The library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) online

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toying and making love, and Pshaw! I am
ashamed of you."

"But, my dear uncle ," Walter was pro-
ceeding in extenuation.

"Why don't you come up to town, sir?" in-
quired the general, with some sternness; "I
have no doubt but that I can get you a com-
mission in a couple of months, and a company
before you deserve one."

"My dear general," said his nephew once
more, calmly, "I thank you for the interest
that you take in me; but my ambition is for
the toga the gown ! / am for civil, while you
are for military fame. In the former, perhaps,
I may become the first of my house; but in
the latter I must for ever remain eclipsed by
your greater reputation."

"You are a goose, Walter," replied his uncle,
laughing, and pinched his ear; and Walter
laughed merrily too, for by that compliment
Campbell obtained his pardon.




[James Hogg, "The Ettrick Shepherd," born in
Ettrick Forest, 25th January, }~"-2 (the date given
in his autobiography); died at Altrive, on the Yarrow,
21st November, 18X5. He was the son of a shepherd,
and his early years were spent in farm-service. Some
of his songs having attracted the attention of Scott and
others, he was encouraged to study and to write. His
first important publication was The Mountain Bard,
and about the same time he issued An Essay on S/uep.
The profits derived from the two works enabled him to
rent a farm ; but he did not thrive in it, and he resigned
his lease. He now determined to support himself en-
tirely by his pen, and he started a weekly journal called
The Spy ; but it did not succeed. Soon afterwards he
published The Queen's Wake, a legendary poem, which
made and maintains his fame as a poet. 13y the kind-
ness of the Buccleugh family, he was granted a farm at
a nominal rent ; but he was again unfortunate in his
agricultural speculations. His nature was too enthu-
siastic and too generous to be guided by prudence, and
although favoured by many circumstances, and always
working hard, he ended his days almost as jworin worldly
wealth as when he began, but rich in the affection of all
who knew him. Twenty years after his death, govern-
ment granted a pension to his widow. Blackie & Sou
publish a complete edition of his works, of which besides
those mentioned aboye the most notable are : Piltfrims
of the Sun; The Hunting of Badiewe; The Pottic Mirror
imitations of the most popular bards then living ; The
Jacobite Relics of Scot/and many of the songs in this
collection areorig'inal ; Mitcellaneou* Poems; The Brownie
of Bi*l.-bec/,-. and i.tlier Tales; The Thnt Peril* of Man;
The Three P:rils of Woman; The Shepherd's Calendar;
&.c. &c. Professor Wilson in the Nodes, with which
Hogg is intimately identified as "The Shepherd," said:
" The Queen's Wake is a garland of fair forest flowers,
bound with a band of rushes from the moor. . . . Some
of the biillads are very beautiful ; one or two even splen-
did; most of them spirited. . . . 'Kilmeny' alone
places our (ay, our) Shepherd among the Undying Ones."
Lord Jeffrey felt justified by "Kilmeny" in assuring
the author that he was " apoet in the highest acceptation
of the name."]

Bonny Kilmeny gaed up the glen ;
But it wasna to meet Duneira's men,
Xor the rosy monk of the isle to see,
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
It was only to hear the Yorlin sing,
And pu" the cress-flower round the spring;
The scarlet hypp and the hindberrye,
And the nut that hung frae the hazel tree;
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
But lang may her minny look o'er the wa',
And lang may she seek i' the greenwood shaw;
Lang the laird of Duneira blame,
And lang, lang greet, or Kilmeny come hame I

When many lang day had come and fled,
When grief grew calm, and hope was dead,
When mess for Kilmeny's soul had been sung,
When the bedes-man had prayed, and the dead-bell

Late, late in a gloamin when all was still,
When the fringe was red on the westlin hill,
The wood was sere, the moon i' the wane,
The reek o" the cot hung o'er the plain,
Like a little wee cloud in the world its lane ;
When the ingle lowed wi' an eiry leme,
Late, late in the gloamin Kilmeny came hame I

"Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been?
Lang hue we sought baith holt and dean ;
By linn, by ford, and green-wood tree,
Yet you are halesome and fair to see.
Where gat you that joup o' the lily sheen?
That bonny snood o' the birk sae green ?
And these roses, the fairest that ever were seen?
Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been?"

