Page images

breeding fish that are of individual ing spring, and are becoming grilse value in winter, as those which, having from week to week, and of various no intention or requirement to spawn sizes, according to the length of their until the following autumn, enter the continuance in the sea. But they refresh waters because they have already quire at least a couple of months to completed the days of their purification intervene between their departure from in the sea. Although, when viewed the rivers in April or May, and their in the relation of time, they may seem return thither;—which return conseto form the continuous succession of quently commences, though sparingly, spawning fish which have come up in June, and preponderates in July and gravid from the ocean during the later August. months of autumn, they are in truth But we are making slow progress rather the avant-couriers of the newer with our intended exposition of Mr and more highly conditioned shoals Scrope's beautiful and instructive vowhich show themselves in early spring. lume. Although salmon and salmon We believe that fresh-run fish may be streams form the subject and “ main found in all our larger rivers during region of his song," he yet touches every month throughout the year, truthfully, albeit with brevity, upon though we cannot clear up their some. the kindred nature of sea trout, which what anomalous history, nor explain are of two species-the salmon-trout why the breeding season, as among

and the bull. trout. The fry of the land creatures of identical natures, former, called orange fins, (which, like should not take place more uniformly the genuine parr, remain two continu. about the same time. It is by no ous years in the river,) greatly remeans improbable, however, that, as semble the young of the common grilse seek our fresh waters at different fresh-water trout. • Like the grilse, periods from adult salmon, so salmon it returns to the river the summer of of a certain standing may observe dif- its spring migration, weighing about a ferent periods of migration from those pound and a half upon an average. of dissimilar age.

-P. 63. We think our author rather If, as many suppose, the earliest over-estimates their weight at this fislı are those which have soonest early period. Herlings (for so they are spawned during the preceding autumn, also named on their first ascent from and have since descended towards and

the sea) rarely weigh one pound, unrecovered in the sea, —then a preco. less they remain for a longer time than cious spawning would necessarily lead usual in salt water. In this state they to the speediest supply of clean fish in bear the same relation to adult seamid-winter; but the fact referred to trout as grilse do to salmon, and they has not been ascertained, and it may spawn while herlings. They aftertherefore still be as reasonably alleged wards increase about a pound and that the winter fish (an opinion sup- a half annually, and in the summer ported by the fact of their unusually of their sixth year (from the ovum) large size) have continued in the sea have been found to weigh six pounds.* since spring. At least a majority of Whether this is their ordinary ultimate them, (for they differ somewhat in term of increase, or whether, having their aspect and condition,) instead of every year to pass up and down the having spawned soonest in autumn, dangerous, because clear and shallow bave probably rather spawned last of waters, exposed to many mischances, all during the preceding spring, and so and, it may be, the “imn.inent deadly required for their recovery a corre- breach” of the cruive-dyke, and thus sponding retardation of their sojourn in perish in their prime, we cannot say: the sea. The reasons why grilse sel- but this we know, that they are rarely dom show themselves till the summer ever met with above the weight of six is well advanced, are very obvious, or seven pounds. now that we have become conversant Of the generation and growth of the with their true history. They were other and greater sea-trout(Salmoeriox,) only smolts in the immediately preced- we have not yet acquired the same pre

* See Mr Shaw's paper “ On the Growth and Migration of the Sea-trout of the Solway.”- Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Vol. XV. Part iii. p. 369.



cise knowledge, but its history may fairly Up starts a monster fish with his murbe inferred to be extremely similar. derous jaws, and makes a dash at my 66 These fish," says Mr Scrope,

little Andromeda. Thus he is the found in many salmon rivers, but not in

aggressor, not I; his intention is eviall. It is very abundant in the Tweed, dently to commit murder. He is caught which it visits principally at two sea

in the act of putting that intention into sons; in the spring about the month of

execution. Having wantonly intruded May, and again in the month of October, himself on my hook, which I contend he when the males are very plentiful; but

had no right to do, he darts about in the females are scarce till about the

various directions, evidently surprised beginning or middle of November. With

to find that the fly, which he hoped to salmon it is the reverse, as their females

make an easy conquest of, is much strongleave the sea before the males. The

er than himself. I naturally attempt to bull trout is also more regular in his regain this fly, unjustly withheld from me. habits than the salmon; for the fisher

The fish gets tired and weak in his law. man can calculate almost to a day when

less endeavours to deprive me of it. I the large black male trout will leave the

take advantage of his weakness, I own, The foul fish rise eagerly at the

and drag him, somewhat loth, to the fly, but the clean ones by no means so.

shore, when one rap on the back of the

If he is a They weigh from two to twenty-four head ends him in an instant. pounds, and occasionally, I presume, but

trout, I find his stomach distended with The largest

flies. very rarely indeed, more.

