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The Cameronian's Dream. [By James Hislop.]

[James Hislop was born of humble parents in the parish of Kirkconnel, in the neighbourhood of Sanquhar, near the source of the Nith, in July 1798. He was employed as a shepherd-boy in the vicinity of Airsmoss, where, at the grave-stone of a party of slain Covenanters, he composed the following striking poem. He afterwards became a teacher, and his poetical effusions having attracted the favourable notice of Lord Jeffrey, and other eminent literary characters, he was, through their influence, appointed schoolmaster, first on board the Doris, and subsequently the Tweed man-of-war. He died on the 4th December 1827, from fever caught by sleeping one night in the open air upon the island of St Jago. His compositions display an elegant rather than a vigorous imagination, much chasteness of thought, and a pure but ardent love of nature.]

In a dream of the night I was wafted away,
To the muirland of mist where the martyrs lay;
Where Cameron's sword and his Bible are seen,
Engraved on the stone where the heather grows green.

'Twas a dream of those ages of darkness and blood, When the minister's home was the mountain and

wood; When in Wellwood's dark valley the standard of Zion, All bloody and torn 'mong the heather was lying.

'Twas morning; and summer's young sun from the east

Lay in loving repose on the green mountain's breast;

On Wardlaw and Cairntable the clear shining dew,

Glistened there 'mong the heath-bells and mountain flowers blue.

And far up in heaven near the white sunny cloud,
The song of the lark was melodious and loud,
And in Glenmuir's wild solitude, lengthened and deep,
Were the whistling of plovers and bleating of sheep.

And Wellwood's sweet valleys breathed music and
The fresh meadow blooms hung in beauty and redness;
Its daughters were happy to hail the returning,
And drink the delights of July's sweet morning.

But, oh! there were hearts cherished far other feelings,

Illumed by the light of prophetic revealings,

Who drank from the scenery of beauty but sorrow,

For they knew that their blood would bedew it to-morrow.

'Twas the few faithful ones who with Cameron were lying Conceale'mong the mist where the heath-fowl was

crying, For the horsemen of Earlshall around them were hovering, And their bridle reins rung through the thin misty covering.

Their faces grew pale, and their swords were unsheathed, But the vengeance that darkened their brow was unbreathed; With eyes turned to heaven in calm resignation, They sung their last song to the God of Salvation.

The hills with the deep mournful music were ringing,
The curlew and plover in concert were singing;
But the melody died 'mid derision and laughter,
As the host of ungodly rushed on to the slaughter.

Though in mist and in darkness and fire they were shrouded,

Yet the souls of the righteous were calm and unclouded. Their dark eyes flashed lightning, as, firm and unbending, They stood like the rock which the thunder is rending.

The muskets were flashing, the blue swords were gleaming,

The helmets were cleft, and the red blood was streaming,

The heavens grew dark, and the thunder was rolling,

When in Wellwood's dark muirlands the mighty were falling.

When the righteous had fallen, and the combat was ended

A chariot of fire through the dark cloud descended;

Its drivers were angels on horses of whiteness,

And its burning wheels turned on axles of brightness.

A seraph unfolded its doors bright and shining,
All dazzling like gold of the seventh refining,
And the souls that came forth out of great tribulation,
Have mounted the chariots and steeds of salvation.

On the arch of the rainbow the chariot is gliding,
Through the path of the thunder the horsemen are
Glide swiftly, bright spirits! the prize is before ye,
A crown never fading, a kingdom of glory !


The admirable acting of Mrs Siddons, with that her brother John Kemble, Kean, and Miss O'Neil, rendered the stage popular during a part of this period, and tempted a few men of genius and reputation to write for it. Kemble reclaimed the stage from the barbarous solecisms in dress and decoration which even Garrick had tolerated. Neither Kemble nor Garrick, however, paid sufficient attention to the text of Shakspeare's dramas, which, even down to about the year 1838, continued to be presented as mutilated by Nahum Tate, Colley Cibber, and others. The first manager who ventured to restore the pure text of the great dramatist, and present it without any of the baser alloys on the stage, was Mr Macready, who made great though unavailing efforts to encourage the taste of the public for Shakspeare and the legitimate drama. At a more recent period, Mr Charles Kean, of the Princess's Theatre, and Mr Phelps of Sadler's Wells Theatre, revived the Shakspearian drama to some extent—the former by embellishing the plays with tasteful and magnificent "scenery; the latter by careful and energetic acting.


MR GoDw1N, the novelist, attempted the tragic drama in the year 1800, but his powerful genius, which had produced a romance of deep and thrilling interest, became cold and frigid when confined to the rules of the stage. His play was named Antonio, or the Soldier's Return. It turned out ‘a miracle of dulness, as Sergeant Talfourd relates, and at last the actors were hooted from the stage. The author's equanimity under this severe trial is amusingly related by Talfourd. Mr Godwin, he says, “sat on one of the front benches of the pit, unmoved amidst the storm. When the first act passed off without a hand, he expressed his satisfaction at the good sense of the house; “the proper season of applause had not arrived;” all was exactly as it should be. The second act proceeded to its close in the same uninterrupted calm; his friends became uneasy, but still

his optimism prevailed; he could afford to wait. And although he did at last admit the great movement was somewhat tardy, and that the audience seemed rather patient than interested, he did not lose his confidence till the tumult arose, and then he submitted with quiet dignity to the fate of genius, too lofty to be understood by a world as yet in its childhood. The next new play was also by a man of distinguished genius, and it also was unsuccessful. Julian and Agnes, by WILLIAM SoTHEBY, the translator of Oberon, was acted April 25, 1800. “In the course of its performance, Mrs Siddons, as the heroine, had to make her exit from the scene with an infant in her arms. Having to retire precipitately, she inadvertently struck the baby's head violently against a door-post. Happily, the little thing was made of wood, so that her doll's accident only produced a general laugh, in which the actress herself joined heartily. This ‘untoward event’ would have marred the success of any new tragedy; but Mr Sotheby's is deficient in arrangement and dramatic art.

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Alhadra. Yon hanging woods, that, touched by autumn, seem

As they were blossoming hues of fire and gold;
The flower-like woods, most lovely in decay,
The many clouds, the sea, the rocks, the sands,
Lie in the silent moonshine; and the owl
(Strange, very strange )—the screech-owl only wakes,
Sole voice, sole eye of all this world of beauty |
Unless, perhaps, she sing her screeching song
To a herd of wolves, that skulkathirst for blood.
Why such a thing am I? Where are these men?
I need the sympathy of human faces,
To beat away this deep contempt for all things,
Which quenches my revenge. Oh! would to Alla
The raven or the sea-mew were appointed
To bring me food! or rather that my soul
Could drink in life from the universal air |
It were a lot divine in some small skiff,
Along some ocean's boundless solitude,
To float for ever with a careless course,
And think myself the only being alive!
My children —Isidore's children l—Son of Waldez,
This hath new strung mine arm. Thou coward tyrant!
To stupify a woman's heart with anguish,
Till she forgot even that she was a mother!

[She fixes her eyes on the earth. Then drop in, one after another, from different parts of the stage, a considerable number of Morescoes, all in Moorish garments and Moorish armour. They form a circle at a distance round ALHADRA, and remain silent till the second in command, NAOMI, enters, distinguished by his dress and armour, and by the silent obeisance paid to him on his entrance by the other Moors.]

Naomi. Woman, may Alla and the prophet bless


We have obeyed thy call. Where is our chief?
And why didst thou enjoin these Moorish garments?
Alhad. [Raising her eyes, and looking round on
the circle.]
Warriors of Mahomet! faithful in the battle !
My countrymen | Come ye prepared to work
An honourable deed? And would ye work it
In the slave's garb? Curse on those Christian robes!
They are spell-blasted; and whoever wears them,
His arm shrinks withered, his heart melts away,
And his bones soften.
Maomi. Where is Isidore?
Alhad. [In a deep low voice.] This night I went
from forth my house, and left
His children all asleep; and he was living !
And I returned, and found them still asleep,
But he had perished !
All Morescoes. Perished ?
Alhad. He had perished —
Sleep on, poor babes! not one of you doth know
That he is fatherless—a desolate orphan :
Why should we wake them? Can an infant's arm
Revenge his murder?
One Moresco to another. Did she say his murder?
Naomi. Murder ! Not murdered !
Alhad. Murdered by a Christian | [They all at once
draw their sabres.
Alhad. [To Naomi, who advances from the circle.]
Brother of Zagri, fling away thy sword;
This is thy chieftain's [He steps forward to take it.]
Dost thou dare receive it?
For I have sworn by Alla and the prophet,
No tear shall dim these eyes—this woman's heart
Shall heave no groan—till I have seen that sword
Wet with the life-blood of the son of Waldez!
[A pause.
Ordonio was your chieftain's murderer!
Naomi. He dies, by Alla !
All [Kneeling.] By Alla!
Alhad. This night your chieftain armed himself,
And hurried from me. But I followed him
At distance, till I saw him enter—there /
Naomi. The cavern?
Alhad. Yes, the mouth of yonder cavern.
After a while I saw the son of Waldez
Rush by with flaring torch; he likewise entered.
There was another and a longer pause;
And once methought I heard the clash of swords!
And soon the son of Waldez reappeared:
He flung his torch towards the moon in sport,
And seemed as he were mirthful; I stood listening,
Impatient for the footsteps of my husband!
Naomi. Thou calledst him?
Alhad. I crept into the cavern—
'Twas dark and very silent. [Then wildly..] What
saidst thou?
No, no! I did not dare call Isidore,
Lest I should hear no answer. A brief while,
Belike, I lost all thought and memory
Of that for which I came. After that pause—
O Heaven? I heard a groan, and followed it;
And yet another groan, which guided me
Into a strange recess, and there was light,
A hideous light ! his torch lay on the ground;
Its flame burned dimly o'er a chasm's brink.
I spake; and whilst I spake, a feeble groan
Came from that chasm: it was his last—his death-
groan |
Naomi. Comfort her, Alla.
Alhad. I stood in unimaginable trance,
And agony that cannot be remembered,
Listening with horrid hope to hear a groan
Put I had heard his last, my husband's death-groan:
Naomi. Haste! let us onward.
Alhad. I looked far down the pit—
M.#ht was bounded by a jutting fragment;

And it was stained with blood. Then first I shrieked, My eyeballs burned, my brain grew hot as fire! And all the hanging drops of the wet roof Turned into blood—I saw them turn to blood! And I was leaping wildly down the chasm, When on the further brink I saw his sword, And it said vengeance ! Curses on my tongue ! The moon hath moved in heaven, and I am here, And he hath not had vengeance Isidore, Spirit of Isidore, thy murderer lives! Away, away ! All Away, away! [She rushes off, all following. The incantation scene, in the same play, is sketched with high poetical power, and the author's unrivalled musical expression:

Scene—A Hall of Armoury, with an altar at the back of the stage. Soft music from an instrument of glass or steel.

WALDEz, ORDoNIo, and ALvAR in a Sorcerer's robe are
Ordonio. This was too melancholy, father.
Waldez. Nay,
My Alvar loved sad music from a child.
Once he was lost, and after weary search
We found him in an open place in the wood,
To which spot he had followed a blind boy,
Who breathed into a pipe of sycamore
Some strangely moving notes; and these, he said,
Were taught him in a dream. Him we first saw
Stretched on the broad top of a sunny heath-bank:
And lower down poor Alvar, fast asleep,
His head upon the blind boy's dog. It pleased me
To mark how he had fastened round the pipe
A silver toy his grandam had late given him.
Methinks I see him now as he then looked—
Even so ! He had outgrown his infant dress,
Yet still he wore it.
Alvar. My tears must not flow !
I must not clasp his knees, and cry, My father!

Enter TERESA and Attendants.

Teresa. Lord Waldez, you have asked my presence here, And I submit; but—Heaven bear witness for me— My heart approves it not! 'tis mockery. Ord. Believe you, then, no preternatural influence? Believe you not that spirits throng around us? Ter. Say rather that I have imagined it A possible thing; and it has soothed my soul As other fancies have; but ne'er seduced me To traffic with the black and frenzied hope That the dead hear the voice of witch or wizard. [To Alvar.] Stranger, I mourn and blush to see you here On such employment I left you. Ord. [Aside..] Ha! he has been tampering with her? Alv. Ohigh-souled maiden and more dear to me Than suits the stranger's name ! I swear to thee I will uncover all concealed guilt. Doubt, but decide not! Stand ye from the altar. [Here a strain of music is heard from behind the scene. Alv. With no irreverent voice or uncouth charm I call up the departed !

With far other thoughts

Soul of Alvar ! Hear our soft suit, and heed my milder spell: So may the gates of paradise, unbarred, Cease thy swift toils! Since happily thou art one Of that innumerable company Who in broad circle, lovelier than the rainbow, Girdle this round earth in a dizzy motion, With noise too vast and constant to be heard: Fitliest unheard? For oh, ye numberless

And rapid travellers! what ear unstunned,
What sense unmaddened, might bear up against
The rushing of your congregated wings? [Music.]
Even now your living wheel turns o'er my head |
[Music expressive of the movements and images
that follow.]
Ye, as ye pass, toss high the desert sands,
That roar and whiten like a burst of waters,
A sweet appearance, but a dread illusion
To the parched caravan that roams by night!
And ye build up on the becalmed waves
That whirling pillar, which from earth to heaven
Stands vast, and moves in blackness! Ye, too, split
The ice mount ! and with fragments many and huge
Tempest the new-thawed sea, whose sudden gulfs
Suck in, perchance, some Lapland wizard's skiff !
Then round and round the whirlpool's marge ye dance,
Till from the blue swollen corse the soul toils out,
And joins your mighty army. [Here, behind the scenes,
a voice sings the three words, “Hear, sweet spirit.']
Soul of Alvar!
Hear the mild spell, and tempt no blacker charm!
By sighs unquiet, and the sickly pang
Of a half-dead, yet still undying hope,
Pass visible before our mortal sense !
So shall the church's cleansing rites be thine,
Her knells and masses, that redeem the dead!

[Song behind the scenes, accompanied by the same instrument as before.]

Hear, sweet spirit, hear the spell,
Lest a blacker charm compel !
So shall the midnight breezes swell
With thy deep long lingering knell.
And at evening evermore,
In a chapel on the shore,
Shall the chanters, sad and saintly,
Yellow tapers burning faintly,
Doleful masses chant for thee,
Miserere Domine !

Hark! the cadence dies away On the yellow moonlight sea: The boatmen rest their oars and say, Miserere Domine! [A long pause. Ord. The innocent obey nor charm nor spell! My brother is in heaven. Thou sainted spirit, Burst on our sight, a passing visitant' Once more to hearthy voice, once more to see thee, 0’twere a joy to me! Alv. A joy to thee! What if thou heardst him now? What if his spirit Re-entered its cold corse, and came upon thee With many a stab from many a murderer's poniard? What if—his steadfast eye still beaming pity And brother's love—he turned his head aside, Lest he should look at thee, and with one look Hurl thee beyond all power of penitence? Wald. These are unholy fancies! Ord. [Struggling with his feelings.] Yes, my father, He is in heaven | Alv. [Still to Ordonio.] But what if he had a brother, Who had lived even so, that at his dying hour The name of heaven would have convulsed his face More than the death-pang? Val. Idly prating man! Thou hast guessed ill: Don Alvar's only brother Stands here before thee—a father's blessing on him He is most virtuous. Alv. [Still to Ordonio.] What if his very virtues Had pampered his swollen heart and made him proud? And what if pride had duped him into guilt? Yet still he stalked a self-created god,

Not very bold, but exquisitely cunning;
And one that at his mother's looking-glass
Would force his features to a frowning sternness?
Young lord | I tell thee that there are such beings—
Yea, and it gives fierce merriment to the damned
To see these most proud men, that loathe mankind,
At every stir and buzz of coward conscience,
Trick, cant, and lie; most whining hypocrites!
Away, away! Now let me hear more music.
[Music again.
Ter.’Tis strange, I tremble at my own conjectures !
But whatsoe'er it mean, I dare no longer
Be present at these lawless mysteries,
This dark provoking of the hidden powers!
Already I affront—if not high Heaven—
Yet Alvar's memory ! Hark! I make appeal
Against the unholy rite, and hasten hence
To bend before a lawful shrine, and seek
That voice which whispers, when the still heart listens,
Comfort and faithful hope | Let us retire.


The REv. CHARLEs RoBERT MATURIN, author of several romances, produced a tragedy named Bertram, which, by the influence of Lord Byron, was brought out at Drury Lane in 1816. It was well received; and by the performance and publication of his play, the author realised about £1000. Sir Walter Scott considered the tragedy ‘grand and powerful, the language most animated and poetical, and the characters sketched with a masterly enthusiasm. The author was anxious to introduce Satan on the stage, a return to the style of the ancient mysteries by no means suited to modern taste. Mr Maturin was curate of St Peter's, Dublin. The scanty income derived from his curacy being insufficient for his comfortable maintenance, he employed himself in assisting young persons during their classical studies at Trinity College, Dublin. The novels of Maturin —which will be afterwards noticed—enjoyed considerable popularity; and had his prudence been

equal to his genius, his life might have been passed in comfort and respect. He was, however, vain and extravagant—always in difficulties (Scott at one time generously sent him £50), and haunted by bailiffs. When this eccentric author was engaged in composition, he used to fasten a wafer on his forehead, which was the signal that if any of his family entered the sanctum they must not speak to him! The success of Bertram induced Mr Maturin to attempt another tragedy, Manuel, which he published in 1817. It is a very inferior production; ‘the absurd work of a clever man,’ says Byron. The unfortunate author died in Dublin on the 30th of October 1824.

[Scene from “Bertram,' A ‘passage of great poetical beauty, says Sir Walter Scott, ‘in which Bertram is represented as spurred to the commission of his great crimes by the direct agency of a supernatural and malevolent being."] Prion-BERTRAM.

Prior. The dark knight of the forest,
So from his armour named and sable helm,
Whose unbarred vizor mortal never saw.
He dwells alone; no earthly thing lives near him,
Save the hoarse raven croaking o'er his towers,
And the dank weeds muffling his stagnant moat.

Bertram. I'll ring a summons on his bar:£"

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