William Chambers.

Chambers's miscellany of useful and entertaining tracts (Volume v.5-6) online

. (page 30 of 59)
Online LibraryWilliam ChambersChambers's miscellany of useful and entertaining tracts (Volume v.5-6) → online text (page 30 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

In glory it doth fall :
And where its dwelling-place is made.

It straightway hallows all !

Where'er the green-winged linnet sings,

The primrose bloometh lone ;
And love it wins — deep love — from all

Who gaze its sweetness on.
On field-paths narrow, and in woods,

We meet thee near and far.
Till thou becomest prized and loved,

As things familiar are !


The stars are sweet at eventide,

But cold, and far away ;
The clouds are saft in summer time,

But all unstable they :
The rose is rich — but pride of place

Is far too hig-h for me —
God's simple common things I love —

My primrose, such as thee !

I love the fireside of my home,

Because all sympathies.
The feeling's fond of every day,

Around its circle rise.
And while admiring* all the flowers

That summer suns can give.
Within my heart the primrose sweet.

In lowly love doth live !

— ^NlCOLL.


Ye field flowers ! the gardens eclipse you, 'tis true,
Yet, wildings of Nature, I dote upon you,

For ye waft me to summers of old,
When the earth teemed around me with fairy delight.
And when daisies and buttercups gladdened my sight.

Like treasures of silver and gold.

I love you for lulling me back into dreams

Of the blue Highland mountains and echoing streams.

And of broken glades breathing* their balm.
While the deer was seen glancing in sunshine remote.
And the deep mellow crush of the wood-pigeon's note

Made music that sweetened the calm.

Not a pastoral song has a pleasanter tune

Than ye speak to my heart, little wildings of June :

Of old ruinous castles ye tell,
Where I thought it delightful your beauties to find.
When the magic of Nature first breathed on my mind,

And your blossoms were part of her spell.

Even now, what affections the violet awakes ;
What loved little islands, twice seen in their lakes,

Can the wild water-lily restore :
What landscapes I read in the primrose's looks.
And what pictures of pebbled and minnowy brooks

In the vetches that tangled their shore.


Eartli's cultureless buds, to my heart ye were dear,
Ere the fever of passion, or ague of fear.

Had scathed my existence's bloom ;
Once I welcome you more, in life's passionless stage,
With the visions of youth to revisit my age,

And I wish you to grow on my tomb.
-Thomas Campbell.


on turning one down with the plough in APRIL 1786.

Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower,
Thou's met me in an evil hour ;
For I maun crush amang the stoure

Thy slender stem :
To spare thee now is past my power,

Thou bonnie g'em.

Alas ! it's no thy neebor sweet,
The bonnie lark, companion meet.
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet !

Wi' speckled breast,
When upward-springing, blithe, to greet

The purplmg east.

Cauld blew the bitter-biting* north
Upon thy early, humble birth ;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth

Amid the storm.
Scarce reared above the parent earth

Thy tender form.

The flaunting flowers our gardens yield,
High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield :
But thou, beneath the random bield

O' clod or stane.
Adorns the histie stibble-field.

Unseen, alane.

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sunward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head

In humble guise ;
But now the share uptears thy bed.

And low thou lies !

Such is the fate of artless maid,

Sweet floweret of the rural shade !



By love's simplicity betrayed,

And guileless trust,

Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid
Low i' the dust.

Such is the fate of simple bard,

On life's rough ocean luckless starred :

Unskilful he to note the card

Of prudent lore.
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,

And whelm him o'er !

Such fate to suffering worth is given,

Who long with wants and woes has striven ;

By human pride or cunning driven,

To misery's brink.
Till wrenched of every stay but Heaven,

He, ruined, sink !

Even thou who mourn'st the daisy's fate,
That fate is thine — no distant date ;
Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives elate,

Full on thy bloom,
Till crushed beneath the furrow's weight,

Shall be thy doom !


Flowers of the field, how meet ye seem

Man's frailty to portray.
Blooming so fair in morning's beam.

Passing at eve away ;
Teach this, and, oh ! though brief your reign,
Sweet flowers ye shall not live in vain.

Go, form a monitory wreath

For youth's unthinking brow ;
Go, and to busy mankind breathe

What most he fears to know ;
Go, strew the path where age doth tread,
And tell him of the silent dead.