That beautiful one called the I ever heard of was taken in the May fly, who is by nature almost epheHallowstell fishing water, at the mouth

meral—who rises up from the bottom of of the Tweed, in April 1810, and weighed the shallows, spreads its light wings, twenty-three pounds and a half. The

and flits in the sunbeam in enjoyment of heaviest bull trout I ever encountered

its new existence–no sooner descends myself weighed sixteen pounds, and I

to the surface of the water to deposit had a long and severe contest with his

its eggs, than the unfeeling fish, at one majesty. He was a clean fish, and I

fell spring, numbers him prematurely hooked him in a cast in Mertoun water

with the dead. You see, then, what a called the Willow Bush, not in the

wretch a fish is; no ogre is more blood. mouth but in the dorsal fin. Brethren thirsty, for he will devour his nephews, of the craft, guess what sore work I had nieces, and even his own children, when with him! He went here and there

he can catch them; and I take some with apparent comfort and ease to his

credit for having shown him up. Talk own person, but not to mine. I really

of a wolf, indeed, a lion, or a tiger ! did not know what to make of him. Why, these, are all mild and saintly in There never was such a Hector. I comparison with a fish! What a bitter cannot say exactly how long I had

fright must the smaller fry live in ! him on the hook; it seemed a week at

They crowd to the shallows, lie hid least. At length John Halliburton, who

among the weeds, and dare not say the

river is their own. I relieve them of was then my fisherman, waded into the river up to his middle, and cleeked him

their apprehensions, and thus become whilst he was hanging in the stream, popular with the small shoals. When and before he was half beat.”-P. 66.

we see a fish quivering upon dry land,

he looks so helpless without arms or Many simple-minded people, with legs, and so demure in expression, addsomething of a sentimental turn, (they ing hypocrisy to his other sins, that we are almost always fond of raw oysters, naturally pity him; then kill and eat him, and gloat over a roasted turkey, al- with Harvey sauce, perhaps. though they know that it was bled to is misplaced,—the fish is not. There is death by cutting the roots of its

an immense trout in Loch Awe in Scottongue,) look upon angling as a "cruel land, which is so voracious, and swala sport.”. Let us see, with Mr Scrope, lows his own species with such avidity,

that he has obtained the name of Salmo how this matter really stands.

ferox. I pull about this unnatural mon“ I take a little wool and feather, and

ster till he is tired, land him, and give tying it in a particular manner upon a him the coup-de-grace. Is this cruel ? hook, make an imitation of a fly; then Cruelty should be made of sterner stuff.” I throw it across the river, and let it

-P. 83. sweep round the stream with a lively motion. This I have an undoubted Mr Scrope is known as an accomright to do, for the river belongs to me plished artist as well as an experienced or my friend; but mark what follows. angler, and we need not now to tell


Our pity



our readers that he is also à skilful on the scenery of that now noted disauthor. It does not fall to the lot of trict of the south of Scotland, blended all men to handle with equal dexterity with the graceful expression of those the brush, the pen, and the rod - to melancholy remembrances, we doubt say nothing of the rifle--still less of not deeply felt, which must ever cast the leister, under cloud of night. There a dark shadow over the minds of the is much in the present volume to interest surviving associates of the Great Mineven those who are so unfortunate as to strel. Alas! where can we turn ourhave never seen either grilse or salmon, selves without being reminded of the except as pupils or practitioners in the transitory nature of this our low estate, silver fork school. His reminiscences of its dissevered ties, its buried hopes, of his own early life and manlier years, and lost affections! How many bitter under the soubriquet of Harry Otter, endurances, reflected from the bosom are pleasantly told, and his adventu- of the past, are ever mingling with all rouş meetings with poachers and paint- those ongoings of human life and ers are amusing in themselves, as well action which we call enjoyments! How aš instructive in their tendency to

mixed in their effects are even the illustrate, not only the deeper mysteries natural glories of this our fair creation ! of piscatorial art, but the life and con- What golden sunset casts not its farversation of the amphibious people who beaming splendour, not only on the dwell by the sides of rivers. His first great mountains and the glittering sea, arrival in 5 fair Melrose," the moon- but also breaks, as if in mockery, into light lustre of which was then unsung, ghasily chambers where the desolation is thus described

of death, “the wages of sin," is miser“It was late, and I looked forth on the ably brooding! And yet how solemtranquil scene from my window. The nizing, how elevating in their influences, moonbeams played upon the distant hill- are all the highest beauties both of art tops, but the lower masses slept as yet and nature, notwithstanding the awe, in shadow; again the pale light caught approaching to fearfulness, with which the waters of the Tweed, the lapse of they not seldom affect our spirits. The whose streams fell faintly on the ear, veneration with which we gaze even like the murmuring of a sea-shell. In on insensate walls which once formed front rose up the mouldering abbey, the loved abode of genius and virtue, deep in shadow; its pinnacles, and but- is a natural tribute to a noble nature, tresses, and light tracery, but dimly and flows from one of the purest and seen in the solemn mass.

