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Then followed the various terrifying transformations of Tamlane, which the fair Janet had been warned to expect, but during which, undaunted, "she held him fast in every shape."

"They shaped him in her arms at last
A mother-naked man:

She wrapt him in her green mantle,
And sae her true-love wan!"

The fairy troop seemed to be scattered in sheer bewilderment: the voice of the Queen was heard, now in one place, now in another, uttering the bitterness of her chagrin at the successful daring of fair Janet :



Up then spake the Queen o' Fairies
Out o' a bush o' broom-

She that has borrowed young Tamlane,
Has gotten a stately groom.'

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'Up then spake the Queen o' Fairies
Out o' a bush o' rye—

'She's ta'en awa the bonniest knight
In a' my companie.

''Had I but had the wit yestreen
That I hae coft the day,

I'd paid my kane seven times to hell
Ere you'd been won away.'"

Such is an analysis of the principal legendary ballads of Scotland that have been preserved. It is evident

that these ballads at once evince the existence of a certain class of emotions strongly active in the Scottish mind, and must have been perpetually re-invigorating these emotions. To estimate, therefore, the value of those ballads in the building up of the Scottish character, requires an estimate of the value of these emotions as elements of human life. Now, the emotions which manifest themselves under the form of superstition are merely excesses, or rather misdirections, of the feeling, that the meaning of this universe is not exhausted by the scientific arrangement of natural phenomena,—that behind all natural law there is a mystery, which scientific conceptions do not embrace, but the sense of which they cannot banish from the spirit of Until there is a mediation, such as has not yet been accomplished even in advanced minds, between the scientific faith in the invariability of natural law and the religious faith in the existence of a world above natural law, the latter faith will continue to appear in a belief that that world reveals itself in operations which are out of Nature's ordinary course. To the great majority of minds this belief is probably the indispensable nutriment and the irresistible outflow of the higher faith; and there are not wanting minds of high culture, to whom a sympathetic realization in fancy of this belief is the only avenue to a poetical view of Nature. In fact, the belief can be neither of unmitigated evil nor of unmitigated good; and the evil, as well


1 See Collins' "Ode on the Superstitions of the Highlands," especially verses II and 12; Schiller's "Götter Griechenlands," especially verse 2. Compare Allan Cunningham's "Scottish Songs," vol. i. pp. 128–9.


as the good effects of it, the superstitious fanaticism, as well as the religious conviction, which it has wrought, may be traced in bold features of the Scottish character.

Without entering into questionable comparisons with other nations, it may be said with safety, that at all great crises in their modern history the Scottish people have exhibited unconquerable trust in an irresistible Power and an inviolable Order above the things that are seen and temporal. The light of that Divine trust throws a pleasant gleam over the many dark aspects of the Scottish struggle in the seventeenth century. It is not easy to realize the calamity which would have fallen upon Europe if the nations which have suffered for their religious convictions had given way; and it is, therefore, difficult to restrain indignation, impossible to overcome regret, that the courage of the Scottish people in their great struggle should not only have been so cruelly misinterpreted at the time, but continues to be misinterpreted even by those who are enjoying the fruit of their sufferings. But a closer view of the period shows that the faith of the Scots was manifested not only in a trustful struggle against oppression, but in an unreasoning fanaticism which did more perhaps than the political folly and the religious indifference of the enemy to postpone the achievement of toleration. It becomes, consequently, not altogether unintelligible, that cavaliers of cultured, and even of gentle nature, should have viewed their Scotch opponents as a pack of intractable rebels; and that some historical students, even at this distant day, should scarcely be able to see beyond the

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rant and bickering of the Covenanters into the nobler elements of their character.

It is difficult to refer to the facts of existing society without provoking the antagonistic passions by which its harmony is marred; and, therefore, any reference to these facts now must be as brief as possible. It is sufficient, however, to remark, that while the Scottish people display an activity of religious feeling which is scarcely to be seen in any other country, there are few, if any, Protestant communities in which that feeling is so unpardonably misdirected to microscopic distinctions of dogma and ecclesiastical polity, which are being constantly exalted into objects of a spurious reverence, wholly unintelligible to minds beyond the infection of passionate controversy.

Apart, then, from all other advantages to be derived from the study of the legendary ballads, they are of value as recalling to us, in its living freshness, a time when the world was still wonderful and awful in the eyes of men; and they remain worthy of study, if they serve to make us feel anew the mystery which lies before us in "the open secret of the Universe." We need not, in cherishing the feeling of this mystery, oppose the beneficent work of science in revealing to us the "faithfulness" with which the Ruler of the Universe evolves similar results from similar antecedents; but the work of science would cease to be beneficent if, in dissipating the ruder awe and wonder of an uncultured age, it made us forget that the Universe is awful and wonderful still. "This green, flowery, rock-built earth; the trees, the mountains, rivers, many

sounding seas; that great deep sea of azure that swims overhead; the winds sweeping through it; the black cloud fashioning itself together, now pouring out fire now hail and rain: what is it? Ay, what? At bottom we do not yet know; we can never know at all. It is not by our superior insight that we escape the difficulty; it is by our superior levity, our inattention, our want of insight. It is not by thinking that we cease to wonder at it. Hardened round us, encasing wholly every notion we form, is a wrappage of traditions, hearsays, mere words. We call that fire of the black cloud 'electricity,' and lecture learnedly about it, and grind the like of it out of glass and silk; but what is it? Whence comes it? Whither goes it? Science has done much for us ; but it is a poor science that would hide from us the great, deep, sacred infinitude of Nescience, whither we can never penetrate, on which all science swims as a mere superficial film. This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, inscrutable, magical, and more, to whosoever will think of it.”1

1 Carlyle's "Lectures on Heroes."

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