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SKETCHES FROM NATURE.
April 1818. came considerably attached to him ; MY DEAR FRIEND,
and the more so, because I found in Though I had no desire to stay him a considerable similarity of taste. long at H-, yet I did not expect At our leisure hours we read and to have left it quite so soon : left it, talked about our favourite authors; however, I have, and after another and ough he had much less need little journey, I have arrived here in of me than I had of him, he was evisafety, and supplied with materials dently pleased with my company. In sufficient to furnish another letter of this manner time passed slowly on; travelling adventures.
the day employed in my common But to give you something like a occupation, working along with the regular narrative, I must begin where rest, and thinking on other scenes, my last letter left off. With a fixed and dearer friends; the evening spent determination to perform my duty in in reading, talking with my only a conscientious manner, and with my companion, or hearing him play a few father's strong warnings against “eye tunes upon his fiddle, which he often service” deeply impressed upon my did when he perceived me more than mind, I joined my companions in commonly inclined to sadness; and labour; and, along with them, be well he knew how to wake a strain gan the toils and duties of that sta- concordant with my feelings, and lead tion of life in which Providence has my mind away from itself, by the placed me. At every interval of la. associations stirred by plaintive meabour, every breathing-time, I stole a sures, till the grief which I continued few cautious scrutinizing glances at to feel became in itself a pleasure. my companions, anxious to observe Meanwhile the weather, which had them, but fearful of being myself been unsteady, became worse and observed. They were all like stran worse; the wind blew from the north. gers to me, and most of them stran east with the most bitter keenness, gers to one another also; the greater bearing along, at short intervals, thick part about middle age, and none so drifting showers of snow and sleet. young as myself. They appeared to Often, during the showers, we cowerbe well acquainted with that world ed under the feeble shelter of the which was so new to me; and no thin leafless beech-hedges, looking thing surprised me more, than the wistfully out for the re-appearance easy and unembarrassed manner with of blue-sky, and shivering till we which they talked to each other, were unable to speak; and always at though, till that very day, they had the “ fair blinks” working as fast as perhaps never met. Some of them possible, to acquire some warmth. accosted me in different ways, as Many a thought of the comfortable their several inclinations led them; fire-side of home did these chill blasts one speaking upon any indifferent awake in my mind, while I was subject; another upon the proper cul. trembling at the very heart ; but tivation of this or the other species of these I kept to myself, as I imaginplant; a third, gaily, but I thought ed it would be altogether disgraceful cruelly and officiously, bantering me, for me to appear overcome with cold, asking how long I had left my mo like a child. After some days of ther, and if I was not well “ speaned” such weather, the wind shifted into yet? I shrunk from their familia. the south-west, the skies cleared, the rity, and plied my work with a sick sun shone out bright and warm, and heart. One young man, apparently the little birds began to sing their about two or three years older than joyful notes. I felt the renovating myself, perceived my distress, spoke influence, and my heart at one time to me kindly, and endeavoured, by danced with delight, at another melt. talking upon agreeable and diverting ed away in tender recollections of subjects, to turn my mind from its that home whence the wind was now melancholy musings, and he partly blowing, whose whisperings seemed succeeded. In a short time I be to me like the voice of a friend.
mind was warmed with I'll inaybe thae sweet scenes o' youth see these feelings, another rhyming fit nac mair, came upon me, and here follows the But aye till the cauld han' o' death result.
shuts my e'e, Where'er I may wander, where'er I
may dwell, Recollections of Youthful Scenes. Dear, dear shall their memory be ever
to me. The gale saftly blaws frae the hills o' my hame,
An' oh! the lang gaze o' my fond mo. An' oh! how delightfu' its breathings
ther's e'e, to feel !
Sae tenderly bent on her wandering While gently its wing fans my cheek an'
boy ; my breast, What fond recollections o'er memory
My father's voice struggling wi' kindness
an' grief, steal !
An' his bosom's deep heave wi' the sad My father's wee cot rises fresh on my
parting sigh ;view,
An' each glad joyous face, that made An' the lang ash-tree soughing abune
hame doubly dear, the lum-head;
Sae dowie an' tearfu' to see me depart ; My ain green sod-seat by the bourtrees
Oh! that gaze, an' that sigh, an' each o'erhung,
dear waefu' face, Wi' their sweet milky blossoms or ber.
