Imágenes de páginas


Enter Meg Dodds, encircled by a crowd of unruly boys,

ulom a town's-officer is driving off




[blocks in formation]

OP yore,

in old England, it was not thought good To carry two visages under one hood; What should folk say to you? who have faces such

That from under one hood, you last night showd us

Stand forth, arch deceiver, and tell us in truth,
Are you handsome or ugly, in age or in youth?
Man, woman, or child-a dog or a mouse?
Or are you, at once, each live thing in the house?
Each live thing, did I ask ?-each dead implement, too,
A work-shop in your person,-saw, chisel, and screw!
Above all, are you one individual ? I know
You must be at least Alexandre and Co.
But I think you're a troop-an assemblage-a mob,
And that I, as the Sheriff, should take up the job;
And instead of rehearsing your wonders in verse,
Must read you the Riot-Act, and bid you disperse.

ABBOTSFORD, 23d April.2

But whar's the gude Tolbooths gane now?
Whar's the auld Claught, wi' red and blue ?
Whar's Jamie Laing ? and whar's John Doo ??

And whar's the Weigh-house ?8
Deil hae't I see but what is new,

Except the Playhouse!

Yoursells are changed frae head to heel,
There's some that gar the causeway reel
With clas

hufe and rattling wheel,

And horses canterin',
Wha's fathers daunder'd hame as weel

Wi’ lass and lantern.




Mysell being in the public line,
I look for howfs I kenn'd lang syne,
Whar gentles used to drink gude wine,

And eat cheap dinners;
But deil a soul gangs there to dine,

Of saints or sinners!

After the play, the following humorous address (as

cribed to an eminent literary character,) was spoken with infinite effect by Mr. Mackay in the character of Meg Dodds.”Edinburgh Weekly Journal, 9th June, 1824.

Fortune's' and Hunter's 10 gane, alas !
And Bayle's11 is lost in empty space;

1When Monsieur Alexandre, the celebrated ventriloquist, 7 John Doo, or Dhu-a terrific-looking and high-spirited was in Scotland, in 1824, he paid a visit to Abbotsford, where he member of the Town Guard, and of whom there is a print by entertained his distinguished host, and the other visiters, with Kay, etched in 1784. his unrivalled imitations. Next morning, when he was about

8 The Weigh-House, situated at the head of the West Bow, to depart, Sir Walter felt a good deal embarrassed as to the Lawnmarket, and which had long been looked upon as an ensort of acknowledgment he should offer; but at length, resolv- cumbrance to the street, was demolished in order to make ing that it would probably be most agreeable to the young foreigner to be paid in professional coin, if in any, he stepped way for the royal procession to the Castle, which took place

on the 22d of August, 1822. aside for a few minutes, and, on returning, presented him with

9 Fortune's Tavern--a house on the west side of the old this epigram. The reader need hardly be reminded that Sir Walter Scott held the office of Sheriff of the county of Selkirk.” Stamp Office Close, High Street, and which was, in the early -Scotch newspaper, 1830.

part of the last century, the mansion of the Earl of Eglin? The lines, with this date, appeared in the Edinburgh An- toun. - The Lord High Commissioner to the General Assemnual Register of 1824.

bly of the day held his levees and dinners in this tavern. 9 James Laing was one of the Depute-Clerks of the city of

10 Hunter's-another once much-frequented tavern, in WriEdinburgh, and in his official connexion with the Police and ter's Court, Royal Exchange. the Council-Chamber, his name was a constant terror to evil- 11 Bayle's Tavern and Coffeehouse, originally on the North doers. He died in February, 1806.

Bridge, east side, afterwards in Shakspeare Square, but re4 The Watch-hole.

moved to admit of the opening of Waterloo Place. Such was 5 The Tolbooth of Edinburgh, The Heart of Mid-Lothian, the dignified character of this house, that the waiter always was pulled down in 1817.

appeared in full dress, and nobody was admitted who had not & The ancient Town Guard. The reduced remnant of this a white neckcloth-then considered an indispensable insig body of police was finally disbanded in 1817

nium of a gentleman.

And now if folk would splice a brace,

The sages to disparage woman's power,
Or crack a bottle,

Say, beauty is a fair, but fading flower;-
They gang to a new-fangled place

I cannot tell—I've small philosophy-
They ca' a Hottle.

Yet, if it fades, it does not surely die,

But, like the violet, when decay'd in bloom, The deevil hottle them for Meg!

Survives through many a year in rich perfume. They are sae greedy and sae gleg,

Witness our theme to-night, two ages gone, That if ye're served but wi' an egg,

A third wanes fast, since Mary fill'd the throne. (And that's puir pickin',)

Brief was her bloom, with scarce one sunny day, In comes a chiel and makes a leg,

'Twixt Pinkie's field and fatal Fotheringay: And charges chicken!

But when, while Scottish hearts and blood you

boast, “ And wha may ye be,” gin ye speer,

Shall sympathy with Mary's woes be lost? “ That brings your auld-warld clavers here?”

