صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

LIKE Michael Bruce, Robert Nicoll | poems under the title of Poems and was endowed with literary abilities Lyrics. He now gave up his library, which he lacked physical powers to and intended trying his fortune in enable him to bring to maturity. His London; but after remaining some time zeal and enthusiasm may be said to have in Edinburgh, he was appointed editor consumed him; and with his early of the Leeds Times, a Radical newspaper. death raised his fame, as by a wave of His zeal for the success of the paper, friendly sympathy, beyond what any- and the excitement of local politics, thing he has written will maintain. It soon broke his health, and after a short has been said that some of his songs sojourn at Knaresborough, he came have obtained an equal popularity with back to Edinburgh, and died at Trinity the best of Burns's. This can hardly in his twenty-fourth year. He was buried be true in any sense; but if it is implied in North Leith Churchyard, where a that their merits any way approach the memorial stone has recently been placed best of Burns's, nothing could be more over his remains. A memoir of him unjust to Nicoll's fame, or stronger has been written by Mr Smiles, and a evidence of the critic's want of judgment new edition of his poems is (1877) just in such matters than the suggestion of published. such a comparison.

He was born at Tullybeltane, Perthshire, on January 7th, 1814. His father was a farmer, but was unsuccessful, and Robert's early education was obtained from his mother, a woman of superior intelligence, and was completed at the parish school. His literary aspirations were very early manifested; and while serving an apprenticeship as a grocer in Perth, he devoted his leisure to study and reading. In 1833, he forwarded a tale to Johnstone's Magazine, which led to his making a visit to Edinburgh, and being introduced to several literary gentlemen who befriended him. In 1834, he started a circulating library in Dundee, and interested himself in local politics as an extreme liberal. In 1835, he published a collection of his (12)

THE BONNIE ROWAN BUSH.

The bonnie rowan bush

In yon lane glen-
Where the burnie clear doth gush
In yon lane glen;
My head is white and auld,

An' my bluid is thin an' cauld—
But I lo'e the bonnie rowan bush
In yon lane glen.

My Jeanie first I met

In yon lane glen-
When the grass wi' dew was wet,
In yon lane glen ;

The moon was shinin' sweet,

An' our hearts wi' love did beatBy the bonnie, bonnie rowan bush In yon lane glen.

3 B

But morning brings clutches a' reckless and stern,

That lo'e na' the locks o' the mitherless bairn.

condition failed in placing him in comfortable circumstances; and after two visits to London, where he was well received, he returned to Scotland, and died at Dundee in 1848. A col-Yon sister, that sang o'er his saftly-rocked lection of his poems was published in 1844, under the title of Rhymes and Recollections of a Handloom Weaver.

THE MITHERLESS BAIRN.

When a' ither bairnies are hush'd to their
hame

By aunty, or cousin, or frecky grand-dame,
Wha stands last an' lanely, an' naebody

carin'?

'Tis the puir doited loonie-the mitherless bairn.

The mitherless bairn gangs to his lane bed, Nane covers his cauld back, or haps his bare head;

His wee hackit heelies are hard as the airn, And litheless the lair o' the mitherless bairn.

Aneath his cauld brow siccan dreams hover there,

bed,

Now rests in the mools where her mammie is laid;

The father toils sair, their wee bannock to airn,

An' kens na the wrangs o' his mitherless bairn.

Her spirit that passed in yon hour o❜ his birth,

Still watches his wearisome wanderings on earth;

Recording in heaven the blessings they

earn,

Wha couthilie deal wi' the mitherless

bairn!

Oh! speak him na harshly; he trembles the while,

He bends to your bidding, an' blesses your smile;

In their dark hour o' anguish, the heartless shall learn

O' hands that wont kindly to kame his That God deals the blow for the mitherdark hair;

less bairn !

JOHN BURT.
1790 (?)

as a weaver.

"O'ER the Mist-shrouded Clifts" | limited, and he was early apprenticed has much of the style and ease of Burns, and is so suited to his circumstances that it even yet appears in editions of his poems as his composition. It is the only inspired effusion of John Burt, who was born at Knockmarloch, in Ayrshire. His education was very

In 1807, he was pressed into the navy, and served about five years on board the Magnificent, at the end of which he returned home, and after working some time at his trade, he set up a school in Kilmarnock. Having

devoted his leisure to study while weaving, he made a successful teacher, and in 1816 removed to Paisley in the same capacity. Here he became involved in the political agitations of the time; and being disgusted at the aspect of affairs at home, emigrated to the United States, where at first he taught a school. Having studied at Princeton College, he was elected minister of the Presbyterian Church of Salem; and in 1835, was appointed to the chair of Ecclesiastical History in a theological seminary. We have no further trace

of him.

O'ER THE MIST-SHROUDED

CLIFFS.

O'er the mist-shrouded cliffs of the gray mountain straying,

Where the wild winds of winter incessantly rave;

THOMAS

What woes wring my heart, while intently surveying

The storm's gloomy path on the breast of the wave!

Ye foam-crested billows, allow me to wail, Ere ye toss me afar from my loved

native shore;

Where the flower which bloom'd sweetest

in Colia's green vale,

The pride of my bosom, my Mary's no more !

No more by the banks of the streamlet we'll wander,

And smile at the moon's rimpled face in the wave;

No more shall my arms cling with fondness around her,

For the dew-drops of morning fall cold on her grave.

No more shall the soft thrill of love warm my breast,

I haste with the storm to a far-distant shore,

Where, unknown, unlamented, my ashes shall rest,

And joy shall revisit my bosom no more.

LYLE.

1792-1859.

