« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
and leaped over Newry canal, which is six and twenty feet wide--but the devil mean him, he had seven mile of a ram-race. Ah, never mind it, goodman-go on.
“ I like the fare not amiss,” said Selby, “ and I like still better the hale and happy dame who prepared it. I shall never forget with what good will she rolled her right hand in my hair, and pulled me to the ground. I'll tell thee what, De Bruce, if half the men of Scotland had such heroic hearts as her, Edward might turn his bridle south ward.” “I think so too,” said King Robert _“and believe me, Selby, I like you all the better for seeking to delay our meal, that my excellent liege-woman may lessen by her speed her king's lands.” “I may not do otherwise than show some regard for a woman, said Selby, whose hand plucked me from death, perhaps, by De Bruce's weapon-and for the king's lands—why, soothly to speak, the edge of the sword, and the point of the arrow and the spear, have yet to decide whether they are thine or King Edward's. Be that as it may, the land I vow shall be her's; the word of Selby can carry a lordship with it at England's court--and the word of De Bruce is as good as the vow of a king." "I am losing my land listening to thy eulogium,” said Robert, with a smile—“ yet it does my heart good to see the celerity of our hostess. See, Selby, seethe brook' beside the willows, where we fought so long, and where so many of thy comrades and mine lie stark and bloody-she has passed it with one bound. The helmet of Lord Howard, whom I slew there, is ornamented with silver and gold, she sees it glittering on the ground, but stoops not to unlace it;-she knows she can strip the slain at her leisure, when she cannot win land. Seven English horses graze masterless among ber corn, she stays not to touch their bridles-though they have silver housings, and bitts of steel and gold, and though she never mounted a steed fairer than a rough untrimmed galloway; By the soul of Bruce, this is a prudent woman." “ But, see,” said Selby, « she is about to be stayed by an old crone-a dame conversant with gossip and scandal-cups-she plants herself in the path, and is resolved to be spoken to. The lands of Selby to this wart of a hill, if there is not a battle between your loving subjects, Sire Robert.”
“ Whither away, dame Sprotte, whither away?” exclaimed the old woman—" is thy house on flame-the church on fire-or win ye a lordship by swiftness of foot, that ye fly like the sparrowhawk ? Ah, lass, I have gallant tidings for your quiet ear-sweet and pleasant news. Ye ken Jenny Tamson, of Coup-the-cran-light-haired and light-headed-she's no as she should be, if she wishes to wear the snood ; and she blames a whole troop of the Black Douglas's men, who crossed the Orr to herrie the lordship of Selby. But the saints be near me, ye speak not, but hasten on like one demented; ye shall not pass Maud Maben that slighting way, if ye were wife to King Bruce himself.” “ Out of my way, Maud Maben,” exclaimed dame Sprotte, “I'm winning a lairdship by speed of foot, as daft Jamie Adamson caught the crow.” But Maud anchored her long sharp fingers in her plaiden mantle
till they tasted the flesh. “ Tarry, and tell me,” said the beldame, “else I will dip my left-foot shoe in the links of the Orr, and sink thy land, and turn thee to a world's wonder.”—“ Do thy worst, thou doited carlen, do thy worst,” shouted dame Sprotte ; “ do I regard thy imaginary pranks? Come no more to beg venison and new-baked bread of me;" and seizing her old friend with both hands, she twirled her rudely round-pushed her from her--and renewed her race. She had now run round the hill, nearly encompassed the holm, and, as she approached her own threshold, it was thus the king and Sir Walter Selby heard her commune with her own spirit as she ran :-“I shall be called the Lady of the Mount, and my husband will be called Lord on't-we shall be the Sprottes of the Mount of Orr, while Dalbeattie wood grows, and while Orr water runs-our sons and our daughters will be given in marriage to the mighty ones of the land, and to wed one of the Sprottes of Orr may be a boast to a baron. We shall grow honoured and wax great, and the tenure by which
our heritage shall be held will be, the presenting of buttered brose in a lordly dish to the kings of Scotland, whenever they happen to pass the Orr." “On thy own terms,” said King Robert, "so loyally and characteristically expressed, my heroic dame of Galloway, shall the Sprottes of Orr hold this heritage. This mount shall be called the Kingsmount; and when the kings of Scotland pass the Orr, they are to partake of brose from King Bruce's bowl, and from no other-presented by the fair and loyal hands of a Sprotte. Be wise—be valiant-be loyal—and be fruitful—and possess this land free of paying plack or pennie, till the name of Bruce perish in word, in tale, in song, and in history, and so I render it to thee ;” and so we won our land, and such is the story of King Bruce's Bowl.
