" Hogg is a little red-skinned, stiff rack of a body, with quite
the common air of an Ettrick shepherd, except that he has a
highish, though sloping brow (among his yellow grizzled hair),
and two clear little beads of blue or grey eyes that sparkle, if
not with thought, yet with animation. Behaves himself easily
and well ; speaks Scotch, and mostly narrative absurdity (or
even obscenity) therewith. Appears in the mingled character
of zany or raree show. All bent on bantering him, especially
Lockhart; Hogg walking through it as if unconscious, or almost
flattered. His vanity seems to be immense, but also his good
nature. I felt interest for the poor herd-body ; wondered to see
him blown hither from his sheep-folds, and how, quite friend-
less as he was, he went along cheerful, mirthful, and musical.
I do not well understand this man ; his significance is perhaps
considerable. His poetic talent is authentic, yet his intellect
seems of the weakest ; his morality also limits itself to the
precept ' be not angry.' Is the charm of this poor man to be
found herein, that he is a real product of nature, and able to
speak naturally, which not one in a thousand is ? An un-
conscious talent, though of the smallest, emphatically naive.
JAMES HOGG. 109
Once or twice in singing (for he sang of his own) there was an
emphasis in poor Hogg's look expressive of feeling almost
of enthusiasm. The man is a very curious specimen. Alas,
he is a man ; yet how few will so much as treat him like a
specimen, and not like a mere wooden Punch or Judy."
The closing years of Hogg's life were spent in comparative
ease and comfort. His books commanded a ready sale, though
he did not always reap the full harvest of his literary labours.
He had abundant leisure at command, after he left the farm of
Mount Benger, and many a happy day he spent in fishing in the
Yarrow and its tributaries, or shooting over the hills and moors
in the neighboorhood of Altrive Lake a small farm which the
Duke of Buccleuch generously gave him at a merely nominal
rent. Despite his many misfortunes, he rarely ever succumbed
to a feeling of despondency. He says : " I never knew
either man or woman who has been so uniformly happy
as I have been ; which has been partly owing to a good
constitution, and partly from the conviction that a heavenly
gift, conferring the powers of immortal song, was inherent
in my soul. Indeed so uniformly smooth and happy has
my married life been, that in a retrospect I cannot distinguish
one part from another save by some remarkably good
days of fishing, shooting, and curling on the ice." He
had also the satisfaction of knowing and this doubtless had
something to do with his general buoyancy of feeling that his
talents were thoroughly appreciated by all classes in the
community. His merits were instantly recognised, and from
no JAMES HOGG.
the beginning to the close of his literary career, he received on
the part of the public an amount of recognition which many a
writer of more distinguished ability might well have envied.
His last meeting with Sir Walter Scott has been thus
described by Professor Veitch : " Scott had sent him word that
he was to pass down the Yarrow from Drumlanrig, on his way
to Abbotsford. The carriage stopped at the small inn, the
Gordon Arms, and here the shepherd met Sir Walter. They
walked down the road past Mount Benger, Sir Walter leaning
heavily on Hogg's arm, and walking very feebly. The
Shepherd noticed the change, bodily and mental, in the great
man, whom he honoured, almost worshipped. There was some
talk, not of a very clear kind, but kindly and affectionate. It
was exactly twenty-nine years before that Hogg, a young man,
had met Scott in his mother's cottage at Ettrick Hall, when the
editor of the Minstrelsy was sowing the seed that had ripened
during those intervening years into that glorious golden harvest
of poem and romance as rich an outcome of one man's life as
the world had ever seen. Here appropriately enough, in
beloved Yarrow, dear to Hogg, and dearest vale on earth to
Scott, the two poets whom Yarrow herself had quickened and
nourished, parted for the last time on earth. One cannot help
feeling that this touching incident gives a new interest to the
spot in the vale where they met and parted, and adds another to
the many sacred associations which cluster round the name of
Five years after, in 1835, the shepherd-poet was laid to rest
JAMES HOGG. in
under the shadow of Ettrick Pen, and near the old homestead
where he was born.
