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The piper played cheerie, the crusie And the spae-wife has tauld me to keep
up my heart;
burn'd bright, And linked in my hand was the maiden For wi' my last saxpence her loof I hae sae dear,
As she footed the floor in her holiday And the bliss that is fated can never be gear!
Woe's me and can it then be
That poverty parts sic company?
Tho' cruelly we may ilka day see How poverty parts dear company.
THE subject of Grahame's best known | dilate on its merits; and so hearty was poem, "The Sabbath," is one that has her admiration, that he was constrained been held in peculiar veneration in Scot- to admit her into the secret. land. There can be little doubt that to this cause, as much as to its poetical merits, it owed a great part of the esteem in which it was long held. It is doubtful if it is much read in Scotland now, even by those who still cling to the ascetic observance of the Sabbath; indeed, its conception of the subject is far too poetical and liberal to suit the taste of the advocates of a rigid enforcement of extreme views of Sabbath observance; and the poet himself, though a man of serious sentiments, was not a man of narrow sympathies.
James Grahame was born on the 22d April 1765, in the city of Glasgow, where his father was a writer, or solicitor. He was educated at the grammarschool, and afterwards at the Glasgow University.
At the age of nineteen he was apprenticed to his cousin, Mr Lawrence Hill, Writer to the Signet, Edinburgh; and at the termination of his apprenticeship became a member of that body. He became a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1795. In 1804, he published "The Sabbath" anonymously, taking great precautions to conceal the authorship, and not even letting his wife know, until one day, having left a copy on her table, as if by accident, she became so interested in the poem, that on his coming home she began to
The law was not Grahame's profession by choice; and on his father's death, his own health being far from robust, he resolved to enter the Church. With this view he proceeded to London, and in 1809 was ordained by the Bishop of Norwich, and soon after was appointed to the curacy of Shepton Mayne, in Gloucestershire. He resigned this charge in about a year, and returned to Edinburgh, and offered himself for a vacancy in St George's Episcopal Chapel, but was unsuccessful. He next obtained the curacy of Sedgefield, in Durham, where he was favoured by the bishop; but his health having given way, he returned to Edinburgh for medical advice. His illness increased, however; and wishing once more to visit Glasgow, his native city, he left Edinburgh to proceed thither, but died on the journey at Whitehall, the residence of his brother, on the 14th September 1811.
Besides the "Sabbath," Grahame wrote "Mary Queen of Scotland," a drama, published in 1801; "Biblical Pictures,” and “The Birds of Scotland" (1806) and British Georgics (1809), all of them containing fragments of poetic beauty, and evincing minute and correct powers of observation, but on the whole too serious and monotonous to make them generally readable or interesting.
Grahame wrote nothing peculiarly Scotch in manner; but few poets have confined themselves more closely to their native country in the choice of their subjects, or evinced, by their lingering fondness over its features, greater love for it than he did; and possibly, while his poetry is becoming less known at home, it possesses attractions for the expatriated "Scot abroad," through its being thus saturated with the recollections of the
land to whose rigorous clime and sterile features"distance lends enchantment."
How still the morning of the hallowed day: Mute is the voice of rural labour hushed, The ploughboy's whistle, and the milk
On other days the man of toil is doomed The scythe lies glittering in the dewy To eat his joyless bread, lonely; the wreath
Of tedded grass, mingled with fading Both seat and board; screened from the flowers,
That yester-morn bloomed waving in the breeze.
Sounds the most faint attact the ear,-the hum
Of early bee, the trickling of the dew, The distant bleating midway up the hill. Calmness sits throned on yon unmoving cloud.
To him who wanders o'er the upland leas, The blackbird's note comes mellower from
And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark
Warbles his heaven-tuned song; the lulling brook
And summer's heat by neighbouring hedge or tree;
But on this day, embosomed in his home, He shares the frugal meal with those he loves ;
With those he loves he shares the heartfelt joy
Of giving thanks to God,-not thanks of form,
A word and a grimace, but reverently, With covered face and upward earnest
Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day :
Murmurs more gently down the deep- The pale mechanic now has leave to
worn glen ;
While from yon lowly roof, whose curling The morning air, pure from the city's smoke smoke ;
His locks of snow, his brow serene, his And prays a blessing in the name of look
Of love, it speaks,
Ye are my children Who said, "Let little children come to
The grey-haired man, stooping upon his Forbid them not." The infant is replaced
As well as he, the giddy child, whose eye Pursues the swallow flitting thwart the dome."
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
While every other woodland lay is mute, Save when the wren flits from her downcoved nest,
And from the root-sprig trills her ditty clear,
The grasshopper's oft-pausing chirp,-
Angrily shrill, of moss-entangled bee,
The sudden rushing of the minnow shoal, Scared from the shallows by my passing tread.
Dimpling the water glides, with here and there
A glossy fly, skimming in circlets gay The treacherous surface, while the quickeyed trout
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
And thinly strew'd with heath-bells up and down.