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and satirical, which was cultivated by Berni, Ariosto, and the lighter poets of Italy. There was classic imagery on familiar subjects—supernatural machinery (as in the Rape of the Lock) blended with the ordinary details of domestic life, and with lively and fanciful description. An exuberance of animal spirits seemed to carry the author over the most perilous ascents, and his wit and fancy were rarely at fault. Such a pleasant sparkling volume, in a style then unhackneyed, was sure of success. “Anster Fair' sold rapidly, and has since been often republished. The author, WILLIAM TENNANT, is a native of Anstruther, or Anster, who, whilst filling the situation of clerk in a mercantile establishment, studied ancient and modern literature, and taught himself Hebrew. His attainments were rewarded in 1813 with an appointment as parish schoolmaster, to which was attached a salary of L.40 per annum —a reward not unlike that conferred on Mr Abraham Adams in Joseph Andrews, who being a scholar and
man of virtue, was “provided with a handsome income of L.23 a-year, which, however, he could not make a great figure with, because he lived in a dear country, and was a little encumbered with a wife and six children.” The author of ‘Anster Fair' has since been appointed to a more eligible and becoming situation–teacher of classical and oriental languages in Dollar Institution, and, more recently, a professor in St Mary's college, St Andrews. He has published some other poetical works—a tragedy on the story of Cardinal Beaton, and two poems, the Thane of Fife, and the Dinging Down of the Cathedral. It was said of Sir David Wilkie that he took most of the figures in his pictures from living characters in the county of Fife, familiar to him in his youth: it is more certain that Mr Tennant's poems are all on native subjects in the same district. Indeed, their strict locality has been against their popularity; but ‘Anster Fair' is the most diversified and richly humorous of them all, and besides being an animated, witty, and agreeable poem, it has the merit of being the first work of the kind in our language. The Monks and Giants of Mr Frere (published under the assumed name of Whistlecraft), from which Byron avowedly drew his Beppo, did not appear till some time after Mr Tennant's poem. Of the higher and more poetical parts of ‘Anster Fair, we subjoin a specimen :—
I wish I had a cottage snug and neat
That I might thence, in holy fervour, greet
And when the low Sun's glory-buskined feet
Oh! I would kneel me down, and worship there
The § who garnished out a world so bright and
The saffron-elbowed Morning up the slope
Round through the vast circumference of sky
Save in the east some fleeces bright of dye,
Whereon are happy angels wont to lie
That they may spy the precious light of God,
Flung from the blessed East o'er the fair Earth
The fair Earth laughs through all her boundless range,
City and village, steeple, cot, and grange,
The heaths and upland muirs, and fallows, change
And, on ten thousand dew-bent leaves and sprays,
Twinkle ten thousand suns, and fling their petty
Up from their nests and fields of tender corn
And on their dew-bedabbled pinions borne,
They turn their plume-soft bosoms to the morn,
Echo the gladsome hills and valleys round,
As half * bells of Fife ring loud and swell the
His humour and lively characteristic painting are well displayed in the account of the different parties who, gay and fantastic, flock to the fair, as Chaucer's pilgrims did to the shrine of Thomas-à-Becket. Tollowing verses describe the men from the north :—
Comes next from Ross-shire and from Sutherland The horny-knuckled kilted Highlandman:
| From where upon the rocky Caithness strand
And where Lochfine from her prolific sand
Arrive the brogue-shod men of generous eye,
Plaided and breechless all, with Esau’s hairy thigh.
They come not now to fire the Lowland stacks,
Claymore and broadsword, and Lochaber axe,
Their only arms are bagpipes now and sacks;
And at their broad and sturdy backs are hung
Great wallets, crammed . cheese and bannocks
and cold tongue.
| Nor staid away the Islanders, that lie
From Jura, Arran, Barra, Uist, and Skye,
And from that Isle, whose abbey, structured high,
Where St Columba oft is seen to waddle
Gowned round with flaming fire upon the spire
Next from the far-famed ancient town of Ayr,
Close at their heels, bestriding well-trapped nag, Or humbly riding asses' backbone bare, Come Glasgow's merchants, each with money-bag, To purchase Dutch lintseed at Anster Fair– Sagacious fellows all, who well may brag Of virtuous industry and talents rare; The accomplished men o' the counting-room confest, | And fit to crack a joke or argue with the best.
