Obrazy na stronie

that led to the house from all the four gain-whipped on furiously, and quarters of the world. For some time would soon have overhied his pedesit crossed “ the erooks of the burn,” trian adversary ; but the shepherds as they called them; that is, it kept are bad horsemen, and, moreover, straight up the bottom of the glen, Jock's horse, which belonged to Giand crossed the burn at every turning. deon of Kirkhope, was unacquainted Of course every time that the group with the sheep-drains, and terrified at : crossed this stream, they were for a them ; consequently, by making a moment involved in a cloud of spray sudden jerk backwards when he should that almost hid them from view, and have leapt across one of them, and the frequent recurrence of this rendere when Jock supposed that he was just ed the effect highly comic.

going to do so, he threw his rider a Still, however, they kept apparently second time. The shouts of laughter close together, till at length the path were again renewed, and every one left the bottom of the narrow valley, was calling out, “Now for the mell! and came round the sloping base of a Now for the mell ! Deil tak the hindhill that was all interspersed with most now !” These sounds reached drains and small irregularities of sur. Jock's ears; he lost no time in makface; this producing no abatement of ing a last effort, but flew at his horse exertion or speed, horses and men again-remounted him-and, by urgwere soon foundering, plunging, and ing him to a desperate effort, actually tumbling about in all directions. If got a-head of his adversary just when this was amusing to view, it was still within ten yards of the door, and thus more so to hear the observations of the escaped the disgrace of winning the delighted group that stood round me mell. and beheld it. “Ha, ha, ha! yon- I was afterwards told, that in former der's ane aff! Gude faith! yon's Jock ages it was the custom on the Border, o' the Meer-Cleuch; he has gotten when the victor in the race was prean ill-faur'd flaip-Holloa ! yonder sented with the prize of honour, the gaes another, down through a lair to one who came in last was, at the same the een-holes! Weel done, Aedie o' time, presented with a mallet or large Aberlosk! Hie till him, Tousy, outher wooden hammer, called a mell in the now or never ! Lay on, ye deeyil, an' dialect of the country, and that then hing by the mane! Hurray!”

the rest of the competitors stood in The women were by this time need to be near at hand, and instantly screaming, and the men literally jump to force the mell from him, else he ing and clapping their hands for joy was at liberty to knock as many of at the deray that was going on; and them down with it as he could. The there was one little elderly-looking mell has now, for many years, been man whom I could not help noting ; only a nominal prize ; but there is he had fallen down on the ground in often more sport about the gaining of a convulsion of laughter, and was spur- it than the principal one. There was ring and laying on it with both hands another occurrence which added greatand feet. One, whom they denomi- ly to the animation of this, which I nated Davie Scott o' the Ramseycleuch had not time before fully to relate. Burn, amid the bay of dogs, and the About the time when the two unforshouts of men and women, got first to tunate wights were unhorsed in the the bridegroom'sdoor, and of course was bog, those who still kept on were met acknowledged to have won the broose; and attacked, open mouth, by at least but the attention was soon wholly twenty frolicsome collies, that seemed turned from him to those behind. fully as intent on sport as their masThe man whose horse had sunk in the ters. These bit the hind-legs of the bog, perceiving that all chance of ex- horses, snapped at their noses, and tricating it again on the instant was raised such an outrage of barking, that out of the question, lost not a mo- the poor animals, forspent as they ment, but sprung to his feet-threw were, were constrained to lay them off his clothes, hat, and shoes, all at selves out almost beyond power. Nor one brush and ran towards the goal · did the fray cease when the race was with all his might. Jock o' the Meer won. Encouraged by the noise and Cleuch, who was still a good way far- clamour which then arose about the ther back, and crippled besides with gaining of the mell, the staunch collies his fall, perceiving this, mounted au continued the attack, and hunted the


racers round and round the houses Aedie," said John, what hae ye with great speed, while the horses made o' our young friend ?"_" Ou! were all the time wheeling and fling- she's safe eneuch,” returned he; « the ing most furiously, and their riders, best-man and John the elder are' wi' in desperation, vociferating and cursing her.” their assailants.

On looking round the corner of the All the guests now crowded toge- house, we now perceived that the bride ther, and much humour and blunt wit and her two attendants were close at passed about the gaining of the broose. hand. They came at a quick eanter. Each of the competitors had his diffi- She managed her horse well, kept her culties and cross accidents to relate ; saddle with great ease, and seemed and each affirmed, that if it had not an elegant sprightly girl, of twentybeen such and such hindrances, he four or thereabouts. Every cap was would have gained the broose to a cer- instantly waved in the air, and the tainty. Davie Scott o' the Ramsey- bride was saluted with three hearty cleuch-burn, however, assured them, cheers. Old John, well aware of what that “ he was aye hauding in his yaud it beloved him to do, threw off his wi' the left hand, and gin he had liket broad bonnet, and took the bride reto gie her out her head, she wad hae spectfully from her horse-kissed and gallopit amaist a thrid faster."-" That welcomed her home. « Ye're welmay be,” said Aedie o' Aberlosk, “but come hame till us, Jeany, my bonny I hae come better on than I expectit woman," said he; “ may God bless wi' my Cameronian naig. I never saw ye, an' mak ye just as good an'as him streek himsel sae afore- I dare say happy as I wish ye." It was a beauhe thought that Davie was auld Cla- tiful and affecting sight, to see him vers mountit on Hornie. Poor fallow!” leading her toward the home that was continued he, patting him, “ he has a now to be her own. He held her hand good deal o' anti-prelatic dourness in in both his-the wind waved his long him; but I see he has some spirit, for gray locks his features were lengtha' that. I bought him for a powney, ened considerably the wrong way, and but he's turned out a beast.”

I could perceive a tear glistening on I next overheard one proposing to his furrowed cheek. the inan who left his horse, and ex- All seemed to know exactly the parts erted himself so manfully on foot, to they had to act, but every thing came go and pull his horse out of the quag- on me like magic, and quite by surmire. * Na, na," said he,“ let him prise. The bride now stopped short stick yonder a while, to teach him on the threshold, while the old man mair sense than to gang intill an open broke a triangular cake of short-bread well-ee and gar ane get a mell. I saw over her head, the pieces of which he the gate I was gaun, but I couldna' threw about among the young people. swee him aff; sae I just thought o' These scrambled for them with great Jenny Blythe, and plunged in. I violence and eagerness; and 'indeed kend weel something was to happen, they seemed always to be most in their for I met her first this morning, the element when any thing that required ill-hued carlin : but I had need to strength or activity was presented. For haud my tongue !–Gudeman, let us my part, I could not comprehend what see a drap whisky." He was presented the sudden convulsion meant; (for in with a glass. "Come, here's Jenny a moment the crowd was moving like

Blythe," said Andrew, and drank it a whirlpool, and tumbling over one * oft. - " I wad be nae the waur o'a wee another in half dozens) till a little girl,

drap too," said Aberlosk, taking a glass escaping from the vortex, informed me of whisky in his hand, and looking that “ they war battling wha first to stedfastly through it. “I think I see get a haud o' the bride's bunn." I was Jock the elder here,” said he; “ay, still in the dark, till at length I saw it's just him-come, here's the five the successful candidates presenting kirks ó' Eskdale." He drank it off their favourites with small pieces of “ Gudeman, that's naething but a this mystical cake. One beautiful maid, Tam-Park of a glass : if ye'll fill it with light locks, blue eyes, and cheeks again, I'll gie a toast ye never heard like the vernal rose, came nimbly up afore. This is Bailey's Dictionary," to me, called me familiarly by my said Aedie, and drank it off again. name, looked at me with perfect seri

"But when a your daffin's owre, ousness, and without even a smile on

her innocent face, asked me if I was the smiddy wi' him, it is ten to ane married. I could scarcely contain my but Jock Anderson wad hae been gravity, while I took her by the hand, drunk, an' then we wadna hae gotten and answered in the negative." An the bride hame afore twall o'clock at hae ye no gotten a piece o' the bride's night ; sae I thought it was better to cake?"-" Indeed, my dear, I am let them tak their chance than spoil sorry I have not."-"O, that's a great sae muckle good sport, an' I' e'en set shame, that ye hae nae gotten a wee her on Wattie Bryden's pownie. The bit! I cannabide to see a stranger factor has behaved very ill about it, guidit that gate. Here, sir, I'll gie ye the muckle stoottin gouk! If I had the tae half o mine, it will ser' us durst, I wad hae gien him a deevil of a baith ; an' I wad rather want mysel threshin; but he says, " Faith it's than as civil, a gentleman that's a that-yes indeed-that-he will send stranger should want."

them-yes, faith-it's even ama new ...So saying, she took a small piece of tikabed every year." ;

cake from her lap, and parted it with The ceremony of the marriage next me, at the same time rolling each of ensued; but as there was nothing pethe pieces carefully up in a leaf of an culiar about it (except that it took old halfpenny ballad; but the whole place in the bridegroom's house, and of her demeanour showed the utmost not at the bride's former home, which seriousness, and of how much import was out of the parson's reach),--and as she judged this trivial crumb to be. it was, besides, the dullest part of that “Now," continued she, “ ye maun day's exercise, I shall not say much lay this aneath your head, sir, when about it, only that every thing was ye gang to your bed, and ye'll dream done decently and in order. But I about the woman ye are to get for have run on so long with this Numyour wife. Ye'll just think ye see ber, that I fear I must postpone the her plainly an' bodily afore your een; foot-race, the dinner discourse, and an' ye'll be sae weel acquainted wi' her, final winding up of the wedding, till that ye'll ken her again when ye see a future opportunity.

H. her, if it war amang a thousand. It's a queer thing, but it's perfectly true; sae ye maun mind no to forget."

REMARKS ON GREEK TRAGEDY. I promised the most punctual ob

No II. servance of all that she enjoined, and added, that I was sure I would dream

(Æschyli Chæphori-Sophoclis

Electra.) of the lovely giver ; that indeed I would be sorry were I to dream ofWhen we study the history of our any other, as I deemed it impossible race, which is little else than a chronito dream of so much innocence and cle of crimes and follies, of blood shed beauty," Now mind no to forget," in vulgar wars, and intellect wasted rejoined she, and skipped lightly away on unworthy purposes, the eye that to join her youthful associates.

wanders with disgust over the blotted As soon as the bride was led into page, turns with delight to the conthe house, old Nelly, the bridegroom's templation of the virtues and the gemother, went aside to see the beast on nius by which it is sometimes brightwhich her daughter-in-law, had been ened; nor are periods wanting, in brought home; and perceiving that it which, degraded as man has generally was a mare, she fell a-crying and been, he exhibits such moral and inwringing her hands.--I inquired, with tellectual grandeur, as to make even some alarm, what was the matter. the most cynical abate of the harshness “O dear, sir," returned she, “ it's for with which he usually judges of huthe poor bairnies that'll yet hae to dree man nature. Of these favoured times, this unlueky mischance-Laike-a-day, in an eminent degree, was the age in poor waefu brats! they'll no lie in a which Æschylus flourished. Never,

dry bed for a dozen o' years to come!” perhaps, did there exist at 'once, a ? 1 Hout! hand your tongue, Nelly,” greater number of men distinguished

said the best-man, " the thing's but a by virtue and talent. To prove this freat a'thegither. But really we coudna assertion, nothing more were neceshelp it: the factor's naig wantit a fore- sary than to give a list of the honest fit-shoe, an' was beckin like a water- statesmen who then presided in the craw. If i had ridden five miles to councils of Athens, of the warriors who devoted their lives to her inde- Bannockburn is of more value than pendence, -of the architects, sculp- the innumerable triumphs of the vultors, painters, poets, historians, and gar herd of conquerors. philosophers, whose names are, even Hence the curiosity which every at this day, shedding a glory over her thing connected with that extraordi, ruins, brighter than that which illu- nary people has excited, and the en. · mines the maturity and vigour of anythusiasm with which the ruins of their

other state. This age may be deno- city have been explored, and the works minated the spring of the world, and of their poets and sages studied; yet its productions, even in their decay, it has happened, unfortunately for retain inuch of the freshness, and the literature and the arts, that little more · bloom, and the beauty of that delight. than the wrecks of their genius have

ful season. Their statues do not ap- survived. A pillar, or a capital, or a pear so much to be imitations of na- frieze, is all that remains of the temture, as nature herself, starting into ple that was the glory of the age that life, and assuming her finest forms. reared it; and of the ninety tragedies The ruins of their temples give us which the fertility of the genius of models of the grandest design and Æschylus produced, only seven have the most beautiful execution. Socrates descended to us, and these in a mutaught a system of the purest morals tilated and impertec state; yet though and the most sublime theology, of in many passages it is obvious that which he exemplified the one in his the poetry has suffered from the care, life, and sanctioned the other by his lessness of transcribers, and not less, death. In history, Thucydides and perhaps, from the ambitious learning Xenophon have not yet been surpass- of the commentators, we can judge of ed; and the dramatic writers gave to these seven as wholes ; and the more the drama a form which their succes, narrowly we examine them, the more sors may have modified and improved, cause shall we find to justify the ad-never changed. War was not then miration of his contemporaries, and of waged to aggrandize one and to de- succeeding ages. grade the many, it was the generous It is not the object of the writer of struggle of a whole people, determined this essay to indulge in verbal critito perish amid the ruins of their coun- cism on the Greek text, or to attempt try, rather than receive a foreign yoke. to restore imperfect readings, by conIn the battles of liberty, in which jectural emendations, much less to aim Æschylus, and Pindar, and Socrates, at bringing forward original views of fought, a little band of freemen resist the Greek Tragedy. His design is ed and baffled the whole power of a simply to offer such obvious remarks mighty empire; and war, that in com as are most suitable to a miscellany of mon cases depresses talent, and ex- this kind, and to give such abstracts, tinguishes all the arts but such as are and extract such passages, as may ensubservient to the purposes of destruc- able the reader to judge for himself tion, kindled a flame of enthusiasm of these celebrated productions. He that cherished and developed the seeds is now to analyze two plays written on of whatever was great and good in man; the same subject, the Chephori of Æs. and were we asked to name a period chylus, and the Electra of Sophocles.' in which he is seen in the noblest While Agamemnon was at Troy, view, our minds would turn to the his queen, Clytemnestra, had an illicit years that elapsed from the Persian intercourse with Ægysthus. Fearing invasion, to the extinction of the libere the punishment due to their disloyalties of Greece by Philip. The dura- ty, they surprised him on his return tion of freedom, and the glory of to Argos, murdered him, and usurpGreece, was short ; but let it be re- ed his throne. Electra, who at the membered, that national glory was time of her father's death, was arrived the offspring of national independence, at womanhood, secretly sent to Phocis, and that they perished together. The under the care of an aged and faithful lovers of mankind may lament, and tutor, her infant brother, Orestes, well the abettors of despotism may rejoice, aware that her mother and Ægysthus that their existence was of so short a would soon remove this only obstacle : date, but a few such years are worth to the secure possession of that throne myriads of ages of monkish slumber, which they had obtained by adultery : and one such victory as Salamis or and murder. The punishment of the