Kilmeny looked up with a lovely grace,
But nae smile was seen on Kilmeny's face;
As still was her look, and as still was her ee,
As the stillness that lay on the emerant lea,
Or the mist that sleeps on a waveless sea.
For Kilmeny had been she kenn'd not where,
And Kilmeny had seen what she could not declare ;
Kilmeny had been where the cock never crew,
Where the rain never fell, and the wind never blew
But it seemed as the harp of the sky had rung,
And the airs of heaven played round her tongue,
When she spake of the lovely forms she had seen,
And a land where sin had never been ;
A land of love, and a land of light,
Withouten sun, or moon, or night ;
Where the river swa'd a living stream,
And the light a pure and cloudless beam ;
The laud of vision it would seem,
A still, an everlasting dream.

In yon green wood there is a walk,
And in that walk there is a wene,

And in that wene there is a maike,
That neither has flesh, nor blood, nor bane ;

And down in yon green wood he walks his lane.

In that green wene Kilmeny lay,
Her bosom happed wi' flowerets gay;
But the air was soft and the silence deep,
And bonny Kilmeny fell sound asleep.
She kenn'd nae mair, nor opened her ee,
Till waked by the hymns of a far countrye.

She woke on a couch of the silk sae slim,
All striped wi' the bars of the rainbow's rim ;
And lovely beings round were rife,
Who erst had travelled mortal life ;
And aye they smiled, and 'gan to speer,
"What spirit has brought this mortal here?"

" Lang have I ranged the world wide,"
A meek and reverend fere replied ;
"Baith night and day I have watched the fair,
Eident a thousand years and mair.



Yes, I have watched o'er ilk degree,

Wherever blooms femenitye ;

And sinless virgin, free of stain

In mind and body, faud I uane.

Never, since the banquet of time,

Found I a virgin in her prime,

Till late this bonny maiden I saw

As spotless as the morning suaw .

Full twenty years she has lived as free

As the spirits that sojourn in this countrye:

I have brought her away frae the snares of men,

That sin or death she never may ken."

They clasped her waist and her hands sae fair,
They kias'd her cheek, and they komed her hair;
And round came many a blooming fere,
Saying, " Bonny Kilmeny, ye're welcome here !
Women are freed of the littand scorn :
O, blessed be the day Kilmeny was born !
Now shall the land of the spirit* see,
Now shall it ken what a woman may be !
Many lang year in sorrow and pain,
Many lang year through the world we've gane,
Commissioned to watch fair womankind,
For it's they who nurse the immortal mind.
We have watched their steps as the dawning shone,
And deep in the green-wood walks alone ;
By lily bower, and silken bed,
The viewless tears have o'er them shed ;
Have soothed their ardent minds to sleep,
Or left the couch of love to weep.
We have seen ! we have seen ! but the time maun come,
And the angels will weep at the day of doom !

"O, would the fairest of mortal kind
Aye keep these holy truths in mind,
That kindred spirits their motions see,
Who watch their ways with anxious ee,
And grieve for the guilt of humanitye I
O, sweet to Heaven the maiden's prayer,
And the sigh that heaves a bosom sae fair !
And dear to Heaven the words of truth,
And the praise of virtue frae beauty's mouth !
And dear to the viewless forms of air
The mind that kythes as the body fair !

"O, bonny Kilmeny ! free frae stain,
If ever you seek the world again,
That world of sin, of sorrow, and fear,
O tell of the joys that are waiting here ;
And tell of the signs you shall shortly see;
Of the times that are now, and the times that shall

They lifted Kilmeny, they led her away,
And she walked in the light of a sunless day :
The sky was a dome of crystal bright,
The fountain of vision, and fountain of light : '
The emerant fields were of dazzling glow,
And the flowers of everlasting blow.
Then deep in the stream her body they laid,
That her youth and beauty never might fade ;

And they smiled on heaven, when they saw her lie

In the stream of life that wandered by.

And she heard a song, she heard it sung,

She kenn'd not where ; but sae sweetly it rung,

It fell on her ear like a dream of the morn :

" O ! blest be the day Kilmeny was born !

Now shall the laud of the spirits see,

Now shall it ken what a woman may be !

The sun that shines on the world sae bright,

A borrowed gleid frae the fountain of light ;

And the moon that sleeks the sky sae dun,

Like a gouden bow, or a beamless sun,

Shall wear away and be seen nae mair,

And the angels shall miss them travelling the air

But laiig, lang after baith night and day,

When the sun and the world have fled away ;

When the sinner has gaen to his waesome doom,

Kilmeny shall smile in eternal bloom 1"

They bore her away, she wist not how,
For she felt not arm nor rest below ;
But so swift they wained her through the light,
'Twas like the motion of sound or sight ;
They seemed to split the gales of air,
And yet nor gale nor breeze was there.
Unnumbered groves below them grew;
They came, they pass'd, and backward flew,
Like floods of blossoms gliding on,
A moment seen, in a moment gone.
O, never vales to mortal view
Appeared like those o'er which they flew !
That land to human spirits given,
The lowermost vales of the storied heaven ;
From thence they can view the world below,
And heaven's blue gates with sapphires glow,
More glory yet unmeet to know.