Till it ceases to beat shall aye dwell in ries sae red. The clear caller spring, an' its pure rippling stream,
Now, you must not be severe in Wi' a' its wee islands o' cresses sae your criticisms upon my poor verses; green ;
I cannot help it that they are not The bank where the primrose peeps mo- better, for they are the best I could destly out,
produce, and they are true represenAn' the violet uplifts to the sun its blue tations, both of the natural scenery een ;
of my dear home, and the warm Where the green woodbine clings to the feelings of my heart. auld wither'd tree,
A few days after the change of the While its dark berry nods to the whis. wind, and the agreeable alteration pering gale ;
of weather which followed, I got the The plantings where often I've daunert
offer of a situation some miles beIn the gloamin', an' listend the cushy. yond C.; and as it was considerdo'es' wail :
ably better in every respect than that
at H, it appeared to me the most The fields wi' the crimson-tipt gowans be- prudent course to accept it.
ingly I again packed up my little An' skirted wi' hawthorn, sae snawy, trunk, keeping out a small bundle
sae green ; Where I've watch'd the wee nestlings a'
for immediate use, till it should come
to me; seized my “gude aik stick" gaping for food, To frighten or herrie them laith wad I
and my umbrella, and prepared for been:
my departure. Though I had been The green spongy mosses, where light. little more than a fortnight at H-, somely waves
yet I felt something like grief or reThe tufted grass, white as the swan's gret at leaving it; particularly when downy breast;
my only companion shook hands Or the Crane-burn, that twisting, an' with me affectionately, and kindly boiling, an' wild,
wished me all manner of success and Foaming bursts o'er the Linn frac the happiness. I assure you I felt conhill's woody crest :
siderably at parting with him, and The thick branchy trees where I've nestled setting out on a new journey, alone mysel',
as before, to mingle again amongst An' gaz'd at the scud o' the fast-driv.
utter strangers,-Englishmen, too, a ing rain,
nation for which, from my boyhood, There swinging an' rock'd in the wild
I have felt no small dislike : and raving blast,
now to be really going into England, But now thae young days of delight and with the prospect of making my are a' gane :
residence there for some time! it
seemed to me as if I were labouring each other. To this he very willingly under some strange delusion, which agreed, so on we went together. He I had not the power to dispel. Of. was in person about my own height, ten, in my early youth, while I read but considerably stouter, and appathe history of « Wallace wight,” rently three or four years older, and, have I cried with grief and bitter from the paleness of his countenance, hatred at the “ Southrons," and seemed to have been less exposed to wished for power to avenge his mur- the action of the sun and the weather. der upon them,-often longed for a When we reached the village, and, day when the savage butcheries and after making inquiries, left the Dwanton devastations committed after road, and took that leading to Lthe battle of Culloden would be re I proposed having something to eat quited :--and now to feel myself ac. and drink, as I had not taken any tually going to England, to live ac refreshment since morning, and had mongst Englishmen! I thought upon since then walked upwards of twenty it again and again, and wondered how miles; he told me plainly that he I would behave when there.
could not afford it, as he had but one There was besides another circuma sixpence left, and that he did not stance which tended to wake feelings dare to break upon it till he knew of a peculiar kind in this journey: where he would get a bed, and what for above twenty miles I was exact- it would cost him. I offered the poor ly retracing the road which I had fellow a share of a bottle of porter, lately come ; so that I knew myself and some bread and cheese, which approaching nearer home every step, he accepted very thankfully. After yet knew that my journey would not eating and drinking a little, he belead me there. I cannot describe to came quite lively and happy, and you how strange it seemed, to be sung me two or three songs while we travelling the very road which led rested ourselves. One of them was homewards, yet with the unavoidaa' of a Jacobite character, and appable conviction in my mind that I rently not very old; it was so conwould not reach it: I felt as one cordant with my feelings in some feels in a dream, when something is respects, that I was desirous to posjust within his reach could he make sess it, got him to repeat it over the slightest exertion; but he sees slowly, while I wrote it down with the object of his ardent wishes glide my pencil, and here I send you a gradually away from his grasp, with copy of it. the consciousness that a slight effort on his part would be sufficient to oba Lang, lang shall Caledonia rue tain it, yet feels an utter inability of That day when owre Culloden's plain making even that slight effort. Thus The bluid o' her bravest heroes stream'd I drew gradually nearer and nearer Like the torrent-gush o' the wintry home, yet knew, at the same time, that I was drawing nearer the place When the fierce-soul'd victor joy'd to where I must leave the road which
hear leads home, unless, indeed, I should The plaided warrior's dying groan, continue it, as I could do, longed to An' his pitiless e'e grew red an' keen, do, yet would not do.