But whilst to thoughtless ones and gay,

Ye breathe these truths severe.
To those who droop in pale decay.

Have ye no words of cheer ?
Oh yes ! ye weave a double spell.
And death and life betoken well.



Go, then, where wrapt in fear and gloom,
Fond hearts and true are sig'hing,

And deck with emblematic bloom
The pillow of the dying ;

And softly speak, nor speak in vain,

Of the long sleep and broken chain ;

And say, that He who from the dust

Recalls the slumbering flower.
Will surely visit those who trust

His mercy and His power ;
Will mark where sleeps their peaceful clay,
And roll, ere long, the stone away.
-Blackwood's Magazine.


Thy fruit full well the schoolboy knows,

Wild bramble of the brake !
So, put thou forth thy small white rose ;

I love it for his sake.
Though woodbines flaunt and roses glow

O'er all the fragrant bowers.
Thou need'st not be ashamed to show

Thy satin-threaded flowers ;

For dull the eye, the heart is dull,

That cannot feel how fair.
Amid all beauty beautiful.

Thy tender blossoms are !
How delicate thy gauzy frill !

How rich thy branchy stem !
How soft thy voice when woods are still,

And thou sing'st hymns to them ;

While silent showers are falling slow.

And, 'mid the general hush,
A sweet air lifts the little bough,

Lone whispering through the bush !
The primrose to the grave is gone ;

The hawthorn flower is dead ;
The violet by the mossed gray stone

Hath laid her weary head ;

But thou, wild bramble ! back dost bring,

In all their beauteous power.
The fresh green days of life's fair spring,

And boyhood's blossomy hour.



Scorned bramble of tbe brake ! once more

Thou bidd'st me be a boy,
To gad with thee the woodlands o'er,

In freedom and in joy.


Fair flower, that lapt in lowly g-lade
Dost hide beneath the g-reenwood shade,

Than whom the vernal gale
None fairer wakes on bank or spray,
Our England's lily of the May,

Our lily of the vale.

Art thou that ^ lily of the field,'

Which, when the Saviour sought to shield

The heart from blank despair,
He showed to our mistrustful kind.
An emblem to the thoughtful mind

Of God's paternal care ?

But not the less, sweet springtide's flower,
Dost thou display the Maker's power,

His skill and handiwork,
Our western valley's humbler child ;
Where in green nook of woodland wild,

Thy modest blossoms lurk.

What though nor care nor art be thine,
The loom to ply, the thread to twine ;

Yet, born to bloom and fade.
Thee, too, a lovelier robe arrays.
Than e'er in Israel's brightest days

Her wealthiest king arrayed.

Of thy twin leaves th' embowered screen
Which wraps thee in thy shroud of green ;

Thy Eden-breathing- smell ;
Thy arched and purple-vested stem,
Whence pendant many a pearly gem,

Displays a milk-white bell ;

Instinct with life thy fibrous root,

Which sends from earth the ascending shoot,

As rising from the dead.
And fills thy veins with verdant juice,
Charged thy fair blossoms to produce,

And berries scarlet red :



The triple cell, the twofold seed,
A ceaseless treasure-house decreed,

Whence aye thy race may grow,
As from creation they have grown,
While spring' shall weave her flowery crown,

Or vernal breezes blow :

Who forms thee thus with imseen hand,
Who at creation gave command.

And willed thee thus to be.
And keeps thee still in being through
Age after age revolving, who

But the Great God is He ?

Omnipotent to work his will ;
Wise, who contrives each part to fill

The post to each assig'ned ;
Still provident, with sleepless care
To keep ; to make the sweet and fair

For man's enjoyment kind!

" There is no God,'' the senseless say : — •
" Oh God, why cast'st thou us away 1"

Of feeble faith and frail
The mourner breathes his anxious thought—
By thee a better lesson taught,

Sweet lily of the vale.

Yes ! He who made and fosters thee,
In reason's eye perforce must be

Of majesty divine ;
Nor deems she that his guardian care
Will he in man's support forbear,

Who thus provides for thine.
-Field NaturaHsfs Magazine.


The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,
Of wailing* winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere.
Heaped in the hollows of the g'rove the withered leaves lie dead j
They rustle to the eddjong* gust and to the rabbit's tread.
The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrub the jay.
And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.

Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprung

and stood
In brighter light and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood ?



Alas ! they all are in their graves : the g-entle race of flowers
Are lying" in their lowly beds with the fair and good of ours.
The rain is falling where they lie ; but the cold November rain
Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.

The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long- ago,

And the wild-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow ;

But on the hill the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood.

And the yellow sun-flower by the brook in autumn beauty stood,

Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague

on men,
And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland, glade,

and glen.

And now, when comes the calm, mild day, as still such days

will come,
To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home,
When the sound of dropping" nuts is heard, though all the trees

are still.
And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill,
The south-wind searches for the flowers whose frag-rance late he

And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.

And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died,
The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side :
In the cold moist earth we laid her when the forest cast the leaf,
And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief;
Yet not unmeet it was that one like that young friend of ours,
So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.
— Bryant.


• ClAMiEtS'


Ui^lTllJi AW© EKTiElTALlPlflN©


Bo-.-er "b.'-^i^-




No. Page
Life of Flora Macdonald, - - - - -50

Cleanliness — Bathing — Ventilation, - - . - 51

Anecdotes of the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind, - - - 52

Sir Stamford Raffles and the Spice Islands, - - 53

The Sister of Rembrandt, -..-, - 54

Anecdotes of the Cat, . - -..-55

It's Only a Drop. By IVIrs S. C. Hall, - - - - 56


Curiosities of Vegetation, -•» - » 58

The Ancient Mariner, and Other Poems, by Coleridge, 59





M ON GST those whose self-denying hero-
ism, in the midst of perils and personal
privations, have shed a g^lory over female
devotedness^ Flora Macdonald has deserv-
edly obtained a high meed of applause.
This lady was the daughter of Macdonald
of Milton, in South Uist, one of the re-
moter of the Western Islands of Scotland. She was horn
about the year 1720, and received the usual limited education
of the daughter of a Highland gentleman of that ag-e. It
conferred little school learning, and scarcely any accomplish-
ments, but included good moral principles, and the feelings and
manners of a lady. When Flora was a girl, her father died,
leaving his estate to a son. The widowed mother, being still
young and handsome, was soon afterwards wooed by Mr Mac-
donald of Armadale, in the Isle of Skye ; but she long resisted
all his solicitations. At length he resorted to an expedient
which was not then uncommon in the Highlands, and was at
No. 50. 1


a later period more common in Ireland — ^he forcibly carried away
the lady from her house, and married her. It is said that they
proved a sufficiently happy couple ; though this of course does
not justify the act by which the marriage was brought about.

Flora, therefore, spent her youthful years in the house of her
stepfather at Armadale. She grew to womanhood without ever
having seen a town, or mingled in any bustling scene. The
simple life which she led in the rugged and remote Isle of Skye
was enlivened only by visits among neighbours, who were
thought near if they were not above ten miles distant. The
greatest event of her youth was her spending about a year in the
house of Macdonald of Largoe, in Argyleshire — a lonely High-
land mansion like her stepfather's, but one in which there was
probably more knowledge of the world, and more of the style
of life which prevailed in Lowland society. This was not long
before the breaking out of the rebellion of 1745.

When Prince Charles Stuart came in that year to Scotland,
to endeavour to regain the throne from which his family had
been expelled, he was joined by a great portion of the clan
Macdonald, including nearly the whole of the Clanranald branch,
to which Flora's father had belonged. Another large portion,
who looked to Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat as their supe-
rior, was prevailed upon by that gentleman to remain at peace ;
for he, though a friend of the Stuarts, v/as prudent enough to
see that the enterprise had no chance of success. Flora's step-
father, as one of Sir Alexander's friends, was among those who
refrained from joining the prince's standard; and it was pro-
bably from his example that Flora's brother, young Macdonald
of Milton, also kept quiet. Thus, it will be observed, Flora's
immediate living relatives were not involved in this unhappy
civil war ; but the branch of the clan to which she belonged was
fully engaged, and she and her friends all wished well to the
Stuart cause.

Prince Charles Edward landed in Scotland on the 19th of
August 1745. The place chosen for his disembarkation from
the small vessel which had conveyed him from France, was
Glenfinnin, a lonely vale at the head of Loch Shiel, in the
western part of Inverness-shire, through which runs the small
river Finnin.* Here having planted his standard, he was imme-
diately attended by a band of Highlanders of different clans,
with whom he forthwith proceeded towards the low country.
His small irregular army, augmented by adherents from Lowland
Jacobite families, passe(i, as is well known, through a series of
extraordinary adventures. After taking possession of Edin-

^ The spot is now distinguished by a monumental pillar, erected by the
late Mr Macdonald of Glenaladale, a young gentleman of the district,
whose grandfather, with the most of his clan, had engaged iu the unfor-
tunate enterprise which it is designed to commemorate.


burg-h, it attacked and routed a fully equal army of regular
troops at Prestonpans. It marched into Eng-land in the depth
of winter, and boldly advanced to Derby, a hundred and twenty-
seven miles from the metropolis. Then it retreated — turned
upon and routed a second army at Falkirk, but at Culloden was
finally broken to pieces by the Duke of Cumberland (April 16,
1746). Prince Charles, escaping' from the field, Avithdrew into
the western parts of Inverness-shire, with the design of endea-
vouring to get to France by sea ; while parties of the king's
troops proceeded to ravage the lands of all those who had been
concerned in the enterprise.

The government, sensible of the dangerous nature of the
prince's claims, had set a price of thirty thousand pounds upon
his head. This was a sum sufficient in those days to have pur-
chased a large estate in the Highlands ; and as the Highlanders
were generally poor, it was thought that some one would, for
its sake, betray the prince into his enemies' hands. Charles,
aware of the danger in which he stood, very quickly assumed
a mean disguise, in order to elude notice, and pursued his way
almost alone. Disappointed in his first attempts to obtain a
passage in a French vessel, he sailed in an open boat to the
outer Hebrides, where, after some perilous adventures, he found
a refuge in South Uist, under the care of the chieftain of Clan-
ranald and his lady, who resided there at a place called Orma-
clade. It has been mentioned that the Clanranald branch of the
Macdonalds had been engaged in the insurrection. They had,
however, been led out by the chief's eldest son, who alone,
therefore, became responsible to the law, while the chieftain
himself and the estate were safe. This enabled Clanranald and
his lady to extend their protection to Prince Charles in his now
distressed state. They placed him in a lonely hut amidst the
mountains of Coradale in South Uist, and supplied all his wants
for about six weeks, during which he daily hoped for an oppor-
tunity of escaping to France. At length, his enemies having-
formed some suspicion of his retreat, the island was suddenly
beset with parties by sea and land, with the view of taking him
prisoner — in which case there can be little doubt that his life
would have been instantly sacrificed, for orders to that effect had
been issued. Clanranald, his lady, and the two or three friends
who kept the prince company, were in the greatest alarm,
more particularly when they heard that the commander of the
party was a Captain Scott, who had already become notorious
for his cruelties towards the poor Highlanders. The first object
was to remove Charles from his hut, lest exact information about
it should have been obtained; the second was to get him, if
possible, carried away from the island. But the state of affairs
was such, that it was impossible for him to move a mile in any
direction without the greatest risk of being seized by some of his