O’er Mary's mem'ry the learn'd quarrel,
Troth, if there's onybody near

By Mary's grave the poet plants his laurel,
That kens the roads,

Time's echo, old tradition, makes her name
I'll haud ye Burgundy to beer,

The constant burden of his fault'ring theme;
He kens Meg Dodds.

In each old hall his grey-hair'd heralds tell

Of Mary's picture, and of Mary's cell, I came a piece frae west o’ Currie;

And show-my fingers tingle at the thoughtAnd, since I see you're in a hurry,

The loads of tapestry which that poor Queen Your patience I'll nae langer worry,

wrought, But be sae crouse

In vain did fate bestow a double dower
As speak a word for ane Will Murray,'

Of ev'ry ill that waits on rank and pow'r,
That keeps this house.

Of ev'ry ill on beauty that attends

False ministers, false lovers, and false friends. Plays are auld-fashion'd things, in truth,

Spite of three wedlocks so completely curst, And ye've seen wonders mair uncouth ;

They rose in ill from bad to worse, and worst, Yet actors shouldna suffer drouth,

In spite of errors—I dare not say more,
Or want of dramock,

For Duncan Targe lays band on his claymore. Although they speak but wi' their mouth,

In spite of all, however, humours vary,
Not with their stamock.

There is a talisman in that word Mary,

That unto Scottish bosoms all and some But ye tak care of a' folk’s pantry;

Is found the genuine open sesamum!
And surely to hae stooden sentry

In history, ballad, poetry, or novel,
Ower this big house, (that's far frae rent-free,) It charms alike the castle and the hovel,
For a lone sister,

Even you-forgive me—who, demure and shy, Is claims as gude's to be a ventri

Gorge not each bait, nor stir at every fly,
How'st ca’d-loquister.

Must rise to this, else in her ancient reign

The Rose of Scotland has survived in vain.
Weel, sirs, gude'en, and have a care,
The bairns mak fun o' Meg nae mair;
For gin they do, she tells you fair,

And without failzie,
As sure as ever ye sit there,

She'll tell the Bailie.



From Redgauntlet.




“ It was but three nights ago, that, worn out by the uniformity of my confinement, I had manifested more symptoms of despondence than I had before exhibited, which I conceive may have attracted the attention of the domestics, through whom the circumstance might transpire. On the next morning, the following lines lay on my table; but how conveyed

The sages-for authority, pray look
Seneca's morals, or the copy-book-

1 Mr. William Murray became manager of the Edinburgh was never spoken, but written for some play, afterwards withTheatre in 1815.

drawn, in which Mrs. H. Siddons was to have spoken it in the

character of Queen Mary."— Extract from a Letter of Sir $" I recovered the above with some difficulty. I believe it Walter Scoll to Mr. Constable, 22d October, 1824.


there, I cannot tell. The hand in which they are written is a beautiful Italian manuscript.”Dairsie

(2.)—SONG—THE TRUTH OF WOMAN. Latimer's Journal, Chap. x.

1. As lords their labourers' hire delay,

Woman's faith, and woman's trust-
Fate quits our toil with hopes to come,

Write the characters in dust;
Which, if far short of present pay,

Stamp them on the running stream,
Still owns a debt and names a sum.

Print them on the moon's pale beam,

And each evanescent letter
Quit not the pledge, frail sufferer, then,

Shall be clearer, firmer, better,
Although a distant date be given;

And more permanent, I ween,
Despair is treason towards man,

Than the thing those letters mean.
And blasphemy to Heaven.

I have strain’d the spider's thread
'Gainst the promise of a maid ;
I have weigh'd a grain of sand

'Gainst her plight of heart and hand; From The Betrothed.

I told my true love of the token,
How her faith proved light, and her word was

broken :

Again her word and truth she plight,

And I believed them again ere night.

Chap. xx.
SOLDIER, wake—the day is peeping,
Honour ne'er was won in sleeping,

Never when the sunbeams still
Lay unreflected on the hill :

“ The minstrel took from his side a rote, and 'Tis when they are glinted back

striking, from time to time, a Welsh descant, sung at From axe and armour, spear and jack, others a lay, of which we can offer only a few fragThat they promise future story

ments, literally translated from the ancient language Many a page of deathless glory.

in which they were chanted, premising that they are Shields that are the foeman's terror,

in that excursive symbolical style of poetry, which Ever are the morning's mirror.

Taliessin, Llewarch, Hen, and other bards, had de

rived perhaps from the time of the Druids.” II. Arm and up—the morning beam

I ASK'D of my harp,“ Who hath injured thy chords?” Hath call'd the rustic to his team,

And she replied, “The crooked finger, which I mocked Hath call’d the falc'ner to the lake,

in my tune,” Hath call'd the huntsman to the brake; A blade of silver may be bended—a blade of steel The early student ponders o'er

abidethHis dusty tomes of ancient lore.

Kindness fadeth away, but vengeance endureth. Soldier, wake—thy harvest, fame; Thy study, conquest; war, thy game. The sweet taste of mead passeth from the lips, Shield, that would be foeman's terror, But they are long corroded by the juice of wormwood; Still should gleam the morning's mirror. The lamb is brought to the shambles, but the wolf

rangeth the mountain;

Kindness fadeth away, but vengeance endureth.
Poor hire repays the rustic's pain;
More paltry still the sportsman's gain : I ask'd the red-hot iron, when it glimmer'd on the
Vainest of all the student's theme

Ends in some metaphysic dream:

“Wherefore glowest thou longer than the firebrand?” Yet each is up, and each has toild

“ I was born in the dark mine, and the brand in the Since first the peep of dawn has smiled;

pleasant greenwood.”
And each is eagerer in his aim

Kindness fadeth away, but vengeance endureth.
Than he who barters life for fame.
Up, up, and arm thee, son of terror! I ask'd the green oak of the assembly, wherefore its
Be thy bright shield the morning's mirror.

boughs were dry and sear'd like the horns of Chap. xix.

the stag;


And it show'd me that a small worm had gnaw'd its Whate'er your liberty hath known of pleasure.

Roderick. No, fairest, we have trifled here too long; The boy who remembered the scourge, undid the And, lingering to see your roses blossom, wicket of the castle at midnight.

I've let my laurels wither. Kindness fadeth away, but vengeance endureth.

Old Play.


[blocks in formation]

An evil principle innate,

“ Therefore thus speaks my lady,"the fals page he said, Contending with our better fate,

And the knight lowly louted with hand and with head, And oh! victorious still ?

“ Fling aside the good armour in which thou art clad,

And don thou this weed of her night-gear instead,
Howe'er it be, dispute is vain.

For a hauberk of steel, a kirtle of thread:
On all without thou hold'st thy reign, And charge, thus attired, in the tournament dread,
Nor less on all within;

And fight as thy wont is where most blood is shed,
Each mortal passion's fierce career, And bring honour away, or remain with the dead.”
Love, hate, ambition, joy, and fear,
Thou goadest into sin.

Untroubled in bis look, and untroubled in his breast,

The knight the weed hath taken, and reverently hath Whene’er a sunny gleam appears,

kiss’d: To brighten up our vale of tears,

“ Now bless'd be the moment, the messenger be blest ! Thou art not distant far;

Much honour'd do I hold me in my lady's high behest; 'Mid such brief solace of our lives,

And say unto my lady, in this dear night-weed dress’d, Thou whett'st our very banquet-knives To the best arm'd champion I will not veil my crest; To tools of death and war.

But if I live and bear me well 'tis her turn to take the

Thus, from the moment of our birth, Here, gentles, ends the foremost fytte of the Lay of
Long as we linger on the earth,

the Bloody Vest.
Thou rul’st the fate of men;
Thine are the pangs of life's last hour,
And—who dare answer?—is thy power,
Dark Spirit ! ended Then?

Chap. iii.


The Baptist's fair morrow beheld gallant feats(2.)—SONG OF BLONDEL.—THE BLOODY There was winning of honour, and losing of seatsVEST.

There was hewing with falchions, and splintering of

staves, “ The song of Blondel was, of course, in the Nor. The victors won glory, the vanquish'd won graves. man language ; but the verses which follow express O, many a knight there fought bravely and well, its meaning and its manner.”

Yet one was accounted his peers to excel,

And 'twas he whose sole armour on body and breast, 'Twas near the fair city of Benevent,

Seem'd the weed of a damsel when boune for her rest. When the sun was setting on bough and bent, And knights were preparing in bower and tent, There were some dealt him wounds that were bloody On the eve of the Baptist's tournament;

and sore, When in Lincoln green a stripling gent,

But others respected his plight, and forebore. Well seeming a page by a princess sent,

“ It is some oath of honour,” they said, “and I trow, Wander'd the camp, and, still as he went,

'Twere unknightly to slay bim achieving his vow.” Enquired for the Englishman, Thomas a Kent. Then the Prince, for his sake, bade the tournament

cease, Far hath he fared, and farther must fare,

He flung down his warder, the trumpets sung peace; Till he finds his pavilion nor stately nor rare, And the judges declare, and competitors yield, Little save iron and steel was there ;

That the Knight of the Night-gear was first in the And, as lacking the coin to pay armourer's care,

field. With his sinewy arms to the shoulders bare, The good knight with hammer and file did repair The feast it was nigh, and the mass it was nigher, The mail that to-morrow must see him wear, When before the fair Princess low louted a squire, For the honour of Saint John and his lady fair. And deliver'd a garment unseemly to view,

With sword-cut and spear-tbrust, all hack'd and s6 Thus speaks my lady,” the page said he,

pierced through; And the knight bent lowly both head and knee, All rent and all tatter'd, all clotted with blood, “ She is Benevent's Princess so high in degree, With foam of the horses, with dust, and with mud, And thou art as lowly as knight may well be- Not the point of that lady's small finger, I ween, He that would climb so lofty a tree,

Could have rested on spot was unsullied and clean. Or spring such a gulf as divides her from thee, Must dare some high deed, by which all men may see “ This token my master, Sir Thomas a Kent, His ambition is back'd by his high chivalrie. Restores to the Princess of fair Benevent;

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »