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how disserent was the cafe. -Nothing now struck, the jrftafjf but tf}e,yo,ice of mourning : and what met the eye .. .-was the weeping virgins. Tjjey were not, as formerly, . cheerfully associating together: but wandering bv th'em- u iseiyea.iii a very retired path, to give vent to their soriil row. 7 There is a beauty and pathos 'in this contrail,
that cannot fail of touching the heart. That love was : the great cause of this sorrow, though it be not exj,, pressly mentioned i,n this stanza, is abundantly evident ji:,£roni what, is i" the next.
At bnchts in the morning, ......
Nae blyth, &c.
The fame contrast is carried on in this stanza. The first described their going to the buchts; this what is , . .done at their arrival there. The lasses are said to be * *i^?fe(y^ not only *n respect of their fallen lovers ; but in respect of each other. They have no relilli for society; they seek for solitude. Even when engaged together' in the same employment of milking the ewes, not a word is exchanged; nothing heard but sighing and sobbing. They seem desirous to retire as soon as possible; and they go aWay, not in a company, but one by one. "Ilk 3(j " a^tf list's her /eg/in."
, . IIL
■s.ii . At e'en in the gloming,
,^ Nae swankies, £ce.
'" fh this stanza, we have another instance of their grief; their not partaking of any of their amusements. Here ., too the contrast is preserved, and the imagery introduced simple aud beautiful. We are pleased to see innocent amusements going on after the labours of the day. Even the diversions of children constitute a gay and pleasant scene. It becomes more-interesting, when we suppose the persons engaged, so far advanced, as that love can bear a part. But how mitch mbre interesting Vol. I. F f
is the scene contrasted with it. The lovely virgins now forgo all their amusements. They are retired, each by herself: They weep in secret their fallen lovers; and refuse all comfort. "What heart not destitute of feeling, but must sympathize with them, and join the poet in lamenting the untimely fate of the Flowers of the Forest. This metaphor used toexprefs the youth, is a happy one. In those times, we may easily suppose, gardening was not carried to any degree of perfection. In the fields and the woods only, they beheld the beauties of nature's spontaneous productions. And what could be a fitter emblem of the youth who had lately fallen, than those wild flowers, which at best were but for a season ; and which were often cut off prematurely, from various incidents. This metaphor suggests the age of those who had fallen. They were in the bloom osyouth, in the prime of life. It suggests also their beauty. They were fair and lovely flowers. They were lovely in the eyes of the virgins. They appeared still more
lovely at their death They had fallen in a glorious
cause, fighting for their king and country. We find in scripture a beautiful allusion, very similar to this: *' Man that is born of a woman, is of few days, and "full of trouble. He cometh forth as a flower, and is "cut down."
In har'st at the shearing,
In this stanza, we have another instance of the change that had taken place, since the fatal battle. As the poet had mentioned Jlacks in the former stanza, his thoughts were naturally turned to the cutting down of the grain in the harvest j which used to be a time of great mirth and festivity. But now the women only were engaged in this work, no youths to assist them.
There is something very affecting in the circumstance of the binders. They are all old men—the fathers, we may suppose, of those who. should have been engaged in this work. They were too much overcome with grief themselves, to administer comfort to the weeping maidens. The grief of both too was embittered on this occasion, by the recollection as the former merry lcencs, at that season.
In the latter part of this stanza, the poet mentions another instance, in which the change was remarkable. There were now no love ploys, as formerly at the fairs and preachings. Love had for a season taken wing; and given place to sorrow and despair.—Here, 1 confess^ I could have wished a change; that preachings had either not been attended to, or attended to in a different manner *. We commend the young men for shewing all attention to the maidens at the fairs; and improving such seasons of leisure for cherilhing a virtuous affection. But when attending the public ordinances of religion in the church or in the fields, they ought to hava something higher in view, than what relates merely to themselves. Poetry should ever be employed in the service of religion and virtue; and keep at a distance from the appearance of licentiousness.
O dule for the order,
After having thus beautifully described the effects of grief upon the virgins, the poet in this stanza naturally gives vent to his own: vainly exclaiming against the unhappy mandate, which had proved the cause of such misfortunes. He discovers here a partiality to his countrymen, which is at least pardonable. He al
* The remarks above, may shew that the author is not so partial as to find no fault with the poem. It is lhe more necessary, because the abuse, there clluded to, is at this day common in some parts of Scotland. Tent preachings are often considered as a ploy of the fame kind with the fairs. When they resort to them with such views, we may easily suppose little attention will be given to the worship of God, or to the instructions delivered by the preaehers.
lows the English had gained the day; but would insinuate that it was not their usual custom; for anes, fays he, they got the day. Nor will he allow them the glory ot a fair victory: by guile, fays he, they got the day. From the youth being all cut off, he draws an argument in favour of their bravery. It waa no wonder then that they mould have been cut off, for they were always the foremost in battle. They never feared their enemies, but ruflied on boldly to death or victory.
Thus hath .he raised a trophy to their memory, which hath yet escaped the devastations of time, and which we hope, iliall yet be long preserved by the fair daughters of .Caledonia. And while they tune their harps and. their, voices, to raise this mournful song, they mall .sometimes drop a tear for the brave youths, who fell inFloddeh field; and for the disconsolate virgins, ,wiho were left lonely in the halls, to bewail the untimely fate of their lovers.
Copy of a Letter from an English Slave-driver at AU
giers to his Friend in England. By the blessing of God,I have now^got into a very good birth. I have the command of twenty staves, some Spanish, some English, and some Americans. I get my victuals, aud equal to one stalling a day besides, find all for driving the (laves to the field, and keeping them to their woik when they are there.' To be sure it went hard with me at first to whip my country-folks; but custom, as the faying is, is second nature. So I whip them now without minding it, just' for all the world as if they were a parcel of horses; only when they commit a fault, I make them whip one another, which you know horses cannot do. I hope, Tom, that riei-ther you nor any of my friends will think the worse of me for being as I am in my present birth. People may say this or that of the infidels; but sure am I they do not deserve to be extirpated any more than the English themselves. For one white slave that we have here, the English have ten black ones in the West Indies, and they use their slaves much mote cruelly than we do ours. And what though we sometimes make the English sailors slaves ; they are much better here than at home, for they are nothing at the best but staves. You know, Tom, how both you and your brother Jonathan were knocked down 'and pressed before you could hand a rope; and how, being crammed into the hold, your brother died of the bad air; but you being stronger, was saved, by the blessing of God. You know how you have (hewn rue the marks of the flogging which the captain ordered you, and all for falling, from the main yard, and killing his whore's lap dog, though sure I am he might have had pity on your brbken collar bone. And besides, we do not make the staves sight for their masters, and they •never come by any wounds, as the Englishmen who are pressed for sailors do. We only make them work as they would be obliged to do, or starve, at home Their victuals are of the best; and for fruit, the best English lord in the land might wish to get what they throw away; so that our dealings are mercy, compared with your treatment of the poor nigers, which both you and I have seen at Kingston, and which you will remember, by this fame token, that when we got aboard again, we wished they would rife and cut all the white men's throats. So 3-011 must take care of taking up wrong notions to my disadvantage; for we just do here to the whites what the whites do to the blacks in the West Indies; only we use them more merifully,