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continuing all of us to follow freely our natural | laugh on that! pull devil, pull baker! presented with taste for the bathos, we shall, by the mercy of Prov- the mastery of style of our leading journal, the sad idence, and by a kind of natural tendency of things, picture, as one gazes upon it, assumes the iron and come in time to relish and follow right reason. The inexorable solemnity of tragic destiny. great promoters of these philosophical theories are After this, the milder doctrine of our other philoour newspapers, which, no less than our parliament- sophical teacher, the Daily News, has, at first, someary representatives, may be said to act the part of thing very attractive and assuaging. The Daily guides and governors to us; and these favorite doc- News begins, indeed, in appearance, to weave the trines of theirs I call, — or should call, if the doc- iron web of necessity round us like The Times. trines were not preached by authorities I so much “ The alternative is between a man's doing what he respect - the first, a peculiarly British form of athe- likes and his doing what some one else, probably ism, the second, a peculiarly British form of quiet-not one whit wiser than himself, likes." This points ism. The first-named melancholy doctrine is to the tacit compact, mentioned in my last paper, preached in The Times with great clearness and between the Barbarians and the Philistines, and beauty of style ; indeed, it is well known, from the into which it is hoped that the populace will one example of the poet Lucretius and others, what day enter; the compact, so creditable to English great masters of style this sad doctrine has always honesty, that no class, if it exercise power, having counted among its promulgators. “It is of no use," only the ideas and aims of its ordinary self to give says The Times, “ for us to attempt to force upon effect to, shall treat its ordinary self too seriously, or our neighbors our several likings and dislikings. attempt to impose it on others; but shall let these We must take things as they are. Everybody has others, — the Rev. W. Cassel, for instance, in his his own little vision of religious or civil perfec Papist-baiting, and Mr. Bradlaugh in his Hyde tion. Under the evident impossibility of satisfying Park anarchy-mongering, have their fling. But everybody, we agree to take our stand on equal laws then the Daily News suddenly lights up the gloom and on a system as open and liberal as is possible. of necessitarianism with bright beams of hope. " No The result is that everybody has more liberty of doubt," it says, “ the common reason of society ought action and of speaking here than anywhere else in to check the aberrations of individual eccentricity." the Old World." We come again here upon Mr. This common reason of society looks very like our Roebuck's celebrated definition of happiness, on best self or right reason, to which we want to give which I have so often commented: “I look around authority, by making the action of the state, or name and ask what is the state of England ? Is not tion in its collective character, the expression of it. every man able to say what he likes ? I ask you But of this project of ours, the Daily News, with its whether the world over, or in past history, there is subtle dialectics, makes havoc. “Make the state anything like it? Nothing. I pray that our unri- the organ of the common reason ?" it says. “You valled happiness may last." This is the old story of may make it the organ of something or other, but our system of checks, and every Englishman doing | how can you be certain that reason will be the as he likes, which we have already seen to have quality which will be embodied in it?” You canbeen convenient enough so long as there were only not be certain of it, undoubtedly, if you never try the Barbarians and the Philistines to do what they to bring the thing about; but the question is, the liked, but to be getting inconvenient now that the action of the state being the action of the collective Populace wants to do what it likes too.
