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there is nothing in the situation ascribed to year, he edited, at Edinburgh, Addison's papers Edwin, as he lived in minstrel days, that neces in “ The Spectator," and wrote a preface for the sarily excluded such materials from his fancy. edition. He was very unfortunate in his family. Had he beheld steam-engines or dock-yards in the mental disorder of his wife, for a long time his sleep, the vision might have been pronounced before it assumed the shape of decided derangeto be too artificial; but he might have heard of ment, broke out in caprices of temper, which disfairies and their dances, and even of tapers, gold, turbed his domestic peace, and almost precluded and gems, from the ballads of his native country. | him from having visitors in his family. The loss In the second book of the poem there are some of his son, James Hay Beattie, a young man of fine stanzas ; but he has taken Edwin out of the highly promising talents, who had been conjoined school of nature, and placed him in his own, that with him in his professorship, was the greatest, of moral philosophy ; and hence a degree of lan- though not the last calamity of his life. He guor is experienced by the reader.
made an attempt to revive his spirits after that Soon after the publication of the “ Essay on melancholy event, by another journey to England, Truth," and of the first part of the “Minstrel," and some of his letters from thence bespeak a he paid his first visit to London. His reception, temporary composure and cheerfulness; but the in the highest literary and polite circles, was dis wound was never healed. Even music, of which tinguished and flattering. The university of he had always been fond, ceased to be agreeable Oxford conferred on him the degree of doctor of to him, from the lively recollections which it laws, and the sovereign himself, besides honour- excited of the hours which he had been accusing him with a personal conference,
bestowed on tomed to spend in that recreation with his fahim a pension of £200 a year.
vourite boy. He published the poems of this On his return to Scotland, there was a pro- youth, with a partial eulogy upon his genius, posal for transferring him to the university of such as might be well excused from a father so Edinburgh, which he expressed his wish to de. situated. At the end of six years more,
his cline, from a fear of those, personal enemies other son, Montague Beattie, was also cut off in whom he had excited by his Essay on Truth. the flower of his youth. This misfortune crushed This motive, if it was his real one, must have his spirits even to temporary alienation of mind. been connected with that weakness and irrita With his wife in a madhouse, his sons dead, and bility on polemical subjects which have been his own health broken, he might be pardoned already alluded to. His metaphysical fame per for saying, as he looked on the corpse of his last haps stood higher in Aberdeen than in Edinburgh; child, “I have done with this world.” Indeed but to have dreaded personal hostility in the
he acted as if he felt so ; for though he percapital of a religious country, amidst thousands formed the duties of his professorship till within of individuals as pious as himself, was a weak a short time of his death, he applied to no study, ness unbecoming the professed champion of enjoyed no society, and answered but few letters truth. For reasons of delicacy, more creditable of his friends. Yet, amidst the depth of his to his memory, he declined a living in the church melancholy, he would sometimes acquiesce in his of England which was offered to him by his childless fate, and exclaim, “ How could I have friend Dr. Porteous.
borne to see their elegant minds mangled with After this, there is not much incident in his madness !” He was struck with a palsy in 1799, life. He published a volume of his Essays in by repeated attacks of which his life terminated 1776, and another in 1783 ; and the outline of in 1803. nis academical lectures in 1790. In the same
THE MINSTREL; OR, THE PROGRESS OF GENIUS.
-H! who can tell how hard it is to climb
life's low vale remote has pined alone,
And yet the languor of inglorious days
The rolls of fame I will not now explore;
O how canst thou renounce the boundless store Nor need I here describe, in learned lay,
Of charms which Nature to her votary yields ! How forth the Minstrel fared in days of yore, The warbling woodland, the resounding shore, Right glad of heart, though homely in array; The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields; His waving locks and beard all hoary grey: All that the genial ray of morning gilds, While from his bending shoulder, decent hung
And all that echoes to the song of even, His harp, the sole companion of his way,
All that the mountain's sheltering bosom shields, Which to the whistling wild responsive rung:
And all the dread magnificence of Heaven, And ever as he went some merry lay he sung. O how canst thou renounce, and hope to be for
given ? Fret not thyself, thou glittering child of pride, These charms shall work thy soul's eternal health, That a poor villager inspires my strain ;
And love, and gentleness, and joy, impart. With thee let Pageantry and Power abide : But these thou must renounce, if lust of wealth The gentle Muses haunt the sylvan reign ; E’er win its way to thy corrupted heart : Where through wild groves at eve the lonely swain
For ah ! it poisons like a scorpion's dart ; Enraptured roams, to gaze on Nature's charms. Prompting th’ungenerous wish, the selfish scheme, They hate the sensual, and scorn the vain,
The stern resolve unmoved by pity's smart, The parasite their influence never warms,
The troublous day, and long distressful dream. Nor him whose sordid soul the love of gold Return, my roving Muse, resume thy purposed alarms.
Though richest hues the peacock’s plumes adorn,
There lived in Gothic days, as legends tell, Yet horror screams from his discordant throat. A shepherd-swain, a man of low degree ; Rise, sons of harmony, and hail the morn, Whose sires,perchance, in Fairyland might dwell While warbling larks on russet pinions Moat: Sicilian groves, or vales of Arcady ; Or seek at noon the woodland scene remote, But he, I ween, was of the north countrie ; Where the grey linnets carol from the hill. A nation famed for song, and beauty's charms ; O let them ne'er, with artificial note,
Zealous, yet modest ; innocent, though free; To please a tyrant, strain the little bill,
Patient of toil; serene amidst alarms ; But sing what Heaven inspires, and wander where Inflexible in faith; invincible in arms.
they will. Liberal, not lavish, is kind Nature's hand; The shepherd-swain of whom I mention made, Nor was perfection made for man below.
On Scotia's mountains fed his little flock; Yet all her schemes with nicest art are plann'd, The sickle, scythe, or plough, he never sway'd; Good counteracting ill, and gladness woe.
An honest heart was almost all his stock : With gold and gems if Chilian mountains glow; His drink the living water from the rock; If bleak and barren Scotia's hills arise ;
The milky dams supplied his board, and lent There plague and poison, lust and rapine grow; Their kindly fleece to battle winter's shock; Here peaceful are the vales, and pure the skies, And he, though oft with dust and sweat besprent, And freedom fires the soul, and sparkles in the Did guide and guard their wanderings, wheresce's eyes.
Then grieve not, thou, to whom th' indulgent
From labour health, from health contentmani
Canst thou forego the pure ethereal soul
No jealousy their dawn of love o'ercast,
The wight, whose tale these artless lines unfold, And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb,
When all in mist the world below was lost. His birth no oracle or seer foretold ;
What dreadful pleasure ! there to stand sublime, No prodigy appear'd in earth or air,
Like shipwreck'd mariner on desert coast, Nor aught that might a strange event declare. And view th' enormous waste of vapour, tost You guess each circumstance of Edwin's birth ; In billows, lengthening to the horizon round, The parent's transport, and the parent's care; Now scoop'd in gulfs, with mountains now emboss'd! The gossip's prayer for wealth,and wit, and worth; And hear the voice of mirth and song rebound, And one long summer-day of indolence and mirth. Flocks, herds, and waterfalls, along the hoar pro
found ! And yet poor Edwin was no vulgar boy, Deep thought oft seem'd to fix his infant eye.
In truth he was a strange and wayward wight, Dainties he heeded not, nor gaud, nor toy,
Fond of each gentle, and each dreadful scene. Save one short pipe of rudest minstrelsy :
In darkness, and in storm, he found delight : Silent when glad ; affectionate, though shy;
Nor less, than when on ocean-wave serene And now his look was most demurely sad;
The southern sun diffused his dazzling shene. And now he laugh'd aloud, yet none knew why.
Even sad vicissitude amused his soul : The neighbours stared and sigh’d, yet bless'd the
And if a sigh would sometimes intervene, lad :
And down his cheek a tear of pity roll, Somedeem'd him wondrous wise, and some believed | A sigh, a tear, so sweet, he wish'd not to control. him mad.
“() ye wild groves, O where is now your bloom!" But why should I his childish feats display?