At this period the Hebridean or Western Isles, in which the
prince had taken refugee, were in a rude and ahnost primitive
condition ; from which, indeed, they can scarcely now be said to
have emerg-ed. Extending- in a range, with detached masses, for
upwards of a hundred and fifty miles along the west coast of
Argyle, Inverness, Ross, and Cromarty shires, to one or other of
which they belong, they are generally difficult of access, and
present the wild features of rocks, mountains, heaths, and mo-
rasses in a state of nature, with occasional patches of cultivated
land, and hamlets of an exceedingly rude construction. The in-
habitants, who are of the orig'inal Celtic race, remain for the
most part tenants of small farms and allotments, from which
they draw a miserable subsistence, chiefly by the breeding of
cattle for the Lowland markets. Althoug^h poor and illiterate,
and with few residents amongst them belonging to the higher
classes, they are distinguished for their orderly conduct, their
patience imder an almost perennial adversity, and, like all the
Celtic people, for their attachment to their chief — a dignity now
little better than nominal. In the main range of the Hebrides,
Lewis is the largest island, and is situated to the north of
the others. South from it lie in succession North Uist, Benbe-
cula, and South Uist, the whole so closely environed and nearly
connected by islets, that they are spoken of collectively as the
Long Island. Opposite Soutli Uist, on the east, lies Skye, one
of the largest and most important of the Hebrides. It extends
along the coast of Ross-shire in an irregular manner, and is
remarkable for the boldness of its shores, and the grandeur of
some of its mountains. The indentations of the coast furnish a
g-reat variety of natural harbours, the refuge of vessels exposed
to the tempests of the western ocean. The chief town in the
island is Portree, and the principal mansion that of Dunvegan,
the seat of the Macleods, who own the greater part of the isle.
The southern district of Skye is called Sleat, or Slate. Skye is
separated from the outer Hebrides by a strait or sound, from
twenty to forty miles wide. Such, as will be immediately seen,
was the principal scene of the wanderings and hairbreadth
escapes of Charles Stuart. Fleeing* from island to island, cross-
ing straits in open boats, lurking in wilds and caves, attended
by seldom more than one adherent, and assisted, when in the
greatest extremity, by the heroic Flora Macdonald, did this
unfortunate prince contrive to elude the grasp of his enemies.

In South Uist, in which he had taken refuge with a single
follower named O'Neal, he was in continual danger from the
parties on the watch for his apprehension, and for about ten days
he wandered from place to place, crossing to Benbecula, and re-
turning, sometimes making the narrowest escape, but with the
faintest possible hope of finally eluding discovery. It was at
this critical juncture that Flora Macdonald became accessory to
his preservation. She was at the time paying 'a visit to her


brother at his house of Milton, in South Uist. It also happened
that her stepfather, Armadale, was acting' as commander of a
party of Skve militia among-st the troops in pursuit of the prince.
Armadale, like many others, had joined that militia corps at the
Avish of his superior, the laird of Sleat ; but, in reality, he retained
a friendly feeling* towards the Stuarts, and wished anything
rather than to be concerned in capturing the royal fug-itive.
Such associations of feeling', with an opposite mode of acting,
were not uncommon in those days. O'Neal, who had formerly
been slightly acquainted with Flora, seems to have suggested
the ideaof employing her to assist in getting Charles carried ofiT
the island.

One night near the end of June, he came by appointment to
meet the young lady in a cottage upon her brother's land in
Benbecula : the prince remained outside. After a little conver-
sation, O'Neal told her he had brought a friend to see her. She
asked with emotion if it was the prince, and O'Neal answered
in the affirmative, and instantly brought him in. She was
asked by Charles himself if she could undertake to convey him
to Skye, and it was pointed out to her that she might do this
the more easily, as her stepfather would be able to give her a
pass for her journey. The first idea of Flora was, not her own
peril, but the dang'er into which she might bring Sir Alexander
and Lady Margaret Macdonald, by carrying' the fugitive to
their neighbourhood. She therefore answered the prince with
the greatest respect, but added, that she could not think of
being the ruin of her friend Sir Alexander. To this it was
replied, that that gentleman was from home ; but, supposing
it were otherwise, she could convey Prince Charles to her
mother's house, which was conveniently situated on the sea-
side, and the Sleat family was not necessarily to have any con-
cern in the transaction. O'Neal then demonstrated to her the-
honour and glory of saving the life of her lawful prince : it has
been said that, to allay scruples of another kind, this light-
hearted Irishman offered instantly to marry her. If such a pro-
posal was really made, Flora did not choose to accept of it ; but,
without farther hesitation, she agi^eed to undertake the prince's

Pleased with the prospect which this frank and single-hearted
offer presented, Charles and his friend O'Neal again betook them-
selves to the fastnesses of Coradale, while IMiss Macdonald re-
paired to Ormaclade, to make preparations in concert with Lad}'
Clanranald. The journey was not accomplished without encoun-
tering a difficulty arising from the strictly-guarded state of the
passes. While on her way, crossing the "^sea-ford between Ben-
becula and South Uist, she and her servant were seized and
detained by a militia party, which, on inquiry, she found to be
that commanded by her stepfather. When Armadale came to the

Online LibraryWilliam ChambersChambers's miscellany of useful and entertaining tracts (Volume v.5-6) → online text (page 30 of 59)