So that's your story, my hearties! By the turf-cutter's spade that digs the black bog-diamonds called peats, I would not give the toss up of a cracked thirteen for a cart-load of such dusty old tales. Ah merry little Ireland's the place for the stories.—Did you ever hear of Pat Hogan, the fighting cock of Coleraine-he was the neat comely article to make a song about;
- he could have tumbled down your Bruces and your Selbys thirteen to the dozen, as clean as I tumble down these drops of mountain-dew:-if it's Dick Bruce of Carrickfergus, and Pat Selby of Shilala you mean. He gave seven sweet counties the breadth of their backs; and down he came, the thief of the world, on a summer morning, and upset the prime lads of Lurgan by the gross—man and mother's son of them. Says my brother Andie, casting off an old coat of many colours, called, by way of distinction, the map of Ireland, says Andie, says he, “ Come along—I'm the tightest bit of flesh and blood from Belfast to Newry—let me get but one civil twist of ye, my boy”-and before ye could crack your thumb——there lay Pat Hogan among the oneans, with three cracked ribs in his body, and there stood my brother Andie, whistling the tune of Droghadee. “I tell ye what,” says Andie, “ I could upset seven acres of such fellowsand here's my brother Felix can give me the breadth of my back five times out of four, any time he likes—d’ye hear me now.” Ah, Andie was the boy after all. You may have heard Mall Faurles of Maxwell-town sing the song that Andie made on my misfortune. You shall hear it every word, if I can keep my seat-for to speak the saints’-truth, the walls of your house, goodman, are either about to tumble -- or I'm not so sure in my seat as I should be. You shall have the song, however, only give me another hearty suck of that old bowl-By Saint Shilala—the most potent saint in Ireland do I behold two bowls? —Ah, how fast these blessed vessels multiply in an honest man's house -- the saints are merciful in this'graceless land.-(Drinks.)
The Farewell of Felix Macarthy.
And thy dreams be of joy, and poor Felix Macarthy. Exeunt. King Bruce's Bowl carried out empty, and Felix Macarthy borne out drunk.
ON THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF
IN CONTINUATION OF DR. JOHNSON'S LIVES OF THE POETS.
John ARMSTRONG, the son of a appearance. This was in 1726, when Scotch minister, was born in the he was, he himself says, very young. parish of Castleton, in Roxburgh- Thomson having heard of this proshire. The date of his birth has not duction by a youth, who was of the been ascertained, nor is any thing same country with himself, desired known concerning the earlier part of to see it, and was so much pleased his education. The first we hear of it with the attempt, that he put it into is, that he took a degree in medicine the hands of Aaron Hill, Mallet, and at Edinburgh, on the fourth of Fe- Young. With Thomson, further than bruary, 1732; on which occasion he in the subject, there is no coincidence. published his Thesis, as usual, and The manner is a caricature of Shakchose De Tabe Purulentâ for the speare's. subject of it. A copy of a Latin In 1735, we find him in London, letter, which he sent to Sir Hans publishing a humourous pamphlet, Sloane with this essay, is said to be entitled An Essay for abridging the in the British Museum. In an ad- Study of Physic, which, though he vertisement prefixed to some verses did not profess himself the writer, which he calls Imitations of Shak- Mr. Nichols says,* he can, on the speare, he informs the reader that best authority, assert to be his. In the first of them was just finished two years after he published a Mewhen Thomson's Winter made its dical Essay. This was soon followed
* Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, Vol. ii. p. 307, &c.
by a licentious poem, which I have Marriage, a tragedy, which Garrick not seen, and the title of which I do did not think fitted for the stage. It not think it necessary to record. was printed in 1770, with such of While thus employed, it was not to his other writings as he considered be expected that he should rise to worthy of being collected. In this much eminence in his profession. book, which he entitled Miscellanies,
The dying man does not willingly in two volumes, first appeared the see by his couch one who has re- second part of Sketches or Essays cently disgraced himself by an open on Various Subjects, by Launcelot act of profligacy. In January 1741, Semple, Esq.; the former had been he solicited Dr. Birch to use his in- published in 1758. Wilkes was supfluence with Mead in recommending posed to have contributed something him to the appointment of Physician to these lively trifles, which, under to the Forces which were then going an air of impertinent levity, are to the West Indies. It does not ap- sometimes marked by originality and pear that this application was suc- discernment. His poem called Day, cessful; but in five years more, (Fe- an epistle which he had addressed to bruary 1746,) he was nominated one Wilkes in 1761, was not admitted by of the Physicians to the Hospital for the author to take its place among Invalid Soldiers behind Buckingham the rest. For the dispute which gave House; and in 1760, Physician to rise to this omission he was afterthe Army in Germany. Meantime wards sorry; and in his last illness (in 1744) he had published his Art of declared, that what he had got in Preserving Health, a didactic poem, the army he owed to the kindness that soon made its way to notice, of Wilkes; and that although he and which, by the judiciousness of had been rash and hasty he still rethe precepts, might have tended to tained a due sense of gratitude. In raise some opinion of his medical attacking Wilkes, he contrived to skill. At the beginning he addresses exasperate Churchill also, who was Mead :
not to be provoked with impunity, Beloved by all the graceful arts, and who revenged himself in the And long the favourite of the healing Journey. In 1771, he published a powers.