(The Muse interprets thus his tender thought) Concourse, and noise, and toil, he ever fled ;
“Your flowers, your verdure, and your baliny Nor cared to mingle in the clamorous fray
gloom, Of squabbling imps ; but to the forest sped, Of late so grateful in the hour of drought ! Or roam'd at large the lonely mountain's head, Why do the birds, that song and rapture brought Or, where the maze of some bewilder'd stream To all your bowers, their mansions now forsake? To deep untrodden groves his footsteps led, Ah! why has fickle chance this ruin wrought ! There would he wander wild, till Phæbus' beam, For now the storm howls mournful through the Shot from the western cliff, released the weary
And the dead foliage flies in many a shapeless flake. Th' exploit of strength, dexterity, or speed, “ Where now the rill, melodious, pure, and cool, To him nor vanity nor joy could bring.
Andmeads,with life, and mirth,and beauty crown'd! His heart, from cruel sport estranged, would bleed Ah ! see, th’ unsightly slime, and sluggish pool, To work the woe of any living thing,
Have all the solitary vale embrown'd; By trap, or net; by arrow, or by sling ;
Fled each fair form, and mute each melting sound, These he detested ; those he scorn'd to wield : The raven croaks forlorn on naked spray : He wish'd to be the guardian, not the king, And hark! the river, bursting every mound, Tyrant far less, or traitor of the field.
Down the vale thunders, and with wasteful sway And sure the sylvan reign unbloody joy might Uproots the grove, and rolls the shatter'd rocks yield.
away. Lo! where the stripling, rapt in wonder, roves “Yet such the destiny of all on earth : Beneath the precipice o’erhung with pine ; So flourishes and fades majestic man. And sees, on high, amidst th’ encircling groves, Fair is the bud his vernal morn brings forth, From cliff to cliff the foaming torrents shine : And fostering gales a while the nursling fan.. While waters, woods, and winds, in concert join, O smile, ye Heavens, serene; ye mildews wan, And echo swells the chorus to the skies.
Ye blighting whirlwinds, spare his balmy prime, Would Edwin this majestic scene resign
Nor lessen of his life the little span. For aught the huntsman's puny craft supplies? Borne on the swift, though silent, wings of Time, Ah ! no : he better knows great Nature's charms Old age comes on apace to ravage all the clime.
to prize. And oft he traced the uplands, to survey, “ And be it so. Let those deplore their doom, When o'er the sky advanced the kindling dawn, Whose hope still grovels in this dark sojourn : The crimson cloud, blue main, and mountain grey, But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb, And lake, dim-gleaming on the smoky lawn : Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn. Far to the west the long, long vale withdrawn, Shall Spring to these sad scenes no more return! Where twilight loves to linger for a while ; Is yonder wave the sun's eternal bed! And now he faintly kens the bounding fawn, Soon shall the orient with new lustre burn, And villager abroad at early toil.
And Spring shall soon her vital influence shed, But lo! the sun appears ! and heaven, earth, ocean, Again attune the grove, again adorn the mead.
“Shall I be left forgotten in the dust,
Or when the setting moon, in crimson dyed, When Fate, relenting, lets the flower revive? Hung o'er the dark and melancholy deep, Shall Nature's voice, to man alone unjust, To haunted stream, remote from man, he hied, Bid him, though doom'd to perish, hope to live? Where fays of yore their revels wont to keep ; Is it for this fair Virtue oft must strive
And there let Fancy rove at large, till sleep With disappointment, penury, and pain ?
A vision brought to his entranced siglit. No : Heaven's immortal springs shall yet arrive, And first, a wildly murmuring wind 'gan creep And man's majestic beauty bloom again,
Shrill to his ringing ear; then tapers bright, Bright through th' eternal year of Love's trium With instantaneous gleam, illumed the vault of phant reign."
And forth an host of little warriors march,
Grasping the diamond lance, and targe of gold. “Let man's own sphere,” said he, “confine his view,
Their look was gentle, their demeanour bold, Be man's peculiar work his sole delight.”
And green their helms, and green their silk attire; And much, and oft, he warn’d him to eschew And here and there, right venerably old, Falsehood and guile, and aye maintain the right, The long-robed minstrels wake the warbling wire, By pleasure unseduced, unawed by lawless might. And some with mellow breath the martial pipe
inspire. “ And from the prayer of Want, and plaint of Woe, With merriment, and song. and timbrels clear, O never, never turn away thine ear!
A troop of dames from myrtle bowers advance; Forlorn, in this bleak wilderness below,
The little warriors doff the targe and spear, Ah ! what were man, should Heaven refuse to And lond enlivening strains provoke the dance. To others do (the law is not severe) [hear ! They meet, they dart away, they wheel ashabee; What to thyself thou wishest to be done.
To right, to left, they thrid the flying maze ; Forgive thy foes; and love thy parents dear,
Now bound aloft with vigorous spring, then glane And friends, and native land; nor those alone; Rapid along : with many-colour'd rays All human weal and woe learn thou to make thine Of tapers, gems, and gold, the echoing forests own."
See, in the rear of the warm sunny shower
The dream is fled. Proud harbinger of day.
Yet couldst thou learn, that thus it fares with age, Forbear, my Muse. Let Love attune thy line, When pleasure, wealth, or power, the bosom warm,
Revoke the spell. Thine Edwin frets not so. This baffled hope might tame thy manhood’s rage, For how should he at wicked chance repine, And disappointment of her sting disarm.
Who feels from every change amusement iow! But why should foresight thy fond heart alarm ? Even now his eyes with smiles of rapture glos, Perish the lore that deadens young desire;
As on he wanders through the scenes of mon, Pursue, poor imp, th' imaginary charm,
Where the fresh flowers in living lustre blos, Indulge gay hope, and fancy's pleasing fire: Where thousand pearls the dewy lawns adorn, Fancy and hope too soon shall of themselves expire. A thousand notes of joy in every breeze are beroe. ,
When the long-sounding curfew from afar
But who the melodies of morn can tell !
The cottage-curs at early pilgrim bark ;
But when to horror his amazement rose,
O Nature, how in every charm supreme !
Behold, with berries smeard, with brambles torn, Whose votaries feast on raptures ever new!
The babes now famish'd lay them down to die : O for the voice and fire of seraphim,
Amidst the howl of darksome woods forlorn,
Folded in one another's arms they lie;
Nor friend, nor stranger, hears their dying cry :
“ For from the town the man returns no more." From Pyrrho's maze, and Epicurus' sty;
But thou, who Heaven's just vengeance darest And held high converse with the godlike few, Who to th' enraptured heart, and ear, and eye,
This deed with fruitless tears shalt soon deplore, Teach beauty, virtue, truth, and love, and melody.
When Death lays waste thy house, and flames
consume thy store.
Brighten'd one moment Edwin's starting tear, Who spread your filthy nets in Truth's fair fane,
“ But why should gold man's feeble mind decoy,
And innocence thus die by doom severe ?"
O Edwin ! while thy heart is yet sincere,
Th' assaults of discontent and doubt repel : should deign
Dark even at noontide is our mortal sphere ; (Though loath on theme so mean to waste a rhyme),
But let us hope ; to doubt is to rebel; With vengeance to pursue your sacrilegious crime. Let us exult in hope, that all shall yet be well. But hail, ye mighty masters of the lay,
Nor be thy generous indignation check’d, Nature's true sons, the friends of man and truth!
Nor check'd the tender tear to Misery given ; Whose song, sublimely sweet, serenely gay,
From guilt's contagious power shall that protect, Amused my childhood, and inform’d my youth.
This soften and refine the soul for Heaven. O let your spirit still my bosom sooth,
But dreadful is their doom, whom doubt has driven Inspire my dreams,and my wild wanderings guide;
To censure Fate, and pious Hope forego : Your voice each rugged path of life can smooth, Like yonder blasted boughs by lightning riven, For well I know wherever ye reside,
Perfection, beauty, life, they never know, There harmony, and peace, and innocence abide. But frown on all that pass, a monument of woe.
Ah me ! neglected on the lonesome plain,
Shall he, whose birth, maturity, and age
out end !
Various and strange was the long-winded tale ;