A faint light

most sustaining sources of emotion by twinkled for a space among the tomb

which our humanity is distinguished. stones; soon it was extinct, and two

It almost looks as if, in accordance figures passed off in the shadow, who had been digging a grave even at that

with the Platonic philosophy, there jate hour. As the night advanced, a

remained to man, from an original and change began to take place. Clouds

more lofty state of existence, some dim heaved up over the horizon; the wind

remembrance of perfection. was heard in murmurs; the rack hur

“ This inborn and implanted recolried athwart the moon; and utter dark

lection of the godlike," says Schlegel, ness fell upon river, mountain, and

“ remains ever dark and mysterious ; haugh. Then the gust swelled louder,

for man is surrounded by the sensible and the storm struck fierce and sudden world, which being in itself changeable against the casement. Bnt as the mor

and imperfect, encircles him with row dawned, though rain-drops still hung images of imperfection, changeableness, upon the leaf, the clouds sailed away, corruption, and error, and thus casts the sun broke forth, and all was fair perpetual obscurity over that light and tranquil.”—P. 97.

which is within him. Wherever, in The fisherman was sent for express,

the sensible and natural world, he perand his general garb and fly-bеdizened

ceives any thing which bears a resemhat, are soon portrayed ; while the

blance to the attributes of the God. waxing " of the Tweed, and how the

head, which can serve as a symbol of Eildon Hills were of old cloven by the

a high perfection, the old recollections art of grammarye, conclude the fourth of his soul are awakened and refreshed. chapter, and bring us only to the

The love of the beautiful fills and ani.

mates the soul of the beholder with an The ensuing section of the work awe and reverence which belong not to opens with some general observations the beautiful itself--at least not to any

hundredth page.


sensible manifestation of it- but to might see and feel; but he wonld see po that unseen origioal of which material farther : the lere bad not spread its beauty is the type. From this admira- witchery over the scene-the legends tion, this new-awakened recollection, slept in oblivion.

The stark mossand this instantaneous inspiration, trooper, and the clanking stride of the spring all higher knowledge and truth. warrior, had not again started into life; These are not the product of cold,

nor had the light blazed gloriously in leisurely, and voluntary reflection, but the sepulchre of the wizard with the occupy at once a station far superior mighty book. The slogan swelled not to what either thought, or art, or specu

anew upon the gale, sounding through lation, can attain; and enter into our

the glens and over the misty mountains; inmost souls with the power and pre

nor had the minstrel's harp made music

in the stately halls of Newark, or beside sence of a gift from the divinity."

the lonely braes of Yarrow. Mr Scrope's first visit to the Tweed

“ Since that time I have seen the was made before the “ Ariosto of the

Cottage of Abbotsford, with the rustic North" had sung those undying strains porch, lying peacefully on the haugh which have since added so much asso

between the lone hills; and have listen. ciated interest to the finely varied ed to the wild rush of the Tweed as it courses of that fair river. But many hurried beneath it. As time progressed, fond lovers of nature, then as now, and as hopes arose, I have seen that Though wanting the accomplishment cottage converted into a picturesque of verse,"

mansion, with every luxury and comfort

attached to it, and have partaken of its were well acquainted with all its unre

hospitality; the unproductive hills I corded beauties.

have viewed covered with thriving plan“What stranger," asks our author, tations, and the whole aspect of the coun"just emerging from the angular enclos try civilized, without losing its romantic sures of the south, scored and subdued character. But, amidst all these revoby tillage, would not feel his heart lutions, I have never perceived any expand at the first sight of the heathy change in the mind of him who made mountains, swelling out into vast pro- them,-'the choice and master spirit of portions, over which man had no domi

the age.'