They bore her far to a mountain green,
To see what mortal never had seen ;
And they seated her high on a purple sward,
And bade her heed what she saw and heard ;
And note the changes the spirits wrought,
For now she lived in the laud of thought.
She looked, and she saw nor sun nor skies,
But a crystal dome of a thousand dies ;
She looked, and she saw nae land aright,
But an endless whirl of glory and light :
And radiant beings went and came
Far swifter than wind, or the linked flame.
She hid her een frae the dazzling view ;
She looked again, and the scene was new.

She saw a sun on a summer sky,
And clouds of amber sailing by ;
A lovely land beneath her lay,
And that land had lakes and mountains gray ;
And that land had valleys and hoary piles,
And marled seas and a thousand isles.
Its fields were speckled, its forests green.
And its lakes were all of the dazzling sheen,



Like magic mirrors, where slumbering lay

The sun and the sky, and the cloudlet gray ;

Which heaved and trembled, and gently swung,

On every shore they seemed to be hung :

For there they were seen on their downward plain

A thousand times, and a thousand again ;

In winding lake, and placid firth,

Little peaceful heavens in the bosom of earth.

Kilmeny sighed and seemed to grieve,
For she found her heart to that land did cleave;
She saw the corn wave on the vale.
She saw the deer run down the dale ;
She saw the plaid and the broad claymore,
And the brows that the badge of freedom bore ;
And she thought she had seen the laud before.

She saw a lady sit on a throne,
The fairest that ever the sun shone on:
A lion licked her hand of milk,
And she held him in a leish of silk ;
And a leifu' maiden stood at her knee,
With a silver wand and melting ee;
Her sovereign shield till love stole in,
And poisoned all the fount within.

Then a gruff untoward bedes man came,
And hundit the lion on his dame ;
And the guardian maid wi' the dauntless ee,
She dropped a tear, and left her knee ;
And she saw till the queen frae the lion fled,
Till the bonniest flower of the world lay dead;
A coffin was set on a distant plain,
And she saw the red blood fall like rain :
Then bonny Kilmeny's heart grew sair,
And she turned away, and could look nae mair.

Then the gruff grim carle girned amain,
And they trampled him down, but he rose again ;
And he baited the lion to deeds of weir,
Till he lapped the blood to the kingdom dear ;
And weening his head was danger-preef,
When crowned with the rose and clover lenf,
He gowled at the carle, and chased him away
To feed wi' the deer on the mountain gray.
He gowled at the carle, and he gecked at Heaven,
But his mark was set, and his arles given.
Kilmeny a while her een withdrew ;
She looked again, and the scene was new.

She saw below her fair unfurled
One half of all the glowing world,
Where oceans rolled, and rivers ran,
To bound the aims of sinful man.
She saw a people, fierce and fell,
Burst frae their bounds like fiends of hell;
There lilies grew, and the eagle flew,
And she herked on her ravening crew,
Till the cities and towers were wrapt in a blaze,
And the thunder it roared o'er the lands and the seas.
The widows wailed, and the red blood ran,
And she threatened an end to the race of man:

She never lened, nor stood in awe,
Till caught by the lion's deadly paw.
Oh ! then the eagle swinked for life.
And brainzelled up a mortal strife:
But flew she north, or flew she south,
She met wi' the gowl of the lion's moutb.

With a mooted wing and waefu' niaeu,
The eagle sought her eiry again ;
But lang may she cower in her bloody nest,
And lang, lang sleek her wounded breast,
Before she sey another flight,
To play wi' the norland lion's might.

But to sing the sights Kilmeny saw,
So far surpassing nature's law,
The singer's voice wad sink away,
And the string of his harp wad cease to play.
But she saw till the sorrows of man were by,
And all was love and harmony;
Till the stare of heaven fell calmly away,
Like the flakes of suaw on a winter day.

Then Kilmeny begged again to see
The friends she had left in her ain countrye,
To tell of the place where she had been,
And the glories that lay in the land unseen;
To warn the living maidens fair,
The loved of Heaven, the spirits' care,
That all whose minds unmeled remain
Shall bloom in beauty when time is gan.

