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Wanton droll, whose harmless play
*These expressions, it is almost unnecessary to say, are not true to natural facts, as the Pole Star has not a quotidian rising anywhere, and it shines on the whole northern hemi
sphere in common with England.—Ed.
Or thread, or straw, that on the ground
The featest tumbler, stage-bedight,
That joins him still to living kind.
Whence hast thou, then, thou witless Puss, The magic power to charm us thus : Is it, that in thy glaring eye, And rapid movements, we descry, While we at ease, secure from ill, The chimney-corner snugly fill, A lion, darting on the prey, A tiger, at his ruthless play ?
Or is it, that in thee we trace,
Address to Miss Agnes Baillie on her Birthday.
[In order thoroughly to understand and appreciate the fol. lowing verses, the reader must be aware that the author and her sister, daughters of a former minister of Bothwell on the | Clyde, in Lanarkshire, have lived to an advanced age constantly in each other's society.] Dear Agnes, gleamed with joy and dashed with tears O'er us have glided almost sixty years Since we on Bothwell's bonny braes were seen, By those whose eyes long closed in death have been— Two tiny imps, who scarcely stooped to gather The slender harebell on the purple heather; | No taller than the foxglove's spiky stem, That dew of morning studs with silvery gem. Then every butterfly that crossed our view With joyful shout was greeted as it flew; And moth, and lady-bird, and beetle bright, o In sheeny gold, were each a wondrous sight. | Then as we paddled barefoot, side by side, Among the sunny shallows of the Clyde," Minnows or spotted parr with twinkling fin, Swimming in mazy rings the pool within. A thrill of gladness through our bosoms sent, | Seen in the power of early wonderment. |
A long perspective to my mind appears, Looking behind me to that line of years; And yet through every stage I still can trace Thy visioned form, from childhood's morning grace To woman's early bloom—changing, how soon! To the expressive glow of woman's noon; And now to what thou art, in comely age, Active and ardent. Let what will engage Thy present moment—whether hopeful seeds In garden-plat thou sow, or noxious weeds . From the fair flower remove, or ancient lore In chronicle or legend rare explore, Or on the parlour hearth with kitten play, Stroking its tabby sides, or take thy way To gain with hasty steps some cottage door, On helpful errand to the neighbouring poor— Active and ardent, to my fancy's eye Thou still art young, in spite of time gone by. Though oft of patience brief and temper keen, Well may it please me, in life's latter scene, To think what now thou art and long to me hast been.
*The Manse of Bothwell was at some considerable distance from the Clyde, but the two little girls were sometimes sent there in summer to bathe and wade about.
'Twas thou who woo'dst me first to look Upon the page of printed book, That thing by me abhorred, and with address Didst win me from my thoughtless idleness, When all too old become with bootless haste In fitful sports the precious time to waste. Thy love of tale and story was the stroke At which my dormant fancy first awoke, | And ghosts and witches in my busy brain Arose in sombre show a motley train. This new-found path attempting, proud was I Lurking approval on thy face to spy, Or hear thee say, as grew thy roused attention, ‘What! is this story all thine own invention?’
Then, as advancing through this mortal span,
With thee my humours, whether grave or gay, Or gracious or untoward, have their way. Silent if dull—oh precious privilege!— I sit by thee; or if, culled from the page Of some huge ponderous tome which, but thyself, None e'er had taken from its dusty shelf, Thou read'st me curious passages to speed The winter night, I take but little heed, And thankless say, ‘I cannot listen now,” 'Tis no offence; albeit, much do I owe To these, thy nightly offerings of affection, Drawn from thy ready talent for selection; For still it seemed in thee a natural gift The lettered grain from lettered chaff to sift.
By daily use and circumstance endeared, Things are of value now that once appeared Of no account, and without notice passed, Which o'er dull life a simple cheering cast; To hearthy morning steps the stair descending, Thy voice with other sounds domestic blending; After each stated nightly absence, met To see thee by the morning table set, Pouring from smoky spout the amber stream Which sends from saucered cup its fragrant steam: To see thee cheerly on the threshold stand, On summer morn, with trowel in thy hand For garden-work prepared; in winter's gloom From thy cold noonday walk to see thee come, In furry garment lapt, with spattered feet, And by the fire resume thy wonted seat; Ay, even o'er things like these soothed age has thrown A sober charm they did not always own— As winter hoarfrost makes minutest spray Of bush or hedgeweed sparkle to the day In magnitude and beauty, which, bereaved
Of such investment, eye had ne'er perceived.
And he above them all, so truly proved
Thou ardent, liberal spirit quickly feeling The touch of sympathy, and kindly dealing With sorrow or distress, for ever sharing The unhoarded mite, nor for to-morrow caring— Accept, dear Agnes, on thy natal day, An unadorned, but not a careless lay. Northink this tribute to thy virtues paid From tardy love proceeds, though long delayed. Words of affection, howsoe'er expressed, The latest spoken still are deemed the best: Few are the measured rhymes I now may write; These are, perhaps, the last I shall indite.
