Page images
PDF

MOODS OF THE MIND.

No I.

Despondency.--A Reverie. 'Twas on the evening of an August day,

A day of clouds and tempest, that I stood

Within the shade of over-arching wood,
My bosom filled with visions of decay;
Around were strewed the shivered leaves, all wet;

The boughs above were dripping; and the sky

Threw down the shadows of despondency,As if all melancholy things were met

To blast this lower world. I leaned my side

Against an oak, and sighed o'er human pride! I thought of life, and love, and earthly bliss,

Of all we pine for, pant for, and pursue,

And found them like the mist, or matin dew,
Fading to nothingness in Time's abyss.
Our fathers, where are they? The moss is green

Upon the tablet that records their worth ;

They have co-mingled with their parent earth, And only in our dreams of yore are seen,

Our visions of the by-past, which have fled,

To leave us wandering 'mid the buried dead. I thought of men, who looked upon my face,

Breathing, and life-like, breathless now and cold,

I heard their voices issuing from the mould,
Amid the scenes that bear of them no trace.
I thought of smiling children, who have sat

All evening on my knees, and pressed my hand,

Their cherub features and their accents bland, Their innocence, and their untimely fate ;- . How soon their flower was cropt, and laid below

The turf, where daisies spring, and lilies blow. I thought of sunless regions, where the day

Smiles not, and all is dreariness and death;

Of weltering oceans, where the winter's breath
Beats on the emerald ice, and rocky bay;
I thought me of the old times--of the halls

Of ancient castles mouldering to the dust

Of swords, long used in war, bedimm'd with rust, Hanging in danky vaults, upon the walls,

Where coffined warriors rest, amid the night, Of darkness, never tinged by morning light. The unsheltered cattle lowed upon the plain ;

The speckled frog was leaping 'mid the grass,

Down to the lakelets edge, whose breast of glass
Was wrinkled only by the tardy rain.
Dim was the aspect of the sullen sky;

The night scowled gloomier down :- I could not throw

From off my heart the weary weight of woe,
But loathed the world, and coveted to die;

Beholding only in the earth and air
Omens of desolation and despair.”

No II.
The Woodland Glen.

The sun is sinking behind the mountain,

The Evening Star is bright,
And the ceaseless gush of the twilight fountain

Is heard, with calm delight,
By the spirit, that far from the homes of men,
Delights in the still of the woodland glen.

When the heart is sullen, and sad, and lonely,

Mid worldly toil and care ;
When pleasure, and friendship, and love forsaking,

Behind leave blank despair,
Oh! fly to the lone, the sequestered spot,
Where Nature presides, and where man is not !

[blocks in formation]

Of frozen masses, with o'erwhelming force,
That, bursting, thundered from the mountain-tops,
And woke the slumbering echoes from repose.
A solitary waste- a waste of snows
Bleak rocks and frozen waters-desolate,
Beyond the painter's touch, or poet's thought.
Dark precipices bound it, giant-like,
Hiding their snowy scalps amid the clouds,
And listening to the storms that growled below,
And to the lazy ocean fathomless,
In icy greenness, rolling with its waves.

Sure to the voice of man these barren rocks
Re-echoed never ! sure, by human steps,
Were never trodden these eternal snows,
But silence, slumbering on her mountain, though
Voiceless, hath governed since the first of time,
A region darkened with the shadow of death!
More bleak and blank, more desolate and drear,
Than ever fancy conjured to the mind
Of dreaming murderer, on his midnight couch.

What moving creature stirs on yonder height, And, with his breath, disturbs the solitude ? Severed from all communion with mankind, For ever severed, like a ghost he stands Above the ocean, where he cannot drown; And where, thro' countless labyrinths of years, Years that have neither origin nor end, Summer nor sunshine, he is doomed to bear The burden of his solitude ; to drink The thoughts of gall and bitterness; to feel The curse of immortality; and long For death that mocks him still. His hollow eye, His haggard visage, and his flowing beard, White as December's billow, wind-enchafed, Bespeak the desolation of his soul; And as the she-wolf, when the hunter's hand Hath robbed her of her young, with starting eye, And piercing howl, stands maddening in her den, So, in the torment, but without the power To utter it unto the winds of heaven, Voiceless he stood.

