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A SUMMER SABBATH WALK.
Delightful is this loneliness; it calms
That throw across the stream a moveless
Buoyant he flutters but a little while,
Now let me trace the stream up to its
Among the hills; its runnel by degrees Here nature in her midnoon whisper Diminishing, the murmur turns a tinkle. speaks : Closer and closer still the banks approach, How peaceful every sound!—the ring- Tangled so thick with pleaching bramble dove's plaint, Moan'd from the twilight centre of the With brier, and hazel branch, and haw
That, fain to quit the dingle, glad I mount
Spread wide below: how sweet the placid
But O! more sweet the thought, heartsoothing thought,
That thousands and ten thousands of the
Of toil partake this day the common joy
Yes, my heart flutters with a freer throb,
Watches his time to spring; or, from Among the fields and meadows, to enjoy above, The coolness of the day's decline; to see Some feather'd dam, purveying 'midst the His children sport around, and simply boughs, pull
Darts from her perch, and to her plume- The flower and weed promiscuous, as a less brood
Bears off the prize :-sad emblem of Which proudly in his breast they smiling
Again I turn me to the hill, and trace The wizard stream, now scarce to be discern'd;
Woodless its banks, but green with ferny leaves,
And thinly strew'd with heath-bells up and down.
Now, when the downward sun has left the glens,
Each mountain's rugged lineaments are
Upon the adverse slope, where stalks gigantic
The shepherd's shadow thrown athwart the chasm,
As on the topmost ridge he homeward hies.
How deep the hush! the torrent's channel, dry,
Presents a stony steep, the echo's haunt. But, hark, a plaintive sound floating along!
'Tis from yon heath-roof'd shielin'; now it dies
Away, now rises full; it is the song Which He,-who listens to the halleluiahs
Of choiring Seraphim,- delights to hear;
It is the music of the heart, the voice
Of venerable age,-of guileless youth,
THE WILD DUCK AND HER BROOD.
How calm that little lake! no breath of wind
Sighs through the reeds; a clear abyss it seems,
Held in the concave of the inverted sky,In which is seen the rook's dull flagging wing
Move o'er the silvery clouds. How peaceful sails
Yon little fleet, the wild duck and her brood!
Fearless of harm, they row their easy way; The water-lily, 'neath the plumy prows, Dips, re-appearing in their dimpled track. Yet, even amid that scene of peace, the noise
Of war, unequal, dastard war, intrudes. Yon revel rout of men, and boys, and dogs,
Boisterous approach; the spaniel dashes in ;
Quick he descries the prey; and faster swims,
And eager barks; the harmless flock, dismay'd,
The grandsire and the saint; his silvery Hasten to gain the thickest grove of reeds,
Beam in the parting ray: before him lies,
Upon the smooth-cropt sward, the open book,
His comfort, stay, and ever-new delight!
While, heedless, at his side, the lisping boy
Fondles the lamb that nightly shares his couch.
All but the parent pair; they, floating, wait
To lure the foe, and lead him from their young;
But soon themselves are forced to seek the shore.
Vain then the buoyant wing; the leaden
Arrests their flight; they, fluttering, bleeding fall,
And tinge the troubled bosom of the lake.
WILSON, the American ornithologist, | appropriate, as he termed it, for "a and the author of "Watty and Meg," even to those who know that they are one and the same person, represents two different and somewhat uncongenial characters. We are so unaccustomed to regard the votary of the Muses equally devoted to a quest that requires the exercise of daring adventure, perseverance, and physical endurance, that, when it does occur, the idea of separate individuality is constantly suggested to us.
Alexander Wilson, who thus impresses us, was born in Paisley, July 6th, 1766, in which birthplace of many poets his father was a weaver, and, it is also suspected, a distiller in a small, and not to be too minutely inquired into way. His mother, whose maiden name was Mary M'Nab, died when he was but ten years old; but his father, who, notwithstanding his reputed participation in contraband, appears to have been a man of a superior order, early imbued his mind with a love of nature and of books, intending to educate him for the Church. What prevented this purpose from being carried out we are not informed; for, after attending the Paisley grammar-school for some time, young Wilson, at the age of thirteen, was sent to learn the staple trade of his native place-that of weaving.
This he abandoned for some time for the more romantic occupation of a travelling chapman or pedlar-more
mortal with legs." But that the pedlar was to some extent meant as a stalkinghorse to the poet, and the curious observer of men and manners, is evident from the quaint "Journal" which he kept of his rambles, and his having in in 1790 added a volume of poems, of his own composition, to the contents of his pack. But he fell between the proverbial "two stools ;" and some of his peddling ideas show so little of the shrewdness of the order, and so much of what nature intended him for, that it is no surprise to find him again obliged to resume his seat at the loom-only for a time, however.
His Scotch love of debate brought him to Edinburgh, where he read his poem, "The Laurel Disputed," before the Pantheon Club, when the comparative merits of Fergusson and Ramsay were made the subject of an evening's discussion. Wilson took the side of Fergusson, but was in the minority. This freak procured him some literary acquaintances, including Dr Anderson, the editor of The Bee, to which Wilson afterwards contributed. In 1791, he issued a second edition of his poems.
In 1792, he published "Watty and Meg" anonymously, and it was for some time attributed to Burns, who, on its being cried about the streets of Dumfries by Andrew Hislop, a well-known hawker, as a new ballad by Robert Burns, replied, "That's a lee, Andrew ;
but I would make your plack a bawbee, if it were mine." This anecdote was told to Dr Robert Chambers by the poet's widow. Wilson was highly
gratified by the compliment implied in the mistake as to authorship, and the popularity of the piece-a popularity which it still, to a large extent, main
But his next venture was not so well judged; for on account of a satire, entitled "The Shark, or Lang Mills Detected," and some outspoken admiration of the principles of the French Revolution, after being for some time in jail, he was obliged to consult his safety by going to the United States in 1799, making the voyage on deck, and landing with but a few shillings in his pocket.
His future history belongs to America, and his wider fame to Ornithology, which study occupied most of his after-life. Eight volumes of his great work on the birds of America, the materials for which he underwent immense labour to collect, was complete, and a ninth was to have finished the book, when one day, in his eagerness to obtain a rare specimen, he swam a river and caught a cold, which ended his life on the 23d August 1813. He was buried with public honours at Philadelphia, where a marble tombstone covers his remains. In 1874, a monument was erected to his memory in Paisley Abbey churchyard. In 1832, an edition of his Ornithology, with a life and notes, was edited by Sir William Jardine. The most complete edition of his poems and letters, with a life, 2 vols., edited by the Rev. Alex
ander B. Grosart, was published at Paisley, in 1876.
WATTY AND MEG.
[The graphic vigour and Dutch plainness of the picture here drawn are its chief characteristics. It would not have added to the reputation of the
genius that drew "The Jolly Beggars,” although he modestly thought so. The last stanza is here omitted.]
Keen the frosty winds were blawing,
Deep the snaw had wreathed the ploughs,
Watty, wearied a' day sawing,
Daunert down to Mungo Blue's.
Dryster Jock was sitting cracky
And sae mony neighbours roun',
Ithers quietly chewt their cude.
Jock was selling Pate some tallow,
Drank his health and Meg's in ane;
Pledged him wi' a dreary grane.
"What's the matter, Watty, wi' you? Trouth your chafts are fa'ing in! Something's wrang, I'm vex'd to see you, Gudesake! but ye're desp'rate thin!"