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"Long have we borne this mighty load of ill,

These vile injurious taunts, and bear them still;

But times of happier note are now at hand,

And the full promise of a better land. For us, the earth shall bring forth her increase,

For us the flocks shall wear a golden fleece;

Fat barns shall yield us dainties of our

own,

And the grape bleed a nectar yet unknown.

For us, the sun shall climb the eastern hill,

For us the rains descend, the dews distil.

When to our wishes nature cannot rise, Art shall be taxed to grant us new supplies.

For us, the oak, shall from his native steep

Descend, and fearless travel through the deep;

The sail of commerce, for our use unfurled,

Shall waft the treasures of each distant world;

For us, sublimer heights shall science reach;

For us, their statesmen toil-their

churchmen preach," &c. &c.

All these bitter taunts are now reality; and of Churchill's libel, the most popular in England of all the pungent effusions of that era, the only portion that remains likely to escape oblivion, are the ironically-meant, though really reasonable, lines of expostulation which the satirist addresses to himself:

"Oft have I heard thee mourn the wretched lot

Of the poor, mean, despised, insulted Scot;

Who, might calm reason credit idle tales By rancour forged, where prejudice prevails,

Or starves at home-or practices through fear Of starving, arts that damn all conscience here.

When scribblers, to the charge by interest led,

The fierce North Briton foaming at their head,

Poured fresh invectives, deaf to candour's call,

And injured by one alien, railed at all; On northern Pisgah, when they take their stand,

To mark the weakness of that Holy Land,

With needless truths their libels to

adorn,

And hang a nation up to public scorn, The generous soul condemns the frantic rage,

And hates the faithful, but ill-natured page."

It kindles a good deal of indignation to see respectable satire engaged in the cruelty of running down a race of brave men, who had fought and bled for their opinions. A Russian bard, insulting the misfortunes of the Poles, would not employ his pen to a harsher purpose, than that of Churchill, in exulting over the Scottish people, prostrate after the battle of Culloden. Satire, never amiable, assumes its most repulsive aspect when it assails the weak. However it may serve as a vehicle for shrewd remark, and sometimes for the terse maxims of worldly wisdom, this style of composition is precluded by its very nature from ever rising to a true philosophy; and, perhaps no other department of literature has furnished the material of so much that is unjust and imaginary, in our estimates of the morals of different states of society, as this particular shelf of the professed satirists. After all, it is but a poor ambition, to point only the shafts of censure, laying up an armoury for combative or scornful spirits to draw upon, for the weapons of ridicule, contempt, or denuncia. tion-but furnishing no happy thought for the encouragement of virtue, the consolation of affliction, or the increase or preservation of any genuine or holy joy. The freaks of a splenetic humour, and the wrathful ebullitions of scorn, resentment, and insensate hate, have all, from time to time, clad in the splendours of genius, passed for the just indignation of morality; for private enmity is almost always the motive, public depravity the apology, of these bitter spirits. Armed with whips for the individual backs of Titus and Sempronius, they proclaim a mission to lash the vices of the age-and while indulging the animosities of personal, or national bad blood, challenge the approbation due to a generous zeal for the public morals. We do not include Swift among these hypocritical pretenders to a public censorship. Whether animated by just anger, blind fury, or mere spleen, Swift assailed the objects of his hatred or contempt

with proud and fearless personality, smiting his real or supposed enemies with gigantic force, and scorching up with fiery sarcasms the smaller game who crossed his path, without deigning a word of any such pharisaical excuse. But his hatreds often were unreasonable and of them all, none more so, than this furious enmity to the Scotch. The homely dogmatism of an unlettered ministry ought not to have irritated, for it could not have surprised, a well-read divine, and experienced student of mankind. Their affectation of a morose sanctimony might have provoked an allowable raillery from one, who was conscious how much the tranquillity of the church is promoted by the agreeable address of the clergy-but it could never justify that excessive ridicule, which reaches at religion itself, past the follies of its professors. At home, in the venality and servility of the then Irish parliament, his fury had a more legitimate excuse and here, his verses are as affluent in all that can best express an honest contempt and just indignation, as those of Juvenal himself. Still the reputation of the mere satirist is not an enviable one; and we own, we would rather have written the Birthday Odes to Stella, than the Legion Club and would rather, with John Milton, have failed in translating the little gem, "Quis multâ gracilis," than boast with Gifford, a triumphant success, in making Juvenal speak all his coarsest sentiments in the purest English.