While he sternly cheer'd his ruffians on. A little before I reached that dread. Then ride ye north, or ride ye south, ed place of separation, I saw a young For the length o' a day, nought wad man sitting by the roadside a little
ye seen before me, as if resting himself. He But the ruin'd wa's a' bluidy stain'd rose as I came forward, and accosted Where the hames o' the luckless brave me very civilly with a “ Here's a fine
had been ; day." I answered, that it was indeed Then Scotia's targe sank frae her arın, a very good day for travelling; he Her gude braid sword was broke in immediately asked me if I could die twa, reet him the way to L-? I told The tapmost lower of her thistle droop'd, him that I was acquainted with it,
An' the last o' the Stuarts was driven but was intending to go there my. self that night, and that if he was Now she maun sit like a widow'd dame, going there, we might accompany In lonely wastes wi' slaughter red,
Nae crown to grace her joyless brow, picked up a little finty pebble from
Her freedom lost, her glory fled. the Scottish side,-drew my breath The howlet screams in the empty ha's, long and deep, and, quivering through Au' flaps his wing owre the chair o' every limb, withdrew my feet from her kings ;
the soil of my dear native land, which In courts that rang wi' the warrior's tread, it had never before quitted, and to The long grass waves, an' the nettle which I felt as if firmly rooted. As springs.
we were then too deeply wrapped in Sair, sair, abune the bluidy graves, thought for engaging in conversation,
Wi' cheavy heart she makes her mane, little more passed between my comWhere lie her best an' bravest sons, rade and me till we came in view of Wha bled for her rights, but bled in Netherby-hall, when our attention vain.
was immediately drawn to it, no less An' aye when she lifts her wae-bent head by the recollections it awakened, as Out owre the wide an' the weltering the scene of the song of “ Young
Lochinvar,” than by its uncommonly She takes a lang an'a wistful gaze, But the sails o' her Charlie nae mair least recollection that the whole is
beautiful situation. glad her e'e.
only a fiction of the poet's fancy, we But the day may come when the light o' endeavoured with great care to ascerher e'e
tain where the young hero had crossed Shall kindle again as it did of yore, the river; and we saw him, in the heat When “ Wallace wight" led her warriors of our awakened imaginations, dash on,
into the E-, burst through its An' “ the Bruce” her bluidy lion bore :
wooded banks, and sweep across An' her spreading thistle bauld an' free
“ Cannabie lee" like a falcon, bearIts armed head may uplift again : An' the race o' her Stuarts wear the and ballads of a similar tendency kept
ing off his prey in triumph. Tales crowi, An' yet in their father's ha’ may reign. the E, and entered L
us in conversation till we recrossed
- just When we found ourselves well re- “gloamin'” displayed its finest freshed, we set out on our journey shade, neither light nor dark, but again, my lively companion much that dusky greyness so favourable to improved in spirits, and keeping me calm and solemn contemplation. I froin indulging in gloomy reveries. had, however, another thing to enSome miles below L- we cross- gage my attention,-quarters for the ed the E— by a very fine romantic night were to be sought, which I bridge, or rather two bridges, one procured after a good deal of trouble, upon the other, occasioned by the occasioned by a fair in the town, exceeding depth of the craggy banks which had filled nearly all the houses between which the river is confined, of public entertainment. I then partand boils, and wheels, and foams, ed with my fellow-traveller, after an and thunders through with great agreement to meet next morning, beauty and grandeur. My compa- and continue our journey together. nion beguiled the way with many a In the house where I stopped I met song and many a merry tale, till at with a doctor and a painter, two length we came where the road is very singular characters in various crossed by a small stream, not so points of view, but both distinguishlarge as the stream of your little ed for cordial good fellowship over spring-well, but which is said to be the “ barley-bree," and warm-heartthe boundary between Scotland and ed genuine kindness. If it were in England. On approaching it, all my power to relate to you their conour mirth instantly vanished ;-we versation, and describe the peculi. looked at the small stream-into arities of their behaviour, it would England-back into Scotland-a- make ample annends for the weariround on its hills, and glens, and some dullness of this letter. I have green fields, and waving hazels and never seen a pair of such frank, kind, brushwood,—then on each other, eccentric men. The doctor, in parbut spoke not a word. I placed a ticular, is a delightful oddity ; but foot on each side of the stream,- all that I could say about him must pulled a small tuft of grass, and be reserved till i have the pleasure
of a real conversation with you; for, obscured by the distance ; yet Burnswere I to tell you all in my letters, wark was distinctly visible, lifting I would have nothing new and his singular, and, as it were, artstrange to talk about when we meet, formed brow above
the rest, and faras I hope we yet may, though i ther west my own Criffel, which raiscannot guess when.
ing its giant size above the Solway, After a very comfortable night's met my view, and awoke the fondest rest I continued my journey, but feelings of my heart. I gazed upon it without meeting my companion of till my eyes grew dim, my bosom hea. the preceding day: on I went, how- ved deeply, and my head swam with ever, alone, and something “dowie;" a sickening and confused pain ; then often looking back upon the retiring drawing a long farewell sigh, I broke hills of my dear native land, be- off my reverie, and bent my steps coming fainter and fainter, and for toward the town. I was not then ward upon the lofty Cambrian in a capacity to make any imparmountains, becoming gradually more tial remarks, therefore you must and more distinct. The morning not look for any at this time. My was beautiful, calm, and mildly sun heart panted, my whole frame ny; the wind just strong enough to shuddered, and the blood burned be heard whispering and breathing o'er my cheek and brow, when I enthrough the young green unfolding tered the Scotch-gate, where formerbuds of the earlier trees; the lark ly the heads of my gallant, though sung loud, clear, and melodious, misled countrymen, blackened in the high among the purple-streaked sun and storm. I did not make any clouds ; and the jolly Cambrian stop in the town,-I could not,-it « hynd" was raising his rude strain was not a place for me; but as I in a ruder voice as he followed his was struggling through the crowd in plough. The day passed on, the the market-place, my ear was assailsun reached the middle of the sky, ed by the well-known sound of a and shone warm and strong, when I bagpipe. l instantly drew near, and came at last in view of C
saw and heard an old man in tarstopped on a height to take a survey tan dress, with a true weather-beaten of it at leisure; but my powers of Highland face, playing "Lochaber no description are completely inadequate more." I stood as if petrified; a thouto give you any thing like an idea sand burning recollections flashed of its appearance. From the place across my brain, rousing me to frenwhere I stood, the first object that zy; then the long wailing fall smote attracted my attention was the ma upon my heart, till my blood chilled jestic and beautiful flow of the E— with the agony of woe. winding past the city with a gentle of the old man cast a supplicating bend, spanned by a newly-built and glance around the crowd ; the unstately bridge. The banks of the feeling brutes heeded it not; his river on the
north side are adorned strain quivered, sunk, and changed ; with a number of elegant mansions; I threw something into his hat, held the south bank, in one part, bristles by a little boy, grasped my stick with a variety of houses, lanes, and firmly in hand, and rushed through streets, of all dimensions, but all the crowd like a maniac, scarcely disorderly, dirty, and apparently in- able to restrain my maddened feelconvenient ; in another, the grey ings from venting themselves in fubattlements of the castle, and the rious words and frantic actions. narrow windows of the prison, frown Nothing worth mentioning occur. “ grim and horrible ;" over all float- red to me after leaving C-till ed a dark mass of smoky vapour, - I reached my present residence; and penetrated in a few places by the as I imagine you are by this time spires of a church or a cathedral. more than satisfied with the length In the distance appeared the mighty of my packet, (for it is more than a forms of Skiddaw and Saddleback, letter,) I shall reserve the description huge and high. Turning round, of the place, its inhabitants, and behind me, I beheld the hills of those in particular with whom I am
-shire, and the neighbouring more immediately connected, till apart of D-shire, mellowed and nother opportunity.