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hamlet of Raploch, at the north-west angle of the rock on which Stirling Castle guards the Forth. His parents were too poor to give him any education, and where he picked up the little stock of learning of which he made such ample use, it is impossible to tell. Being deformed in body, he was incapa

"Of witty jokes he had full store,
Johnson could not have pleased you more,
Or with loud laughter made you roar
As he could do;

He had still something ne'er before
Exposed to view."


citated for most of the physical employ-"Hersell pe Highland shentleman,

ments open to people of his rank; and possibly from a love of using his observing faculties, he chose the profession of a travelling chapman. In some such capacity, and possibly impelled by his disposition, he joined the march of the Highland army in 1745, as it crossed the Fords of Frew, not far from his home; nor did he quit his post till the fatal April morning in 1746, when the hopes

Pe auld as Pothwell Prig, man;
And many alterations seen,

Among te Lawland whig, man.

First when her to the Lawlands came,
Nainsell was driving cows, man;
There was nae laws about him's nerse,
About the preeks or trews, man.
Nainsell did wear the philibeg,

The plaid prick't on her shouder ;
The guid claymore hung pe her pelt,

De pistol sharg'd wi' pouder.

But for whereas these cursed preeks,

Wherewith him's nerse be locket,
Ochon! that e'er she saw the day!
For a' her houghs pe prokit.
Every ting in de Highlands now

Pe turn'd to alteration;
The sodger dwall at our door-sheek,
And tat's te great vexation.

Scotland be turn't a Ningland now,
An' laws pring on de cager;

of the Pretender were scattered on Culloden Moor. He then hastened home, and in September announced his Metrical History of the Rebellion, consisting of about 5000 lines, Hudibrastic metre, in the Glasgow Courier; and, as if conscious of the feat he performed (for he was then but twenty-two years of age), he added, "The like has not been done since the days of David Lindsay." Getting tired of his peregrinations as a travelling merchant, and having made a little money, Dougal set up a printing-Nainsell wad durk him for his deeds, office in the Saltmarket of Glasgow, and there commenced the printing of those facetious penny histories, which are to his poetry what Scott's novels are to his. Soon after this, he obtained the lucrative office of bellman to the city, and in this capacity was king of his craft. He died in 1779; and in an elegy lamenting his loss, the local Muse thus recalls his grotesque figure:

But, och! she fears te sodger.

Anither law came after dat,

Me never saw de like, man;
They make a lang road on the crund,

And ca' him Turnimspike, man.
An' wow she pe a ponnie road,

Like Loudon corn-riggs, man;
Where twa carts may gang on her,
An' no preak ither's legs, man.

They sharge a penny for ilka horse

(In troth they'll no pe sheaper ;) For naught put gaun upo' the crund, And they gie me a paper.

They tak the horse then by te head, And tere tey mak her stan', man: Me tell tem, me hae seen te day, Tey had na sic comman', man.

Nae doubt nainsell maun draw her purse,
And pay him what him likes, man;
I'll see a shudgement on his toor,
Tat filthy Turnimspike, man.

But I'll awa to the Highland hills,
Where te'il a ane dare turn her,
And no come near to your Turnimspike,
Unless it pe to purn her."



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Having lost her father some years before, she entered the service of a minister in the neighbourhood, to whose books she was permitted to have access. The result was to excite in her an ambition to emulate the models in verse to which she was thus introduced. Her pieces are all short, and her subjects are classical, religious, or scriptural. The classical pieces are mostly addresses to the Muse, and in praise of the virtue of chastity as "To Lucretia ;" or "Ulyssuses and Penelope;" and denouncing its opposite, "To Cleopatra."


Among her scriptural pieces are very poor versions of some of the Psalms. Her best are blank verse sketches of the creation, &c., with "Reflections on the Fall," inspired by the study of Milton. We give this last as a specimen of her attainments. We also give "The Impartial Law of God in Nature," which may be supposed to refer to herself; and from which it is to be inferred that she read Pope.

Another characteristic piece is entitled "The Vulgar Estimate," in which she defends her devotion to the Muse somewhat sarcastically :

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After making her appearance as an author, she opened a day-school for children, which does not appear to have been a success, partly, it would appear, from her ideas being too refined and fanciful for the practical matter-offact traders of Greenock. She is said

fore the more desirous that she should be known by what is undisputably her own. We give our views regarding the authorship of "There's nae Luck about the House" in a note prefixed to the song.


to have been so far in advance of her THE IMPARTIAL LAW OF GOD age, as to have introduced the reading of Shakespeare to her pupils; and so sensitive to his beauties, as to have fainted in reading Othello. It is also recorded that she walked to London to see

Richardson, the author of Clarissa; for which purpose she shut her school for six weeks. The truth of these reports of her eccentricities rests upon tradition; but, judging from the ideas which she ventilates in her poems, especially in her various addresses to the Muse, they are quite in character. And she must have been a character to whom we could have wished a kindlier lot than fortune had marked out for her. After her school had failed, it is said she became an itinerant merchant, still carrying her romantic notions into this uncongenial sphere. She broke down at last, but not till she was fairly exhausted; for she died on the 3d April 1765, the day after she was admitted as a "stranger' into the Glasgow Town Hospital.

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Her "Miscellany Poems" is now very scarce, and the specimens given give a fair idea of its contents. They

also enable the reader to realize what Jean Adams was, better than any delineation of her. The beautiful national song of "There's nae Luck about the House" has been claimed as her composition, on grounds which to us seem very unsatisfactory; we are there

By way of insult thou inquires at me,
Who first it was that gave me wings to fly?
He, who had power to place me on a

Thought fit to place me on a vale alone;
Yet gave me wings, by which I might

To light my lamp at the celestial fire.
Tell thou, my hand it might become a ring,
My neck might seem more graceful by a

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I am as free as he to gain the prize
Of the unblemisht spotless sacrifice.
No more than he can I with laws dis-


As much as he do I abhor offence.
The lowest class that is below the sun,
True faith and virtue puts respect upon.
'Tis better to adorn a private lot,
Than be to shining eminence a blot.


Thus was the costly ship humanity

Both built and launch'd into the sea of time,

When the bewitched siren reach'd his ear Soft were her notes, her numbers smooth and sweet.

Ten thousand beauties shone in every line;

Her theme seem'd worthy of the greatest soul.

Knowledge, the darling of the gods above, The only good prohibit here below! What happiness can be where thou art not?

What trade can flourish where thou dost not come?

Thou art the salt that heals the poison'd


'Tis thee that fructifies the barren soil;

And rigg'd and mann'd and laden to the Thy virtue raises man above the brutes,


With as much value of intrinsic worth,
As would have been an everlasting fund
To keep the royal navy in repair.
With pure desires her silken sails were

And from the cable to the smallest cord
Her tacklings all were of unspotted love.
Wisdom was pilot, he the channels knew,
His knowledge was of an eternal date :
For he had liv'd with the great architect.
By him the universal plan was drawn ;
No creek nor shoal, but his discerning eye
With ease could reach, the distant ne'er
so far:

Th' imperial heights were level to his view, Nor could the depths of hell from him conceal.

Power was lieutenant, at whose high command,

With quick dispatch the heaven-born pas

sions ran.

All appetites were subject to his will. Freewill was captain, poor green-headed youth!

He could not long that dignity possess, Nor yet perform that mighty task alone. Few leagues from shore humanity had launch'd,

And sets him on a level with the gods.
So sang the siren, and by slow degrees
Came closely up into the human ear;
The name of wisdom set the soul on fire,
The sparks of false ambition upwards


Quick through the mind ran the devouring flame,

Whose veh'mence burnt all solid knowledge up:

Its rage brake through the limits of desire,

The hallowed vessels cast in divine mould
By wisdom's hand no form at all retain'd:
Such was the violence of infernal fire,
It chang'd them all to liquid streams of

Which useless o'er the blackened pavement ran.

Strange havoc pride in human nature made,

True glory to false knowledge fell a prey,

But who would spare these toys to be a god?

And yet, alas! 'twas but a demi-god,
A fabled heaven and a cloudy throne,

A cloud could ne'er sustain a mortal


But stay, my Muse, I quite forget my Confounded Freewill stood upon the shore, And saw the wealth of both the worlds


I did not find a side wind in my sail,
Nor could conceive from whence this

slowness sprang,

But sadly dream'd that, like humanity, Either my helm was broke, or I was pilotless:

But now th' auspicious gale is in my sail, The ocean smiles, the mist in kindness flies;

Come, get thee to the top, and thou shalt


Afar the grave of all our happiness.

On this inchanting isle 'twas first interr'd; From thence the sound of wisdom reach'd the ear,

Which innocence itself could not reject, Drunk with the thirst of knowledge and of rule,


Seized by despair upon the shore he stood,
Ruin behind, and red revenge before;
No friend he knew, nor thought on a

When from behind the scene soft Mercy stept,

Her god-like form the eyes of all attracts, Her garments were of pure unspotted white,

Her eyes were flames of bright seraphic fire:

Upon her lips a divine sentence dwelt, Her accents warm'd the soul and charm'd the ear;

With jealous eye she views the settled beam

In which impartial justice weighs the cause,

Poor heedless Freewill leapt upon the Then calls to mind that Heaven's deshore,

crees are fix'd,

Nor dreams he walks upon forbidden | Next views the panel in a shower of tears. Unseen I stood, said she, to hear what past,


But views the magic circle with delight. Lo: here a Babel to himself he builds, To make himself an everlasting name, And fondly writes his epitaph in dust : For when prohibit knowledge felt the touch, Away it vanish'd like a cloud of smoke; No single mark of wisdom there was seen, But late posterity was left to read

In tears the lasting records of his folly. Here Freewill roves at large, and leaves his charge,


And own the sentence worthy of a god.
In Me thou shalt be fully satisfied.
Lo! I am sent to set thy prisoner free ;
Let Us infinites on a level stand,
And leave these finite creatures to my

What strength have they thy anger to


Let all thy hidden vengeance fall on me.
From all eternity have I been form'd

When lo! just Heaven sends her plagues Within the bosom of the infinite.


The tempest rages both on sea and shore,
Humanity is from her anchor driven,
The airy power of self-existence fell,
No single vestage of the same was seen,
Affronted wisdom to his centre fled,
Power quites his post, and Goodness up-
ward fled.

All order was in deep confusion lost.

No human power can his decree reverse.
Justice reply'd, if thou hast heard it all,
'Tis very certain that thou must have

He in effect hath called my balance false :
Such insolence as this who can forgive?
I vindicate the measures thou hast taken,
Said Mercy, and thou shalt be satisfied;
I'll meet thee in the person of a god.

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