While upon the subject of the Satirists, let us for a moment assume the part of Brother Gerund, and say a word to our younger clergy, whose zeal for religion sometimes betrays them into an unconscionable use of those extravagant pictures drawn by the ancient satirists of Greek and Roman manners. Let us suppose the case our own, and that in some future state of society, it should become an object with an equally learned and influential class of teachers, to draw debasing comparisons between us and the members of some future newlight communion. Place in the hands of such men the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, the comedies of Fielding, and the satires of Churchill, and there is no enormity of Greek or Roman vice which they may not fasten on

English society since the Reformation, just as plausibly as we attach the same charges to the audiences who witnessed the Clouds and Frogs of Aristophanes, or to the literati who indulged in the perusal of Catullus. We do not believe Churchill's satire of the "Times;" no more do we believe Juvenal's picture of the manners of the Roman matrons. They had both the same inducement to exaggerate, strengthened in Juvenal's case by the diseased pleasure which he manifestly took in describing the vices he execrates, and without some share of which, we do not believe his translator could ever have toiled through the foul labour of his version, perfect as it is in all the proprieties of whatever is most improper. Both, as professed satirists, lay under the necessity of colouring their grotesques up to the standard vividness of earlier lampoons. The morbid appetite excited by the Rosciad would not have relished any picture of Apicius less abominable than the terrible pen of Churchill has drawn it"Why mourns Apicius thus

-his stomach palled And drowned in floods of sorrow? Hath fate called

His father from the grave to second life? Hath Clodius on his hands returned his

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lady of the age of Tiberius. For our part, we give as little credit to the Italian, as to the English railer. Apicius, we know, was the personal and political enemy of the one satirist. Laufella, or Laufella's husband, may well enough be presumed to have given cause of similar personal hostility to the other. Ingenuous young priests, and ye candid deacons, take this into account, as often as you feel tempted to flatter the self-esteem of your hearers at the expense of those who are dead and gone, and have left no one to speak a word on their behalf-except when now and again the words of eternal truth and justice fashion themselves into poetic form, in the verses of such a man as the wise and loving ploughman, whose name we have placed at the head of this paper, and who has sung even for your instruction

"Oh, would some power the giftie gie

us,

To see ourselves as others see us,
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:

What airs in gait and dress wad lee us,
And even in devotion."

Burns was a ploughman-not a menial servant, but the driver, first, of his father's, and then of his own plough -an occupation of which no man liv ing on the earth, from which God has said, man shall earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, need be ashamed. From the kings and sovereigns of the world, to the beggar by the way-side, all who pray for their daily bread, depend, under God, on the ploughman ; and the occupation which in former times exercised the heroic hands of Ulysses and Cincinnatus, still exists unchanged as the basis of all national and individual prosperity. All the pursuits of agriculture are in this sense heroic, being still the same with those practised in heroic times by the chiefs and sages of the early world. Mark how Ulysses glories in his skill in rural labour

"Forbear, Eurymachus: for, were we matched

In work against each other, thou and I, Mowing in spring-time when the days are long;

I with my well-bent sickle in my hand, Thou armed with one as keen, for trial's sake

Of our ability to toil, unfed

Till night-grass still sufficing for the proof

Or, if again, it were our task to drive Yoked oxen of the noblest breed, sleekhaired,

Big-limbed, both battened to the full with grass,

Their age and aptitude for work the

same,

Not soon to be fatigued; and were the field

In size four acres, with a glebe through which

The share might smoothly glide, thou then shouldst see

How straight my furrow should be cut, and true."