nation, and the action of the collective nation carBut, for all that, I will not at once dismiss this fa- rying naturally great publicity, weight, and force of mous doctrine, but will first quote another passage example with it, whether we should not try to put from The Times, applying the doctrine to a matter into the action of the state as much as possible of of which we have just been speaking, - education. right reason, or our best self, which may, in this " The difficulty here," says The Times, “ does not manner, come back to us with new force and aureside in any removable arrangements. It is inhe-thority, may have visibility, form, and influence, and rent and native in the actual and inveterate state of help to confirm us, in the many moments when we things in this country. All these powers and per- are inclined to be our ordinary selves merely, in sonages, all these conflicting influences and varieties resisting our natural taste of the bathos rather than of character, exist, and have long existed, among us; sin giving way to it? they are fighting it out, and will long continue to But no! says our teacher: “it is better there fight it out, without coming to that happy consum- should be an infinite variety of experiments in humation when some one element of the British char- man action, because, as the explorers multiply, the acter is to destroy or to absorb all the rest." There true track is more likely to be discovered. The it is; the various promptings of the natural taste for common reason of society can check the aberrations the bathos in this man and that amongst us are of individual eccentricity only by acting on the infighting it out; and the day will never come (and, dividual reason; and it will do so in the main sulliindeed, why should we wish it to come ?) when one ciently, if left to this natural operation.” This is man's particular sort of taste for the bathos shall what I call the specially British form of quietism, or tyrannize over another man's ; nor when right rea- a devout, but excessive, reliance on an overruling son (if that may be called an element of the British Providence. Providence, as the moralists are carecharacter) shall absorb and rule them all. “The ful to tell us, generally works in human affairs by whole system of this country, like the constitution | human means ; so when we want to make right reawe boast to inherit, and are glad to uphold, is made son act on individual reason, our best self on our up of established facts, prescriptive authorities, ex- ordinary self, we seek to give it more power of doisting usages, powers that be, persons in possession, ing so by giving it public recognition and authority, and communities or classes that have won dominion and embodying it, so far as we can, in the state. for themselves, and will hold it against all comers.” It seems too much to ask of Providence, that while Every force in the world, evidently, except the one we, on our part, leave our congenital taste for the reconciling force, right reason! Sir Thomas Bate- bathos to its natural operation and its infinite varieson here, the Rev. W. Cassel on this side, Mr. Brad-Ity of experiments, Providence should mysteriously
guide it into the true track, and compel it to relish In the last number of the Westminster Review, a the sublime. At any rate, great nen and great in- able writer, but with precisely our national want stitutions have hitherto seemed necessary for pro- flexibility of which I have been speaking, has ducing any considerable effect of this kind. No earthed, I see, for our present needs, an Engin doubt we have an infinite variety of experiments, translation, publisbed some years ago, of Wibe and an ever-multiplying multitude of explorers; von Humboldt's book, “ The Sphere and Duties? even in this short paper I have enumerated many: Government." Humboldt's object in this book iss the British Banner, Judge Edmonds. Newman show that the operation of Government ongbt to * Weeks, Deborah Butler, Elderess Polly, Brother severely limited to what directly and immediater Noyes, the Rev. W. Cassel, the Licensed Victuallers, relates to the security of person and property : the Commercial Travellers, and I know not how Wilhelm von Humboldt, one of the most beaute, many more ; and the numbers of this noble army and perfect souls that have ever existed, used to are swelling every day. But what a depth of quiet- that one's business in life was, first, to perfect one's irm, or rather, what an over-bold call on the direct self by all the means in one's power, and, secondi interposition of Providence, to believe that these in-to try and create in the world around one an arteresting explorers will discover the true track, or tocracy, the most numerous that one possibly cooli at any rate, * will do so in the main sufficiently " of talents and characters. He saw, of course, that, (wbatever that may mean) if left to their natural in the end, everything comes to this, that the indoperation ; that is, by going on as they are! Phi- vidual must act for himself, and must be perfect is losophers say, indeed, that we learn virtue by per- himself; and he lived in a country, Germany, where forming acts of virtue; but to say that we shall people were disposed to act too little for themselre learn virtue by performing any acts to which our and to rely too much on the Government. Batetea natural taste for the bathos carries us, that the Rev. thus, such was his flexibility, so little was he in bond W. Cassel comes at his best self by Papist-baiting, or age to a mere abstract maxim, that he saw ver Newman Weeks and Deborah Butler at right rea- well that, for his purpose itself, of enabling the ind son by following their noses, this certainly does ap- vidual to stand.perfect on his own foundations, and pear over-sanguine.
