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The drifted snow hung on his yellow Fair Freedom's temple, where he marked beard, her grave.
And his broad shoulders braved the He steeled the blunt Batavian's arms
The curlew screamed, the tritons blew
Where under cover of a flowering thorn,
The auspicious fruit of stolen embrace was born
The mountain Dryads seized with joy, The smiling infant to their charge consigned;
The Doric muse caressed the favourite boy;
The hermit Wisdom stored his opening mind.
As rolling years matured his age,
He flourished bold and sinewy as his sire; While the mild passions in his breast assuage
The fiercer flames of his maternal fire.
Accomplished thus, he winged his way,
On desert isles 'twas he that raised
Arabia's scorching sands he crossed,
And many a Tartar horde forlorn, aghast He snatched from under fell Oppression's wing,
And taught amidst the dreary waste,
And turns the dross of Corsica to gold;
Those sculptured halls my feet shall never tread,
Where varnished vice and vanity combined
To dazzle and seduce, their banner spread, And forge vile shackles for the free-born mind.
While Insolence his wrinkled front up
And all the flowers of spurious fancy blow; And Title his ill-woven chaplet wears,
Full often wreathed around the miscre- And taste unspoiled the frugal table ant's brow; spread,
Where ever-dimpling falsehood, pert and And industry supply the humble store,
Presents her cup of stale profession's froth;
In Fortune's car behold that minion ride, With either India's glittering spoils oppressed,
So moves the sumpter-mule in harnessed pride,
That bears the treasure which he cannot taste.
For him let venal bards disgrace the bay, And hireling minstrels wake the tinkling string;
Her sensual snares let faithless pleasure
And jingling bells fantastic folly ring:
And nature, still to all her feelings just,
And sleep unbribed his dews refreshing
White-mantled Innocence, ethereal sprite,
ODE TO LEVEN WATER.
Pure stream, in whose transparent wave
My youthful limbs I wont to lave;
While, lightly poised, the scaly brood
Nature I'll court in her sequestered The ruthless pike, intent on war,
By mountain, meadow, streamlet, grove,
The silver eel, and mottled par.
Where the poised lark his evening ditty By bowers of birch, and groves of pine,
And health, and peace, and contemplation dwell.
There, study shall with solitude recline, And friendship pledge me to his fellowswains,
And toil and temperance sedately twine The slender cord that fluttering life sustains;
And hedges flowered with eglantine.
And fearless poverty shall guard the door, The blessings they enjoy to guard!
IT might be a mistake to say that the poetic instinct is less generally diffused among the natives of the north of Scotland than among those of the south; but it is no mistake, however it may be accounted for, that it has produced fewer poets than the south. Yet at the period at which we have arrived, Ross, Skinner, Beattie, Geddes, and M'Pherson, all natives of the north, were contemporaries.
John Skinner, best known as the author of the national song "Tullochgorum," named after a famous strathspey, was born in 1721, at Balfour, in Aberdeenshire. His father was schoolmaster of the parish of Birse. Young Skinner was sent to Aberdeen University at the age of thirteen, and distinguished himself as a student. After graduating, he became an assistant teacher for some time, and in 1740 went to Shetland as a tutor. On his return he was ordained a presbyter of the Episcopal Church, and became a pastor of that communion at Longside. In 1745, he was imprisoned for six months, for refusing to take the oath of allegiance.
Burns, on his tour to the north of Scotland, was anxious to meet Skinner, whose "Tullochgorum" he considered one of the best songs in Scottish literature; but having omitted to get its author's address he returned without seeing him, though he was in his immediate neighbourhood. This cir
cumstance led to some complimentary correspondence between the poets, from which it appears that Skinner had a very modest opinion of his own verses, which he says he composed to please his daughters, who were well acquainted with the native airs.
.After ministering at Longside for sixty-five years, he went to live with his son, the Bishop of Aberdeen, and died in that city a few days after his arrival, in his eighty-sixth year.
Skinner resembles Ross in many points, as a man and as a poet. Both were of equally happy and contented dispositions, fond of the native manners and music; and both were skilful players on the violin. They both excelled in Latin composition, and lived to about the same age, in the same spot to which they had been appointed in youth. Skinner, though devout, was devoid of either political or ecclesiastical narrowness; and the same may be said of Ross, whose wife was of the Roman Catholic persuasion; and lastly, each of them is best known by a single contribution to our song literature, which excited the admiration of the greatest master of the lyre which our own or any country has yet produced.
Besides his poems, which were pub lished in a collected form, and entitled Amusements of Leisure Hours, &c., Skinner wrote an Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, as well as several theological treatises.
COME, gie's a sang, Montgomery cried,
For what's been done before them?
To drop their Whig-mig-morum.
Let Whig and Tory all agree
To spend this night in mirth and glee, And cheerfu' sing, alang wi' me,
The reel of Tullochgorum.
O, Tullochgorum's my delight;
And ony sumph that keeps up spite,
And mak' a cheerfu' quorum.
The reel of Tullochgorum.
There needna be sae great a phrase
For half a hundred score o' 'em.
They're douff and dowie at the best,
Compared wi' Tullochgorum.
Let warldly minds themselves oppress
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit,
Like auld Philosophorum? Shall we sae sour and sulky sit, Wi' neither sense, nor mirth, nor wit, And canna rise to shake a fit
At the reel of Tullochgorum?
May choicest blessings still attend
And a' that's good watch o'er him! May peace and plenty be his lot, Peace and plenty, peace and plenty, May peace and plenty be his lot,
And dainties a great store o' 'em! May peace and plenty be his lot, Unstained by any vicious blot; And may he never want a groat,
That's fond of Tullochgorum!
But for the discontented fool,
And discontent devour him!
And nane say, Wae's me for 'im! May dool and sorrow be his chance, And a' the ills that come frae France, Whae'er he be that winna dance The reel of Tullochgorum!
THE EWIE WI' THE CROOKED HORN.
O, WERE I able to rehearse,
Hereabouts nor far awa'.
She neither needed tar nor keel,
To ken her by amang them a'.
She never threaten'd scab nor rot, But keepit aye her ain jog-trot; Baith to the fauld and to the cot, Was never sweir to lead nor ca'.
A better nor a thriftier beast,
Nae honest man need e'er ha'e wish'd;
To ha'e ilk year a lamb or twa.
Of mair than thretty head and twa.
The neist I ga'e to Jean; and now
Forth aneath a wreath o' snaw.
When other ewies lap the dyke,
But teezed about the barn wa'.
I lookit aye at even for her,
Lest mishanter should come ower her,
Yet, last ouk, for a' my keeping,
I socht her sair upon the morn,
But gin I had the loon that did it,
I never met wi' sic a turn:
Had fair-strae death ta'en her awa'.
Sae sair a heart to ane o' us a'.
But thus, puir thing, to lose her life,
O, all ye bards benorth Kinghorn,
O! WHY should old age so much wound
For how happy now am I,
We began in the world wi' naething, O, And we've jogged on and toiled for the ae thing, O;
We made use of what we had, And our thankfu' hearts were glad, When we got the bit meat and the claithing, O.