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For news, the manna of a day,
And from the hipped discourses gather,
That politics go by the weather.

Sometimes I dress, with women sit,
And chat away the gloomy fit;
Quit the stiff garb of serious sense,
And wear a gay impertinence,
Nor think nor speak with any pains,
But lay on fancy's neck the reins.


Law, licensed breaking of the peace, To which vacation is disease; A gipsy diction scarce known well By the magi, who law-fortunes tell, I shun; nor let it breed within Anxiety, and that the spleen.


I never game, and rarely bet,
Am loath to lend or run in debt.
No Compter-writs me agitate;
Who moralising pass the gate,
And there mine eyes on spendthrifts turn,
Who vainly o'er their bondage mourn.
Wisdom, before beneath their care,
Pays her upbraiding visits there,
And forces folly through the grate
Her panegyric to repeat.

This view, profusely when inclined,
Enters a caveat in the mind:
Experience, joined with common sense,
To mortals is a providence.
Reforming schemes are none of mine;
To mend the world's a vast design:
Like theirs, who tug in little boat
To pull to them the ship afloat,
While to defeat their laboured end,
At once both wind and stream contend:
Success herein is seldom seen,
And zeal, when baffled, turns to spleen.

Happy the man, who, innocent, Grieves not at ills he can't prevent; His skiff does with the current glide, Not puffing pulled against the tide. He, paddling by the scuffling crowd, Sees unconcerned life's wager rowed, And when he can't prevent foul play, Enjoys the folly of the fray. Yet philosophic love of ease I suffer not to prove disease, But rise up in the virtuous cause Of a free press, and equal laws.


Since disappointment galls within, And subjugates the soul to spleen, Most schemes, as money snares, I hate, And bite not at projector's bait. Sufficient wrecks appear each day, And yet fresh fools are cast away. Ere well the bubbled can turn round, Their painted vessel runs aground; Or in deep seas it oversets By a fierce hurricane of debts; Or helm-directors in one trip, Freight first embezzled, sink the ship.

When Fancy tries her limning skill
To draw and colour at her will,
And raise and round the figures well,
And show her talent to excel,

I guard my heart, lest it should woo
Unreal beauties Fancy drew,
And, disappointed, feel despair
At loss of things that never were.
[Contentment-A Wish.]

Forced by soft violence of prayer,
The blithsome goddess soothes my care;
I feel the deity inspire,

And thus she models my desire:
Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid,
Annuity securely made,

A farm some twenty miles from town,
Small, tight, salubrious, and my own;
Two maids that never saw the town,
A serving-man not quite a clown,
A boy to help to tread the mow,
And drive, while t'other holds the plough;
A chief, of temper formed to please,
Fit to converse and keep the keys;
And better to preserve the peace,
Commissioned by the name of niece;
With understandings of a size,
To think their master very wise.
May heaven (it's all I wish for) send
One genial room to treat a friend,
Where decent cupboard, little plate,
Display benevolence, not state.
And may my humble dwelling stand
Upon some chosen spot of land:
A pond before full to the brim,
Where cows may cool, and geese may swim;
Behind, a green, like velvet neat,
Soft to the eye, and to the feet;
Where odorous plants in evening fair
Breathe all around ambrosial air;
From Eurus, foe to kitchen ground,
Fenced by a slope with bushes crowned,
Fit dwelling for the feathered throng,
Who pay their quit-rents with a song;
With opening views of hill and dale,
Which sense and fancy do regale,
Where the half-cirque, which vision bounds,
Like amphitheatre surrounds:

And woods impervious to the breeze,
Thick phalanx of embodied trees;
From hills through plains in dusk array,
Extended far, repel the day;

Here stillness, height, and solemn shade,
Invite, and contemplation aid:
Here nymphs from hollow oaks relate
The dark decrees and will of fate;
And dreams, beneath the spreading beech
Inspire, and docile fancy teach;
While soft as breezy breath of wind,
Impulses rustle through the mind:
Here Dryads, scorning Phoebus' ray,
While Pan melodious pipes away,
In measured motions frisk about,
Till old Silenus puts them out.
There see the clover, pea, and bean,
Vie in variety of green;

Fresh pastures speckled o'er with sheep,
Brown fields their fallow Sabbaths keep,
Plump Ceres golden tresses wear,
And poppy top-knots deck her hair,
And silver streams through meadows stray,
And Naiads on the margin play,
And lesser nymphs on side of hills,
From plaything urns pour down the rills.
Thus sheltered free from care and strife,
May I enjoy a calm through life;

See faction, safe in low degree,
As men at land see storms at sea,
And laugh at miserable elves,
Not kind, so much as to themselves,
Cursed with such souls of base alloy,
As can possess, but not enjoy;
Debarred the pleasure to impart
By avarice, sphincter of the heart;
Who wealth, hard earned by guilty cares,
Bequeath untouched to thankless heirs ;
May I, with look ungloomed by guile,
And wearing virtue's livery-smile,
Prone the distressed to relieve,
And little trespasses forgive;
With income not in fortune's power,
And skill to make a busy hour;
With trips to town, life to amuse,
To purchase books, and hear the news,
To see old friends, brush off the clown,
And quicken taste at coming down,
Unhurt by sickness' blasting rage,
And slowly mellowing in age,
When fate extends its gathering gripe,
Fall off like fruit grown fully ripe,
Quit a worn being without pain,
Perhaps to blossom soon again.


'It is remarkable,' says Mr Wordsworth, that excepting The Nocturnal Reverie, and a passage or two in the Windsor Forest of Pope, the poetry of the period intervening between the publication of "Paradise Lost" and the "Seasons," does not contain a single new image of external nature.' The 'Nocturnal Reverie' was written by ANNE, COUNTESS OF WINCHELSEA, the daughter of Sir William Kingsmill, Southampton, who died in 1720. Her lines are smoothly versified, and possess a tone of calm and contemplative observation:

A Nocturnal Reverie.

In such a night, when every louder wind
Is to its distant cavern safe confined,
And only gentle zephyr fans his wings,
And lonely Philomel still waking sings;
Or from some tree, famed for the owl's delight,
She, holloaing clear, directs the wanderer right:
In such a night, when passing clouds give place,
Or thinly veil the heaven's mysterious face;
When in some river overhung with green,
The waving moon and trembling leaves are seen;
When freshened grass now bears itself upright,
And makes cool banks to pleasing rest invite,
Whence springs the woodbine, and the bramble rose,
And where the sleepy cowslip sheltered grows;
Whilst now a paler hue the foxglove takes,
Yet chequers still with red the dusky brakes;
When scattered glow-worms, but in twilight fine,
Show trivial beauties watch their hour to shine;
Whilst Salisbury stands the test of every light,
In perfect charms and perfect virtue bright:
When odours which declined repelling day,
Through temperate air uninterrupted stray;
When darkened groves their softest shadows wear,
And falling waters we distinctly hear;
When through the gloom more venerable shows
Some ancient fabric, awful in repose;

While sunburnt hills their swarthy looks conceal,
And swelling haycocks thicken up the vale:
When the loosed horse now, as his pasture leads,
Comes slowly grazing through the adjoining meads,
Whose stealing pace and lengthened shade we fear,
Till torn-up forage in his teeth we hear;
When nibbling sheep at large pursue their food,
And unmolested kine rechew the cud;

When curlews cry beneath the village walls,
And to her straggling brood the partridge calls;
Their short-lived jubilee the creatures keep,
Which but endures whilst tyrant man does sleep;
When a sedate content the spirit feels,
And no fierce light disturbs, whilst it reveals;
But silent musings urge the mind to seek
Something too high for syllables to speak;
Till the free soul to a composedness charmed,
Finding the elements of rage disarmed,
O'er all below a solemn quiet grown,
Joys in the inferior world, and thinks it like her own:
In such a night let me abroad remain,
Till morning breaks, and all's confused again;
Our cares, our toils, our clamours are renewed,
Or pleasures seldom reached again pursued.

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His estate lay in Warwickshire, and brought him in £1500 per annum. He was generous, but extrava gant, and died in distressed circumstances, plagued

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In the rough bristly stubbles range unblamed;
No widow's tears o'erflow, no secret curse
Swells in the farmer's breast, which his pale lips
Trembling conceal, by his fierce landlord awed:
But courteous now he levels every fence,
Joins in the common cry, and halloos loud,
Charmed with the rattling thunder of the field.
Oh bear me, some kind power invisible !
To that extended lawn where the gay court
View the swift racers, stretching to the goal;
Games more renowned, and a far nobler train,
Than proud Elean fields could boast of old.
Oh! were a Theban lyre not wanting here,
And Pindar's voice, to do their merit right!
Or to those spacious plains, where the strained eye,
In the wide prospect lost, beholds at last
Sarum's proud spire, that o'er the hills ascends,
And pierces through the clouds. Or to thy downs,
Fair Cotswold, where the well-breathed beagle climbs,
With matchless speed, thy green aspiring brow,
And leaves the lagging multitude behind.

Hail, gentle Dawn! mild, blushing goddess, hail! Rejoiced I see thy purple mantle spread O'er half the skies; gems pave thy radiant way, And orient pearls from every shrub depend. Farewell, Cleora; here deep sunk in down, Slumber secure, with happy dreams amused, Till grateful streams shall tempt thee to receive Thy early meal, or thy officious maids; The toilet placed shall urge thee to perform

The important work. Me other joys invite;
The horn sonorous calls, the pack awaked,
Their matins chant, nor brook thy long delay.
My courser hears their voice; see there with ears
And tail erect, neighing, he paws the ground;
Fierce rapture kindles in his reddening eyes,
And boils in every vein. As captive boys
Cowed by the ruling rod and haughty frowns
Of pedagogues severe, from their hard tasks,
If once dismissed, no limits can contain
The tumult raised within their little breasts,
But give a loose to all their frolic play;
So from their kennel rush the joyous pack;
A thousand wanton gaieties express
Their inward ecstacy, their pleasing sport
Once more indulged, and liberty restored.
The rising sun that o'er the horizon peeps,
As many colours from their glossy skins
Beaming reflects, as paint the various bow
When April showers descend. Delightful scene!
Where all around is gay; men, horses, dogs;
And in each smiling countenance appears
Fresh blooming health, and universal joy.


Somerville wrote a poetical address to Addison, on the latter purchasing an estate in Warwickshire. In his verses to Addison,' says Johnson, the couplet which mentions Clio is written with the most exquisite delicacy of praise; it exhibits one of those happy strokes that are seldom attained.' Addison, it is well-known, signed his papers in the 'Spectator' with the letters forming the name of Clio. The couplet which gratified Johnson so highly is as follows:

When panting virtue her last efforts made, You brought your Clio to the virgin's aid.

In welcoming Addison to the banks of Avon, Somerville does not scruple to place him above Shakspeare as a poet!

In heaven he sings; on earth your muse supplies
The important loss, and heals our weeping eyes:
Correctly great, she melts each flinty heart
With equal genius, but superior art.

Gross as this misjudgment is, it should be remembered that Voltaire also fell into the same. The cold marble of Cato was preferred to the living and breathing creations of the myriad -minded' magician.


The Scottish muse had been silent for nearly a century, excepting when it found brief expression in some stray song of broad humour or simple pathos, chanted by the population of the hills and dales. The genius of the country was at length revived in all its force and nationality, its comic dialogue, Doric simplicity and tenderness, by ALLAN RAMSAY, whose very name is now an impersonation of Scottish scenery and manners. The religious austerity of the Covenanters still hung over Scotland, and damped the efforts of poets and dramatists; but a freer spirit found its way into the towns, along with the increase of trade and commerce. The higher classes were in the habit of visiting London, though the journey was still performed on horseback; and the writings of Pope and Swift were circulated over the North. Clubs and taverns were rife in Edinburgh, in which the assembled wits loved to indulge in a pleasantry that often degenerated to excess. Talent was readily known and appreciated; and when Ramsay appeared as an author, he found the nation ripe for his native humour, his mannerspainting strains,' and his lively original sketches

of Scottish life. Allan Ramsay was born in 1686, in the village of Leadhills, Lanarkshire, where his

To wade through glens wi' chorking feet,
When neither plaid nor kilt could fend the weet;
Yet blythely wad he bang out o'er the brae,
And stend o'er burns as light as ony rae,
Hoping the morn1 might prove a better day.

enjoyed. Allan was admitted a member of this blythe society,' and became their poet laureate. He wrote various light pieces, chiefly of a local and humorous description, which were sold at a penny each, and became exceedingly popular. He also sedulously courted the patronage of the great, subduing his Jacobite feelings, and never selecting a fool for his patron. In this mingled spirit of prudence and poetry, he contrived


Allan Ramsay.

father held the situation of manager of Lord Hopeton's mines. When he became a poet, he boasted that he was of the auld descent' of the Dalhousie family, and also collaterally sprung from a Douglas loin.' His mother, Alice Bower, was of English parentage, her father having been brought from Derbyshire to instruct the Scottish miners in their art. Those who entertain the theory, that men of genius usually partake largely of the qualities and dispositions of their mother, may perhaps recognise some of the Derbyshire blood in Allan Ramsay's frankness and joviality of character. His father died while the poet was in his infancy; but his mother marrying again in the same district, Allan was brought up at Leadhills, and put to the village school, where he acquired learning enough to enable him, as he tells us, to read Horace faintly in the original.' His lot might have been a hard one, but it was fortunately spent in the country till he had reached his fifteenth year; and his lively temperament enabled him, with cheerfulness

At the age of fifteen, Allan was put apprentice to a wig-maker in Edinburgh-a light employment suited to his slender frame and boyish smartness, but not very congenial to his literary taste. His poetical talent, however, was more observant than creative, and he did not commence writing till he was about twenty-six years of age. He then penned an address to the Easy Club,' a convivial society of young men, tinctured with Jacobite predilections, which were also imbibed by Ramsay, and which probably formed an additional recommendation to the favour of Pope and Gay, a distinction that he afterwards

1 To-morrow.

To theek the out, and line the inside,
Of mony a douce and witty pash,
And baith ways gathered in the cash.

In the year 1712 he married a writer's daughter, Christiana Ross, who was his faithful partner for more than thirty years. He greatly extended his reputation by writing a continuation to King James's Christ's Kirk on the Green,' executed with genuine humour, fancy, and a perfect mastery of the Scottish language. Nothing so rich had appeared since the strains of Dunbar or Lindsay. What an inimitable sketch of rustic life, coarse, but as true as any by Teniers or Hogarth, is presented in the first stanza of the third canto!

Now frae the east nook of Fife the dawn
Speeled westlins up the lift;

Carles wha heard the cock had craw'n,
Begoud to rax and rift;

And greedy wives, wi' girning thrawn,
Cried lasses up to thrift;

Dogs barked, and the lads frae hand
Banged to their breeks like drift

By break of day.


bookseller's shop, opposite to Niddry's Wynd.' Ramsay now left off wig-making, and set up a He next appeared as an editor, and published two works, The Tea Table Miscellany, being a collection of songs, partly his own; and The Evergreen, a collection of Scottish poems written before 1600. He of this kind, being deficient both in knowledge and was not well qualified for the task of editing works taste. In the Evergreen,' he published, as ancient poems, two pieces of his own, one of which, The Vision, exhibits high powers of poetry. The genius of Scotland is drawn with a touch of the old heroic Muse:

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In 1725 appeared his celebrated pastoral drama, The Gentle Shepherd, of which two scenes had previously been published under the titles of Patie and Roger, and Jenny and Meggy. It was received with universal approbation, and was republished both in London and Dublin. When Gay visited Scotland in company with his patrons, the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry, he used to lounge in Allan Ramsay's shop, and obtain from him explanations of some of the Scottish expressions, that he might communicate them to Pope, who was a great admirer of the poem. This was a delicate and marked compliment, which Allan must have felt, though he


had previously represented himself as the vicegerent the Castle hill, which he called Ramsay Lodge, but of Apollo, and equal to Homer! He now removed which some of his waggish friends compared to a to a better shop, and instead of the Mercury's head which had graced his sign-board, he put up the presentment of two brothers' of the Muse, Ben Jonson and Drummond. He next established a circulating library, the first in Scotland. He associated on familiar terms with the leading nobility, lawyers, wits, and literati of Scotland, and was the Pope or Swift of the North. His son, afterwards a distinguished artist, he sent to Rome for instruction. But the prosperity of poets seems liable to an uncommon share of crosses. promptings of a taste then rare in Scotland to expend He was led by the his savings in the erection of a theatre, for the performance of the regular drama. He wished to keep his troop' together by the pith of reason;' but he did not calculate on the pith of an act of parliament in the hands of a hostile magistrate. The statute for licensing theatres prohibited all dramatic exhibitions without special license and the royal letters-patent; and on the strength of this enactment the magistrates of Edinburgh shut up Allan's theatre, leaving him without redress. To add to his mortification, the envious poetasters and strict religionists of the day attacked him with personal satires and lampoons, under such titles as-A Looking-Glass for Allan Ramsay;' The Dying Words of Allan Ramsay;' and 'The Flight of Religious Piety from Scotland, upon the account of Ramsay's lewd books, and the hell-bred playhouse comedians,' &c. Allan endeavoured to enlist Presi

dent Forbes and the judges on his side by a poetical address, in which he prays for compensation from the legislature

Syne, for amends for what I've lost,
Edge me into some canny post.

His circumstances and wishes at this crisis are more particularly explained in a letter to the president, which now lies before us:'Will you,' he writes, give me something to do? Here I pass a sort of half idle scrimp life, tending a trifling trade, that scarce affords me the needful. Had I not got a parcel of guineas from you, and such as you, who were pleased to patronise my subscriptions, I should not have had a gray groat. I think shame (but why should I, when I open my mind to one of your goodness?) to hint that I want to have some small commission, when it happens to fall in your way to put me into it."*

It does not appear that he either got money or a post, but he applied himself attentively to his business, and soon recruited his purse. A citizen-like good sense regulated the life of Ramsay. He gave over poetry before,' he prudently says, 'the coolness of fancy that attends advanced years should make me risk the reputation I had acquired.'

Frae twenty-five to five-and-forty,
My muse was nowther sweer nor dorty;
My Pegasus wad break his tether
E'en at the shagging of a feather,
And through ideas scour like drift,
Streaking his wings up to the lift;
Then, then, my soul was in a low,
That gart my numbers safely row.
But eild and judgment 'gin to say,
Let be your sangs, and learn to pray.

About the year 1743, his circumstances were sufficiently flourishing to enable him to build himself a small octagon-shaped house on the north side of

*From the manuscript collections in Culloden House.


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Ramsay Lodge.

goose pie. He told Lord Elibank one day of this ludicrous comparison. What,' said the witty peer, 'a goose pie! In good faith, Allan, now that I see you in it, I think the house is not ill named.' He lived in this singular-looking mansion (which has since been somewhat altered) twelve years, and died in the gums, on the 7th of January 1758, at the of a complaint that had long afflicted him, scurvy humour, and worldly enjoyment, is mixed up with age of seventy-two. So much of pleasantry, good the history of Allan Ramsay, that his life is one of the green and sunny spots' in literary biography. His genius was well rewarded; and he possessed that turn of mind which David Hume says it is more happy to possess than to be born to an estate of ten thousand a-year--a disposition always to see the favourable side of things.

Ramsay's poetical works are sufficiently various; under the heads of serious, elegiac, comic, satiric, and one of his editors has ambitiously classed them epigrammatical, pastoral, lyric, epistolary, fables and tales. He wrote trash in all departments, but failed in none. His tales are quaint and humorous, though, like those of Prior, they are too often indelicate. The Monk and Miller's Wife, founded on a poem of Dunbar, is as happy an adaptation of an old poet as any of Pope's or Dryden's from Chaucer. His lyrics want the grace, simplicity, and beauty which Burns breathed into these wood-notes wild,' designed alike for cottage and hall; yet some of those in the 'Gentle Shepherd' are delicate and tender; and others, such as The last time I came o'er the Moor, and The Yellow-haired Laddie, are still favourites with all lovers of Scottish song. least happy of the lyrics there occurs this beautiful In one of the image:

How joyfully my spirits rise,

When dancing she moves finely, O;

I guess what heaven is by her eyes,
Which sparkle so divinely, O.

His Lochaber no More is a strain of manly feeling
and unaffected pathos. The poetical epistles of

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