James Hogg.

The poetic mirror, or, The living bards of Britain online

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Cornell University

The original of this book is in
the Cornell University Library.

There are no known copyright restrictions in
the United States on the use of the text.





S^oettc fiHixxov.



Kdinburgh ;
Printed by James Ballantyne & Co.


33oetu Mixxov,


C6e Itm'ng lBnb& of IBntafn.

Jtfopsa.— Is it true, think you ?
AuU^^Yqvj true, — and but a month old.












The Editor claims no merit in the following
work, save that of having procured from the
Authors the various Poems of which the vo-
lume is composed ; for, as to the arrangement,
it is <iasual, and simply as the pieces came to

A number of years have now elapsed since he
first conceived the idea of procuring something
original from each of the principal living Bards
of Britain, and publishing those together, jud-
ging that such a work, however small, could not
fail of forming a curiosity in literature. On ap-
plying to them all personally, or by letter, he

found that the greater part of them entered in-



to his views with more cordiality than he had
reason to expect ; and, after many delays and
disappointments, he is at last enabled to give
this volume to the public. He regrets that
there are many of the living Poets, whom he
highly esteems, that have not yet complied with
his request ; but as he is almost certain of some-
thing from each of them being forthcoming, he
hopes, at no distant period, to be able to lay be-
fore the world another volume, at least more
diversified than the present.

With respect to those who have already so
kindly supported him in the present underta-
king, it behoves him to say nothing.— The
pages which follow will show how well they
have kept their words, and he takes this public
opportunity of thanking them most cordially
for their liberal assistance, to which he is con-
scious that his merits have in no degree entitled



The Guerilla Lord Byron 1

Epistle to R. S* * ^* * Walter Scott 27

Wat o*the Cleuch Ibid. 53

The Stranger ...•• W. Wordsworth 131

The Flying Tailor Ibid. 155

James Rigg • Ibid. 171

The Glide Greye Katt James Hogg 189

Isabella S. T. Coleridge 215

The Cherub Ibid. S25

Peter of Barnet •....••• Robert Southe y 23 1

The Curse of the Laureate,

Ibid 243
Carmen Judiciale

The Morning Star, or the ^ ^ „^ ^^^

^ J. Wilson 257

Steam-Boat of Alloa

Hymn to *he Moon •*•••• Ibid* 265

The Stranded Ship.^, Ibid. 274







Sore for the selfishness of men I wail, —
Scarce other motives human action guide ;—
And sore I pity those of intellect frail,
Who in aught else save their own strength confide.
That might, that soul, with heaven alone allied,
May all the casual gusts of fate defy ;
But he who trusts in power or kingly pride,
Well it behoves, like Britons, to rely
On miscreants' doubtful aid, for thankless knaves t®
die! >




It liatli been said, and suiteth well my tale,
That Spain's hot peasants danger strove to shun,
Even when their foenien sorest did prevail,
And ravaged every vale of Arragon.
If there is wealth to gain or insult done.
The proud and selfish Spaniard aught will dare ;
Farther he cares not — feels not — but anon
Flies to his gleesome dance and jocund fare,
And gives unto the winds his vows and patriot care.


Erewhile, in hamlet of full old regard,

A goodly hind, Alayni hight, did won,

His parents' healthful toil who daily shared,

And on each festal eve. when was begun

The blithsome dance, and frolic, — there was none

Who ruled the sport with such resistless sway;

And when, perchance, his will was lothly done,

His froward mood displeasure did bewray ;

Ne fail'd he then to thwart and contravene the play.



Oh, me 1 he was a hot and restless wight ;

No rival nor superior might he brook,

In feat of deft activity or might,

Nor even in mirth, or maiden's favom*ing look.

At fall of evening, oftimes he forsook

His father's home, some secret deeds to dare .

Never was known the pathway that he took,

Although his walks were watch'd with prying care ;

But many doubtful stains his raiment daily bare.

One maid he loved — young Kela of the dale,
With passion vehement, and her alone :
The foemen came — No tears could aught avail,
For they were men of France, and never known
To feel for pain or misery but their own.
The village homes were plundered and despoiFd ;
The beauteous village maids of Arragon
They dragged from parents' home in anguish wild;,
To their voluptuous tentS; to live in bondage vilde*



Kela, the loveliest of these mountain maids,
Marot, the leader, for his own did claim ;
All proffers of redemption he evades,
Answering to all her plaints with words of shame;
Loudly she wail*d and call'd Alayni's name,
While he, aroused to madness and despair,
Raved in such words as tongue did never frame^
Smote his perturbed breast and tore his hair.
And to have red revenge by Jesus' cross he sware.