"KELVIN GROVE" and the air to which it is sung harmonize so well, that the latter is now known by the title of the song-the old words to which it was sung having entirely faded from popular remembrance. Thomas Lyle, the writer of the lyric,—beautiful apart from the air, was a native of Paisley, and studied at Glasgow University. He practised as a surgeon in Glasgow for some time, and afterwards at Airth, in Stirlingshire, where he remained till 1853. 'Kelvin Grove" first appeared in The Harp of Renfrewshire, where it

44

was attributed to John Sim, but Mr Lyle's claim to its authorship was admitted by Motherwell, the editor of that collection.

Lyle was a collector of old national airs and songs, and published, in 1827, a volume of Ancient Ballads and Songs, chiefly from Tradition and Manuscript, and to this he contributed some songs of his own composition. It also contains "Miscellaneous Poems by Sir William Mure, Knight of Rowallan." In 1853 he returned to Glasgow, and here he died in 1859.

KELVIN GROVE.

Let us haste to Kelvin grove, bonnie lassie, O,

Through its mazes let us rove, bonnie lassie, O,

Where the rose in all her pride, Paints the hollow dingle's side, Where the midnight fairies glide, bonnie lassie, O.

Yet with fortune on my side,

I could stay thy father's pride, And win thee for my bride, bonnie lassie, O.

But the frowns of fortune lower, bonnie
lassie, O,

On thy lover at this hour, bonnie lassie, O,
Ere the golden orb of day
Wake the warblers on the spray,

Let us wander by the mill, bonnie lassie, O; From this land I must away, bonnie

To the cove beside the rill, bonnie lassie,

O,

Where the glens rebound the call
Of the roaring water-fall,
Thro' the mountain's rocky hall, bonnie
lassie, O.

O Kelvin banks are fair, bonnie lassie, O,
When in summer we are there, bonnie
lassie, O,

There, the May-pink's crimson
plume

Throws a soft but sweet perfume Round the yellow banks of broom, bonnie lassie, O.

Though I dare not call thee mine, bonnie

lassie, O,

lassie, O.

Then farewell to Kelvin grove, bonnie
lassie, O,

And adieu to all I love, bonnie lassie, O,
To the river winding clear,

To the fragrant scented brier,
E'en to thee of all most dear, bonnie
lassie, O.

When upon a foregin shore, bonnie lassie, O,

Should I fall midst battle's roar, bonnie
lassie, O,

Then, Helen! shouldst thou hear
Of thy lover on his bier.

As the smile of fortune's thine, bonnie To his memory shed a tear, bonnie lassie, lassie, O,

O.

[blocks in formation]

EXCEPT for "Jeannie Morrison," | and elegant sentimental poems want that Motherwell would almost have been forgotten as a poet; and yet few writers gave evidence of possessing the divine faculty earlier, or displayed greater taste and grace in the art of poetic composition. His finished, vigorous,

definite grasp on human interest that makes even rough poetry impressive. His highly cultivated and natural literary abilities, fitted him better for excelling as an editor, and it is in this capacity that he has been most successful.

He was the son of Mr William Motherwell, an ironmonger in Glasgow, and was born in that city in 1797. His family removing to Edinburgh, he became a pupil of the High School; but in his eleventh year he went to live with an uncle in Paisley, and he finished his education at the grammar-school of that town, with the exception of a session, when he attended Greek and Latin classes in Glasgow University.

In

In

He served some time in the SheriffClerk's office in Paisley, and soon after received the appointment of Sheriffclerk Depute of Renfrewshire. 1819, he became editor of The Harp of Renfrewshire, a poetical miscellany, and in 1827, published his best-known book, Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern, the historical introduction to which displayed an extensive acquaintance with the subject, and great critical taste and discernment. In 1828, he started the Paisley Magazine, which did not live beyond its first volume. He at the same time edited the Paisley Advertiser, a weekly conservative newspaper. 1830, he became editor of the Glasgow Courier, and continued in charge of it till his death in 1835. He published an elegant collection of his poems, entitled, Poems, Narrative and Lyrical, in 1832; and an enlarged edition, with a memoir, was published soon after his death. He has two marked stylesthe homely pathetic sentimental, where he employs Scotch; and the chivalrous imaginative sentimental, which he writes in pure English, or affected antique. "Jeannie Morrison" is his best in the former, and "The Cavalier's Song" is a fair specimen of the latter style.

JEANIE MORRISON. I've wandered east, I've wandered west,

Through mony a weary way; But never, never can forget

The luve o' life's young day! The fire that's blawn on Beltane e'en, May weel be black gin Yule; But blacker fa' awaits the heart Where first fond luve grows cule.

O dear, dear Jeanie Morrison,
The thochts o' bygane years
Still fling their shadows ower my path,
And blind my een wi' tears:
They blind my een wi' saut, saut tears,
And sair and sick I pine,
As memory idly summons up

The blithe blinks o' langsyne.

'Twas then we luvit ilk ither weel, 'Twas then we twa did part; Sweet time-sad time! twa bairns at scule,

Twa bairns, and but ae heart! 'Twas then we sat on ae laigh bink,

To leir ilk ither lear;

And tones, and looks, and smiles were shed,

Remembered evermair.

I wonder, Jeanie, aften yet,

When sitting on that bink, Cheek touchin' cheek, loof lock'd in loof, What our wee heads could think? When baith bent doun ower ae braid page,

Wi' ae buik on our knee,

Thy lips were on thy lesson, but

My lesson was in thee.

Oh, mind ye how we hung our heads,

How cheeks brent red wi' shame, Whene'er the scule-weans laughin' said, We cleek'd thegither hame?

« السابقةمتابعة »