to do without the state, the action of the state It is true what we want is to make right reason would for long, long years be necessary ; and soon act on individual reason, the reason of individuals; after he wrote his book on The Sphere and Daties all our search for authority has that for its end and of Government, Wilhelm von Humboldt becane aim. The Daily News says, I observe, that all my Minister of Education in Prussia, and from his minargument for authority "has a non-intellectual root”; istry all the great reforms which give the control of and from what I know of my own mind and its in- Prussian education to the state the transference ertness, I think this so probable, that I should be of the management of public schools from their old inclined easily to admit it, if it were not that, in the boards of trustees to the state, the obligatory statefirst place, nothing of this kind, perhaps, should be examination for schools, the obligatory state-exanadmitted without examination ; and in the second, ination for schoolmasters, and the foundation of the a way of accounting for this charge being made in great state University of Berlin - take their origin. this particular instance without full grounds, appears This his English reviewer says not a word of; per to present itself. What seems to me to account haps he did not know it; it is possible he would not here, perhaps, for the charge, is the want of flexibil- have understood it if he had known it. But writing ity of our race, on which I have so often remarked. for a people whose dangers lie, as we have seen, I mean, it being admitted that the conformity of the on the side of their unchecked and unguided indiindividual reason of the Rev. W. Cassel or Mr. Brad-vidual action, whose dangers none of them lie cu laugh with right reason is our true object, and not the side of an over-reliance on the state, he quotes the mere restraining them, by the strong arm of the just so much of Wilhelm von Humboldt's example as state, from Papist-baiting or railing-breaking, -ad- can flatter them in their propensities, and do them mitting this, we have so little flexibility that we can- no good; and just what might make them think, not readily perceive that the state's restraining and be of use to them, he leaves on one side. This them from these indulgences may yet fix clearly in precisely recalls the manner, it will be observed, in their minds that, to the collective nation, these in which we have seen that our royal and noble perdulgences appear irrational and unallowable, may sonages proceed with the Licensed Victuallers. make them pause and reflect, and may contribute In France, the action of the state on individuals to bringing, with time, their individual reason into is yet more preponderant than in Germany; and harmony with right reason. But in no country, the need which friends of human perfection feel to owing to the want of intellectual flexibility above enable the individual to stand perfect on his own mentioned, is the leaning which is our natural one, foundations is all the stronger. But what says one and, therefore, needs no recommending to us, so of the keenest of these friends, Monsieur Renan, on sedulously recommended, and the leaning which is state action, and even state action in that very not our natural one, and therefore, does not need sphere where in France it is most excessive, the dispraising to us, so sedulously dispraised, as in ours. sphere of education ? Here are his words: “Ai To rely on the individual being, with us, the natu- liberal believes in liberty, and liberty signifies the ral leaning, we will hear of nothing but the good of non-intervention of the state. But such an ideal is relying on the individual; to act through the col- still a long way off from us, and the very means to lective nation on the individual being not our natu- remove it to an indefinite distance would be precisely ral leaning, we will hear nothing in recommendation the state's withdrawing its action too soon. And of it. But the wise know that we often need to this, he adds, is even truer of education than of any hear most of that to which we are least inclined, other department of public affairs. and even to learn to employ, in certain circum We see, then, how indispensable to that human stances, that which is capable, if employed amiss, of perfection which we seek is, in the opinion of good being a danger to us.
judges, some such public recognition and establishElsewhere this is far better understood than here. ment of our best self, or right reason, as culture leads
; to try and embody in the state. We see, too, I ground ready for kneeling friends; above all, plasle many inconveniences which come from its non- ter casts, large and small, of the eternal Infant ecognition, and the almost fanatical zeal which op- Samuel, planted in the middle of a grave, — all oses itself to its recognition. These inconveniences these are remote enough from our rendering of the nd that zeal the lover of perfection must make solemn tenderness of death. The adjurations to imself thoroughly acquainted with, in order to see the departed to pray for the living may, of course, ow they may be most fitly dealt with ; and as we be accounted for by Catholic doctrines; but even ave not yet exhausted the rich varieties of their these are singular in our eyes. On a large number levelopment, or the lessons they have to teach us, of French tombs we have observed the entreaty to ve must return to the subject once more before the dead child, or dead young girl, to intercede in oncluding:
heaven for their afflicted survivors; but we have never happened to find any full-grown man followed
to the other world by the same request! Now and FRENCH AND ENGLISH EPITAPHS.
then there are epitaphs of the most touching kind, BY FRANCES POWER COBBE.
like the following: Do institutions make men, or men institutions ?
" Ne me plaignez pas ? is it a few degrees of caloric, or a varied rainfall,
Si vous saviez combien de peines on which depends the moral character of nations ?
