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the reader's notice. The story of Kilmeny is invariably selected as the masterpiece of the work; but, while fully alive to its charm as a production of the imagination, and its musical sweetness of language, and allowing for a certain dimness of outline as
Hogg's poems under the title of the Mountain Bard; and also a treatise on sheep. By these publications he obtained the (to him) large sum of £300, and he rushed into farming on a scale ten times beyond his means, having leased two farms in Dumfriesshire, at rents far beyond their value. The conse-appropriate to the morbid sentiment quence was, that in less than three years he was again penniless, and in debt.
In these circumstances he tried to obtain a captaincy in the militia, and a situation in the excise, but failed in both, and again fell back upon his pen. He published a collection of songs, containing a large proportion of his own early pieces, under the title of the Forest Minstrel, and dedicated it to the Countess of Dalkeith. The handsome gift of one hundred guineas from his patroness was the only profit that it brought him. His next venture was a weekly newspaper, The Spy, which lived about twelve months, leaving him in a state of financial exhaustion.
When his fortune was about its lowest, in consequence of the failure of his various schemes, he, in 1813, astonished the world by his Queen's Wake, a production for which no one would have given him credit, but which places his right to the title of poet beyond dispute. It is in every way a remarkable poem, or rather a garland of varied poetic gems gracefully strung together, and was at once recognised as such. Although the plan of it is taken from Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel, yet the application and the execution are so original, that this in no way detracts from the merits of Hogg's genius, and the fact almost never intrudes itself on
of which it is the embodiment, we cannot overlook the confusion and want of perspective that pervade it, nor can we grant that indistinctness of outline enhances the beauty of even SO purely ideal a clime of the imagination as that in which the scene of Kilmeny is laid. It also contains some descriptive incongruities, and the affectation of the ancient spelling is an absurdity that almost gives it a serio-comic air. The "Fate of Macgregor," similarly founded on superstitious sentiment, though inferior in imaginative breadth, has not, in our estimation, the blemishes which mar "Kilmeny." It is in every way equal to Campbell's "Lochiel's Warning," which appeared about ten years earlier.
Hogg's next venture was The Poetic Mirror, intended as a collection of the poems of living bards. Scott refused to contribute, and this caused a temporary estrangement between the poets. He then issued Dramatic Tales, and The Brownie of Bodsbeck, &c. In 1820, he received a life-lease of the farm of Altrive from the Duke of Buccleuch, at a nominal rent, and on settling here he married. But his passion for farm ventures could not be overcome while he had the means of gratifying it, and with his wife's and his own means he took a lease of, and stocked the farm of Mount
paralysis, but was able to resume his work in March; and volume ii. of The History of Scotland appeared in May. When the Court rose in July, he retired on an allowance of £800 a-year, but an offer of a pension of £500, with the concurrence of his creditors, he declined. Considering the improved state to which his exertions brought his affairs, his creditors, on the 17th December, unanimously presented him with all the furniture of Abbotsford. The Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft now appeared; also the fourth series of Tales of a Grandfather.
In July he made an excursion into Douglasdale to verify his recollections of Douglas Castle for his tale of Castle Dangerous, which, with Count Robert of Paris, he finished on his return. In autumn, Turner, the painter, came to Scotland to make sketches for his illustrations of the scenery of Scott's poems; and Sir Walter made several short excursions with him. Being advised that he should spend the winter abroad, the Government prepared a war-vessel to carry him to the Mediterranean. Before setting out, he entertained Captain James Glencairn Burns, son of the poet, now home on furlough from India; and two days afterwards Wordsworth arrived to bid him farewell. Scott left Abbotsford on 23d September, and landed at Naples on the 17th December.
During his stay, he visited Pompeii and other classical antiquities. On his return, he waited a short time in Rome and visited St Peter's, where he wished to see the tomb of the last of the Stuarts. He had a serious attack on his way home, and lay in London from 13th
June till 7th July, when his yearning to be at Abbotsford was acceded to. Here he died on the 21st September 1832. He was buried in Dryburgh Abbey.
THE EVE OF ST JOHN. The baron of Smaylho'me rose with day, He spurr'd his courser on, Without stop or stay, down the rocky way,
That leads to Brotherstone.
He went not with the bold Buccleuch,
Yet his plate-jack was braced, and his helmet was laced,
And his vaunt-plate of proof he wore ; At his saddle-gerthe was a good steel sperthe,
Full ten pound weight and more.
The baron return'd in three days' space,
And his looks were sad and sour;
He came not from where Ancram Moor
'Gainst keen Lord Evers stood.
Yet was his helmet hack'd and hew'd,
His acton pierced and tore, His axe and his dagger with blood imbrued,
But it was not English gore.
