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I dauner dowf and drearie,
With dreaming of my dearie.
The raven tresses curling,
Where chrystal streams are flowing ;
Shower'd o'er with snowy gowan.
With all the world's darling :
For bonnie May Macfarlane. « Ah !” said the old man, with a as those worthies of ancient verse sigh, “thy sweet singing would have had done. For every man wore his soothed the gentle and sorrowful spi- own belt his own way, said the pithy rit of the kind and warm hearted proverb, and the critics might as well youth who wrote that little song. decree him to cheer his horses in Well I knew him, and many a Greek, and his sheep-dogs in Latin, penny ballad I gave him, and history as desire him to tell a tale of Scoto too, for I saw the poet in his dark tish courtship in any other way than eye, and the bairn grew and became in the manner of his native country. a comely stripling; and many a Ah!' said my poor and simple dauner we have taken together on friend, you are a plain and an honest bonnie brae sides and sunny burn man ; but though your ellwand is as banks. Many a merry song, and accurate as the rod of justice itself, many a grave and moving ballad he you know nothing about the meawrote; and while wood grows, and suring rods) those sons of Anak, water runs, will some such rosie and the critics. What do I know atender lips as thine, I trust, prolong bout poetry, since I have not been his strains. Ah! he was a social and regularly flogged into a knowledge a joyous lad. The maidens sang his of its mystery, along with the chilsongs, and the men chaunted his bal- dren of the rich, and the titled; I lads, and his heart rejoiced as his have been following the Will-o'-wisp name began to find wings. But there of my own idle fancy, instead of stucame a man who spoke Greek, and dying under the light of an antique there came another who spoke Latin, lamp; and adoring the white-footed and they laid their classic line and and high-kilted muse of Caledonia, level along the productions of my instead of worshipping the nymphs simple and modest friend, and de- of Helicon, laving my forehead in clared they were not according to its stream, and invocating Apollo. the use and wont of ancient nations, Ah! my friend, I have been writing and ought therefore to be trodden nonsense for seven years;—in a homedown. And they wrote a book a- ly and natural way, say you? So gainst him, and pulled the cob- much the worse-what has nature to webbed edifice of learning about bis do with poetry.' And he drooped ears, and nearly smothered him in and faded away from that hour~the rubbish ; I lifted him up, and neglected his dress, ceased to cheer sought to comfort him, but the and charm us with song and tale ; words of the two wise men sank to and now he lies in the lonely kirkhis heart, and he refused to be com- yard of Dryfesdale,-a stone at the forted. I told him how nature was foot, and one at the head of his dark nature all the world over, and since and narrow dwelling." he thought and expressed himself When the old man concluded, he like a true Scotchman, in a natural gathered all his little books together, and impressive way, he had just done and securing them with a strap and
a string, sat pondering beside them, “Ah! bless yere kind and cheering with a brow of sorrow, which seem- tongue," said the old man, with a ed thinking of Dryfesdale kirkyard, shake of his head; “ye were ever and on the
gifted friend who lay low the poor man's friend, in word and in and undistinguished in that ancient deed, but I wish not to deceive myburial ground. His dog, ever ready self into the hopes of my span being to share in his joys or his sorrows, lengthened. I have had warnings who, when the old man sang or three, beside the voice of decaying whistled on his way, gambolled round limbs, and feebleness of mind, and and round in the sun, and barked in I am prepared for the journey." joy at its own shadow-now arose “Warnings,” said I; “ what warnfrom the hearth fire, against which it ings have you had ? the warning of had spread its white bosom and many years is warning enough.” “ It brown mouth, and placing its fore has not been thought so for me,” feet on the seat, looked wistfully, and said the old man ; * and yet I imawith an uneasy whimper, in his mas- gined not the dead would have been ter's face. “Bless thee for a poor moved, to tell me that my departure dumb dog," said one of the shep- was nigh. I had a daughter, and I herds, throwing him as he spoke a had a friend ; they have long ceased piece of cheese. “And bless thee to sojourn on the earth; but why for a faithful servant,” said anothe should I tell of those awful and mysshepherd, sharing with him a piece terious things which are revealed to of roasted lamb. “ And bless thee one like me, between living and for a true and a stedfast friend,” said dying? It is enough that I know I the old man himself; “ many an must soon lay down my head to die, eerie road and dangerous way have and that this is the last journey I we braved together; in many a strange shall make over this friendly land. I place have we slept at midnight; have bid farewell to the auld house the green grass our bed, and our co- of Comerue, where I first opened the vering the starry sky. Many a piece latch of my pack; I left it my blessof bread thrown to us in scorn by a ing, and that precious book A Groat's churlish hand have we divided be worth of Wit for a Penny; meikle tween us; many a truss of straw may the goodman need it; he has have we reposed upon; and if I saved been thrice married, and longs to be thee from the fierceness of stronger wedded again, though he treads on and more servile dogs, thou also hast the heels of eighty years. I called requited my kindness. Shall I forget in too on the merry portioner of when thou fastenedst on the throat of Longbank, and found him lying Will Gordon the gypsie, when he laughing on the Langsettle, amid came with a bare knife to spill my some seven-and-thirty grand chillife, and spulyie my goods, or when dren; I gave them a ballad each, ye
held up my head in the darkest and a blessing-my heart was too pool of the Nith into which I had full to bid them farewell
. I have fallen, returning from the merry and been too at the lonesome burial. hospitable hearth of the good man of ground of Dryfesdale—I went at the Sandbank. But we must part twilight, for I wished not an old soon, my faithful four-footed friend." man's sorrow should be seen; my
“ I wish,” said the goodwife, poor dumb friend knew the way to " that ye would cheer up your heart, the poor song-maker's grave, and we and not be cast down ; you are feeble, humbled ourselves for two dreary and you have been sick-remain un- hours beside it-the only honour that der our rooftree ;- the converse of was ever done to the memory of the this good man, the ministering of gentlest bard of Annandale. Ah! I these maidens, and perhaps a little of should like but that's more to be their mirth, will please and divert wished for than expected, that some you. We shall read your histories, kindly-hearted person would dig my hearken to your tales; and I, even Í grave, and lay my bones beside his ; will sing one of your tenderest and I should like too to have some songs; so cheer up, man-ye will thing of a sober lykewake. I think dispense the blessings of ballads, and ay the spirit is 'soothed with the romances, and sermons, over our sound of solemn song, and douce moorlands for many sunny summers.” men's prayers; and though I do
not positively enjoin any thing like and if all his gifts were graces, he wassail or carousal, yet a piece of is now in the land of promise, and well spiced cake, and a wet-the-lip the vale of milk and honey. Ah! glass of wine or brandy, or both, many a blessing has he bestowed on would keep life in the living, and the humblest mendicant; and his would do no harm to the dead. If blessing he reckoned equal to food, the douce and dainty wife of Walter and raiment, and money ;- he was a Halliday sees no harm in this humble saving man, and a discreet, and the piece of vanity, and has any regard ae best driver of a bitter hard barfor an auld man who fell in love gain that ever multiplied pence into with her at a Quarrelwood preach- pounds." ing, when she was a rosie damsel, Amid this light and vain discourse, with curled love locks, she will find I had observed the old man closely, enough in this poor wallet to make and I could see that his mind had the burial decent, and the grave wandered away to grave and serious deep, and bribe besides the devout things. He clasped his hands closechissel of that precious man, John ly, and by the thoughtfulness of his Crombie, to cut my grave-stone. Ye brow, and the devotional glance of will find him dwelling on a little his eye, it was evident he was busied spot of dry and barren land, called with internal meditation and prayer, Knowebuckle, near the green groves He arose suddenly from his seat, and of Dalswinton."
placing himself beside the mistress “Ah! Knowebuckle," said a young of the house, addressed her in a low and merry Cameronian, from that and a hollow voice. « The world little and graceless village called has nigh done with me, and I have Quarrelwood, who had just escaped nearly done with the world; so time from the discipline and restraint of a has measured matters atween us. I strict professor to the more lax be- have gleaned a little wealth-some lievers among the moorlands;“I know seven hundred pounds Scots, beside the placema ringing gravel, and a a favourite piece of gold or two. Ye pouring sand ;-all the wit of man will find it folded up beside the right could never persuade a blade of corn sleeve of my ae fair daughter's gown, to grow upon it; and John Crombie ! along with a Bible, which was my I think I see his worsted wig, and father's; it is black print, and has his scripture-quoting face before me seen the persecution. "Donald Cargil at this moment ; dancing was his preached his last sermon from it on abomination, and strong drink he ab- the top of the Wardlaw hill. All horred-and the company of women this ye will keep if ye see me not was to him as the thing which tempt- alive and in the body on the fourth ed Judah to sin. Honest John loved day after to-morrow; and if ye think no pleasures that were expensive, that an old wandering man should and yet, for all the land he bought, be interred without the vanity of red and the gold he amassed, a fever wine, and white burial-bread, and caught him one day counting his that bearing him to the kirkyard of wealth, and carried him to the grave Dryfesdale on horses' necks, with a without a penny in his pocket, and velvet mortcloth, and a train of old who will cut his grave-stone no one and devout men following after him, knows.” “And is douce John Crom- savours too much of ostentation; bie dead?” said a shepherd; “Who even let his body be borne on black now shall go from parish to parish, handspokes, by four hired mourners. engraving the virtues of our fathers It will be 'all one to John Corson. on churchyard stones; who now will And now, goodwife, what will seem lift up the bonnet, and pour a long strangest of all is yet to come ;-I am blessing o'er a basin of begged a wayward and a wilful man-1 canbroth ; and who will keep the love of not say that I have had much plealucre living among us?” “ Ah! and sure lately in human company, and I is John Crombie dead?” said a dame would give a painted chamber and from the corner, who had come to a down bed any time, for the summit barter the luxuries of the vales for of a green hill in summer, and the the wool of the mountains; “he pray- stars ascending and descending, aed the longest prayer at a burial, round me. Now when I am sick, drank the deepest cup at a bridal, and the death pang is approaching,
it would be a pleasant and an ac- To this inquiry one maiden made ceptable thing to me to be placed in reply: “ As I stood by the tryste some lonesome spot; my back to a thorn, looking eastward, towards tree, my feet to a running stream, Johnstone-holm, I knew not what and my face to the heaven, that I could make me stand and look that might die with the wonders of Him way, for I hardly expected to see above spread out in glory before me. any of the merry Halliday lads so Free, tree, would the spirit part then; late at e’en,--but looking I was, and I have often thought that the whatever was the cause, when, inpresence of the frail labours of man, stead of a straight light-footed youth the polished woods, the whited wall, of eighteen, like Pate Halliday, or his and the woven hangings retarded the brother Frank, an old man approachflight of the ethereal part. But I ed, half bent to the ground, a staff see ye think I am raving, and I'll no in his hand, a dog at his foot, and say but it may seem so to the mass the very form of douce John Corof mankind. I shall now retire to son. Aha! man, thought I; what the little favourite bedchamber, with have thy grey locks to do with dafthe smooth floor, and the brown fin?-no but that a man as old, with hangings; but be not surprised if I so much siller in his pack, might am gone away by the dawn, for I take a bonnie lass by the hand: but have a strange desire to see the wild love-trysting seemed to be far from and lonely glen of Johnstone before his thought, for he sauntered away I die.” And with these words he over the moorland path, and I saw arose and went into his little bed- no more of him.” And this was all chamber.
the information which could be obThe morning was one of the sweet- tained. est and balmiest with which summer Night came, and midnight too, yet blesses the month of July. Shep- the old man returned not; and on the herds are early movers - they rise following morning we traversed moor with the lark, but I sought not to and mountain, and wood and glen in fulfil this ancient boast-I only arose quest of him ; but no tidings could with the sun, and, standing in the be heard. All that day, and far into open porch, looked towards the pas- the night, the search continued, and ture lands. The shepherd watched many unfrequented places, and every at the head of his flock; the moor lonely stream, and deep pool, undergame retired to the mountain sides; went a close and scrupulous exathe song of the maiden was heard in mination : our search was all in vain. the vale, while the house-smoke Many idle, and whimsical, and superclimbed slow, and blue, into the stitious rumours began to circulate mild morning air. After two hours' about his disappearance. We disconmeditation on the mysteries of the tinued our pursuit, and returning to book of Revelation, I re-entered the our homes, renewed again the talk house, and seating myself at the concerning his mysterious departure. breakfast table, spread out my palms On the third day, a youth came from
Tarry a mo- the neighbourhood of Dryfesdale ment,” said the mistress ; « let us kirk, and told a story which found first be joined by our guest. many believers. He was returning, Child,” said she, addressing one he said, about one in the morning,
go and awaken John from a tryste with the daughter of a Corson.” The child went and re- neighbouring farmer; a successful turned with a shout, “ John Cor- rival had prevailed against him, and son's gone, his bed's cold, and he has he was in a desperate state of mind. left pack and parcel. I'll warrant A steep scaur, and a deep water, ye'll never see him mair-and who were in his case things to be dreaded, will bring me the bonnie song-book he therefore ascended the river bank, he promised, when I cried about the and skirted the old burial ground of hard proof catechism?” The good Dryfesdale to get upon the regular wife shook her head at this intel- path. He heard a voice coming from ligence, and recalling the last words among the thick-piled grave-stones, of the old man, asked her menial and he had just as much courage as maidens if any one of them had seen enabled him to look over the ruined or heard him pass from the house. wall. He there saw either old John
of her sons,
Corson, or a spirit in his shape and him," said his comrade, “ if he had dress, kneeling over a low grassy watched the flocks of the shepherd grave, and making a most dolorous psalmist himself; he has worried the moan; he might be chaunting some lamb of bonnie Jeanie Halliday, and old-world rhyme for aught he knew shoot him I will as sure as a flint -but saving the tune of the Martyrs, yields fire.” The object of his wrath he never heard aught so mournful. had already singled out and throttled Presently the old man arose from his another victim; and thought he shepknees, laid his staff along the ground herd fired as the dog scaled the fence, like one measuring a place for a the lamb, a fair and a fat one, was grave, and he heard him say, “Two carried clear off. He gained the ell long, and two ell deep; and neighbouring wood, and disappeared. that's the princedom the monarch The account which the shepherds maun come to, as well as old John gave of this new depredator spread Corson." He never liked to hear far and wide, and men with staves folk talking about such damp and and fowling-pieces were hastily coluncomfortable lodgings, so away he lected to pursue and destroy him. went, whistling the tune of “ Hame- A pastoral district is a place where ly Halliday," and the tune had e human life, except when periled by nough ado to keep up his courage. winter storms and Lammas floods, is On being further questioned, he said exceedingly monotonous; nor is this the old man was kneeling by the drowsy-hed much enlivened by ballad-maker's grave,- an idle and their songs and ballads, which as thriftless lad, who died stark mad of sisted me much in my afternoon the verse-fever, an incurable ma- slumberings. The slaying of a lamb lady, and was laid among douce and by the fox, is therefore reckoned a reprosaic folk, in the bonnie kirkyard lief to this daily dullness; and shepof Dryfe. This information gave a herds sally forth to attack their new turn to our speculations about crafty adversary with a bustle and a the fate of the old man; two days preparation worthy of a less humble elapsed, and we could learn nothing cause. I found myself therefore in further -no one had seen or heard of the company of Walter Halliday, him since his midnight visit to the and two of his shepherds, about the old kirkyard.
grey of the morning, with a fowlingThe farm of Walter Halliday was piece in my hand. We stood by the very extensive, and diversified with limit of the remains of the ancient hill and dale, and glen and stream; forest which once covered the upper the shepherds had constructed sheals districts of Nithsdale and Annandale or summer huts on the limit of the -a stream emerged from the thick land, and several folds were made wood beside us, and something like for favourite sheep among the pre- a footpath winded along its margin. served nooks, where the herbage We heard the distant descent of the was fresh and abundant. From one rivulet down a wild and unfrequentof those folds, a lamb was worried ed linn; we saw the ravens and the and carried away on two succeeding hawks forsake their roosting places, nights, and two shepherds with fowls and wing their way to the open ing-pieces resolved to watch and de- country, while the sun began to shed stroy the depredator, nothing doubt- a faint and level light along the sumful of his appearing in the form of a mits of the highest hills.
At no fox. Night had broken into day, great distance the sheep bleated in when they beheld a head with two the fold, and the shepherds kept fierce and staring eyes elevated a- watch for the re-appearance of their bove the fence of the fold; one of enemy. the watchers cocked his piece, The sun had not wholly risen above brought the muzzle to the level, and the hill top when first one shot, and laid his cheek to the brown stock. instantly another, was heard in the " Stay, stay," said his comrade; direction of the fold. Soon after a " it's not a fox, but a poor hungered dog, fierce and haggard, and carrydog-de’il take me if I have the ing a young lamb in his mouth, apheart to shoot him ; and a sheepdog peared on the moor—the shepherds toomye may ken nim by his bawsent presented their pieces-Walter Hala front." “ By my faith I'll shoot liday forbade them to fire, and ex