صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring While o'er their heads the hazels hing,
hills,
The little birdies blithely sing,
Far mark'd with the courses of clear Or lightly flit on wanton wing,

[blocks in formation]

LUATH.

Then chance and fortune are sae guided, They're aye in less or mair provided ;

Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fasht And though fatigued wi' close employment,

eneugh;

A cotter howkin' in a sheugh,

Wi' dirty stanes biggin' a dike,
Baring a quarry, and siclike;
Himsel, a wife, he thus sustains,
A smytrie o' wee duddie weans,
And nought but his han' darg to keep
Them right and tight in thack and rape.

And when they meet wi' sair disasters,
Like loss o' health or want o' masters,
Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer,
And they maun starve o'cauld and hunger;
But how it comes I never kenn'd yet,
They're maistly wonderfu' contented:
And buirdly chiels, and clever hizzies,
Are bred in sic a way as this is.

CÆSAR.

But then to see how ye're neglectit,
How huff'd, and cuff'd, and disrespeckit!
Lord, man, our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, and sic cattle;
They gang as saucy by poor folk
As I wad by a stinkin' brock.
I've noticed, on our laird's court-day,
And mony a time my heart's been wae,
Poor tenant bodies, scant o' cash,
How they maun thole a factor's snash:
He'll stamp and threaten, curse and swear,
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear;
While they maun stan', wi' aspect humble,
And hear it a', and fear and tremble!

I see how folk live that hae riches;
But surely poor folk maun be wretches!

LUATH.

They're no sae wretched's ane wad think, Though constantly on poortith's brink : They're sae accustom'd wi' the sight, The view o't gies them little fright.

A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.

The dearest comfort o' their lives,
Their grushie weans and faithfu' wives;
The prattling things are just their pride,
That sweetens a' their fire-side;
And whyles twalpennie worth o' nappy
Can mak the bodies unco happy;
They lay aside their private cares,
To mind the Kirk and State affairs:
They'll talk o' patronage and priests,
Wi' kindling fury in their breasts;
Or tell what new taxation's comin',

And ferlie at the folk in Lun'on.
As bleak-faced Hallowmas returns,
They get the jovial ranting kirns,
When rural life o' every station
Unite in common recreation;
Love blinks, Wit slaps, and social Mirth
Forgets there's Care upo' the earth.
That merry day the year begins,
They bar the door on frosty wins ;
The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream,
And sheds a heart-inspiring steam;
The luntin pipe and sneeshin mill
Are handed round wi' right guid will;
The cantie auld folks crackin' crouse,
The young anes rantin' through the
house,-

My heart has been sae fain to see them,
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them.

Still it's ower true that ye hae said,
Sic game is now ower aften play'd.
There's mony a creditable stock
O' decent, honest, fawsont folk,
Are riven out baith root and branch,
Some rascal's pridefu' greed to quench,
Wha thinks to knit himsel the faster
In favour wi' some gentle master,
Wha aiblins thrang a parliamentin'
For Britain's guid his saul indentin'.

66

on Highland tradition. It was acted at Edinburgh, through the influence, and under the oversight, of her friend Sir Walter Scott. The only other of her plays that was put upon the stage was "De Montfort," which was brought out at Drury Lane in 1800.

On the marriage of Dr Baillie, his mother and sisters went for some time to Colchester; but about 1801, they fixed their abode permanently at Hampstead Heath. Here their mother died in 1806, and here the two affectionate sisters continued to reside and receive the visits of almost all their contemporary celebrities till Joanna's death, on the 23d February 1851. Agnes lived for other ten years, dying in 1861, in the hundredth year of her age. Joanna's Address to Agnes on her

Clyde, her father, Dr James Baillie, being minister of that parish. He was afterwards professor of divinity in the University of Glasgow. Her mother was a sister of the celebrated anatomists, Drs John and William Hunter, after the former of whom Joanna was named. Few places in Scotland are a meeter nurse for a poetic child" than the romantic surroundings of Bothwell Castle, the once famous stronghold of the Douglasses; and here and at Hamilton, about three miles distant, Joanna Baillie spent the first ten years of her life. In 1778, her father died at Glasgow; and in 1784, she went with her mother and her sister Agnes to live with her brother, Dr Mathew Baillie, who succeeded to the London house and the practice of his uncle, Dr William Hunter, on the death of that well-known | Birthday is one of the most simply physician. Here, in 1790, she published beautiful pictures of sisterly affection anonymously her first volume of poems, which met with a very indifferent reception. In 1798, she published her first series of dramas, with the view of illustrating her theory of the action of the passions, each passion being the subject of a tragedy and a comedy. Her theory, which advocates stricter adherence to nature in the dramatic art, she maintains in a lengthy introduction, which shows her to have been an original and vigorous thinker. This venture, which was

also anonymous, created an immediate impression, and a second edition was required in a short time. In 1802, she continued the subject in a second volume; and in a third, in 1812. In 1804, she produced a volume of miscellaneous dramas, and in 1810 the "Family Legend," a tragedy founded

extant.