guilty pair, which is the subject of of her murdered husband. After ofthese plays, is supposed not to have fering the sacrifice, as directed by her taken place till twenty years after the mother, Electra discovers the lock of transaction of which I have been speak, hair lett by Orestes, and from various ing. Electra, who was a woman of a reasons concludes that it could have lofty and unconquerable spirit, during been brought there by none else than that long interval, suffered every spe- him. Its resemblance to her own in cies of indignity from an unnatural colour, and the certainty that no one mother, and the iurderer of her-fa- but a real mourner would have perther, who now sat upon his throne. formed this pious office to the spirit of The only effect of ill treatment, on a prince who had been long forgotten such a mind, was to fix there a settled by all except herself and her brother, purpose of revenge. She was one of earried conviction to her mind that he that class of beings, whom an attempt was at no great distance, and that the to humble exasperates, not subdues; time for which she had so long and so and from the depth of her degradation, ardently prayed was at length arrived. she looked forward to the return of So completely had this idea taken posher brother as the event that was to session of her mind, that even his footavenge her wrongs, and restore the prints, which coincided with her own honours of the family of Agamemnon, in measurement, to her ardour apHe at length appears, and a recognition peared proof unquestionable. She altakes place between him and his sister, dresses the Chorus as follows: at the tomb of their father, where

E. Long has my agitated soul been they swear mutual vengeance over his

pierced ashes. With the advice of Pylades, By fortune's keenest arrows ; grief and rage they arrange their plans, by which it Alternately have swayed my withered heart, is agreed that Orestes should assume But at the sight of this small lock of hair the character of a messenger from Large tears of joy flow from my thirsty eyes. Phocis, with the news of his own "Tis his! what hand but his could place it death. He thus gains admittance to

there? Clytemnestra and Ægysthus, to whoin

Hope trembles in my bosom. Ye bright

tresses ! this was the most welcome intelli

Oh! had ye voices to allay my fears ! gence; and stabs them with a poignard

Orestes. (Starting from concealment.) which he had concealed under his Thy prayers are granted. robe. r,

E. Say, what prayers are granted ? ' * These are the main incidents in 0. Behold the man for whom thou oft these dramas. In each there are slight hast prayed. variations, and a marked difference

E. Stranger, how knowest thou what my in the dramátic management; but in

prayers have been ? the following examination, it will be

0. I know that they are offered for Or.

estes. seen which of the rival poets has

E. Tell me, I pray thee, how they are made the most skilful use of his ma

accomplished ? terials.:. From this skeleton of the 0. Sister, i am Orestes, seek no further. plan it will appear that these plays E. Oh! how may I believe thee, mayst approach nearer our ideas of regular thou not tragedy than the Prometheus.

By treachery be seeking my undoing ? The first scene of the Chophori dis- O. That only were to plot my own des. covers Orestes at the tomb of his fa

truction ; ther, on which he lays a lock of his

This moment thon wert easier of belief,

A single hair, a foot-print, served as proof, hair, a customary rite among the an

And now that thou beholdst me, thou recients but seeing a company of fe

ject'st me; males approach, whom from their ap- Look on this robe which thou thyself didst. pearance he supposes to be Electra and

weave, her maideus, he retires to a covert to Thou doubtest me, thou wilt not that em. see what was the object of their visit.

broidery. He soon discovers that he was right

that he was richt E. My beloved Orestes! Joy of my tears, in his coniectures." It was Electra Liglit, hope, and safety of my father's and a band of Argive virgins, who


Courage, my brother, and thou shalt obtain form the Chorus. On that very night

that very night Thy reft inheritance, thou guiding star

Thyro Chytet nestra, who had been disturbed of all my fortunes ; father, mother, ster, by portentous dreams, had sent her All nature's dearest names, are met in thee : to offer expiatory libations at the tomb Oh! Jupiter regard our righteous cause.

« PoprzedniaDalej »