Nor keep their homes the Borderers, that stay Where purls the Jed, and Esk, and little Liddel, Men that can rarely on the bagpipe play, | "And wake the unsober spirit of the fiddle; Avowed freebooters, that have many a day Stolen sheep and cow, yet never owned they did ill; Great rogues, for sure that wight is but a rogue That blots the eighth command from Moses’ decalogue.
| And some of them in sloop of tarry side, | Come from North-Berwick harbour sailing out; | Others, abhorrent of the sickening tide, | Have ta'en the road by Stirling brig about, | And eastward now from long Kirkaldy ride, | Slugging on their slow-gaited asses stout, | While dangling at their backs are bagpipes hung, | And dangling hangs a tale on every rhymer's tongue.
WILLIAM Motherwell (1797-1835) was born in Glasgow, but, after his eleventh year, was brought up under the care of an uncle in Paisley. At the age of twenty-one, he was appointed deputy to the sheriff-clerk at that town. He early evinced a love
of poetry, and in 1819 became editor of a miscellany entitled the Harp of Renfrewshire. A taste for antiquarian research—
Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose—
divided with the muse the empire of Motherwell's genius, and he attained an unusually familiar acquaintance with the early history of our native literature, particularly in the department of tradition poetry. The results of this erudition appeared in Minstrelsy Ancient and Modern (1827), a collection of Scottish ballads, prefaced by a historical introduction, which must be the basis of all future investigations into the subject. In the following year he became editor of a weekly journal in Paisley, and established a magazine there, to which he contributed some of his happiest poetical effusions. The talent and spirit which he evinced in his editorial duties, were the means of advancing him to the more important office of conducting the Glasgow Courier, in which situation he continued till his death. In 1832 he collected and published his poems in one volume. He also joined with Hogg in editing the works of Burns; and he was collecting materials for a life of Tannahill, when he was suddenly cut off by a fit of apoplexy at the early age of thirty-eight. The taste, enthusiasm, and social qualities of Motherwell, rendered him very popular among his townsmen and friends. As an antiquary, he was shrewd, indefatigable, and truthful. As a poet, he was happiest in pathetic or sentimental lyrics, though his own inclinations led
him to prefer the chivalrous and martial style of
the old minstrels.
But blacker fa’awaits the heart Where first fond luve grows cule.
The smile of a maiden's eye soon may depart; | And light is the faith of fair woman's heart;. | Changeful as light clouds, and wayward as wind, | Be the passions that govern weak woman's mind. | But thy metal's as true as its polish is bright:
When ills wax in number,
| Thy love will not slumber; But, starlike, burns fiercer the darker the night. HEART GLADDENER I kiss thee.
My kindred have perished by war or by wave;
o RoBERT NICOLL.
RoBERT NIcoli, (1814-1837) was a young man of high promise and amiable dispositions, who culti
vated literature amidst many discouragements. He was a native of Auchtergaven, in Perthshire. After passing through a series of humble, employments, during which he steadily cultivated his mind by reading and writing, he assumed the editorship of the Leeds Times, a weekly paper representing the extreme of the liberal class of opinions. He wrote as one of the three hundred might be supposed to have fought at Thermopylae, animated by the pure love of his species, and zeal for what he thought their interests; but, amidst a struggle which scarcely admitted of a moment for reflection on his own position, the springs of a naturally weak constitution were rapidly giving way, and symptoms of consumption became gradually apparent. The poet
died in his twenty-fourth year, deeply regretted by
the numerous friends whom his talents and virtues had drawn around him. Nicoll's poems are short occasional pieces and songs—the latter much inferior to his serious poems, yet displaying happy rural imagery and fancy.