There he dwelt in the hearts nion ? At the dawn of day he sees, of the people, diffusing life and happiperbaps, the mist ascending slowly up ness around him; he made a home bethe dusky river, taking its departure to

side the border river, in a country and some distant undefined region; below a nation that have derived benefit from the mountain range his sight rests upon his presence, and consequence from his a deep and narrow glen, gloomy with genius. From his chamber he looked woods, shelving down to its centre. out upon the grey ruins of the Abbey, What is hid in that mysterious mass the and the sun which set in splendour beeye may not visit ; but à sound comes neath the Eildon Hills. Like that sun, down from afar, as of the rushing and his course has been run; and, though disdin of waters. It is the voice of the astrous clouds came across him in his Tweed, as it bursts from the melancholy career, he went down in unfading glory. bills, and comes rejoicing down the sunny “ These golden hours, alas! have Fale, taking its free course through the long passed away; but often have I haugh, and glittering amongst sylvan visions of the sylvan valley, and its bowers-swelling out at times fair and glittering waters, with dreams of social ample, and again contracted into gorges

intercourse. Abbotsford, Mertoun, and sounding cataracts—lost for a space

Chiefswood, Huntly. Burn, Allerley-in its mazes behind a jutting brae, and when shall I forget ye?”—P. 102. re appearing in dashes of light through

How many share these sad and vain bolls of trees opposed to it in shadow.

“ Thus it holds its fitful course. The regrets! The very voice of the living stranger might wander in the quiet vale,

waters, which once glittered so reand far below the blue summits he might joicingly through the green pastures, see the shaggy flock grouped upon some

or retlected in their still expanse the sunny knoll, or struggling among the

lichen-covered crag or varied woodland, scattered birch-trees; and lower down

seems now to utter an “illætabile muron the haugh, his eye perchance might mur," while rest awhile on some cattle standing on “ A trouble not of clouds or weeping a tongue of land by the margin of the

rain, river, with their dark and rieh brown Nor of the setting sun's pathetic light, forms opposed to the brightness of the Engender'd, hangs o'er Eildon's triple waters. All these outward pictures he



66 It was

On the 21st of September 1832, Sir We must here unwillingly conclude Walter Scott breathed his last, in the our account of Mr Scrope's volume, presence of all his children.

although we have scarcely even ena beautiful day,” we have been else- tered on many of its most important where told, « so warm that every portions. Bait fishing for salmon, and window was wide open, and so pere the darker, though torch-illumined, fectly still, that the sound of all others mysteries of the leister, occupy the ter. most delicious to his ear, the gentle minal chapters. A careful study of ripple of the Tweedoverits pebbles, was the whole will amply repay the angler, distinctly audible as we knelt around the naturalist, the artist, and the genethe bed, and his eldest son kissed and ral admirer of the inexhaustible beauties closed his eyes. No sculptor ever of rural scenery-nowhere witnessed modelled a more majestic image of or enjoyed to such advantage as by the repose.'

side of a first-rate river.




In offering this little poem to the public, some few words, by way of explanation, are deemed necessary. Most of the circumstances alluded to in it will be familiar to Oxford readers of Bishop Heber's standing, but especially to those of his own college, Brazenose. The origin of the poem was simply this:-A young friend of his, B---- P--t, went to call upon him at Brazenose, and, without being aware of the heinous crime he was com. mitting, cracked a four-horse whip in the quadrangle. This moved the ire of a certain doctor, a fellow and tutor, and at that time also dean of the college, commonly called Dr Toe from a defect in one of his feet. The doctor had unfortunately made himself obnoxious to most of those of his own college, under graduates as well as others, by his absurd conduct and regulations. On the following day Mr P--t cracked the whip in the quadrangle, when the doctor issued from his rooms in great wrath, and after remonstrating with Mr Pe-t, and endeavouring to take the whip from him, a scuffle ensued, in which the whip

was broken, and the doctor overpowered and thrown down by the victorious P--t, who had fortunately taken his degree of Master of Arts. Heber, then an under graduate of only a few terms' standing, wrote the first canto the same evening, and the intrinsic merit of the poem will recommend it to most readers. But it will be doubly interesting when considered as one of the first, if not the very first, of the poetical productions of that eminent and distinguished scholar. In it may be traced the dawnings of that genius which was afterwards to delight the world in an enlarged sphere of usefulness.



Where whiten'd Cain the curse of heaven defies, t
And leaden slumber seals his brother's eyes,
Where o'er the porch in brazen splendour glows
The vast projection of the mystic nose,

[ocr errors]

* The Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart., by his literary executor.

+ In the quadrangle of Brazenose College, there is a statue of Cain destroying Abel with a bone, or some such instrument. It is of lead, and white-washed, and no doubt that those who have heard that Cain was struck black, will be surprised to find that in Brazenose he is white as innocence,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »