« السابقةمتابعة »
Matilda stood without the gate,
To whom thus Graham did say : Saw ye Sir James the Ross last night,
Or did he pass this way?
To Skye I'll now direct my way,
Where my two brothers bide,
To combat on my side.
With me till morning stay,
And dangerous is the way :
All night I'll watch you in the park ;
My faithful page I'll send]
Their master to defend.
Last day at noon, Matilda said,
Sir James the Ross pass'd by ;
And onward fast did hy.
If horse and man hold good.
Now sleeping in the wood ?
Brave Ross! thou art betray'd,
From whence I hop'd thine aid.
The virgin's shriek he heard ;
When the fierce band appear'd.
Beneath a bush he laid him down,
And wrapt him in his plaid,
At distance stood the maid.
Swift ran the page o'er hill and dale,
Till in a lowly glen
With twenty of his men.
Where go'st thou, little page? he said ;
So late who did thee send ? I go to raise the Ross's clan,
Their master to defend.
Your sword last night my brother slew,
His blood yet dims its shine,
Your blood shall reek on mine.
For he has slain fierce Donald Graham,
His blood is on his sword, And far, far distant are his men
That should assist their lord.
You word it well, the chief return'd,
But deeds approve the man ;
We'll try what valour can.
And has he slain my brother dear? Oft boasting hides a coward's heart,
My weighty sword you fear, Dishonour blast my name ! but he Which shone in front of Flodden field, By me ere morning dies !
When you kept in the rear. Tell me, where is Sir James the Ross ? With dauntless step he forward strode, I will thee well reward.
And dar'd him to the fight; He sleeps into Lord Buchan's park ; But Graham gave back and fear'd his arm, Matilda is his guard.
For well he knew its might. They spurr'd their steeds in furious mood, Four of his men, the bravest four, And scour'd along the lea,
Sunk down beneath his sword ; They reach'd Lord Buchan's lofty tow'rs But still he scorn'd the poor revenge, By dawning of the day.
And sought their haughty lord.
Behind him basely came the Graham, Of genial heat and cheerful light the
source, Out spouting came the purple tide,
From southern climes, beneath another
The sun, returning, wheels his golden
Before his beams all noxious vapours
train And down beside him sunk the Ross, To his own clime, to Zembla's frozen And faint and dying lay.
shore ; The sad Matilda saw him fall.
Where, thron'd on ice, he holds eternal O spare his life! she cried,
reign ; Lord Buchan's daughter begs his life,
Where whirlwinds madden, and where Let her not be deny'd.
tempests roar. Her well-known voice the hero heard, Loos'd from the bands of frost, the He rais'd his half-clos'd eyes,
verdant ground And fixed them on the weeping maid, Again puts on her robe of cheerful And weakly thus replies :
green, In vain Matilda begs the life
Again puts forth her flow'rs; and all By death's arrest deny'd;
around, My race is run-Adieu, my love !
Smiling, the cheerful face of Spring is
The taper elm, and lofty ash, disclose ; She lean'd the hilt against the ground,
The blooming hawthorn variegates the And bar'd her snowy breast;
scene. Then fell upon her lover's face,
The lily of the vale, of flow'rs the queen, And sunk to endless rest.
Puts on the robe she neither sew'd nor
Hop to and fro, and glitter in the sun.
'Tis past : the iron North has spent his Soon as o’er eastern hills the morning rage;
peers, Stern Winter now resigns the length'- From her low nest the tufted lark ning day;
upsprings; The stormy howlings of the winds assuage, And cheerful singing, up the air she steers;: And warm o'er ether western breezes Still high she mounts, still loud and play.
sweet she sings.
wards to Edinburgh University. At orally repeat ancient Gaelic poetry. college, he was more noted for his These he found principally to be the rhyming propensities than for devotion western parts of Inverness, Skye, and to his studies; and, at the age of twenty, the Western Isles. Having returned to he published a poem in six cantos, Edinburgh with the fruits of his wan. entitled “The Highlander," which derings, he had the manuscripts and exhibited greater evidence of his desire memoranda translated and arranged; for fame than of the genius necessary to and in 1762, “ Fingal,” an epic poem attain it. He also contributed several in six books, and some lesser poems, pieces to the Scots Magazine. After were given to the public. In 1763, it finishing his studies, he taught the was followed by “Temora,” in eight parish school of Ruthven, near his books, and other poems. native place, for some time; but shortly No event in modern literature, unless afterwards accepted the situation of it be the publication of the Waverley tutor in the family of Mr Graham of Novels, produced so immediate and Balgowan.
