Imatges de pÓgina
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MODERN SCOTTISH POETS.

WILLIAM M'DOUGALL

AS born in Dundee in April, 1800.

His

WA father was an intelligent handloom weaver,

and his mother, who boasted of her descent from William Wallace, taught him to read at her knee from her favourites-Blind Harry, Fergusson, Ramsay, and Burns-by which he acquired a love for our national songs which has kept to him through a long and active life. When William was six years old his parents removed from Dundee to the Milton of Balgonie, in Fifeshire, and after a short time at the parish school there, he was sent to a large mill, where he experienced great hardship. Though scarcely eight years of age, he had to stand barefooted on a cold brick floor, at a dismal task, from six o'clock in the morning till nine or ten at night, with only two half-hour intervals for breakfast and dinner, to be thrashed and kicked unmercifully, and all for eighteenpence a week-his wages for the first three years. Released at length from this servitude, he drifted to Edinburgh, pursuing a wandering life for some years, until an engagement at Mr Baxter's

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mills brought him back to Dundee. In 1839 he was
in Stourbridge, Worcestershire, where, as a com-
mercial traveller, he made daily journeys to the
neighbouring towns, and, like an active Scotchman,
always on foot. During the seven and a half years
that he was thus employed he walked as many as
30,000 miles. While in Stourbridge he continued a
most interesting correspondence with his young
friend, Robert Leighton, Dundee-a correspondence
which had the effect of awakening the muse in both

men.

Since 1847 Mr M'Dougall has lived in Preston, Lancashire, where he was employed as a clerk in the railway service until 1870, when he retired upon his own savings out of a salary of never more than £70 a year. He is now enjoying a peaceful, contented old age among his books and his birds, conscious of a life well spent, and of work well done. In his 82nd year he is as hearty as he has ever been, and though his meditations lean towards philosophy and science, he yet retains in his capacious memory the songs of his native land and stories of his youth, which he repeats with continual enjoyment.

It was in 1848 that Mr M'Dougall first appeared in print as a writer of verse. He and his devoted friend, Robert Leighton (a poet noticed in our first series), being the chief contributors to a "Feast of Literary Crumbs, by Foo Foozle and Friends," published in Dundee, and now very scarce. Mr M'Dougall's poems are marked by much tenderness of feeling, touching pathos, beauty of expression, and musical flow.

TO MY AULD BAUCHELS.

Fareweel my tatter'd, toilworn bauchels,
Though now a pair o' puir skewl'd shachals,
You've born me weel through mony trachals
O' toil and care,

In simmer's heat and winter's dachals,

Baith foul and fair.

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By hedge, and ditch, and slap, and stile,
We've trudged thegither mony a mile,
Yet never grumbl'd at our toil

For warldly wealth,

While blest wi' sweet contentment's smile,
And buirdly health.

When ye were new frae aff the last
The roads were deep, the skies o'ercast,
And Phoebus sank doun i' th' wast
'Mang wreaths o' snaw;

But, fearless through the wintry blast,
Ye scour'd awa.

When skies were bright and roads were clean,
And summer smil'd in sylvan scene,
O'er foggie bank and gowany green,
Aft wad we stray

Frae early morn till dewy e'en,
The lee-lang day.

How wad ye skip alang wi' glee,
When fickle fortune favour'd me,
And when the saut tear drown'd my e'e,
And joy was fled?

Then wad ye show your sympathy
In mournfu' tread.

You ne'er were saucy, proud, nor vain,
For fear ye might gie ithers pain;
But wiled your staps in times o' rain
By hedge an' dyke,

Just 'cause ye liket to be clean

And decent like.

Wi'"Day and Martin " glancin' clear,
At kirk or market, tryst or fair,

On flag or causey I'd nae fear,

And thought nae sin,

Even wi' the best and bravest there,
To show my shin.

O'er Blutchers, Wellingtons, and pumps,
Prim, pinchin' pack, ye aye were trumps;
Nae corns, bunions, blains, or bumps
Were caus'd by ye;

Plain shoon, on independent stumps,
Saft, swank, and free.

Though double soled o' buirdly form,
Ye aye were couthie, kind, and warm,
Though bravely through the baldest storm
Ye nobly skilpit ;

Yet wadna trampit on a worm

Gin ye could help it.

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