" Long has that harp of magic tone,
To all the minstrel world been known ;
Who has not heard her witching lays
Of Ettrick banks and Yarrow braes ?
But that sweet bard who sang and played
Of many a feat and Border raid,
Of many a knight and lovely maid,
When forced to leave his harp behind
Did all her tuneful chords unwind ;
And many ages past and came
Ere man so well could tune the same."
Hogg was a voluminous author. His best known poetical
works are The Queen s Wake, The Mountain Bard, Mador of
the Moor, The Forest Minstrel, The Poetic Mirror, Poetical
Tales and Ballads, &c. Among his prose works, The Brownie
of Bodsbeck," The Shepherd's Calendar, and The Siege of
Roxburgh, are the best known.
Wordsworth's well-known poem on Hogg's death may here
appropriately be given :
When first, descending from the moorlands,
1 saw the stream of Yarrow glide
Along a bare and open valley,
The Ettrick Shepherd was my guide.
When last along its banks I wandered,
Through groves that had begun to shed
Their golden leaves upon the pathways,
My steps the Border Minstrel led.
The mighty Minstrel breathes no longer,
"Mid mouldering ruins low he lies ;
And death upon the braes of Yarrow,
Has closed the Shepherd-poet's eyes :
Nor has the rolling year twice measured,
From sign to sign, its steadfast course,
Since every mortal power of Coleridge
Was frozen at its marvellous source ;
The rapt One of the god-like forehead,
The heaven-eyed creature sleeps in earth ;
And Lamb, the frolic and the gentle,
Has vanished from his lonely hearth.
Like clouds that rake the mountain summits,
Or waves that own no curbing hand,
How fast has brother followed brother
From sunshine to the sunless land !
Yet I, whose lids from infant slumber
Were earlier raised, remain to hear
A timid voice, that asks in whispers,
" Who next will droop and disappear ? "
Our haughty lifejis crowned with darkness,
Like London, with its own black wreath,
On which with thee, O ! Crabbe, forth-looking
I gazed from Hampstead's breezy heath.
As if but yesterday departed,
Thou too art gone before ; but why
O'er ripe fruit, seasonably gathered
Should frail survivors heave a sigh.
Mourn rather for that holy Spirit.
Sweet as the spring, as ocean deep;
For Her who, ere her summer faded,
Has sunk into a breathless sleep.
No more of old romantic sorrows.
For slaughtered youth or love-lorn maid !
With sharper grief is Yarrow smitten,
And Ettrick mourns with her their Poet dead.
DESCRIPTION OF MOUNT BENGER.
Oft from yon height I loved to mark,
Soon as the morning roused the lark,
And woodlands raised their raptured hymn,
That land of glory spreading dim ;
While slowly up the awakening dale
The mists withdrew their fleecy veil,
And tower, and wood, and winding stream,
BY A BUSH. 113
Were brightening in the golden beam.
Yet where the westward shadows fell,
My eye with fonder gaze would dwell,
Though wild the view, and brown and bare ;
Nor castled halls, nor hamlets fair,
Nor range of sheltering woods, were there,
Nor river's sweeping pride between,
To give expression to the scene.
There stood a simple home, where swells
The meady sward to moory fells,
A rural dwelling thatched and warm,
Such as might suit the upland farm.
A honeysuckle clasped the sash,
Half shaded by the giant ash ;
And there the wall-spread apple-tree
Gave its white blossoms to the bee,
Beside yon sheltering clump of ash,
Which screens below the boiling pool
With pebbled bottom clear and cool,
Where often, from the shelving brim,
We launched on sedgy sheaf to swim.
BY A BUSH.
By a bush on yonder brae
Where the airy Benger rises,
Sandy tuned his artless lay ;
Thus he sung the lee-lang day :
H4 JAMES HOGG.
" Thou shalt ever be my theme,
Yarrow, winding down the hollow,
With thy bonny sister stream
Sweeping through the broom so yellow.