He lighted at the Chapellage,
He held him close and still; And he whistled thrice for his little foot
His name was English Will.
Stern scowled the Macgregor; then, silent and sullen,
And do what it freezes my vitals to say.
Forgive me, dear brother, this horror of mind;
Thou knowest in the strife I was never be-
Nor ever receded a foot from the van,
But I've sworn by the cross, by my God, and by all,
An oath which I cannot, and dare not recall,
Ere the shadows of midnight fall east from
To meet with a spirit this night in Glen-
"Last night, in my chamber, all thoughtful and lone,
I called to remembrance some deeds I had done,
When entered a lady, with visage so wan, He turned his red eye to the braes of And looks such as never were fastened Strathfillan;
"Go, Malcolm, to sleep, let the clans be I knew her, O brother! I knew her full dismissed; well!
The Campbells this night for Macgregor Of that once fair dame such a tale I could must rest."
Macgregor, Macgregor, our scouts
Three days round the hills of M'Nab and
Of riding and running such tidings they
We must meet them at home else they'll quickly be here."
"The Campbell may come, as promises bind him,
As would thrill thy bold heart: but how long she remained,
So racked was my spirit, my bosom so pained,
I knew not-but ages seemed short to the while.
Though proffer'd the Highlands, nay, all the green isle,
With length of existence no man can enjoy,
his The same to endure, the dread proffer I'd fly!
And haughty M‘Nab, with his giants be- The thrice-threaten'd pangs of last night
hind him :
This night I am bound to relinquish the Macgregor would dive to the mansions
This night the proud chief his presumption shall rue;
Rise, brother, these chinks in his heart'sblood will glue :
Thy fantasies frightful shall flit on the wing,
When loud with thy bugle Glen-Lyon shall ring."
Like glimpse of the moon through the storm of the night,
Macgregor's red eye shed one sparkle of light:
It faded-it darkened-he shuddered-he sighed,
"No! not for the universe!" low he replied.
Away went Macgregor, but went not alone;
To watch the dread rendezvous Malcolm has gone.
They oared the broad Lomond, so still and serene!
And deep in her bosom, how awful the scene!
O'er mountains inverted, the blue waters curled,
And rocked them on skies of a far nether world.
All silent they went, for the time was approaching:
The moon the blue zenith already was touching;
No foot was abroad on the forest or hill, No sound but the lullaby sung by the
Young Malcolm at distance couched trembling the while,
Margregor stood lone by the brook of Glen-Gyle.
Few minutes had passed ere they spied, on the stream,
When the lions of Dochart stood firm by A skiff sailing light, where a lady did
Her sail was the web of the gossamer's
'Macgregor! Macgregor!" he bitterly cried ;
The glow-worm her wakelight, the rain- "Macgregor! Macgregor !" the echoes bow her boom;
A dim rayless beam was her prow and her He struck at the lady, but, strange though
Like wold-fire, at midnight, that glares on the waste.
Though rough was the river with rock and cascade,
No torrent, no rock, her velocity staid ; She wimpled the water to weather and lee,
And heaved as if borne on the waves of
Mute Nature was roused in the bounds of the glen;
The wild deer of Gartney abandoned his den,
Fled panting away, over river and isle, Nor once turned his eye to the brook of Glen-Gyle.
The fox fled in terror, the eagle awoke, As slumbering he dozed in the shelve of the rock;
Astonished, to hide in the moonbeam he flew,
And screwed the night heaven till lost in the blue.
Young Malcolm 'beheld the pale lady approach,
The chieftain salute her, and shrink from her touch;
He saw the Macgregor kneel down on the plain,
As begging for something he could not obtain ;
She raised him indignant, derided his stay,
Then bore him on board, set her sail, and away.
Though fast the red bark down the river did glide,
Yet faster ran Malcolm adown by its side;
His sword only fell on the rocks and the
But the groans from the boat that ascended amain,
Were groans from a bosom in horror and pain.
They reached the dark lake, and bore lightly away;
Macgregor is vanished for ever and aye!
TO THE COMET OF 1811. How lovely is this wildered scene,
As twilight from her vaults so blue Steals soft o'er Yarrow's mountains green, To sleep embalmed in midnight dew!
All hail, ye hills, whose towering height,
Like shadows, scoops the yielding sky! And thou, mysterious guest of night, Dread traveller of immensity!
Stranger of heaven! I bid thee hail!
Broad pennon of the King of Heaven!
Art thou the flag of woe and death,
From angel's ensign-staff unfurled? Art thou the standard of his wrath]
Waved o'er a sordid sinful world?
No, from that pure pellucid beam, That erst o'er plains of Bethlehem shone,
No latent evil we can deem,
Bright herald of the eternal throne!