Imatges de pÓgina

We may observe, too, that-generally speaking-the intensest passions are expressed in the plainest words. Bruce in his travels through Abyssinia gives a beautiful description of a miserable Bishareen woman pleading for the life of her husband, and he remarks, that till then he never knew that the Arabic (the most figurative of languages) could furnish expressions at once so forcible and so simple. The great characteristic of Scottish lyrics, in particular, is simplicity; -and what passion, however involved it may seem in some of its combinations, have they not developed ?

Having thus attempted to point out the essential qualities of a Song, we may now say, that the claims of the volume before us, estimated by the standard which we have laid down, are of a very high order. Indeed they require no praise from us, for greater authorities have already done them justice. But we are so deeply indebted to the author for the way in which he has both excited and expressed some of our best feelings, that we think it right to thank him as well as

we can.

The Songs are justly entitled "Original." By this we must not be understood to mean, that many of the sentiments are not familiar. But there is something characteristic in the whole of them. The author, as Sir Philip Sydney's muse advises, "lookes into his own hearte and writes," and this is no slight praise in an age like the present when it is so difficult for a poet to prevent himself from falling into the beaten routine. There is a calm earnestness about Mr. Gilfillan that no one can assume when he is speaking by rote. Indeed we have seldom seen the deeper feelings expressed more concisely, and at the same time more distinctly and completely. You must be convinced that he has felt,-and that he says nothing more than what he has felt.

We may remark too, the singular union of boldness and simplicity in his descriptions of external nature. In this respect, we may affirm with confidence, that he very closely resembles Tannahill. Interesting little objects which only strike the eye of a poet, but which we recognize with pleasure when pointed out, are frequently touched on with singular beauty and pathos. Some of these fine images are original in every sense of the word, as we do not believe that they are to be found in the works of any other poet.

From the strain of our remarks, it may be seen, that we admire the serious poems in particular. "Tragedy," as poor Hazlitt says, "is better than Comedy." But there is a vein of quiet humour in others, that may perhaps be no less delightful to some of our readers.

We shall now proceed to give one or two extracts in support of the opinions which we have presumed to express; and the first we have fixed upon is a Song which we heard the Ettrick Shepherd say, with that liberality which always distinguishes a man of genius, "was the best Song he knew." [This song is entitled The Happy days o Youth, and was given in a "Night with the Ettrick Shepherd," in the preceding Number.]

We may remark in passing that the Airs, to which the Songs are set, harmonise most beautifully with the words.

The next piece is also one of our greatest favourites :


O! THOU broom, thou bonnie bush o' broom
I leave that land and thee,

Where freedom and thou hae flourished lang-
Where freemen still are free.

The Indian vales are rich and fair,

And bright is the flow'ret's bloom,
But what are the flowers and the myrtle bowers,
If I miss my native broom?

Then wilt thou come, thou bonnie bush o' broom,
And grow on a Foreign strand?

That I may think, when I look on thee,
I'm still in fair Scotland!

Thy branches green might wave at e'en,
At morn thy flowers might blaw,
But it wadna be on Cowdenknowes,
Nor yet by Ettrick shaw.

O! thou broom, thou bonnie bush o' broom,
Thou bonnie bonnie broom—

I maist could weep for days that are gane
When I think on days to come.

My native land ca's forth a sigh,

And thou, sweet broom, a tear,
For I canna tak thee frae the braes
To which thou'st lang been dear.

O! thou broom, thou bonnie bush o' broom
I leave that land and thee,

Where freedom and thou hae flourished lang-
Where freemen still are free.

There is still another which we cannot refrain from giving at full length.

TUNE-" Gude nicht an' joy."-(Old set.)
THOU weary morn, when wilt thou dawn?
And yet nae gladness comes wi' day;
But day an' night I mourning sigh

For lov'd hours fled an' joys away.
My laddie was the kindest swain,

An' sought my heart wi' a' his skill,
An' yet I've tint that lad sae true

Wi' woman's pride an' woman's will.

It wasna but I lo'ed him weal,

It wasna but I thought him kind,
But just that silly pride o' heart

That lovers shouldna ever mind.

He tauld me that my heart was proud,
An' what he said was maybe true,
But little does my laddie ken
How humbled low that heart is now.

At kirk, I keekit aff my beuk

To see if he would look at me,
But ne'er a blink gat I frae him,

Although the tear stood in my ee.
An' when the preachin-time was done
Ilk lassie had her lover gay,
While I gaed dowie hame alane

An', Ŏ! it was a weary way!