On these banks thy waters lave,
Oft the warrior found a grave.
" Oft on thee the silent wain
Saw the Douglas' banners streaming
Oft on thee the hunter train
Sought the shelter'd deer in vain ;
Oft, in thy green dells and bowers
Swains have seen the fairies riding ;
Oft the snell and sleety showers
Found in thee the warrior hiding.
Many a wild and bloody scene
On thy bonnie banks have been.
" Now the days of discord gane,
Henry's kindness keeps us cheery ;
While his heart shall warm remain,
Dule will beg a hauld in vain.
Bloodless now in many hues,
Flow'rets bloom, our hills adorning ;
There my Jenny milks her ewes,
Fresh an' ruddy as the morning,
Mary Scott could ne'er outvie
Jenny's hue an' glancing eye.
WILL AND DA VIE. 115
" Wind, my Yarrow, down the howe,
Forming bows o' dazzling siller ;
Meet thy titty yont the knowe ;
Wi' my love I'll join like you.
Flow my Ettrick, it was thee,
Into life wha first did drap me.
Thee I've sung, an' when I dee
Thou wilt lend a sod to hap me :
Passing swains shall say, and weep,
Here our Shepherd lies asleep."
WILL AND DA VIE
A SCOTTISH PASTORAL.
Where Yarrow pours her silver billow
Through bowers of birch, and brakes of willow ;
Where loud the grouse crows on the fell,
And sweet the thrush sings in the dell ;
Where milk-white flocks unnumbered lie,
And mirth laughs keen in every eye ;
And plenty smiles from day to day,
Beneath Buccleuch's indulgent sway ;
Two friendly shepherds, blithe and young.
Oft on the greensward sat and sung,
Or scoured the lofty fells together,
And brushed the red flower from the heather.
u6 JAMES HOGG.
One morn they tuned, by dawn of day,
On Bowerhope Law the rural lay ;
For such a scene that lay was meet
As wildly gay, as simply sweet;
The great may even lend an ear
Wild Yarrow's mountain strains to hear.
Ah, Will, these purple heather blooms,
That round us shed their light perfumes,
These sparkling gems of crystal dew,
That morning sky so mild and blue,
Have raised my heart to such a height,
I breathe so pure, I feel so light,
'Gainst all the reasons you can bring
I must and will my matin sing.
Cheer up your heart, for once be gay ;
Screw on your flute and join the lay.
Ah, Shepherd, cease ; your idle strain
Adds sharpness to my bosom's pain.
How can ye pour that strain so airy,
That trifling, idle, wild vagary ;
Nor sadly once reflect with me
On what has been, and what may be ?
" As little heeds the lark on high,
The watchful falcon hovering nigh,
But flickering his kind mate above,
He trills his matin song of love.
WILL AND DA VIE. 117
Ah, reckless bird, that lively strain
Thy mate shall never hear again !
The spoiler tears thy panting breast,
And all forsaken is thy nest."
Cease, Shepherd, cease the case is yours ;
The sky of Britain threatening lowers !
Else, let your strain be soft and slow,
And every fall a note of woe.
How can I strike one plaintive sound
While nature smiles so sweet around ?
See how our lambs, in many a skein,
Are dancing on the daisied green ;
Their pliant limbs they keenly brace,
Strained in the unambitious race ;
Till gruff old wedders, blithe to see
The young things skip so merrily,
With motley antics join the throng,
And bob and caper them among.
The plover whistles in the glen,
The tewit tilts above the fen ;
Even the hoarse curlew strains her throat,
And yelps her loudest, liveliest note :
The rural joy then must I shun,
So ripened by the rising sun ?
Ii8 JAMES HOGG.
No while my bosom beats so high,
Responsive to a lovely eye
That pierced it with a gilded arrow,
I'll sing of love, of joy, and Yarrow.
I'll sing that rural scene before me ;
That shady world of placid glory.