With distant music, soft and deep,
They lulled Kilmeny sound asleep ;
And when she awakened, she lay her lane,
All happed with flowers in the green- wood wene
When seven lang years had come and fled ;
When grief was calm, and hope was dead ;
When scarce was remembered Kilmeny's name,
Late, late in a gloamin Kilmeny came name.
And O, her beauty was fair to see,
But still and steadfast was her ee !
Such beauty bard may never declare,
For there was no pride nor passion there;
And the soft desire of maiden's een
In that mild face could never be seen.
Her seymar was the lily flower,
And her cheek the moss-rose in the shower;
And her voice like the distant melodye,
That floats along the twilight sea.
But she loved to raike the lanely glen, '.
And keep afar frae the haunts of men ;
Her holy hymns unheard to sing,
To suck the flowers and drink the spring.
But wherever her peaceful form appeared,
The wild beasts of the hill were cheered ;
The wolf played blythely round the field,
The lordly bysoii lowed and kneeled ;
The dun deer wooed with manner bland,
And cowered aneath her lily hand.
And when at eve the woodlands rung,
When hymns of other worlds she sung



In ecstasy of sweet devotion,

O, then the glen was all in motion !

The wild beasts of the forest came,

Brake from their boughts and faulds the tame,

And goved around, charmed and amazed ;

Even the dull cattle crooned and g:ized,

And murmured and looked with anxious pain

For something the mystery to explain.

The buzzard came with the throstle cock ;

The corby left her houf in the rock ;

The blackbird alang wi' the eagle flew ;

The hind came tripping o'er the dew ;

The wolf and the kid their raike began,

And the tod, and the lamb, and the leveret ran ;

The hawk and the herm attour them hung,

And the merl and the mavis forhooyed their young ;

And all in a peaceful ring were hurled :

It was like an eve in a sinless world !

When a month and a day hail come and gane,
Kilmeny sought the green-wood wene ;
There laid her down on the leaves sae green,
And Kilmeny on earth was never mair seen.
But O, the words that fell from her mouth.
Were words of wonder and words of truth !
But all the land were in fear and dread,
For they kendna whether she was living or dead.
It wasna her name, and she couldna remain ;
She left this world of sorrow and pain.
And returned to the laud of thought again.


[William Hamilton Maxwell, born in Ireland,
1794; died 1850. He graduated at Trinity College,
Dublin ; accompanied the army in the Peninsula, and
afterwards became rector of Ballagh in Connaught.
His chief works are: Stones of Waterloo from which
we quote the following sketch Wild Sports of the West;
Captain Blake; The bark Lnd/t of Doona; The Bivouac,
or Storiet of the Peninsular War; Life of the Duke of
Wellington; Rambling Recollections of a Soldier of For-
tune; Hect'rr 0' HalViran; Bn/an O'Lynn, &c. A critic
in the Dublin University Magazine says : " He it was
who first suggested what may be called the military
novel. His Stories of Waterloo opened that patli which
subsequently he treaded with such success, while a host
f imitators have followed in his rear."]

My father left the carabineers some years
before the Irish rebellion of ninety-eight. Like
greater warriors, the crop of laurels he collected
in that celebrated corps was but a short one.
It is true he had seen service: his sword, like
Butler's knight's, of "passing worth," had
been unsheathed in executing "warrants and
exigents ; " and more than once he had stormed
a private distillery, under the leading of a
desperate gauger.

He was, however, a stout slashing-looking

fellow, and found favour in my mother's sight.
She had reached the wrong side of thirty; con-
sequently she made but a short resistance, and
bestowed her hand and fortune on the bold
dragoon. My mother was an heiress, but the
estate of Killnacoppal owed "a trifle of money :"
now a trifle in Connaught is sometimes a sweep-
ing sum ; and you cannot safely calculate on
rents in Connemara being paid exactly to the

I never exhibited precocity of intellect ; but
before I was sixteen I discovered that our es-
tablishment occasionally suffered from a scar-
city of specie. At these times my father was
sure to be afflicted with cold or rheumatism,
and never left the house; and I suppose, for
fear of disturbing him, the hall door was but
seldom opened, and then only to a particular
friend; while an ill-favoured tradesman or
suspicious-looking stranger received their com-
mands in the briefest manner from an upper

What was to be done with me had cruelly
puzzled both my parents: and whether I should
ornament the church, or benefit the revenue,
was for a long time under consideration. The
law, however, held out more promising pros-
pects than either ; and it was decided that I
should be bound to an attorney.