Fast did the frenzy seize the village crew ;
Around Alayni thronged they each one ;
Their maids, their wealth, had vanish'd from their view.
Frantic they flew unto the altar-stone.
And, kneeling round, with hands laid thereupon.
They vow'd to God nor sleep nor rest to take
Until the spoilers should by blood atone
For the unholy pillage they did make ;
So help them Christ in heaven, for youth and vir-
tue's sake 1



Man, maid, and matron, swore eternal feud
Against the ruthless reavers and their race ;
To madness changed their sullen lassitude,
Forth did they spread abroad from place to place,
Wrath in each voice and wildness on each face ;
Aloud they cried for vengeance manifold ;
Much magnified their scathe and sore disgrace.
Each Arragonian, when the tale was told,
Caught the wild flame in guise which pen may not

From orchard and from field the peasants run.
Even the grey sires refuse to stay behind ;
Ten thousand bosoms pant beneath the sun.
Ten thousand vows are borne upon the wind.
All toward blood and massacre inclined
The throng march'd forth — Alayni led them on.
*Twas night — their foes were all to sloth resigned ;
For they had wassail'd deep, feasting upon
The spoils and maiden charms of plunder'd Arragottv



They knew nor arms nor armed troop was nigh ^
The hostile peasantry they laugh'd to scorn.
Still were they lying there, and long shall lie !
What bands of spoilers waked not on the morn I
In one short hour an army was o'erborne,
Slaughter'd like sheep, or in the flight cut down ;
Small was the number left to stray forlorn,
Nor could they tell by whom they were overthrown ,j
An army late there was, but army now was none.

Alayni with three comrades madly sped
Unto the tent where hated Marot lay ;
They found him lying on voluptuous bed.
And in his arms his lovely helpless prey.
Like one she seem'd who longed much for day ;
Her moisten'd cheek no downy pillow prest,
Her raven locks, dishevell'd and astray,
Hung o'er her panting bosom, ill at rest !
Which turned was away from her destroyer's breast.



" Up, noble captain ! — up and taste our cheer ;

A Spanish festival awaits thee nigh ;

To lie voluptuously in slumber here

Great shame it is, while souls so quicklj'^ fly

From this to regions of a genial sky.

Up, noble captain— thou must come away !**

Alayni said, and raised him violently ;

*' Treason !" the captain cried, in wild dismay ;

Albeit they loudly laugh'd at his forlorn array.

Alayni dragg'd him forth unto the green,
With burning hand entwisted in his hair ;
Sore did he writhe, and loudly call'd, I ween,
For kindred arms^ but kindred none were there ;
Wliile him they raock'd with light and jocund air,
And much did aggravate his woeful plight.
Oh, it forsooth is grievous to declare
How they did mangle that poor hapless wight ;
Nor ceased their ruthless game till he was slain out*
right !



" Rush forth," Alayni said, " into the field,

The work of death goes unresisted on !

Rush forth, my friends, our haughty foemen yield ;

For me, the while, I shortly must begone

To comfort my true love, but all alone,

As meet it is, with her I would remain.

Strong be your arms, your hearts to-night be stone,

To-morrow, soft as they were wont again ;

God speed your patriot swords! Haste forth into

the plain.*'

With torch in hand, and all with blood besprent,
And looks that might the stoutest heart dismay,
Forthwith he entered the dismal tent,
Where, all forlorn, the lovely Kela lay ;
He placed his torch ere word he deign'd to say,
Then gazed on her sweet face with sorrow steep'd ;
At fijst she clasped him in fondest way.
But minding what she was, her blood ycrept.
She hid her youthful face with both her hands, and




" Well may'st thou wail," he said, in deepest tone,

" That face I loved above all earthly thing !

But never more shall smile beam thereupon,

For thou art lost beyond recovering I

To life of scorn can thy young spirit cling.

To kindred and to friends a lothful stain,

A beacon set each lover's heart to wring ?

It may not be — a momentary pain —

One penance undergone, and thou art pure again !'*


She look'd into his face, and there beheld

The still unmoving darkness of his eye ;

She thought of that could never be cancell'd,

And lay in calm and sweet benignity ;

Down by her side her arms outstretched He,

Her beauteous breast was fairer than the snow,

And then with stifled sob and broken sigh

Its fascinating mould was heaving so,—

Never was movement seen so sweetly come and go !


He drew his bloody poniard from his waist,
And press'd against her breast its point of steel;
No single boon she to his ear address'd,
Calm did she lie as one who did not feel !
No shiver once did agony reveal;
Scarce did she move a finger by her side,
Though her heart's blood around her did congeal ;
With mild but steady look his face she eyed,
And once upon her tongue his name in whisper died.

With gloomy mien and unrelenting heart,
O'er her he hung and watched her life's decay ;
He mark*d the pulse's last convulsive start,
And the sweet breath in fetches waste away.
Just ere the last these words she did assay :
*' Now all is past — unblameable I die.**
Then her pale lips did close no more for aye,
A dim blue haze set slowly o'er her eye,
And low on purpled couch that mountain flower did



" Ay, it is so !" exclaim'd he — " and 'tis well,
Even yet I would not wish thy life reprieved —
Of thy firm soul shall future ages tell,
Nor could thy spotless fame have been retrieved-
Oh ne'er to be wash'd out the stain received J
Fair sacrifice, thou hast not died in vain V*
He prest the breast which now no longer heaved.
And his warm lips to hers did closely strain ;
But ah ! that passive lip — it did not kiss again !

** By this dear blood," he cried, " again I swear
Revenge unslaked for ever to pursue;
Heaven was my witness how I held thee dear,
And shall be witness what I'll dare for you I"
In the warm tide his arms he did imbue,
And form'd a cross of blood upon his breast ;
Then, maniac-like, forth to the fight he flew
In Marot's gear and spangled helmet drest,
And Kela's raven hair waved on it for a crest.


Blood was his joy, and havoc was his meed.
His direful rage no living foe might shun ;
If there was bloody work, or ruthless deed,
Forthwith by him that bloody work was done.
Great was the spoil and booty that was won,
But greater waited them of gold and store :
A convoy came, such there was never known,
Forth did they rush ten thousand men and more.
And found the encumber'd foe on Ebro's winding

Alayni led the van — on him they look'd
As something more than man in prowess bold;
One to be fear'd he seem'd, but hardly brook'd ;
A demon spirit not to be controli'd.
Mounted on steed with bits and spurs of gold,
No leader ever wore more martial air,
No banner o'er his host was seen unroll'd,
Save the red cross of blood his bosom bare,
And waving in the wind the virgin's raven hair.


O wild was the confusion and the throng,
For the Guerillas wore the foe's array ;
They mix'd with them and press'd their ranks among.
Judge of their wonderment and sore dismay,
Wlien through their bodies pass'd in mortal way
The scymitar or spear with ruthless blow !
Each deem'd himself of treason's hand the prey,
And wildly look'd upon his murderous foe; —
He knew the garb full well, the face he did not know.

He who hath seen a ship triumphant sail,
Full gaily on before the breeze's wing,
High wooing in the clouds the fitful gale.
Till, proudly bold and undistinguishing.
Instant she rolleth with resistless swing
Where two opposing tides together flow.
While mariners to mast and rigging cling,
And wot not how to steer or where to go, —
He may conceive the scene, and he alone can know-



O how Alayni joy'd in the deray

And wild astonishment that seized the foe !

Like greedy wolf that gorges up his prey,

Or hungry lion, did he onward go ;

And over wounded warriors lying low,

Spurning and writhing in most piteous case,

Full joyful did he prance; and loved it so.

He rein'd his horse to rear upon the place,

Causing his mailed hooves deform the human face \

They called for mercy and their arms threw down ;
But fierce Alayni when their plight he saw.
He spurr'd, and, laughing loud, rush'd them upon,
Gashing their bodies so, withouten awe
Of warrior usance or of nature's law,—
They deemed him demon in the shape of man,
Ne could they from the massacre withdraw
Who followM him, for still their eyes foreran
Young Kela's coal-black hair y'streaming in the van.