See how the afer vibrates o'er
The lofty front of brown Clockmore ;
Beyond Carlevon's rocky crest
The drowsy moon sinks pale to rest ;
An angel shade of silken green
O'erveils the cliffs of wild Loch Skene ;
While Border Cheviot, blue and high,
Melts like a shadow on the sky.
From proud Mount Benger's top, the sun
His airy course has scarce begun ;
His orient cheek is resting still
Upon the grey cairn on the hill.
The scarlet curtain of the sky,
A wreathed and waving canopy,
Sweels like the dew on mountain flower
Or frost-work on the southland shower.
The Yarrow, like a baldrick thrown
Loose on the vale, lies bent and lone ;
A silver snake of every dye
That gilds the mountain, tincts the sky ;
And slowly o'er her verdant vales
A cobweb veil of vapour sails.
WILL AND DA VIE. 119
Saint Mary holds her mirror sheen,
To moorland gray and mountain green ;
To speckled schell-fowl hovering nigh,
To milky swan and morning sky :
Their phantom cliffs hang trembling low,
And hoary thorns inverted grow.
Her purple bosom sleeps as still
As sunbeam on the silent hill,
No curling breeze across it strays,
No sportful eddy o'er it plays,
Save where the wild duck wanders slow,
Or dark trout spreads his waxing O.
Look to the east 'tis shadow all,
Crowned by yon broad and dazzling ball.
Turn westward mountain, glen, and wold,
Are all one blaze of burning gold !
Ah, God of nature ! such a scene,
So grand, so lovely, so serene,
Bears the free soul on rapture's wing,
Before thy diamond throne to sing ;
Above yon sky's celestial blue,
To gaze on glories ever new ;
And list the strains of angel song
From angel harps that pour along,
By fragrant breezes softly driven
O'er suns that sand the floors of heaven.
The enraptured youth now ceased to sing ;
But still on ether's waving wing,
From echo's cave was borne along
Thy dying measures of the song :
With eye entranced, and head declined,
They listened to the waving wind
Hung on the cliff-born fairly lay,
Till the last quaver died away.
THE LASSIE OF YARROW.
" What makes my heart beat high,
What makes me heave the sigh,
When yon green den I spy,
Lonely and narrow ?
Sure on your bracken lea,
Under the hawthorn tree,
Thou hast bewitched me,
Lassie of Yarrow !"
" Yon bracken den so lone,
Rueful I ponder on ;
Lad, though my vow ye won,
'Twas to deceive thee.
Sore, sore I rue the day
When in your arms I lay,
And swore by the hawthorn gray,
Never to leave thee."
WILL AND DAVIE.
" Mary, thy will is free ;
All my fond vows to thee
Were but in jest and glee ;
Could'st thou believe me ?
I have another love
Kind as the woodland dove ;
False to that maid to prove,
Oh, it would grieve me !"
Mary's full eye so blue,
Mild as the evening dew,
Quick from his glance withdrew,
Soft was her sighing ;
Keen he the jest renewed,
Hard for his freedom sued
When her sweet face he viewed,
Mary was crying.
" Cheer thee," the lover said,
" Now thy sharp scorn repaid,
Never shall other maid
Call me her marrow.
Far sweeter than sun or sea,
Or aught in this world I see,
Is thy love-smile to me,
Lassie of Yarrow!"
122 JAMES HOGG.
ST. MARY OF THE LOWES.
O lone St. Mary of the waves,
In ruin lies thine ancient aisle,
While o'er thy green and lowly graves,
The moorcocks bay, and plovers wail :
But mountain spirits on the gale,
Oft o'er thee sound the requiem dread ;
And warrior shades, and spectres pale,
Still linger by the quiet dead.
Yes, many a chief of ancient days
Sleeps in thy cold and hallow'd soil ;
Hearts that would thread the forest maze,
Alike for spousal or for spoil ;
That wist not, ween'd not, to recoil
Before the might of mortal foe,
But thirsted for the Border broil,
The shout, the clang, the overthrow.
