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the quarto edition of the “White Doe,” and told that he ought to publish in a similar manner, his answer was, that “none but the devil's poets needed fine clothes !” The pamphlet above alluded to was entitled “Poems on Military Battles, Naval Victories, and other important subjects, the most extraordinary ever penned, a Thunderbolt shot from Zion's Bow at Satan's Kingdom, the Kingdom of the Devil and the Kingdom of this World reserving themselves in darkness for the great and terrible day of the Lord, as Jude, the servant of the Lord declareth ; By James Brown, P. L.” This singular work was decorated with a whole length portrait of the author treading on the “ devil's books,” and blowing a trumpet to alarm sinners; it was, as we have heard him say, the work of a junior pupil of the immortal Bewick.

During the contest for Durham, in 1820, a number of copies of an election squib, written by a gentleman connected with a northern newspaper, and entitled “ A Sublime Epistle, Poetic and Politic, by James Brown, P. L.” were sent him for distribution; these, after printing an explanatory address on the back of the title, wherein he called himself S. S. L. D., the “Slayer of Seven Legions of Devils,” and disowned the authorship, he turned to his own emolument by selling at sixpence a copy!

In religious affairs, Brown was extremely superstitious; he believed in every mad fanatic, who broached opinions contrary to reason and sense. The wilder the theory, the more congenial to his mind. He was a great reader, and what he read he remembered. The bible, of which he had a very old curious pocket edition in black letter, was his favourite work; next to that, he esteemed the Rev. Alban Butler's lives of the saints, to every relation of which he gave implicit credit, though, strange to tell, he was in his conversation, always violent against, what he called, the “idolatries” of the catholic church.

When Brown was a follower of Mrs. Buchan, a Scotch fanatic, he used to relate that he fasted forty days and forty nights, and it is to this subject that veterinary Doctor Marshall, of Durham, his legitimate successor, alludes in the following lines of an elegy he wrote on the death of his brother poet and friend :

“ He fasted forty days and nights,
When Mrs. Buchan put to rights

The wicked, for a wonder;
And not so much, it has been thought,
As weigh'd the button on his coat,

He took to keep sin under."
So sung a Bion, worthy of such an Adonis ! but other accounts differ.
If we may credit Mr. Sykes, the respectable editor of “ Local
Records," Marshall erred in supposing that the poet, chameleon-like,

lived on air for “forty days and forty nights.” Mr. Sykes relates, that in answer to a question he put to him, as to how he contrived for so long a time, to sustain the cravings of nature, Brown replied, that

'they” (he and the rest of the party of fasters) “only set on to the fire a great pot, in which they boiled water, and then stirred into it oatmeal, and supped that!

Brown was very susceptible of flattery, and all his life long, constantly received letters in rhyme, purporting to come from Walter Scott, Byron, Shelley, Southey, Wilson, and other great poets; with communications in prose from the king of England, the emperor of Morocco, the sultan of Persia, &c. All these he believed to be genuine, and was in the habit of showing as curiosities to his friends, who were frequently the real authors, and laughed in their sleeves at his credulity.

In 1821, Brown received a large parchment, signed G. R., attested by Messrs. Canning and Peel, to which was suspended a huge unmeaning seal, which he believed to be the great seal of Great Britain. This document purported to be a patent of nobility, creating him “baron Durham, of Durham, in the county palatine of Durham.” It recited that this title had been conferred on him, in consequence of a translation of his works, having been the means of converting the Mogul empire! From that moment he assumed the name and style of " baron Brown," and had a wooden box made for the preservation of his patent.

Of the poetic pieces, which Brown was in the habit of receiving, many were close imitations of the authors, whose names were affixed to them, and evinced that the writers were capable of better things. One “ from Mr. Coleridge,” was a respectable burlesque of the “Ancient Mariner," and began :

It is a Zion's trumpeter,

And he stoppeth one of three.
Another, “from Mr. Wilson," commenced thus :-

Poetic dreams float round me now,
My spirit where art thou ?
Oh! art thou watching the moonbeams smile
On the groves of palm in an Indian isle ?
Or dost thou hang over the lovely main
And list to the boatswain's boisterous strain ?
Or dost thou sail on Sylphid wings
Through liquid fields of air,
Or, riding on the clouds afar,
Dost thou gaze on the beams of the Evening star

So beautiful and so fair ?

O no! O no! sweet spirit of mine
Thou art listening a holy strain divine-

A strain which is so sweet,
Oh, one might think ’twas a fairy thing,
A thing of love and blessedness,
Singing in holy tenderness,
A lay of peaceful quietness,

Within a fairy street !

But ah! 'tis Brown, &c. &c.
A piece “from Walter Scott” opened with :-

The heath-cock shrill his clarion blew
Among the heights of Benvenue,
And fast the sportive echo flew,

Adown Glenavin's vale.
But louder, louder was the knell,
Of Brown's Northumbrian penance-bell,
The noise was heard on Norham fell,

And rung through Teviotdale. These burlesques were chiefly produced by the law and medical students in Newcastle and Durham, and the young gentlemen in the Catholic College of Ushaw,* near the latter place. As the writer of this sketch, was once congratulating Mr. Brown on his numerous respectable correspondents, the old man said that he had an acquaintance far superior to any of his earthly ones, and no less a personage than the angel Gabriel, who, he stated, brought him letters from Joanna Southcote, and called to carry back his answers! This “ Gabriel ” was a young West Indian, then residing in Durham, who used to dress himself in a sheet, with goose wings on his shoulders, and visit the poet at night, with letters purporting to be written to him in heaven, by the far-famed prophetess. After “ Gabriel” left Durham, Brown, was frequently told of the deception, which had been practised upon him, but he never could be induced to believe that his nocturnal visitor was any other than the angel himself. “Did I not,” he once said, “see him clearly fly out at the ceiling ! Brown used to correspond with some of Joanna's followers in London, on the subject of these supposed revelations, and actually found (credite posteri !) believers in their genuineness !

Ringing the penance bell, was an expression whieh frequently occurred in his writings. As

I've toll'd the devil's penance-bell,

and warned you to keep from hell, &c. The penance-bell, occurs three or four times in each of his several poems.

This college is now called St. Cuthbert's and is in connexion with the University of London, where the students are enabled to take degrees in the Arts, Law or Medicine.

Amongst Brown's strange ideas, one was that he was immortal, and should never die. Under this delusion, when ill, he refused all medical assistance, and it induced him at the age of ninety, to sell the little property which he acquired by marriage, for a paltry guinea a week, to be paid during the life of himself and Mrs. Brown, and the life of the survivor. The property he parted from, in consideration of this weekly stipend, was a leasehold house in Sadler-street, Durham, (the theatre having been pulled down, soon after the erection of the present one opposite to it,) which he disposed of to two Durham tradesmen, by whom the allowance was for some time regularly paid ; but on one of them becoming embarrassed in his circumstances, the payment was discontinued, and poor Brown and his aged wife were thrown on the world without a farthing, at a time when bodily and mental infirmities had rendered them incapable of gaining a livelihood. After this calamity, Brown became for a few months an inhabitant of the Durham poor-house, which he subsequently left for an obscure inn, where on the 11th of July, 1823, he died in a state of misery and penuary, at the advanced age of 92: his wife shortly afterwards died in the poor-house. They are both interred in the church-yard of St. Oswald.

Such was James Brown the Durham poet, who with all his eccentricities was an honest, harmless and inoffensive old man.

The above memoir was inserted in a work published by Cochrane and M‘Crone, London, intitled "Memoirs of Obscure Poets,” the anonymous compiler of which, not only copied it with all its typographical blunders (and they were many), and without naming the source from whence it was taken, but actually held the memoir forth to the public as his own composition! Sic vos non vobis, 8C., &c.



NCROFT is a small village not far south of Berwick, consisting now of only a few cottages. The church is situated at the east end of the village, an ancient edifice with a square tower uncovered: in the middle of the tower grew a large ash tree, supported on an arch where its roots were sustained

by the decayed walls; but the venerable appearance of the old edifice is highly injured, by a covering of red tiles. Ancroft seems to have been formerly a large and populous village. It is said that a company of shoemakers resided here in the reign of Anne, and were employed in making shoes for the army. The foundations of the old houses are still to be seen in a field south west of the church. In 1542, there existed a tower here, situate near the church. It was then in tolerable repair, but now not a vestige remains.

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LTHOUGH the light of knowledge has, to a considerable degree, dispersed innumerable shadows which the vivid imagination of our ancestors invested with the attributes of reality, a belief in Fairy Mythology still lingers with those who reside in the unfrequented recessess of the Border Hills. Simple, pious men, attending their hirsels, and occasionally

carrying the bible in their plaid neuks, will, on going their rounds, point out some green knoll or level haugh bounded by a slender brook, where the “good neighbours" were, in former times, wont to hold their joyous revelry. Not one may acknowledge he ever saw a fairy; but many will admit that such beings have been seen : and, rather than yield up this point of credence, some would even be more ready to swerve from faith in matters of infinitely higher importance. Much light, I am aware, has been thrown on this department of superstition by the pens of far abler commentators; yet as I intend to make thereon some additional observations, by way of illustrating both the following ballad and similar pieces of fiction, I shall endeavour to confine myself to those opinions of the subject which prevailed on the boundaries of England and Scotland, handling them, if possible, in a way that may possess some slight interest to the generality of readers.

Without either searching from whence the word fairy was derived, or noticing the splendid illusions which have been made to the elves by nearly all our old masters of British poetry, I may say they were considered to be little wee, slightly formed beings, beautifully proportioned in limb and stature, having fine flaxen or yellow hair waving over their shoulders ; and they chiefly wore green mantles, although the robes of those who haunted moory districts, assumed a brownish hue, so as to be nearly uniform with the appearance of these upland places. They were of different sexes, and the dress of the females, like that of mortals, varied in shape from male apparel, yet it retained almost the same colour. In their raids or journeys which took place

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