Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

what means the worm should be made sensible os its danger, it is perhaps impossible to divine.

A young Observer.

N. B. In both the instances I observed, the worm that made its escape was of a bright, lively, red colour, more so than is common among this class of reptiles. Whether this could be ascribed to the ardour of the chace, or whether it was only accidental, I cannot pretend to fay, as in both cafes I allowed the worm to make its escape without detaining it for future observation. / . .

The Editor is much obliged to the writer of the following strictures, which he makes haste to insert. Truth is the great object of his researches ; and every person who assists in discovering it, he shall deem his supporter and friend. It was no small recommendation to him of the plan he has adopted, that it seemed to be particularly calculated for the attainment of truth; and he is happy to obtain such an early practical proof of it as this article affords. Opinions are often taken up hastily from others without examination, and are retained merely from that indolence of mind which is natural to man, and from the limited sphere of his powers. No man can reflect deeply on every subject, and thus is apt to slide carelessly into error: he is therefore much obliged to those who shall take the trouble to put him right, when this happens to be his cafe, and without troubling himself to h.ive thebenefit of theirresearches communicated to him. Once more therefore he begs to return his best thanks to the writer of the following papiy; and his future correspondence, or that of others who think in the fame liberal manner, will be deemed a particular favour.

To the Editor of the Bee.

Your edition of the song called the flowers of the forejl, has occasioned the following remarks.

There is a strange propensity in persons of genius, to obtrude forgeries on the public, and a still stranger, propensity in the public, to admit them as genuine, without any examination at all.

Let me give a few instances in proof of this; they are the first that occur to my memory. "The me-, moirs of a Cavalier'' was twenty years ago an esteemed book of authentic history: that it was a forgery, some unknown writer demonstrated, in an Edinburgh magazine; nevertheless it would have maintained its reputation, had not a. sudden zeal for the glory os Daniel Desse lately announced him as the ingenious forger.

There are many who still believe Hardicvute to 'b«, an ancient ballad, though the language, manners, every thing, (hew it to be a modern composition, and though the author be perfectly well known.

.« The travels of Mr. Marshall" had their reign, though short, over popular credulity. Genelli and Kolben still keep their ground.

"The letters of Pope Ganganellr" were read with much admiration, even by protestants: but Voltaire detected the imposture, and justly; for he owed that to the public.

It is but the other day that " the letters of the Duchess of Orleans" came out with a new assortment of characters and anecdotes. The imposture hardly lived to fee a translation from the French.

To this respectable group I add " the flowers of the forest;" but with a material difference: most of the others aimed to mislead in matters of history; but this was merely a jeu tsejprit, and its value is not lessened when we consider it as a modern composition.

Flodden-field happened near the beginning of the 16th century. The song is in the language of the 18th. An acute critic observed thirty years ago, that in the reign of James IV. there were no preachings to which lads and hisses resorted as to a fair. In the reign of Charles II. and James II., such preachings were' very serious things, and the appearing at them was hazardpus. This single word brings down the date of the, ballad to the revolution.

"Bogle about the stacks" could never have been an amusement unless in a corn country, which certainly the forest, or Selkirkshire, was not in the reign of James IV.*

There are many people alive who conversed with those who lived at the beginning of this century; let those say that they ever heard a tradition of that ancient ode as we now have it. The author, ifflill alive, will do well to stand forth and disabuse posterity. I am, &c.

On Popular TVritings.

The greatest part of the works which the public esteem at present, have only arrived by degrees at that universal approbation,^ g. Shakespear). A success too brilliant at the first, affords but a bad angur for its continuance, and only proves the mediorcity of the work. Beauties which are within the reach of all the world', immediately make their impression; great beauties are often less striking, and it is rare that a work of the first merit, obtains, at the beginning, the suffrage of a great number. It is only a few who are able at once to feel the force of singular excellence: but by degrees the false glare which dazzled at the first begins to wear off, and men gradually discover beauties that at first escaped their notice. Ihis discovery occasions an agreeable surprise. They return to the subject, and discover stiil more; so that their admiration continues to augment from day to day.

* It is true the battle of Flod Jen was sought on the borders, where little ground could then be cultivated: But the effects of it were felt over all Scotland, as the army was collected from every part of the country; so that this remark seems to be not so well founded as the pthers in this essay. Nate of the Editor.

Rojline Cajlle.

At dead of night, the hour when courts

In gay fantastic pleasures move, And, haply, Mira joins their sports,

And hears some newer, richer love j
To Roflin's ruins I repair,

A solitary wretch forlorn;
To mourn, uninterrupted, there,

My hapless love, her hapless scorn.

No sound of joy disturbs my strain,

No hind is whistling on the hill;
No hunter winding o'er the plain j

No maiden singing at the rill.
Elk murm'ring through the dusky pines,

Reflects the moon's mist-mantled beam j
And fancy chills, where'er it shines,

To fee pale ghosts obscurely gleam.

Not so the night, that in thy halls,

Once, Rofline, danc'd in joy along; Where owls now scream along thy walls,

Resounded mirth-inspiring song: Where bats now rest their smutty wings,

Th' impurpl'd feast was wont to flow j And beauty danc'd in graceful rings,

And princes fat where nettles grow.

What now avails, how great, how gay;

How fair, how fine, their matchless dames! There sleeps their undistinguished clay,

And even the stones have lost their names*. And you gay crouds must soon expire:

Unknown, unpraisM their fair one's name. Not so the charms that verse inspire;

Increasing years increase her fame.

* Many of the names on the grave-stones here are quite obliterates through age.

Oh Mira! what is state or wealth?

The great can never love like me;
Wealth adds not days, nor quickens health)

Then wiser thou, come happy be;
Come, and be mine in this sweet spot,

Where Elk rolls clear his little wave, We'll live; and Elk shall, in a cot,

See joys that Rosline never gave.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed]
« ZurückWeiter »