Short Ramble through some Parts of
France and Italy. In the neighbourHe had now become intimate with hood of Leghorn he passed a fortThomson, to whose Castle of Indo- night with Smollett, to whom he was lence he contributed the three stanzas always tenderly attached. Of his book which conclude the first canto. One I regret the more that I cannot speak of the alterations made in them by from my own knowledge, because Thomson is not for the better. He the journey which it narrates is said had written
to have been made in the society of And here the gout, half tyger, half a
Mr. Fuseli, with whom it is not easy snake,
to suppose that any one could have Raged with a hundred teeth, a hundred travelled without profiting by the elestings ;
and learning of his companion. which was changed to
I have no better means of bringing The sleepless gout here counts the crowing Medical Essays which he published
my reader acquainted with some cocks, A wolf now gnaws him, now a serpent which they are spoken of in the
in 1773; but from the manner in stings.
Biographical Dictionary, * it is to be When Thomson was seized with feared that they did not conduce to the illness of which he died, Arm- his reputation or advancement. He strong was one of those who were died in September, 1779, in consesent for to attend him.
quence, as it is said, of a contusion In 1751, he published Benevolence, which he received when he was an Epistle to Eumenes ; and in 1753, getting into a carriage. His friends Taste, an Epistle to a Young Critic. were surprized to find that he had In the next year, he wrote the Forced laid by three thousand pounds, which
• Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary, vol, ü. p. 486.
in the poem.
had been saved chiefly out of his responding paragraph in Thomson's half-pay.
Autumn. Armstrong appears to have been
Say then where lurk the vast eternal good-natured and indolent, little
springs, &c.-771. versed in what is called the way of
Yet it is inferior in beauty to some the world, and, with an eagerness of
verses in a Latin poem by a writer ostentation which looks like the re
who is now living. sult of mortified vanity, a despiser of the vulgar, whether found among Quippe sub immensis terræ penetralibus the little or the great.
altæ His Art of Preserving Health is Hiscunt in vastum tenebræ : magnarum the only production by which he
is Labitur undarum Oceanus, quo patre li
ibi princeps likely to be remembered. The theme
quoris which he has chosen is one, in which Omnigeni latices et mollis lentor aquai no man who lives long does not Profluxere, novâ nantes æstate superne at some time or other feel an inte- Aerii rores nebularum, et liquidus imber. rest; and he has handled it with Fama est perpetuos illinc se erumpere considerable skill. In the first Book,
fontes, on Air, he has interwoven very Florigerum Ladona, et lubrica vitra Se. pleasing descriptions both of parti- lemni, cular places and of situations in gene- Crathidaque, imbriferamque Lycæis val.
libus Hagno, ral, with reference to the effects they may be supposed to have on health. Et gelidam Panopin et Peirenen lacryThe second, which treats of Diet, is
Illinc et rapido amnes fluere et mare mag. necessarily less attractive, as the topic is less susceptible of ornament;
In the third book, he once more yet in speaking of water, he has contrived to embellish it by some
breathes freely, and in recounting the lines which are, perhaps, the finest various kinds of exercise by which the
human frame may be invigorated, his
poetic faculty again finds room to play. Now come, ye Naiads, to the fountains Joseph Warton, in his Essay on Pope, Now let me wander through your gelid
has justly commended the Episode
on the Sweating Sickness, with which reign. I burn to view th'enthusiastic wilds
it concludes. In the fourth and last, By mortals else untrod. I hear the din
on the Passions, he seems to have Of waters thund'ring o'er the ruin'd cliffs. grown weary of his task ; for he has With holy reverence I approach the rocks here less compression and less digWhence glide the streams renown'd in an- nity.
His verse is much more compact Here from the desart, down the rumbling than Thomson's, whom he resembles steep,
most in the turn of the expression; First springs the Nile: here bursts the although he has aimed now and then, sounding Po
but with an ill-assured and timid In angry waves: Euphrates hence devolves hand, at a Miltonic boldness in the A mighty flood to water half the East : And there, in Gothic solitude reclin'd,
numbers or the phrase. When he The cheerless Tanais pours his hoary urn.
takes occasion to speak of the river What solemn twilight! What stupendous
with which his remembrances in early shades
life were associated, he has, contrary Enwrap these infant floods ! Through to his usual custom, indulged himevery nerve
self with enlarging on his prototype. A sacred horror thrills, a pleasing fear Thomson had mentioned incident. Glides o'er my frame. The forest deepens ally the Tweed and the Jed :
round ; And more gigantic still th'impending trees
- The Tweed, pure parent stream, Stretch their extravagant arms athwart the Whose pastoral banks first heard my Doric gloom.
reed, Are these the confines of another world ?
With sylvan Jed! thy tributary brook. A land of Genii ? Say, beyond these wilds
Autumn, 889. What unknown regions? If indeed beyond He has thus expanded it:Aught habitable lies.
Such the stream, This has more majesty and more On whose Arcadian banks I first drew air, to fill the imagination, than the cor- Liddal ; till now, except in Doric lays