LINES TO AGNES BAILLIE ON
HER BIRTHDAY.

Dear Agnes, gleamed with joy and dashed with tears,

O'er us have glided almost sixty years Since we on Bothwell's bonnie braes were

seen,

By those whose eyes long closed in death

have been

Two tiny imps, who scarcely stooped to gather

The slender harebell or the purple
heather;

No taller than the foxglove's spinky stem,
That dew of morning studs with silvery

gem.

LINES TO AGNES BAILLIE ON HER BIRTHDAY. 661

Then every butterfly that crossed our view

With joyous shout was greeted as it flew;

And moth, and lady-bird, and beetle

bright,

Well may it please me, in life's latter scene, To think what now thou art and long to me hast been.

"Twas thou who wooedst me first to look

In sheeny gold, were each a wondrous Upon the page of printed book,

sight.

Then as we paddled barefoot, side by side,

Among the sunny shallows of the Clyde, Minnows or spotted parr with twinkling fin,

Swimming in mazy rings the pool within, A thrill of gladness through our bosoms sent,

Seen in the power of early wonderment.

A long perspective to my mind appears, Looking behind me to that line of years; And yet through every stage I still can

trace

Thy visioned form, from childhood's morning grace

To woman's early bloom-changing, how soon!

To the expressive glow of woman's noon; And now to what thou art, in comely age, Active and ardent. Let what will engage Thy present moment-whether hopeful seeds

In garden plat thou sow, or noxious weeds From the fair flower remove; or ancient

lore

In chronicle or legend rare explore,
Or on the parlour hearth with kitten play,
Stroking its tabby sides; or take thy way
To gain with hasty steps some cottage
door,

That thing by me abhorred, and with address

Didst win me from my thoughtless idle

[blocks in formation]

I from the busy world had shrunk aside. On helpful errand to the neighbouring And now, in later years, with better grace,

poor

Active and ardent, to my fancy's eye

Thou still art young, in spite of time gone by.

Thou help'st me still to hold a welcome place

With those whom nearer neighbourhood has made

Though oft of patience brief, and temper The friendly cheerers of our evening

keen,

shade.

The change of good and evil to abide, As partners linked, long have we, side by side,

Our earthly journey held; and who can
say

How near the end of our united way?
By nature's course not distant; sad and
'reft

Will she remain-the lonely pilgrim left.
If thou art taken first, who can to me
Like sister, friend, and home companion
be?

Or who, of wonted daily kindness shorn,
Shall feel such loss, or mourn as I shall
mourn?

And if I should be fated first to leave
This earthly house, though gentle friends

may grieve,

And he above them all, so truly proved
A friend and brother, long and justly
loved,

There is no living wight, of woman born,
Who then shall mourn for me as thou
wilt mourn.

Thou ardent, liberal spirit ! quickly feeling

The touch of sympathy and kindly dealing

IT WAS ON A MORN.

It was on a morn when we were thrang, The kirn it croon'd, the cheese was making,

And bannocks on the girdle baking, When ane at the door chapp't loud and lang.

Yet the auld gudewife, and her mays

sae tight,

Of a' this bauld din took sma' notice, I

ween ;

For a chap at the door in braid day

light

Is no like a chap that's heard at e'en.

But the docksie auld laird of the Warlock
Glen,

Wha waited without, half-blate, half-
cheery,

And lang'd for a sight o' his winsome

dearie,

Raised up the latch, and cam crousely ben.

His coat it was new, and his o'erlay

was white,

His mittins and hose were cozie and bein; But a wooer that comes in braid daylight

With sorrow or distress, for ever sharing Is no like a wooer that comes at e'en. The unhoarded mite, nor for to-morrow

caring

Accept, dear Agnes, on thy natal day,
An unadorned, but not a careless lay.
Nor think this tribute to thy virtues paid
From tardy love proceeds, though long
delayed;

Words of affection, howsoe'er expressed,
The latest spoken still are deemed the
best :

Few are the measured rhymes I now may write;

These are, perhaps, the last I shall indite.

He greeted the carlins and lasses sae braw,

And his bare lyart pow sae smoothly he straikit,

And he looked about, like a body halfglaikit,

On bonnie sweet Nanny, the youngest of a'.

[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »