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Blessings to give, news ask, or suit prefer.
THE BLACK STONES OF IONA.
[See Martin's Voyage among the Western Isles.]
HERE on their knees men swore: the stones were black, Black in the people's minds and words, yet they Were at that time, as now,
in colour grey. But what is colour, if upon
opens, and the heavens in vengeance crack
HOMEWARD we turn. Isle of Columba's Cell,
Per me si va nella Città dolente.
We have not passed into a doleful City,
Alas! too busy Rival of old Tyre,
[MOSGIEL was thus pointed out to me by a young man on the top of
the coach on my way from Glasgow to Kilmarnock. It is remarkable that, though Burns lived some time here, and during much the most productive period of his poetical life, he nowhere adverts to the splendid prospects stretching towards the sea and bounded by the peaks of Arran on one part, which in clear weather he must have had daily before his eyes. In one of his poetical effusions he speaks of describing “fair Nature's face" as a privilege on which he sets a high value; nevertheless, natural appearances rarely take a lead in his poetry. It is as a human being, eminently sensitive and intelligent, and not as a poet, clad in his priestly robes and carrying the ensigns of sacerdotal office, that he interests and affects us.
Whether he speaks of rivers, hills and woods, it is not so much on account of the properties with which they are absolutely endowed, as relatively to local patriotic remembrances and associations, or as they ministered to personal feelings, especially those of love, whether happy or otherwise ; —yet it is not always so. Soon after we had passed Mosgiel Farm we crossed the Ayr, murmuring and winding through a narrow woody hollow. His line—“Auld hermit Ayr strays through his woods”-came at once to my mind with Irwin, Lugar, Ayr, and Doon,-Ayrshire streams over which he breathes a sigh as being unnamed in song; and surely his own attempts to make them known were as successful as his heart could desire.]
“THERE!” said a Stripling, pointing with meet pride Towards a low roof with green trees half concealed,
"Is Mosgiel Farm; and that's the very field
THE RIVER EDEN, CUMBERLAND.
[“NATURE gives thee flowers That have no rivals among British bowers.”
This can scarcely be true to the letter; but, without stretching the point at all, I can say that the soil and air appear more congenial with many upon the banks of this river than I have observed in any other parts of Great Britain.]
EDEN! till now thy beauty had I viewed
But I have traced thee on thy winding way
MONUMENT OF MRS. HOWARD,
IN WETHERAL CHURCH, NEAR CORBY, ON THE BANKS OF THE
(BEFORE this monument was put up in the Church at Wetheral, I
saw it in the sculptor's studio. Nollekens, who by the bye was a strange and grotesque figure that interfered much with one's admiration of his works, showed me at the same time the various models in clay which he had made, one after another, of the Mother and her Infant: the improvement on each was surprising ; and how so much grace, beauty, and tenderness had come out of such a head I was sadly puzzled to conceive. Upon a windowseat in his parlour lay two casts of faces, one of the Duchess of Devonshire, so noted in her day; and the other of Mr. Pitt, taken after his death, a ghastly resemblance, as these things always are, even when taken from the living subject, and more ghastly in this instance from the peculiarity of the features. The heedless and apparently neglectful manner in which the faces of these two persons were left—the one so distinguished in London society, and the other upon whose counsels and public conduct, during a most momentous period, depended the fate of this great Empire and perhaps of all Europe-afforded a lesson to which the dullest of casual visitors could scarcely be insensible. It touched me the more because I had so often seen Mr. Pitt upon his own ground at Cambridge and upon the floor of the House of Commons.]
STRETCHED on the dying Mother's lap, lies dead