Here lie those who, o'er flood and field,
Were hunted as the osprey's brood,
Who braved the power of man, and seal'd
Their testimonies with their blood :
But long as waves that wilder'd flood,
Their sacred memory shall be dear,
And all the virtuous and the good
O'er their low graves shall drop the tear.
ST. MARY OF THE LOWES. 123
Here sleeps the last of all the race
Of these old heroes of the hill,
Stern as the storm in heart and face :
Gainsaid in faith or principle.
Then would the fire of heaven fill
The orbit of his faded eye ;
Yet all within was kindness still,
Benevolence and simplicity.
GRIEVE, thou shall hold a sacred cell
In hearts with sin and sorrow toss'd ;
While thousands, with their funeral knell,
Roll down the tide of darkness, lost ;
For thou wert Truth's and Honour's boast,
Firm champion of Religion's sway !
Who knew thee best revered thee most,
Thou emblem of a former day !
Here lie old Border bowmen good ;
Ranger and stalker sleep together,
Who for the red-deer's stately brood
Watch'd, in despite of want and weather,
Beneath the hoary hills of heather ;
Even Scotts, and Kerrs, and Pringles, blended
In peaceful slumbers, rest together,
Whose fathers there to death contended.
Here lie the peaceful, simple race,
The first old tenants of the wild,
Who stored the mountains of the chase
With flocks and herds whose manners mild
124 JAMES HOGG.
Changed the baronial castles, piled
In every glen, into the cot,
And the rude mountaineer beguiled,
Indignant, to his peaceful lot.
Here rural beauty low reposes ;
The blushing cheek, and beaming eye,
The dimpling smile, the lip of roses,
Attracters of the burning sigh,
And love's delicious pangs, that lie
Enswathed in pleasure's mellow mine :
Maid, lover, parent, low and high,
Are mingled in thy lonely shrine.
And here lies one here I must turn
From all the noble and sublime,
And, o'er thy new but sacred urn,
Shed the heath flower and mountain-thyme,
And floods of sorrow, while I chime
Above thy dust one requiem.
Love was thine error, not thy crime,
Thou mildest, sweetest, mortal gem !
For ever hallow'd be thy bed,
Beneath the dark and hoary steep ;
Thy breast may flowerets overspread,
And angels of the morning weep
In sighs of heaven above thy sleep,
And tear-drops of embalming dew ;
Thy vesper hymn be from the deep,
Thy matin from the ether blue !
ST. MARY OF THE LOWES. 125
I dare not of that holy shade,
That's pass'd away, one thought allow ;
Not even a dream that might degrade
The mercy before which I bow :
Eternal God, what is it now ?
Thus asks my heart : but the reply
I aim not, wish not, to foreknow,
'Tis veiled within eternity.
But, oh, this earthly flesh and heart
Still cling to the dear form beneath,
As when I saw its soul depart,
As when I saw it calm in death :
The dead rose, the funereal wreath
Above the breast of virgin snow,
Far lovelier than in life and breath,
I saw it then, and see it now.
That her fair form shall e'er decay,
One thought I may not entertain ;
As she was on her dying day,
To me she ever will remain.
When Time's last shiver o'er his reign
Shall close this scene of sin and sorrow,
How calm, how lovely, how serene,
That form shall rise upon the morrow !
Frail man ! of all the arrows wounding
Thy mortal heart, there is but one
Whose poison'd dart is so astounding,
That bear it, cure it, there can none.
It is the thought of beauty won,
To love in most supreme degree,
And, by the hapless flame undone,
Cut off from nature and from thee !
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
THERE are few names more closely associated with Yarrow
than that of the "Great Minstrel of the Border."
Indeed, it may be said that Scott was, in an especial sense,
a son of Yarrow. He was a descendent, by both parents,
of ancestor's whose home was in the " Dowie Dens." On his
128 SIR WALTER SCOTT.
father's side he was related in a direct line to Mary Harden
Scott, the far-famed Flower of Yarrow ; and on the mother's
to John Rutherford, who, for a period of nineteen years,
was the faithful and much respected minister of the parish.
The Latin inscription on Rutherford's tombstone a mural
tablet in the north wall of the church is both curious and
interesting. The following is a translation :
"To the memory of John Rutherford, minister of the Church of Yarrow, most
upright and most vigilant; and of Robert, his son, in his fourth year; Christiana
Shaw, his mourning wife, was careful to erect this monument. Died May 7, 1710,
in the 19 year of his ministry, and 69 year of his age.
"Thou wert a faithful pastor, a beloved brother, a sure friend, a gentle master, a
genial husband and father.
" Having resigned the gift of an upright and pure life, thou hast yielded to the
fates ; thy years passed happily, O thrice blessed ! thy fame is above the high hills and
green banks of Yarrow, thy soul above the stars !"
Often did Sir Walter, when residing in Ashiestiel, then in
the parish of Yarrow, walk over the hills to this old Kirk in the
Forest " to worship," as he used to say, " at the shrine of his
ancestors." The Rutherfords were a talented family. Pro-
fessor Rutherford, son of the minister, and grandfather of
Scott, was a notable man in his day, and contributed not a
little towards the fame which the medical schools in Edinburgh
have so long and justly enjoyed. It has sometimes been said
that it was through the Rutherfords Scott inherited his extra-
ordinary genius. Be this as it may, it is a significant and
highly interesting fact that he had an ancestral connection with
the romantic vale which his genius has done so much to render
famous in all parts of the world. There may, therefore, be
SIR WALTER SCOTT. 129
more than a mere element of association to account for the
feeling expressed with touching pathos in the lines :
" By Yarrow's stream still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way ;
Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,
Although it chill my withered cheek."
This period of Scott's life was at once the happiest and most
fruitful in his long and chequered career. He was still happily
free from those harassing and killing cares which the building
of Abbotsford was so soon to bring upon him. He held
an office which kept him in touch with the public in-
terests of the time, and his income from this and other
sources was more than sufficient to meet the wants of his
household, and the numerous claims on his beneficence. His
home life was unclouded. He had a young and promising
family growing up around him, in whose education and training
he took the keenest personal interest. His literary activity was
also unbounded. He rose betimes, and the early hours were
religiously consecrated to painstaking, yet rapid, composition.
During this bright and busy period he wrote The Lay of
the Last Minstrel, Marmion, The Lady of the Lake, and
Waverley four of the most brilliant productions which his
fertile pen has given to the world. Lockhart regards
Marmion as the greatest of all his poems a judgment that
subsequent criticism has more than substantiated. The Lay
and Marmion are both full of local colouring. The scene of
the former is laid at Newark, an old Border Castle or " Keep,"
still in an excellent state of preservation, standing on the banks
130 SIR WALTER SCOTT.
of the Yarrow, some four miles above Selkirk, and near
Bowhill, a favourite residence of the " Bold Buccleuch." The
latter is a "Tale of Flodden Field," and is replete with the
most graphic descriptions of Border scenery.
But Scott was no brooding recluse, buried in his books,
uninterested in the life of the great world around him. He
toiled hard at his desk, yet he always found plenty of
time to engage in those out-of-door exercises and pastimes
for which he had at once great aptitude and liking.
Despite his lameness he was an excellent walker, and many
a pleasant afternoon was spent in scouring the surrounding
hills, followed by his faithful deerhounds, fleet of foot, quick
of eye, and ever ready for the chase. Sometimes, also, he
would take long rides, over into the vale of Yarrow, as far
as "lone St. Mary's," where
" Your horse's hoof tread sounds too rude,
So stilly is the solitude."
On such occasions he was always splendidly mounted. He
was passionately fond of horses, and seems to have been more
than ordinarily fortunate in his selection. Brown Adam (so
called after one of the heroes of the Minstrelsy), was one of the
famous steeds he rode at this time. We are told that he was