Fair were the dames who came with that array,
With their proud lords the wealth of Spain to shar^,
By the Guerillas rudely borne away ;
O how they 'gan with plaints to load the air !
Though youth and maiden innocence were there,
Alayni purposed that very night
On one huge pile to stretch their bodies fair,
To watch the flame ascending fierce and bright,
And with their dying throes feast his distemper'd

But Juan, a right brave and courteous youth.
Dared to oppose the baleful sacrifice :
Soon was he join'd by young and old; for sooth
He fear'd no frown from dark Alayni*s eyes,
Who all alone had stood in this emprize,
And forced was, though sore enraged, to yield.
For beauteous captive then each warrior vies —
O woful doom ! upon the sanguine field.
Far better had their blood their first betrothment


Deep in an orange grove the feast was spread,
No lovelier scene in nature could be seen ;
The loaded boughs were bending over head,
Drooping with golden fruit and foliage green j
Fast flow'd the wine till every youthful mien
Was lighted up to jocund mirth the while ;
So gay their humour and retorts so keen.
To captive's cheek they almost did beguile
The languid lines of joy in momentary smile.


But dark Alayni at their head still held
His stern demeanour and his downcast eye,
And when to listeiiing or to speech compell'd.
Red was his look and sullen the reply.
As if his mind on incidents gone by
Hung with a dry and hollow thirstiness,
Or toird in trouble through futurity,
Unable for one moment to repress
The agony within, of spirit comfortless.


The common woes that human kind belay
May by the pen or language be defined ;
The sigh may tell of them, the tear betray.
Like these, away they pass upon the wind;
But that insatiate yearning of the mind
Still preying, hungering, craving still to prey,
Doom'd never bourn or resting-place to find ;
O that must torture, undivulged for aye,
Save in the soul's still voice, the eye's perturbed ray.

That voice inaudible, each spirit there
Seem'd to have heard or felt upon it creep ;
When shot along Alayni's troubled glare,
That instant all were hush'd in silence deep,
As lightning's gleam that quivers down the steep,
Searing the cheek of mirth and jollity ;
Down sunk the eve — the captive maidens weep.
The motley group right wearied are to see,
By wassailing o'ercome and rampant revelry.



Alayni rose and waved his hand on high, —
All silent sat before that face so grim ;
" A health !*' he cried, and follow'd with his eye
Till every cup was filPd unto the brim ;
He beckon'd short — each look was turn'd on him,
'* Here's to the dead and those that soon must die.**
'Gan every eye and every brain to swim,
As up they raised the cup, without reply,
" Here's to tliedead," they said, " and those that soon
must die!"

Alayni vanishes in darksome shade,
Plome to his cabin each Guerilla reels,
Loaded with spoil, and leading captive maid,
Or high-born dame, that sore degradance feels.
In vain she supplicates, in vain she kneels,
The high-flushed conquerors will take no nay ;
Deep is the sleep each weary eye that seals ;
But there is one abroad till break of day,
From whom the shuddering watch- dog growling
turns away.


O follow not that dark perturbed form
Down by the winding wave or shadowy tree,
Whose mind would better suit the raving storm
Than such a scene of mild tranquillity !
He sees a form no other eye can see,
He hears a voice no other ear can hear ;
A comely breast heaving with agony
Is still before his eye, and in his ear
Whispers a voice of woe to his moved spirit dear.

Can that sweet voice induce to vengeful deed ?
Can that unearthly stillness of the eye
Arouse to murder or to suicide ?
Oh, it is ever present, ever nigh !
With blasphemy and cursing his reply
Is fully fraught — his eye-balls wildly stare,
With horrid laughter hell he does defy ;
Then turns his brow to heaven with fiend-like air,
And flouts the eternal God in mockery of prayer !


Is the brain fever'd, or has baleful fiend
Expell'd humanity and entered in,
That thus his mouth and nostrils wide distend ?
Gasping he seems for breath, but cannot win
So much of the night-air, that, cool and thin.
Wanders o'er earth, yet will not quench the heat
That burns his fervid panting chest within ;
O, Heaven ! can life-blood only that abate I
Did*st thou the human frame for slaughter thus create?

Millions have bled that sycophants may rule,
Have fallen to dust and left no trace behind ;
And yet we say that Heaven is merciful.
And loves and cares for aU the human kind ;
And we will spread our hands and mouthe the wind
With fulsome thanks for all its tenderness.
Ah me ! that man, preposterously blind,
Should feel, hear, see, reflect, yet not the less
Hope in his hopeless state of abject nothingness !


Poor worm ! to death, doubt, and despondence born,
How blest art thou entrusting Providence I
Oh, thou hast nought to dread, though all forlorn 1
Thou hast a guardian, a sure defence !
There rest, environed in Omnipotence,

In safety rest — Alas ! and woe is me,

That tyrant should, on any vague pretence,
Drunkard, or madman, do away with thee>
Thou thing of high regard ! — of immortality !

That live-long night by village mansion sped
A darkling ruffian all in blood besmear 'd.
With breath repress'd, with swift and silent tread,
To every dwelling, every couch he near*d, —
No guardian angel of the fair appeared.
Heaven wept in copious dews — uprose the day :
What horrors brain of wakening lover sear'd,
When in his arms he found the gelid clay.
Or roll'd from his embrace the severed head away !



Oh many a faultless dame was slain that night,

That none might 'scape in lawless couch that layj

Like the sweet children of the Bethlehemite,

Who died that one might not escape away;

Great pity both ! — But> fully to repay

To men the waste of children s guiltless blood,

Myriads of benefits in fair array

From thence havesprung. the yearning spirit's food — ^

Such base beginning sure could not but end in good.

From this night-slaughter benefits were few,
Save to the maidens who full long had pined ;
Of this be well assured, that all is true
By bloated priestcraft evermore defined
Of wisdom in all things by Heaven designed.
But to my tale — O many a weeping eye,
And much astonishment and anger reign'd,
O'er all Cinea's vale, where hamlets lie
Thick as the diamond sparks in Autumn's midnight



Dark moved the vale with many a funeral train,
O'er many a sepulchre the tear was shed ;
For who can bear to look on woman slain —
The breast of comeliness and beauteous head,
That nought but love and kindness cherished,
Dishonoured and consigned to cheerless gloom ? —
Can see the flower of nature lowly laid,
From hand that should have guarded meet her doom
In land of life and beauty never more to bloom ?

Yet, saving Juan, who in manly wise
Withstood the shameful deed, no man was slain ;
His bosom was upripp'd in woeful guise,
And from its habitance his heart was ta'en :
Well did they know the source of all their pain,
Well knew the savage hand that this had done.
They sought ilayni, but they sought in vain :
His game of death was o'er, and he was gone
Far from his native vale mid bloodier scenes to won.


I've heard of one, of whom have many heard,
That on Segovia's mountains roam'd a while,
A savage hero of most strange regard,
On whose dark visage never beam'd a smile,
Whose beard was never trimm'd, whose ruthless toil
Of slaughter onl}'^ with existence ceased,
Who died in maniac guise 'mid bloody broil.
Laughing aloud, yet pressing to his breast
A tiar of raven hair which every morn he kiss'd.

It was Alayni — dost thou wail his case ? —
Beloved unhappy, restless unbeloved.
Oh, there are minds that not for happiness
Were framed here nor hereafter, who ne'er proved
A joy, save in some object far removed.
Who leave with loathing that they long*d to win,
That evermore to that desired hath roved,
While the insatiate gnawing is within.
And happiness for aye beginning to begin.



Melrose^ Teviotdahj August S.
I Dear S * * * *, while the southern breeze
\ Floats, fresh'ning, from the upland leas,
I Whispering of Autumn's mellow spoils
I And jovial sports and grateful toils,

1; ^

\ Awakening in the soften'd breast
•Regrets and wishes long supprest,
! O, come with me once more to hail
^ The scented heath, the sheafy vale^
The hills and streams of Teviotdale.

so EPISTLE TO R. S * # * #

i 'Tis but a parting pilgrimage
. To save from Time's destroying rage,
I And changeful Fortune's withering blast,
f The hallow'd pictures of the past.
And though my steps have linger'd long
From scenes that prompt the poet's song,
Till almost in ray heart has died
The flame that glowM with boyish pride,
For this Y\\ wake once more the strain,
Which else had ne'er been waked again.
And, there, we'll woo the visions wild
Which first on opening fancy smiled.
By breezy dawn, by quiet noon,
Beneath the bright broad harvest-moon,
Or 'midst the mystic shadows dim
Which round the car of Twilight swim ;
While dreams of glory spring to birth,
More lovely than the forms of earth.

Then come, dear comrade ! welcome still
In every change of good or ill,

EPISTLE TO R. S * * * #^ 32

Whom young affection's wishes claim,
And friendship ever finds the same-
Awake with all thy flow of mind,
With fancy bright and feelings kind.
And tune with me the rambling lay
To cheer us on our mountain way.

Say, shall we wander where the swain,
Bent o'er his staff, surveys the plain,
With lyart cheeks and locks of grey.
Like patriarch of the olden day ? —

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Online LibraryJames HoggThe poetic mirror, or, The living bards of Britain → online text (page 1 of 8)