Imatges de pÓgina

the operation. But the business in which alone we have properly to do with this diversity of races here is that of poaching, into which department of industry, both on water and land, the Caithnessians carry much of the energy they display in the more legitimate occupations of herring-fishing and stone- quarrying; whilst the Sutherland Celts are in these matters so tractable as even to incur the contempt of the southcountry keepers who bear rule among them. "Them poach!" said one of those guardians, who had confessedly "dune something on his ain account" both with gun and leister on his native Ettrick-" when I cam' first, I gaed to the folk in the clachan up there, and said, quite bold, 'I hear ye have guns among ye--you maun put them awa.' Ye'll no believe me, sir, but the puir-spirited deevils actually did it. Besides, if ane o' them does mair gude for himsel' ony night than the rest o' them, some o' them's sure to tell. Hoo can folk be poachers if they've nae honour!" The same authority had formed a very different estimate of the Caithnessians as to skill, courage, honour, and all the other qualities which go to the character of a perfect poacher.

To the angler these Caithnessian accomplishments present themselves in a peculiarly odious form. Going to some of the lakes on the borders between the counties, which contain many and large trout, the angler is amazed to find the fish rising rarely and carefully as in waters over-fished. The explanation he gets is, "The Caithness folk come wi' otters" that is, with a piece of wood which carries out across the lake as many yards of line, with as many hooks, as the owner's fancy leads, or his means permit. This engine is but little used among the Sutherland people, both because of the reason just stated, and because the possession of such an instrument infers an amount of preparation, enterprise, and capital, rather above their reach. But the Caithness folk grudge no trouble nor reasonable outlay in such matters. And they meet little impediment; some of the Sutherland keepers, sad to say, and even an occasional sportsman, rendering them

selves liable to the same condemnation. The case against the otter is simply this; it is not skill, and it is not sport, but can be practised by any fool, and to the destruction of all sport. Its productiveness, too, is not in anything like proportion to its destructiveness. For one fish that it kills, it wounds a score, and disturbs and frightens a hundred. A few days' use each season of this infernal machine will reduce the most populous loch to practical barrenness. One lazy pot-hunter or incompetent keeper destroys in one day of stupid greed the sport for which hundreds of men are willing to come, and do come, hundreds of miles. A word from the lord of all these regions, or from his ministers, would suppress the scandal; and when that word goes forth, all honest anglers will have one sufficing reason more to say, that good and great is the Duke of Sutherland, of whose aqueous dominions, long and lingering as our look may have seemed, we have but glanced at the outskirts.

One reason for not here penetrating deeper into the bowels of that watery land is, that, in proportion to the number of visitors, Sutherland, especially those portions of it which we have passed by almost unmentioned, has had more and better describers, and chiefly from the sportsman point of view, than any other district of the kingdom. The late Mr St John rambled the whole region twice, and twice gave us the fruits in a series of pen-pictures delightfully dashing, careless, and vigorous. Mr Young's little book is fitted to be exceedingly useful-indeed, is complete as a guide-and he is manifestly a shrewd fellow, though peculiar in his sentiments upon mountains, and somewhat ultramontane in the opinions and the spirit he manifests upon the venerable and momentous question, "What is a parr?" Mr John Colquhoun (in the fresh and breezy volume named at the commencement) comes very near Mr St John as a faithful, effective, and unaffected describer of the scenery and sports of the Far North, which none that have ever enjoyed can weary in reading of, or cease wearying again to see.


[SOME eighteen miles south-west of the city of York, a few scattered cottages form a hamlet called Towton. The country in the neighbourhood is characterised by a succession of gently undulating eminences.

The ridge of hill next to Towton was occupied by the Lancastrians, March 29, 1461. The opposite, and more southern ridge, was occupied by the Yorkists, commanded by Edward IV. in person. The space between the summits of the two lines of hill is not so great as that of the field of Waterloo; but as the traveller surveys the ground, he is led, almost involuntarily, to compare the position of the Yorkists with that of Napoleon at La Belle Alliance, and the position of the Lancastrians with that of the Duke of Wellington on the heights of Mont St Jean. A high-road runs through the centre of either battle-field.

