who ascertaining her destination, determines to accompany her. On their way she learns about
Lindy's promise to Bydby, and resolves to treat him as his double breach of faith deserved. On their arrival at
Wi' goats and sheep aboon, and ky below,
On ilka side they took it in wi' care,
A crowd of Kettrin 2 did their forest fill;
Flaviana, Bydby stoutly insists upon the fulfilment of Lindy's promise, and Nory treats him with indifference. While matters are in this plight, the young Laird of Bonny-Ha makes his appearance, and the case is submitted to his arbitration. He decides in favour of Bydby's claim, and Lindy seeing how matters stood consents to take her. Helenore then becomes the Lady of Bonny-Ha, and it turns out that she is no vulgar beauty after all, but of gentle blood, her mother, who Amo' the herds, that play'd a maughty
was stolen by the gipsies in childhood, being a near relative of the Laird.
Now Flaviana was the country's name, That aye that bonny water-side did claim, Frae yellow sands that trindled down the
To turn the dreary chase, but all in vain; They had nae maughts 5 for sic a toilsome task,
For barefaced robbery had put aff the mask.
Young Lindy kyth'd' himsell wi' hand and
But mair than master maws? the field, and
It fared wi' him, poor man, that hapless day.
Three fellows bauld, and like to lions strang,
The fouks were wealthy, store1 was a' their Were a' his wrack,8 and wrought him a'
Wi' this, but little cunzie,2 did they trock ;3
And got but little siller, or nane ava.
The howlet shriek'd, and that was worst of a';
For ilka time the on-beast' gae the yell,
And soupit spirits, hopeless of relief,
Nae meiths' she kend, ilk hillock-head was new,
And a' thing unco'2 that was in her view.
Baith wit and will in her together strave, And she's in swither5 how she shall behave. The fear o' Lindy wad na let her turn, The frightful craigs and mountains gar'd her mourn.
Sair was she catcht, for ilka now and then
Her limbs they faicked under her and fell. When she had thought a wee, the dowie knell
Strak till her heart, for Lindy, sharp and snell.
'Tis yet pit-mark, the yerd9 a' black about, And the night-fowl began again to shout; Thro' ilka limb and lith the terror thirl'd, At ev'ry time the dowie monster skirl'd. At last the kindly sky began to clear, The birds to chirm, 10 and daylight to appear:
This laid her eery" thoughts, but yet the pain
For her dear Lindy, ever did remain. When light did sair12 her tosee round about. Where she might be, she now began to doubt.
Up through the cleughs,9 where bink 1° on bink was set,
Scrambling wi' hands and feet, she taks the gate;
Twa hours she took, the longest of the day,
On sic a road, ere she clamb up the brae. At last, when she unto the height had won, What kaips her there but the sweet morning sun?
Breathless and feckless," there she sits her down,
And will and willsome 12 spied a' her aroun': Of this sae couthie 13 blink she was right fain,
And for a wee 14 relieved of her pain.
That she grew tabetless and swarft' there- That glanced and shined in ilka pool and with,
And for a while shot out baith hand and A hail hauf-mile she had at least to gang,
As she had been with an elf-arrow shot. At last the dwaum yeed2 frae her bit an' bit, And she begins to draw her limbs and sit; And by the help of a convenient stane, To which she did her weary body lean, She wins to foot, and swavering, makes to gang,3
And spies a spot of averens 4 ere lang. Right yap 5 she yoked to the ready feast, And lay and ate a full half-hour at least. The feckless meltet did her head o'erset, 'Cause nature' frae't did little sust'nance get.
Sick, sick she grows; syne, after that a
When she o'ercame, the tear fell in her ee, And till hersell she made this heavy main: Propines like this I'll get nae mair again Frae my dear Lindy; mony a time hast thou
Of these to me thy pouches feschen fu':8 Alas! poor man, for aught that I can see, This day thou lying in cauld bark 9 mayst
be; And wae's me for't; but I shall never stint, 10 Till of thy chance the verity be kent; Though to the warld's end my search sud be,
Dead or alive, thy bonny face I'll see. Sae up she rises, and about she spies, And, lo, beneath, a bonny burnie lies, Out through the mist atweesh" her and the
Weening at length she might some town espy,
And sae amo' them for her Lindy try.
And clouds of midges dancing i' the air! The streams of sweat and tears through ither ran
Down Nory's cheeks, and she to fag began:
Wi' wae, and faut, and meethness of the day,
Sae sair beset she was, that down she lay. For her gueed 7 luck, a wee bit aff the paid, 8 Grew there a tree, with branches close and braid :
The shade beneath a canness-braid 9 out throw,
Held aff the sunbeams frae a bonny how: 1 Here she resolves to rest, and may be die,
And lean'd her head unto the kindly tree. Her hand she had upon her haffat 2 laid, And fain, fain was she of the coolriff shade. Short while she in this calour 3 posture lay. When welcome sleep beguiled her o' her
To catch the lover, or to beet the flame. Plain was her gown, the hue was o' the ewe,2
And growing scrimp, as she was i' the grow. 'Tis true, her head had been made up fu' sleek
The day before, and well prin'd on her keek:3
But a' her braws 4 were out o' order now;
Three hours that bliss to her was leng- Her hair in taits 5 hung down upon her
When, by odd chance, a hunter came
A gallant youth, and, oh, so finely clad. In his right hand a bow unbent he had : A bonny page behind, hard at his heel, Carried a sheaf of arrows shod with steel, And knapsack clean compactly made and feat,
Slung o'er his head, well lined with gentle
To her left shoulder, too, her keek was
Her gartens tint," her shoon a' skelt 7 and
And yet she makes a conquest as she lies, Nor had a glance been shot yet frae her eyes.
Some fright he judged the beauty might have got,
Or met with something hapless in her lot, As this young squire on haste is stending And thought that she ev'n by hersell 8
Wi' a side look he sees a woman lie; Jumps in the gate; but whan he saw her face,
Sae sweet, sae angel-like, and fu' of grace; He durst na budge, nor speak, nor gang |
But stood stane-still, like picture on the wa':
And if awaken'd fiercelins, aff might flee : For she afttimes was starting through her sleep,
And fumpering, as gin she made to weep, Still he looks on; at length hersell she raised.
And round about with consternation
Upon the squire as soon's she set her eyes,
Though bluddert 5 now with strypes of Up till her foot she bangs with great sur