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As the smile of fortune's thine, bonnie To his memory shed a tear, bonnie lassie, lassie, O,
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.
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. In 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 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,
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?
And mind ye o' the Saturdays,
(The scule then skail't at noon), When we ran aff to speel the braesThe broomy braes o' June?
My head rins round and round about,
Oh lichtsome days and lang,
The simmer leaves hung ower our head,
And on the knowe abune the burn,
In the silentness o' joy, till baith
Ay, ay, dear Jeanie Morrison,
Tears trinkled doun your cheek,
When hearts were fresh and young, When freely gushed all feelings forth, Unsyllabled-unsung!
I marvel, Jeanie Morrison,
Gin I hae been to thee
As closely twined wi' earliest thochts,
Oh! tell me gin their music fills
Thine ear as it does mine;
Oh! say gin e'er your heart grows grit Wi' dreamings o' langsyne?
I've wandered east, I've wandered west, I've borne a weary lot;
But in my wanderings, far or near,
Ye never were forgot.
The fount that first burst frae this heart,
And channels deeper as it rins,
O dear, dear Jeanie Morrison,
And happy could I dee,
Did I but ken your heart still dreamed O' bygane days and me!
THE CAVALIER'S SONG. A steed! a steed of matchlesse speed, A sword of metal keene! All else to noble heartes is drosse, All else on earth is meane. The neighyinge of the war-horse prowde, The rowlinge of the drum, The clangour of the trumpet lowde,
Be soundes from heaven that come; And oh! the thundering presse of knightes Whenas their war cryes swell,
May tole from heaven an angel bright,
Then mounte, then mounte, brave gallants, all,
And don your helemes amaine : Deathe's couriers, Fame and Honour, call Us to the field againe.
No shrewish tears shall fill our eye
When the sword-hilt's in our handHeart whole we'll part, and no whit sighe For the fayrest of the land;
Let piping swaine, and craven wight,
Thus weepe and pulling crye, Our businesse is like men to fight, And hero-like to die!
'Twas morning; and summer's young Their faces grew pale, and their swords sun from the east were unsheathed, Lay in loving repose on the green moun- But the vengeance that darkened their tain's breast; brow was unbreathed; On Wardlaw and Cairntable the clear With eyes turned to heaven in calm resignation,
shining dew, Glistened there 'mong the heath bells and They sung their last song to the God of mountain flowers blue. Salvation.
And far up in heaven, near the white sunny The hills with the deep mournful music cloud, were ringing, The song of the lark was melodious and The curlew and plover in concert were loud, singing; And in Glenmuir's wild solitude, length- But the melody died 'mid derision and ened and deep, laughter, Were the whistling of plovers and bleat- As the host of th' ungodly rushed on to ing of sheep. the slaughter.
And Wellwood's sweet valleys breathed Though in mist and in darkness and fir music and gladness, they were shrouded,
The fresh meadow blooms hung in beauty Yet the souls of the righteous were calm
Their dark eyes flashed lightning, as, firm and unbending,
Its daughters were happy to hail the returning, And drink the delights of July's sweet They stood like the rock which the morning. thunder is rending.
But, oh! there were hearts cherished far The muskets were flashing, the blue other feelings, swords were gleaming,
Illumed by the light of prophetic reveal- The helmets were cleft, and the red blood ings, was streaming; Who drank from the scen'ry of beauty The heavens grew dark, and the thunder was rolling,
For they knew that their blood would be- When in Wellwood's dark muirlands the dew it to-morrow. mighty were falling.
'Twas the few faithful ones who with When the righteous had fallen, and the Cameron were lying, combat was ended, Concealed 'mong the mist where the A chariot of fire through the dark cloud heath fowl was crying, descended;
For the horsemen of Earlshall around Its drivers were angels on horses of whitethem were hovering, ness,
And their bridle reins rung through the And its burning wheels turned on axles of thin misty covering. brightness.