On the morning of Palm-Sunday 1461-for both battles were fought on a Sunday a thick, heavy, cold snow-storm, springing up from the south, drove, sharp, cutting, and blinding, right into the faces of the Lancastrians. (It rained nearly all day during the battle of Waterloo.) The Lancastrians could take no aim against an adversary whom they could not see; but their own ranks, meanwhile, were being fast thinned by the bolt and the arrow. They therefore rushed to charge the Yorkists on their own ground; and so, hand-to-hand, along the whole line of either army, the bloody battle of Towton was fought, during the whole of that Sabbath-day. Some thirty-seven thousand of the bravest and noblest of the children of England fell on that disastrous field. No quarter had been given at the battle lately fought at Wakefield, where the ruffian Clifford murdered the innocent Rutland, and the princely Duke of York was killed; and now Edward, on the field of Towton, commanded that no quarter should be given. This savage order was executed with frightful exactness and ferocity. Lord Dacre, and some others who fell, lie in the neighbouring churchyard of Saxton, the parish in which the hamlet of Towton is situated; but the main mass of the slain were buried in heaps on the field.

When, or by what hand, planted, or how they came, is not known, but in the field where the bones of the brave thus repose, white and red roses grow in great abundance. They are the small wild Scotch rose. The owner of

the field has repeatedly tried to get rid of them by burning and mowing, but in vain; they still spring up again. According to popular belief, these roses will not bear transplanting, but refuse to grow on any soil except that consecrated by the remains of those valiant men, who there fell the victims of a senseless national quarrel. Who would wish to disturb or disprove so touching, beautiful, and poetical a legend ?]

Αἷμα ῥόδον τίκτει νιφάδες δὲ τάδ ̓ ἄνθεμα λευκά.

Oн, the red and the white Rose, as all the kingdom knows,
Were emblems of the foes in a sad and bloody work;
When old England's noblest blood was poured out in a flood,
To quench the burning feud of Lancaster and York.

For then the rival Roses, worn by the rival houses,

The poor distracted nation into rage and frenzy drove

Tore the children from the mother, tore the sister from the brother,
And the broken-hearted lover from the lady of his love:

When the Percys, Veres, and Nevilles, left their castle-halls and revels,
To rush like raging devils into the deadly fight ;

And loyalty and reason were confounded by the treason
That cast into a prison the King of yesternight.

Oh, the red and the white Rose, upon Towton Moor it grows,
And red and white it blows upon that swarthe for evermore-
In memorial of the slaughter when the red blood ran like water,
And the victors gave no quarter in the flight from Towton Moor:

When the banners gay were beaming, and the steel cuirasses gleaming,
And the martial music streaming o'er that wide and lonely heath;
And many a heart was beating that dreamed not of retreating,
Which, ere the sun was setting, lay still and cold in death:

When the snow that fell at morning lay as a type and warning,
All stained and streaked with crimson, like the roses white and red,
And filled each thirsty furrow with its token of the sorrow

That wailed for many a morrow through the mansions of the dead.

Now for twice two hundred years, when the month of March appears, All unchecked by plough or shears spring the roses red and white; Nor can the hand of mortal close the subterranean portal

That gives to life immortal these emblems of the fight.

And as if they were enchanted, not a flower may be transplanted
From those fatal precincts, haunted by the spirits of the slain;
For howe'er the root you cherish, it shall fade away and perish
When removed beyond the marish of Towton's gory plain.

But old Britannia now wears a rose upon her brow,

That, blushing still, doth glow like the Queen of all her raceThe Rose that blooms victorious, and, ever bright and glorious, Shall continue to reign o'er us in mercy, love, and grace.



POPULAR literature has till lately been regarded rather as a collection of curiosities than as a mine of wealth; and it is still regarded by many people as an object of jest or dread rather than of sympathy or admiration. But jests are sometimes costly; dread is too often the paralysis of thought; and curiosities, if they are trifles, are not always like flies in amber, insignificant trifles. Sometimes, like straws in the wind, like the cloud no bigger than a hand which foretells the coming storm, like the foot-print on the lonely island which made its sole inhabitant stare, they have a peculiar importance; and we desire to call the attention of our readers to some facts of this kind in our current literature facts which individually are of small account, but which in the mass have a value that cannot easily be overrated. They have a critical value which must not be overlooked; but it is to some of their social and political bearings that we are at present anxious to draw attention. It is, indeed, too much the custom to regard literature as mere literature. We speak of a republic of letters, and the phrase seems to imply that every other form of republic may be in alliance more or less close with it, but is essentially to be treated as a foreign State. Just as there are ecclesiastics who regard the Church as essentially distinct from the State, so there are people to whom literature is a province by itself-a world of books as completely severed from the world of life as the heavens from the earth. Literature in this light loses half its importance. It is only when we come to see in it the fine blossom of history that its full meaning can be caught. It is nothing if it is not a reflection of the period in which it flourishes, -its active as well as its meditative life, its politics as well as its romance; and we may rest assured that there is not a movement in it, not a force, not an atom of life which has not its counterpart in contemporary history. As such the

very dust of literature is precious, and its dross may be of more worth to the historian than its beaten gold. A handful of the rubbish collected by Samuel Pepys outweighs all the grand poems of the celebrated Sir Richard Blackmore; the diary of old Pepys himself is of greater interest than a whole library of state papers.

Literature, in fact, now implies far more than it ever did before. If before it was a reflection of history, still it was but a partial reflection; if it was a portrait of life, still it was not a fulllength. It is now a complete representation of society, from the crown on its head to the buckle on its shoe, from its highest aspiration to its meanest want. There is no recognised limit to it. A century back the title of literature was limited, if not to classical productions, yet to productions that paid some regard to classical rules. An Act of Parliament would not have been considered literature; an advertisement sheet would not have been considered literature; a cookery-book would not have been considered literature; The Pilgrim's Progress would not have been considered literature, and a poet apologised for even mentioning it in one of his poems. How marvellously our whole feeling in this respect has changed, is evident in the proposals which have lately been circulated for improving and enlarging the English lexicons. The list of English words is said to be lamentably deficient, and the list of authorities for the recognised vocabulary to be equally meagre, through the arbitrary limits which the critics of the last century were induced to impose upon literature-here banishing certain subjects from its domain, and there banishing certain authors. It is now ascertained that, practically, whatever has been written belongs to literature. Litera scripta manet. It is impossible to pick and choose. Selection can proceed only on arbitrary principles; what we might reject now might be sought for most eagerly in the next generation; what we might preserve now might prove

to be worthless hereafter; and thus, even for merely critical purposes, literature implies far more nowadays than it ever did previously. It is almost unnecessary to say that also for the historian and the politician it has an incalculably increased interest and value. Authorship is fast ceasing to be a peculiar profession, and is becoming an ordinary accomplishment-a mode of addressing the public, universally practised by a people delighting in publicity, dependent on association, and accustomed to act in masses. Literature thus seizes upon the whole of our public life, and upon so much of our private life as through social irregularity or individual force of character necessarily emerges into publicity. It is accordingly to the historian precisely what the dial-plate is to a timepiece; it is a perfect index of the innumerable processes at work throughout the whole frame of society, all tending, by slow revolutions and oscillations, to complete the destined cycle of events. To the politician, however, it is far more than a dial-plate. A dial-plate has no reflex action on the complicated mechanism of which it is the register. Literature, on the other hand, is not only the expression of public opinion and the index of contemporary history, it is itself a great force that reacts on the life which it represents, half creating what it professes only to reflect. We receive but what we give; we see only what we have eyes for; we remember but what interests us; these are commonplaces which apply to literature as a whole not less than to individual minds. It creates in the mere act of expressing public opinion; it leads while it follows; like the Parthian bowmen, it shoots its most effective arrows as it flies.

Of such fugitive literature there has never been so great a quantity produced as at the present moment. By the wonderful diffusion of the art of printing, it is becoming coextensive with language, and it would seem as if the day were not far distant when, by some new Babylonish miracle, speech might be abolished altogether, and writing might become the only mode of communication. But not only has the extra


ordinary development which the press has lately undergone increased the amount of literary rubbish, and of what, although not rubbish, may justly be regarded as quite ephemeral; the point which is most worthy of notice is this-that, by the mere fact of that increase, it has introduced new processes and habits, and it inaugurates a new era.

It is curious to note how, as in successive ages, literature receives a fresh impulse, although that impulse is merely mechanical, yet the effects, both on literature and on society, have all the potency of a revolution. A screw more or less, and literature changes colour, society is transfigured. Take, for example, the first invention of an alphabet-the results were tremendous. Literature, which before had been entirely metricalsince it is only metrical compositions that could be preserved in the memory-then admitted of prose and all the simplicity and truthfulness which prose implies. On the other hand, society, accepting the gift of letters, found ere long that it had unconsciously accepted the creation of a learned class, that a priesthood in the worst sense rose where there was no priesthood before, and that its power was enormously increased and abused where previously it had been limited and just. The invention of letters thus unfettered literature while it fettered society; it furnished a lamp to knowledge and a dark lantern to religion; it was a secret which, like the Open Sesame" of the fable, gave riches to them that knew it, and, it might be, death to them that knew it not. Slowly but surely the secret became more and more known, until at length the art of printing gave it a diffusion which was before impossible. Immediately we observe a remarkable effect both on literature and on society. In literature, the paucity of readers and the habits of a learned class had encouraged throughout Europe the neglect of native dialects, and had created a sort of universal language. Authors, anxious to address the largest number of readers possible, very naturally wrote in Latin. But, as the invention of printing increased the num


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