Ce tombeau m'a épargnées!” Vas there a time when families of men allied in Or this, a little more assuming: blood and language, and dwelling for unknown ages
“ Seul à mon aurore, on adjacent lands, suddenly received the sharp
Seul à mon couchant, marks of distinctive race, and evermore transmitted
Je suis seul encore ici." them to their posterity? How is it that the amal
But in general, it must be admitted, the sentiment gam of Briton, Roman, Saxon, Angle, Dane, and
is very foreign to our feelings. On the grave of an Norman, after eight centuries of welding makes the infant, of four months old, we have read the startsound but dull and heavy metal, we call the Eng
ling announcement, Son âme était agréable à Dieu, lish race? And why is that very similar mixture - and so He took it back to Himself!” across the Channel, of Gaul, Roman, Frank, Bur- But meretricious as the ornaments of a French gundian, and Norman, the absolutely different light cemetery commonly are, and sentimental, if not silly. and glittering metal which we call the people of
as are often the inscriptions on the graves, it must France ? None of these queries seem easy to an- | be admitted that the utter absurdity, the incredible swer; and yet, without replying to one or the other vulgarity of English epitaphs can be matched noin the affirmative, how are we to look at the fact of where across the Channel. That poor little babythe immeasurable, indescribable difference between soul of sixteen weeks, whose “ agreeability” is asthe men, women, and children, the houses, the shops, serted is
es, the shops, serted, is not so ridiculous as the British infant of the churches, the carriages, the cattle, the food, the the same speechless ace whose Shakeenerian drink, the furniture, the crockery, the very soundsents inscribed over her little corpse : and smells which float upon the air, say, in a village in Sussex, and in another village just over the way
“She never told her love !" in Normandy?
Nor yet as a small boy, who received this obituary To take only one feature of the infinite variety. | notice: If there be any place where we might deem that
“Though we thus take leave of thee in the papers, human nature would constantly show itself the same
We shall not so soon forget thine innocent capers!" it is a cemetery. We may build different houses,
There is no “ Lady O'Looney" hidden beneath the wear different clothes, travel in different guise from the cradle to the grave; but when we come there,
sods of France, nor any grenadier like him of Win
chester :and only need the same narrow trench in the soil of earth, only make the same little mound in the * Who caught his death a-drinking cold small beer." soil, - Greek or Barbarian, bond or free, shall not
There are no allusions to “ Affliction sore," or to our burial-place be always alike? Will not the
that vanity of “physicians” on which the English same bereaved affections of father, mother, hus
bucolic mind has evidently gloated for centuries. band, brother, child, choose the same forms of tenderness for the poor relics below? Strange to say,
No far-sighted prudence combines the epitaph and
the advertisement, after the fashion of the tomb of it is not so! Nowhere do nations show their divergencies more than in the treatment of the dead ;
Jonathan Thompson: nor does it seem possible to classify, under any head "A good Husband, and affectionate Father ;
Whose disconsolate Widow and Orphans of race or creed, the tendency of some to display
Continue to carry on the Tripe and Trotter business tenderness and respect for the dust of the departed,
At the same shop as before their bereavement." and of others to show a callousness and indifference
Epitaphs in England are of three orders, each which we would hardly feel for their worn-out ap- l with two classes. There is the common place unobparel.
jectionable (such as the mere name and date, with The tawdriness of a French burial-ground is an
a text or two added), and the commonplace examazement to the Saxon mind. The reverence for
I tremely objectionable, such as: the dead, which shows itself in hanging on a gilt iron cross little pictures of fashionable ladies kneel
“Affliction sore, Long time I bore." ing at tombs, inscribed à ma mère, or à mon cousin, Then there is the grotesque intentional, and the is strange, to say the least. Bead-flowers and grotesque unintentional. Among the former we wreaths, twopenny gilt vases containing paper flow- should rank the epitaph on Mr. Foote, of Norwich :ers, all in frames duly glazed, things that look like
“ IIere lies one Foote, whose death may thousinds save, chignons and ringlets done in black beads, garlands
For Death hath now one foot within the grave." of immortelles bought in shops ready inseribed to the lost relation, little wooden stools stuck in the And the one on Mr. Box:
“Here lies one Box within another,
There is a fearful weight of innuendo converse
this stern, brief notice in the churchyard of C Also the famous one of Sir John Strange:
Hackett, Worcestershire :
“Here lieth the body of John Galey in expectation of the Lord “Here lies an honest lawyer,
What sort of man he was, that day will disco
We might rather have imagined such an epitard And Albert Dürer's epitaph for himself, — certainly
Napoleon III. than for the clerk of a quiet Eig the shortest, and perhaps the best in the world, the meet inscription for the closed door of the
Here is a cruel remark on a doctor:House appointed for all living, the one word “Emigravit.”