The famished bear came by, Grinding his teeth in famine; in the path Prostrate he threw himself, and hoped for death Turning his eye towards hertwas in vain ! Howling she died in cruel mockery, And, with remorseless and unnatural rage, I saw her rush towards her suckling cubs, Dart on them in her hungry wretchedness, And crunch their young bones, with unfeeling maw!

The clouds grew dark- the shadows hovered round They hovered round, and compassed him about, As with a garment; and I heard a cry, Ear-piercing-horrible--a desolate cry The circling hills re-echoed it; around They caught the tone, till faint and far away Lowly it died; and, listening there I heard, Alone, the weltering of the dreary sea.

RECOLLECTIONS.

No IV.

MARK MACRabin, the Cameronian.
(Continued from Last Number.)

Adventure with the Gypsies.

Mine honest and ancient friend, the present from the minister's wife of Cameronian, having forsaken the gen- Kipplekimmer-a handmaiden on eitle lady of Lagghill, and her kind and ther side accompanied her on foot, and enthusiastic followers, thus continued four men, bearing green branches, folhis narrative.“ Truly, Miles Cameron, lowed. The procession was closed by wise was he who rendered into rhyme the congregation marching in mass, that famous maxim of circumspection conducting a cavalcade of horses loadand prudence, 'Ay keep something ed with the travelling equipage of the to yoursel', you scarcely tell to ony, establishment. The men and the woand wiser still would men be could men sung, alternately, verses of a wild they practise it. My next adventure hymn-between every verse the four was a strange one, and happened men winded their horns, and thus they among a people of unstable residence, pursued their journey till they passed infirm faith, and imperfect morality. from my sight among the woods of the When I promised to relate my history, vale of Dalgonar. I might have held, by mental re- “ From gazing on those respectable servation, the right of exercising my enthusiasts, I turned my face towards own judgment on indiscreet or un- the river Nith, my forlorn condition seemly circumstances; and truly, my began to claim my concern, and I readventure with the hopeful progeny of solved to pass into the moorland part Black-at-the-bane is a thing not to be of the parish of Closeburn, and seek proclaimed in the public places. The employment as a shepherd. I was acprofane songs and profaner conduct quainted with several opulent Cameof a moving camp of roving gypsies ronian moorland farmers, and I had a will sound unseemly after the enthu- love for their patriarchal calling. I siastic hymns and hosannahs of my had acquired, from tale and from song, excellent friends the Buchanites. And a great liking to shepherds' pipes, well yet there is a kind of pleasure in replenished scrips, kilted damsels, and speaking of conduct and relating con- kitted whey. I thought, too, it was versation, of which prudence cannot assuredly a pleasant thing to lie in the wholly approve-it relieves the mono- sun, on the green side of a high hill, tony of sedate thought, brings the with all my flooks around me, listen sunny morning of youth upon us a- ing to the lilting o' the laverocks, and gain—it is a joy that the gravest in- daun'er with them down the green dulge in-and so, with the quiet at- margin of a burn among the flowers tention of my friend, and the inspire and the primroses. Resolving to prove ing aid of this potent peat reek,' I the charms of this primitive vocation, shall proceed.

I hastened on my way, making the up" Leaving Lagghill and Lagg's ru- lands ring with the charming old ined tower behind me, I ascended a Nithsdale song of the r Wakerife green eminence on the opposite side, Minnie.' and, looking back from its summit, “I soon found myself on the borsaw the camp of our lady descending ders of the old forest, which covers the into the plain towards the stream of eastern side of the hills of the Keir, Dalgonar. It was conducted with all and reaching down to the Nith, lines the precision, and much of the pomp, its margin with stately groves of ash, of a regular march. Four men bear. elm, and oak, the whole thickly intering green boughs marched in front- woven with hazel, mountain-ash, sloetwo others followed, blowing at inter- thorn, and green holly. Through vals on harvest horns—then came our these ancient groves, and chiefly on lady, mounted on a white poney, a the river bank, the laird had cut many

IHR

1

1820.]

Adventure with the Gypsies. pathways, and as no one ever accused ty of the place, called it the “ Fairy him of an aim in his improvements, Knowe.” But the folly of man had his roads had, singular terminations. profaned the haunt of the Good One greensward winding-way led, Folk;' the spade and the axe had cut with a kind of Will-o'-wisp wander their way through many a thicket of ing, to the sheer brink of one of the honeysuckle and holly, to the foot of deepest pools in the river-another this beautiful hillock, and two lodges, pathway pursued its course to the floored and thatched with ivy, seemed verge of an impassable thicket-and to promise centinels to watch the saone, more beautiful still, chose to stop cred ground. Into this winding path at the base of a steep rock, where the it was my fortune to fall, as I endeavwild cats reared their young, and the oured to force my way round the eneagle found a resting-place when he closure of holly, and I obtained a chose his first spring lamb from the sight, for the first time, of the famous flocks of Nithsdale. It was full three Fairy Knowe, reposing in the silent miles of roughroad round, to go by either splendour of moonlight. The folly of the eastern or western extremity of the the laird had not halted at the foot of wood-and as the night was calm and the hillock; it had found its way to apelouded, I leaped over the fence the summit. In the very centre of which defined, but did not defend, the the Fairy ring a square tower of masonlimit of the forest, and setting my ry had been constructing for many face for the green mountain of Queens- years, and had already reached the berry, went fearlessly forward. The height of forty feet, with buttress, way at first was exceedingly pleasant- loop-hole, and embrazure. The laird the forest was portioned out into had some hopes of finding a use for it. clumps of trees, the tall, and the He had long hesitated about a suitable dwart, and the shrub all intermixed, name. When his masons were weary and among them green knolls and with building houses, whose pondergreen sward plats were thick and de- ous roofs and impending battlements lightful. The moon poured full on scared away all tenants—with raising my path her slant and softened light, stone walls round fields which lacked and showed the ring-doves and the nourishment for a thistle and with rooks sitting in pairs abreast among rearing buttresses of mortar and stone the thiekest branches. I crossed one on scaurs and burn-banks, to preserve or two of the laird's roads, and rested trees from falling that were not worth myself on several of his hermitages, or tenpence-when they had finished all rude lodges of dry stone, matted over these, away they marched with trowel floor, and wall, and roof, with a thick and hammer, to the Fairy Knowe, to and trailing mass of green ivy. Pro- add another annual yard to the alticeeding onward, I entered the dark tude of this new Babel. and untrodden bosom of the wood, nor “I stood and looked on this mass of did I enter it without awe. The trees, mortar and rock, which encumbered over-arching high above me, formed a this romantic hillock, but I soon found roof thick and verdant, through which another subject for contemplation. Adthe moon could visit me with little of vancing through an arch-way, cut out her cheering light, and the wood of the holly rampart by the removal of pigeons, having forsaken this thick and a dwarf-bush, I observed the building, gloomy grove, left it to the undisturb- unfinished though it was, was inhabita ed possession of the gleds and the ed, for a thin blue smoke curled slowhooded ravens. These birds of prey ly towards the moon, and a light glimand evil omen sat visible on the upper mered from all the lower loop-holes. boughs, evidently enjoying the luxury The character of those who had thus of the sweet evening.

chosen to themselves an habitation, - My progress was at last impeded by and entered as tenants at will, requira natural barrier of thick green holly, ed little waste of thought. A dozen which, sloping upwards from the fo- of asses, all tethered and reposing rest-sward, formed a rampart fifteen round the building, were to me as feet high, as close and impassable as a sure a sign of a troop of gypsies, as wall of stone. Nature had woven this the personal assurance of the patriarch verdant tracery round a large green of the tribe himself; and this assurknoll in the centre of the wood : the ance was not long wanting. Advancing peasants, from the seclusion and beau- with a rash eagerness to reconnoitre,

« PreviousContinue »