Duncan Davidson of Dorset Street, Dublin,
was married to my father's sister. He was of
Scotch descent, and like that "thinking peo-
ple" from whom he sprung, he held "a hard
grip of the main chance. " Duncan was wealthy
and childless, and if he could be induced to
bring me up at his feet, God knows what might
be the consequence. My father accordingly
made the application, and the gracious Duncan
consented to receive me for a time on trial.

What a bustle there was in Killnacoppal when
my uncle's letter arrived! due preparations
were made for my departure ; and as the term
of my absence was computed at seven years, I
had to take a formal and affectionate leave of
my relatives to the fifteenth degree of consan-
guinity. My aunt Macan, whose cat's leg I
had unfortunately dislocated, and who had
not spoken to me since Candlemas, was induced
to relent on the occasion, and favoured me
with her blessing and a one-pound note, al-
though she had often declared she never could
banish the idea from her mind, but that I
should travel at the public expense, if my
career were not finished in a more summary

I arrived safely in Dublin and awful were
my feelings when first ushered into the presence
of my uncle Duncan. He was a short fat man,



in a brown coat and flax-coloured scratch-wig,
perched upon a high office stool. Considering
his dimensions, I used to marvel much how he
managed to get there. Holding out his fore-
finger, which I dutifully grasped, he told me to
be steady and attentive, and that my aunt
would be happy to see me upstairs. On leaving
the room, I heard him softly remark to the head
clerk, that lie did not much like my appearance,
for that I had "a wild eye in my head."

I was duly put to the desk, and the course
of trial was not flattering to me, or satisfactory
to my intended master. It was allowed on all
hands that my writing was abominable ; and
my spelling, being untrammelled by rules,
was found in many material points to differ
from modern orthographers. Nor was I more
successful in comparing deeds my desk and
stool were unluckily placed beside a window
which looked into a narrow court, and a straw-
bonnet maker occupied the opposite apartment.
She was pretty, and I was naturally polite
and who with a rosy cheek before him would
waste a look upon a tawny skin of parchment?
I mentally consigned the deed to the devil, and
let the copy loose upon the world "with all its
imperfections on its head."

The first trial was nearly conclusive for
never before had such a lame arid lamentable
document issued from the office of the punc-
tilious Duncan. I had there omitted setting
forth "one hundred dove-cots," and, for ought
I know, left out "one hundred castles," to
keep them company. My uncle almost dropped
from his perch at the discovery; and Counsellor
Roundabout was heard to remark, that a man's
life was not safe in the hands of such a delin-
quent. I was on the point of getting my
conrjt, and free permission to return to the
place from whence I came ; but my aunt
good easy woman, interfered and Duncan
consented to give me a farther trial, and employ
me to transport his bag to the courts and his
briefs to the lawyer.

Any drudgery for me but the desk. With
suitable instructions the bag was confided to
me, and for three days it came back safely.
On the fourth evening I was returning; the bag
was unusually full, and so had been my uncle's
admonitions for its security. I had got half-
way down Capel Street, when, whom should I
see on the other side of the way but Slasher
Mac Tigue? The Slasher was five akin to my
mother, and allowed to be the greatest buck
at the last fair of Ballinasloe and would he
acknowledge me, loaded aa I was like a Jew
clothe.sman? "What was to be done? I slipped
the accursed bag to a ragged boy promised

him some halfpence for his trouble prudently
assured him that his cargo was invaluable
told him to wait for me at the corner, and next
moment was across the street, with a fast hold
of the Slasher's right hand.

The Slasher peace to his ashes! for he was
shot stone dead in the Phoenix Park we never
well understood the quarrel in Connemara, and
it was said there that the poor man himself
was not thoroughly informed on the subject
appeared determined to support his justly-
acquired reputation at the late fair of Ballin-
asloe. Not an eye in Capel Street but was
turned on him as he swaggered past. His
jockey boots I must begin below were in
the newest style ; the top sprang from the
ankle-bone, and was met midleg by short tights
of tea-coloured leather ; three smoothing-iron
seals, and a chain that would manacle a deserter
dangled from the fob ; his vest was of amber
kerseymere, gracefully sprinkled with stars
and shamrocks ; his coat sky-blue, with basket
buttons, relieved judiciously with a purple
neckcloth, and doeskin gloves ; while a conical
hat with a leaf full seven inches broad topped
all. A feeble imitation of the latter article
may still be seen by the curious, in a hatter's
window, No. 71 in the Strand, with a label
affixed thereto, denominating it "Neck or

Lord, how proud I felt when the Slasher
tucked me under his arm! We had already
taken two turns the admiration of a crowded

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