“ Here lies the corpse of Dr. Chand,
Who filled the hall of this churchyard "; Again, there is Franklin's famous epitaph for himself:
and a still more unpardonable one on a lale, te * The Body of
sibly of those loquacious tendencies too often ben BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,
attributed to her sex:PRINTER,
" Ilere rests in silent clay,
Miss Arabella Young,
Who, on the 21st of May,
Began to hold her tongue."
This is as bad as the unkind hint conveyed
“ Here lies Margaret Sexton,
Who never did aught to vex one.
Not like the woman under the nert stone." Or this one on a bellows-maker:
We know that next door neighbors living «Ilere lies John Mellows,
towns are apt to dislike each other ; and we ha The Prince of Good Fellows,
heard a gifted lady venture on the splendid scienti Clerk of All-hallows, And maker of bellows,
generalization, that " people who live next do He bellows did mend till the day of his death;
ways play the piano badly.” But it is rather ta But he who made bellows could never make breath."
hard to cast covert sarcasms after the demise of beu Or this, at Manchester, on an old man:
parties on “ the woman under the next stone! "Here lies John Hill,
The following is simple, at all events. It is
Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire :-
"Here lies the wife of Simon Stokes,
Who lived and died like other folks."
Grief and selfishness are finely mingled in their Or this on a dyer:
lowing, by a widower :* Beneath this turf a man doth lie,
"I've lost the comfort of my life, Who dyed to live, and lived to die.”
Death came and took away my wife.
And now I don't know what to do, As for the unintentionally grotesque epitaphs,
Lest death should come and take me too." they may be found in almost every churchyard in England. Now and then, when we hear of them, I.
| Grammar is postponed in the next to high pet we have a suspicion that they are “ too good to be
slical and moral considerations:true," but he who has had any experience of British
"She's gone and cannot come to we, monumental stupidity, will hesitate to put limits to
But we shall shortly go to she." the absurdity it may display. The following are a Another is grossly personal: — few which we recall to mind, omitting such as we
“Reader ! wherever thou be, oh, tread not hard. happen to have elsewhere seen in print. Can any.
For Tadlow lies all over this churchyard." thing be more simply touching than the second line
| of this couplet :
In the churchyard of St. John, Worcester, ther:
is an epitaph which, if brevity be the soul of the “ IN MEMORY OF JOHN DALY, &c.
has high claim to that character. The arrangeres He died of a Quinsy,
of the auxiliary verb is, at all events, original. 1 And was buried at Binsy."
“ Honest John Or the third of this triplet:
's dead and gone!”
A “happy conceit," it was doubtless thought, in -I have no more to say."
1640, to write over a member of Parliament naine There is certainly no lack of faith displayed in White :
" Here lies a John, a burning, shining light. the following, which is, we believe, to be found in
Whose name, life, actions, all alike were White !" Sunbury churchyard :
The following would be set down as Irish, but we "A- B
believe may claim a Saxon origin :-
“Ah, cruel Death! Why so unkind,
To take her, and leave me behind ?
Better to have taken both or neither, Very different is the sceptical, not to say rollick
It would have been more kind to the survivor ing, tone of the inscription over a certain Gabriel |
But of the following there can be no mistake :John:
“Under this stone lie two babies dear,
One is buried in Connaught, and the other bere."
The monument - is it needful to say? – is in Ire
Another Irish epitaph, in Ballindown, County | friends, to whom the person commemorated had left ligo, runs thus :
a legacy, with the hope expressed that they would " Terence McDonogh lies within this grave,
honor him by some record of their regrets? The
opened the epitaph :-
“ Provost Peter Patterson was Provost of Dundee, And is the hieroglyphic of them all. That « facetiousness” is a virtue, and a virtue to | The second added :ve inscribed on a tombstone, is a rather new idea to
“Provost Peter Palterson, here lies he, is, still, there is a great deal to be said in its favor. The third
The third could suggest no other conclusion than A curious study of national character, and also of he character of different ages and classes, might be
“ Hallelujah! Hallelujee ! » nade by noting the special qualities selected for The following must have been flattering to the upproval, and of the many human merits heaped on bereaved widower :he deserving and undeserving dead. As none but
" Here lies the body of Mary Ford, in Irishman would bave chosen “facetious” as a
Whose soul, we trust, is with the Lord ; hoice epithet of approval, so none but an Italian
But if for hell she's changed this life,
'Tis better than being John Ford's wife." vould have praised a deceased marquis, scion of one of the great historic houses of Florence, by describing
We wonder whether the old bachelor commemoim (as we have seen on his funeral tablet) as re-rated in the next would have indorsed"the epitaph narkable for frugality. An English nobleman would provided for him :aardly have accepted the phrase as laudatory, and
" At threescore winters' end I died,
A cheerless being, lone and sad : as to an Irish one, no more cruel outrage could be
The nuptial knot I never tied, perpetrated on his helpless corpse, than to a place
And wished my father never had !" over it such a word.
There are de par le monde a number of epitaphs We have always felt satisfied that that most deli- | the absurdity of which consists in the substitution cious of all epitaphs which celebrates the virtues of
of a wrong name for the deceased person, to accomLady O'Looney, must have been composed by her modate the exigencies of the poet. One of them confidential maid. We only repeat it here to illus- 1 runs thus :trate our hypothesis :
Underneath this ancient pew,
Lie the remains of Jonathan Blue,
His name was Black, but that would n't do." (Do we not know how often the departed lady must And another:have told her maid of her distinguished relationship, "Underneath this stone aged threescore and ten,
Lie the remains of William Wood-hen." and of Burke's sobriquet?)
(For Hen, read Cock - Cock would n't come in rhyme.) “She was bland, passionate, and deeply religious ;
We confess we are sceptical about the authentici(The “ blandness” had been a matter of remark I ty of these various readings, as also of the epitaph on downstairs ; the " passionateness,” alas ! perhaps a the archi matter of experience. The conjunction of the two
" Here lies William Trollope, qualities, and the simple unvarnished veracity by
Who made these stones roll up; which they are followed by deep piety, speak trum
When death took his soul up, pet-tongued for the integrity of the faithful domes
His body filled this hole up." tic.)
No doubts, however, attach to the sweet agricul“ Also she painted in water-colors,
tural simplicity which breathes through the follow("* Also” leads up finely from the deep religiousness | ing :to the great event of Lady O’Looney's life.)
"Here I lies, and no wonder I'm dead,
For the wheel of a wagon went over my head." “And sent several pictures to the Exhibition,
A very facetious story is told in some quarters of (Where, O where, and when, was held the Exhibition a pauper, who having died in a workhouse, was to which should have been made forever memorable by be buried in the most economical fashion. The masthe "several pictures” of the gifted lady which ter proposed to inscribe over his tombstone: adorned its walls, — the Exbibition which to her
“Thomas Thorps, devoted follower was manifestly the only Exhibition
His corpse." in the world worthy of the name?)
The guardians at the next meeting of the board in“She was first cousin of Lady Jones,
dignantly forbade such a profligate expenditure of (Crowning triumph of life, and at the same time
the rates, and ordered the epitaph to be curtailed
thus:valuable genealogical indication.)
“Thorps' “ And of such is the Kingdom of Heaven ! "
Corpse." (Namely, of bland, passionate, and deeply-religious The narrators of this anecdote are grossly ignorant ladies; of artists and exhibitors in water-colors; of Poor-law management. Any tombstone, or any and, above all, of cousins-german to Lady Jones. epitaph whatever for a pauper, would never have The sudden turn of this phrase to the Scriptural and been dreamed of by either master or guardians. prophetic utterance after the more didactic treat- Perhaps the most absurd of all epitaphs is that atment of the subject in the earlier part of the epi-tributed to a pyrotechnist who died a few years ago. taph, is one of the most striking in the range of lit- In the course of his travels he had been immensely erature. The mantle of Lady O'Looney's bland struck by an inscription on the grave of the great religion had certainly descended – probably with musical composer Purcell :the rest of her wardrobe — to her encomiast.)
“He is gone where alone his melodies can be exceeded.” To leave these speculations; shall we class among Fired by laudable ambition to secure such praise, the intentionally or unintentionally grotesque epi- Mr. B. requested that over his tomb might be writtaphs the following, composed by three Scotch | ten :