extensive an interest, or gave rise to While in this situation he accom- so much speculation and controversy. panied the son of Mr Graham (after. The sale of the poems was very great, wards Lord Lynedoch) to the watering- and they were translated into most of place of Moffat, in Annandale, and the languages of Europe. Macpherson there made the acquaintance of John is said to have realized £1200 by their Home, the author of Douglas. To publication. But doubts of their Home he showed translations of frag- authenticity began to arise, which in ments of ancient Gaelic poetry, of which England enlisted those national prehe represented that there were many judices against them which are reflected manuscripts existing in the Highlands. in the poems of Churchill and Wilkes By the advice of Blair, Carlyle, and against the Scotch. And even in ScotFergusson, to whom Home introduced land, those literary men who were quite him, Macpherson, in 1760, published as ignorant of Highland manners and Fragments of Ancient Poetry translated traditions as Englishmen, and at that from the Gaelic or Erse Language. time almost as much imbued by preThe little volume created great interest judice against everything Highland as in the literary world; and as it professed the English were against everything to be but a specimen of a large body of Scotch, were almost as ill qualified as traditional poetry yet recoverable, a Englishmen for weighing the merits of subscription was started for the purpose a question which could only be judged of collecting the remainder. Macpher- by men conversant with the specialities
was intrusted with this mission. of the case, and animated by a zeal for He gave up his situation, and extended the discovery of the truth. Nor can the his researches to those parts of the assailants of the authenticity be supHighlands that were likely to possess posed to be alone unreasonable and manuscripts, or whose natives could animated by prejudice. A state of
There let me wander at the shut of eve,
I hear the helpless wail, the shriek of woe;
I see the muddy wave, the dreary shore, The sluggish streams that slowly creep
below, Which mortals visit, and return no more. Farewell, ye blooming fields ! ye cheerful
plains ! Enough for me the churchyard's lonely
mound, Where Melancholy with still Silence
reigns, And the rank grass waves o'er the cheer
There let me sleep forgotten in the
clay, When death shall shut these weary
aching eyes; Rest in the hopes of an eternal day, Till the long night is gone, and the last
WHATEVER may have been the like most intemperate charges, it overamount of Logan's weaknesses or errors, reaches itself; for there is no evidence they were of a kind, and in a degree, of Logan's having contracted those not unusual in the history of the sons habits for years after his being entrusted of genius. Admitting that he was the with Bruce's manuscripts. His appointvictim of intemperance, even to a greater ment as tutor to Sir John Sinclair, and extent than what traditional stories of his subsequent election as the minister the usual cast have portrayed him, and of one of the most important charges in admitting the lowering moral tendency the Church of Scotland, at the age of of such a condition, yet to make it the twenty-five, are a sufficient testimony ground of a charge of dishonourable con both to his character and his talents. duct is not the part of an unbiassed judge. That he owed his position entirely to We have already, in the life of his fellow- these will appear from the facts of his student Michael Bruce, referred to the history up to this. charges brought against Logan's char- His father, George Logan, was a small acter; and the kind of proceeding farmer at Soutra, in the parish of Fala, which we have condemned is un- Edinburghshire ; and here John Logan sparingly used to give—what we must was born in 1748. He was being eduadmit to have been a most unfortunate cated for the ministry of the religious and serious error of judgment on his denomination called Burghers—a sect part—a dishonourable character. But, now merged in the United Presbyterian first to attract public attention, existed,
called in the original, The Songs of Selma, and that, but for him, it might have never
which title it was thought proper to adopt in
the translation. been noticed, before all trace of it dis
The poem is entirely lyric, and has great variety appeared in the changes which the sup- of versification. The Address to the Evening pression of the Rebellion of 1745 in- Star, with which it opens, has, in the original, troduced; but no poem was discovered
all the harmony that numbers could give it ; the same in title and tenor with any of his.
flowing down with all that tranquillity and
softness which the scene described naturally The fact of his having received Gaelic inspires. manuscripts from several families was
Star of the descending night! fair is however established, and some that thy light in the west ! thou liftest thy were recovered are now preserved in the unshorn head from thy cloud : thy steps Advocates' Library. The Ossianic con
are stately on thy hill. What dost thou troversy can hardly be said to have been behold in the plain? The stormy winds settled yet; and from the admitted un- are laid. The murmur of the torrent satisfactoriness of the data, and the comes from afar. Roaring waves climb absence of scholars, with the zeal and the distant rock. The flies of evening ability to place it on a tangible footing,
are on their feeble wings, and the hum of
their course is on the field. What dost most of those who give the subject a thought are content to compromise the
thou behold, fair light? But thou dost
smile and depart. The waves come with matter by granting Macpherson such a frame-work as those skeletons which joy around thee, and bathe thy lovely
hair. Farewell, thou silent beam! Let Shakespeare's genius breathed into life.
the light of Ossian's soul arise. The Marquis of Bute, in 1871, was at And it does arise in its strength! I the cost of publishing a splendid new behold my departed friends. Their edition of Ossian's Poems in Gaelic, gathering is on Lora, as in the days that with Macpherson's English text and a are past. Fingal comes like a watery new literal translation, and a disserta-column of mist : his heroes are around. tion on the authenticity of the poems,
And see the bards of the song, greyby the Rev. Archibald Clerk.
haired Ullin ; stately Ryno ; Alpin ; with
the tuneful voice, and the soft complaint THE SONGS OF SELMA.
of Minona! How are ye changed, my
friends, since the days of Selma's feast ! THE ARGUMENT.
when we contended, like the gales of the This poem fixes the antiquity of a custom, spring, that, flying over the hill, by turns which is well known to have prevailed after
bend the feebly whistling grass. wards in the north of Scotland and in Minona then came forth in her beauty ; Ireland. The bards, at an annual feast, with downcast look and tearful eye ; her provided by the king or chief, repeated their
hair flew slowly on the blast that rushed poems; and such of them as were thought unfrequent from the hill. The souls of by him worthy of being preserved, were
the heroes were sad when she raised the carefully taught to their children, in order to have them transmitted to posterity. It
tuneful voice ; for often had they seen the was one of those occasions that afforded the grave of Salgar, and the dark dwelling of subject of the present poem to Ossian. It is white-bosomed Colma. Colma left alone