But the lav'rick sings high i' the lift,

Although his nest's deep i the glen;
Sae, though my withered hopes are low,

They maybe yet will rise again!
The sun behind the cloud does shine,
Although his face we dinna see ;
Sae my dear lad may yet prove kind,
Although it a' seems dark to me!

We wish that our limits would allow us to make ampler extracts. We have only room for the following, which we think are in Goldsmith's finest vein.

YET musing on what might have been
I dream my time away;
'Tis idle as my early dreams
But ah! 'tis not so gay.

When she, all lovely as she's still,
Blushed when I called her fair,
And, if she never bade me hope,
She ne'er bade me despair.

Farewell a world, whose gayest scenes
No pleasure bring to me,
I'd hate its smile, did I not think
It may give joy to thee.

Whether or not we are wrong in the opinion which we have expressed as to these poems, we think at least, that we have given specimens sufficient to enable our readers to judge for themselves.

We cannot conclude without alluding to one very interesting circumstance, that these Songs have not been written "in the soft obscurities of retirement or under the shelter of academic bowers," but in the intervals of relaxation from employments not favourable in any way to poetic feeling. Lord Craig says that he never passed Michael Bruce's cottage without wishing he were a great man, and the poet were alive; and we may say with sincerity that we never pass Mr. Gilfillan's door without wishing that the world knew him better.



O HUSH'D be the voice of song!-
It is not an hour for mirth

When the old year sinks in the grave of time,
And the new year has its birth.

What has the young year brought,
That a tide of rapture wells

From the depths of the light and joyous heart, At the chime of the pealing bells?


Have the ills, that bestrew life's path,
Fled with the vanish'd year,
That the laugh of youth and the smile of
Hold gladsome revel here?

Let memory's moonlight lead
To the solemn past again,
For what has the old year left-to cause
Such joy o'er the earth to reign.

There were graceful heads uprais'd

From the pillow which they prest, When the year, that has hurried by, was hailed 'Mid the hush of the dreamer's rest.

There were eyes where laughter lay,
While gladness swayed the tongue,
And their lustre bright was around us shed
When the buried year was young.

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It has brought gray hairs to some,
And many a yearning heart

Hath felt the barb, and the wrench that tore Affection's links apart.

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O hush'd be the voice of mirth!-
For the years, as they journey past,
Have a voice that speaks of a world to come
And the tomb to which we haste.


Now every field, now every tree is green;
Now genial nature's fairest face is seen.


AFTER the chill blasts and almost suffocating fogs of an English winter, there is nothing, in my opinion, more exhilarating to him who has been for months pent up in a smoky city than the fresh appearance of an opening spring-day. I do not believe that the approach of this season of buds and sunshine is hailed with such unequivocal marks of satisfaction in any country, as it is in England. The signs of resuscitation in the vegetable world, and the merry carols of the feathered choristers, which throw life and animation over the face of nature, convey not half that intensity of joyous feeling to the heart, as does the placid serenity and innate satisfaction, which are so strongly pictured in the countenance of every Englishman.

The glow of universal benevolence beams in every feature and lights up every eye; and, as in the house of prayer every distinction of rank and society is lost and all hearts are blended and commingled, so, methinks, at this season, the same electric feeling takes possession of almost every bosom, and extends its kindly influence throughout a reviving world. Then, indeed, is the Deity worshipped in temples not made with hands:-earth is the temple of his worshippers, and the blue of heaven their canopy.

It was on one of these mornings of clouds and sunshine, which are so frequent in the months of spring, that I left the din and bustle of a great city to enjoy for a limited period the pleasures of the country and the company of one of my dearest friends. After a full half hour's jostling over stony streets and squares nearly innumerable, we at last got upon smoother ground, and, in a short time left the Metropolis in the distance.

The sun, which had appeared shrouded in a thick haze, now "looked through and smiled." His beams, however, were but partial;—they fell only upon us :-an impenetrable mist hung lowering above the city, so that, while we were breathing in a pure atmosphere, millions of living beings seemed inhaling the vapours of stench and corruption.— So much for elegance and refinement.

In my way to H- I was so much pleased with the appearance of the country, which to a stranger looks for many miles like a wellcultivated garden, that, before we arrived at the end of the first stage, I had resolved to have a few hours rambling among the green shades of Twittenham, and indulge those feelings of pleasing melancholy, that would be naturally excited by contemplating the scenes, among

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