And mark how nobly from the plough the warrior rises to feats of arms, and the king to the expression of his princely indignation:

"Or, should Saturnian Jove, this day, excite

Here battle, or elsewhere, and were I armed

With two bright spears, and with a shield, and bore

A brazen casque well fitted to my brows, Me, then, thou shouldst perceive mingling in fight

Among the foremost chiefs, nor with the crime

Of idle beggary shouldst upbraid me

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The ploughman's occupation is comparatively solitary, especially where a small farmer can yoke no more than a single plough; but in the tillage season, although each man may be alone in his field, yet the fields around him are all, more or less, alive, and in the pauses of his occupation the small farmer, guiding his own team, may hear from every hill and valley the voices of his neighbours encouraging their cattle, where busy ploughs are whistling thrang," than which neither town nor country affords a more cheerful music. The labour of directing the plough is

by no means so severe as that of many other rural duties; and besides the freshness of the open air, and the cheerfulness of early hours and active exercise, an exhilarating and wholesome gas rising from the newly opened soil, fills the lungs of the ploughman with life, and flushes his cheek with healthy vigour.

The labour of the mower, in which Ulysses also boasts his ability, is far more toilsome: fitter for the broadbacked, strong-loined, and sedate middle aged man, than for a young brisk worker. But Burns was from his youth a big-boned, stout-built, and vigorous man, and at the scythe could tire out all competitors; though we can hardly imagine a more ungenial task to a youth of his temperament. There are few more perfect pictures of patient unconquerable toil, than that of the mower standing for the length of a summer's day at this monoto. nous continuous labour, swaying the upper part of his body from side to side with the successive strokes of his scythe, while his lower limbs advance him by slow degrees into the thick meadow. Professor Wilson, that illustrious countryman of Burns, from whom our poet's memory has received so many eloquent and beautiful tributes, has somewhere presented a wonderfully striking picture of two sedate middle-aged men mowing together without emulation, but without intermission, except to whet their scythesit being piece-work-from grey morning to grey twilight, the scene varied only by the coming of their wives with their humble fare at meal times. Reading it, one scents the moist grass with all its bleeding juices, and half feels the grasp of lumbago across the loins. How these men work for their bread! What excessive toil to be allowed the privilege of life! How strong and patient is the labour of love!

Next to the toil of the mower, that of the shearer is, perhaps, the most trying in point of physical endurance; but the shearer's labour is wonderfully lightened by the charm of society, and the fescennine mirth of the harvestfield. Burns, who learned to meditate at the plough, learned to love with the sickle in his hand. In the barleyfield, too, his youthful heart acknowledged that other noble passion, equally indigenous in the manly breast, but

which brings no remorse, since even its excess is virtue :

The rough burr-thistle spreading wide
Amang the bearded bear,
I turned the weeder-clips aside,
And spared the symbol dear!

Of all the shows and mottos displayed at the Ayr festival, that splendid and affecting tribute to Burns's memory, of which we must speak so much hereafter, none so instantaneously raised the suffusion of affection to the

people's eyes, and evoked from their breasts such thundering shouts of acclamation, as these ingenuous lines, in which Burns confesses how his youthful love of country followed him into his daily avocations, and invested even the weeds of the field with a sacred inviolability.

At a time when threshing-machines were unknown, the flail was another instrument of toil with which the hands of every young man in Burns's station of life were necessarily familiar. There is a cheerful racket and bustle about this labour that makes it one of the most agreeable occupations of a countryman's life. The rattle and clatter of the flails, the leaping sheafs and the scattering grain, make the barn where two or three pairs of threshers are at work, as animated and as noisy as the smith's forge itself—another favourite resort of the young labourer-when its sparks are showering about under the noisy din of the hammers, and "Burnewin comes on like death at every chap."

"Nae mercy, then, for airn or steel; The banie, brawny, ploughman chiel Brings hard ower hip wi' sturdy wheel

The strong fore-hammer, Till block and studdie, ring and reel Wi' dinsome clamour."

Such are the main occupations of the labouring farmer-a sort of life for which it would be a blessing if society permitted the rest of mankind occasionally to exchange the wasting head-work of their trades and professions. How different the enjoyment of repose arising from whole. some labour in the open air, and the lassitude of mind and body that follows the close occupations of the citizen! Our nobility and gentry, ashamed to be seen between the stilts of a plough, or digging with the

spade, purchase a fatigue not half so sweet or natural from their costly field sports. We could imagine a new and better Grafenburg for the invalids of luxury, where the discipline of a farm would oblige the patients to do farm-work and to keep country hours, and where the wealthy ennuiè, paying for the liberty of making the earth yield her increase to his own hands, would earn a content of mind and wholesomeness of body that he now seeks for in vain with his dog and gun, or even with his rent-devouring pack of hounds. In no healthier or happier state need any youth of Burns' temperament have desired to be brought up, and under no more favourable opportunities for cultivating that insight into the human heart, and that quick perception of characteristics and manners with which he was so bountifully gifted. About this period of his life-putting out of sight that miserable time which he spent at Irvine, learning the flax-dressing business- there can be no question.~ Apart from the occasional despondency caused by his father's straitened circumstances, he was as happy as any man with the aspirations of a poet could be, and he was fast learning to express these aspirations, and to win the applauses of the world. Let us pause here, and while the prospect is still fair, and the clouds high, contemplate the sort of scenes among which young Burns' hours of relaxation were passed. It is said we have a picture of his father's own household in "The Cotter's Saturday Night." This we doubt, though Allan Cunningham affirms it. The poem was a tribute to Aiken, the brave defender of Gavin Hamilton, when the sour zealots of Mauchline would have visited that worthy man with ecclesiastical censures for allowing his servant girl to fetch in some dug potatoes from his garden of a Sunday morning; and as Burns had used a reprehensible freedom in espousing the quarrel of his friend, bringing religion itself into

con

tempt in his exposure of the hypocrisy of "Holy Willie," "Daddy Auld," and the rest of the bitter promoters of that illiberal charge, "The Cotter's Saturday Night" was written, as it would appear to us, to show that, however he might hate hypocrisy and assert a strong contempt for Calvinistic dogmas and discipline, Burns could

exhibit as profound a reverence for the ordinances and exercises of religion, unalloyed by sectarian animosities, as any man; and this he has done in as sweet strains as have ever been consecrated to the holy services of family worship either before or since. No religious man, be his theology what it may, can read the "Saturday Night," without a fervent glow of affection for his brethren of mankind, and a holy love, mixed with an awful fear of God. But we apprehend the piece was written more as a vindication of Burns to himself and to those who loved him, and felt that blasphemous abuses of the holy name were far from his heart, than as a picture of any actual scene on which he could look back with agreeable recollections. In fact, the Cotter's fire-side wants cheerfulness, not to say mirth. The father, "ningling a' wi' admonition due," is drawn with an excess of severe gravity that casts a degree, if not of gloom, at least of constraint, over the whole picture. The mother boasting "her weel-hained kebbuck" to Jenny's shame-faced but happy lover, gives occasion for the only touch of humour in the piece, and truly it is as dry as the gude wife's own bannocks. The opening of the poem, too, is loosely constructed, and evidently never drawn from any individual scene in nature-leading the mind about with devious images, and mixing up a picture of "miry beasts retreating from the plough" with the indications of spade-husbandry, and these again with a somewhat disconnected image of a moor and a cottage beneath the shelter of an aged tree, which, if you imagine it a single tree, only adds dreariness, and gives no shelter, and is, in point of fact, the undisguised "line for rhyme" of the stanza. similar discrepancy appears in the picture of youthful love, which the illus tration carries away from the scene whence the idea originates, and the month of November, to an interview of lovers beneath a milk-white thorn, scenting the gale of a May evening in some sunny valley. Then the introduction of lines and couplets from other poets, such as the picture we have just mentioned-" hope springs exulting on triumphant wing," and "an honest man's the noblest work of God," betoken anxiety, and that the writer felt he was on his stilts. Besides, we must

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