* WILLIAM kNox.
WILLIAM KNox, a young poet of considerable talent, who died in Edinburgh in 1825, aged thirty-six, was author of The Lonely Hearth; Songs of Israel; The Harp of Zion, &c. Sir Walter Scott thus mentions Knox in his diary:-" His father was a respectable yeoman, and he himself succeeding to good farms under the Duke of Buccleuch, became too soon his own master, and plunged into dissipation and ruin. His talent then showed itself in a fine strain of pensive poetry.” Knox spent his latter years in Edinburgh, under his father's roof, and, amidst all his errors, was ever admirably faithful to the domestic affections—a kind and respectful son, and an attached brother. He experienced on several occasions substantial proofs of that generosity of Scott towards his less fortunate brethren, which might have redeemed his infinite superiority in Envy's own bosom. It was also remarkable of Knox, that,
I have loved thy thrilling numbers,
Mother—sister—both are sleeping
[Conclusion of the ‘Songs of Israel."]
My song hath closed, the holy dream
And yet the earth is green and gay;
And like Gilead's drops of balm,
They died—and this a world of wo,
Dirge of Rachel. [Genesis, xxxv. 19.] And Rachel lies in Ephrath's land, Beneath her lonely oak of weeping; With mouldering heart and withering hand, The sleep of death for ever sleeping.
The spring comes smiling down the vale,
The flowers that in the world are springing.
The summer gives his radiant day,
But Rachel on her couch of clay,
The autumn's ripening sunbeam shines,
But Rachel's voice no longer joins
The winter sends his drenching shower,
But earthly storms possess no power
A Virtuous Woman. [Proverbs, xii. 4.]
Thou askest what hath changed my heart,
I tell thee, Tamar's virtuous art
Her eye—as soft and blue as even,
Beams on my heart like light from heaven,
The accents fall from Tamar's lip
When honey-bees all crowd to sip,
The shadowy blush that tints her cheek,
May well the spotless fount bespeak
Her song comes o'er my thrilling breast
When dreams the soul of lands of rest
Then ask not what hath changed my heart,
I tell thee, Tamar's virtuous art
Thomas PRINGLE was born in Roxburghshire in 1788. He was concerned in the establishment of
Blackwood's Magazine, and was author of Scenes of Teviotdale, Ephemerides, and other poems, all of which display fine feeling and a cultivated taste. Although, from lameness, ill fitted for a life of roughness or hardship, Mr Pringle, with his father, and several brothers, emigrated to the Cape of Good Hope in the year 1820, and there established a little township or settlement named Glen Lynden. The poet afterwards removed to Cape Town, the capital; but, wearied with his Caffreland exile, and disagreeing with the governor, he returned to England, and subsisted by his pen. He was some time editor of the literary annual, entitled Friendship's Offering. His services were also engaged by the African Society, as secretary to that body, a situation which he continued to hold until within a few months of his death. In the discharge of its duties he evinced a spirit of active humanity, and an ardent love of the cause to which he was devoted. His last work was a series of African Sketches, containing an interesting personal narra
tive, interspersed with verse. Mr Pringle died on the 5th of December 1834. |
Afar in the Desert. Afar in the Desert I love to ride,
With the silent Bush-boy alone by my side:
Afar in the Desert I love to ride,
Of the springbok's fawn sounds plaintively;
Where the zebra wantonly tosses his mane,
The REv. Robert Montgomrery has obtained a numerous circle of readers and admirers. His works, The Omnipresence of the Deity, Satan, Luther, &c., display great command of poetical language and fluent versification, but are deficient in originality and chasteness of style. The literary labours of Mr Montgomery seem to have been wholly devoted to the service of religion, of the truths of which he is an able and eloquent expounder in the pulpit.
[Description of a Maniac.]
Down yon romantic dale, where hamlets few Arrest the summer pilgrim's pensive view— The village wonder, and the widow's joy— Dwells the poor mindless, pale-faced maniac boy: He lives and breathes, and rolls his vacant eye, To greet the glowing fancies of the sky; But on his cheek unmeaning shades of wo Reveal the withered thoughts that sleep below ! A soulless thing, a spirit of the woods, He loves to commune with the fields and floods: Sometimes along the woodland's winding glade, He starts, and smiles upon his pallid shade; Or scolds with idiot threat the roaming wind, But rebel music to the ruined mind Or on the shell-strewn beach delighted strays, Playing his fingers in the noontide rays: And when the sea-waves swell their hollow roar, He counts the billows plunging to the shore; And oft beneath the glimmer of the moon, He chants some wild and melancholy tune; Till o'er his softening features seems to play A shadowy gleam of mind's reluctant sway.
Thus, like a living dream, apart from men, From morn to eve he haunts the wood and glen; But round him, near him, wheresoe'er he rove, A guardian angel tracks him from abovel Nor harm from flood or fen shall e'er destroy The mazy wanderings of the maniac boy.
[The Starry Heavens.]
Ye quenchless stars so eloquently bright,
For all around is deep divinity l