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Brushing, with hasty steps, the dews away,
There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch, And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies, he would rove; Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.
One morn I missed him on the 'customed hill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he.
The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne. Approach and read, for thou canst read the lay, Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."
Here rests his head upon the lap of earth,
A youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown; Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth, And Melancholy marked him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere;
No further seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
Thomas Gray was born at London, 1716. After completing his educa tion, he travelled through Europe. In this excursion, being accompanied by a person of eminence and distinction, he found ready access to the most refined society. After visiting places noted for the beauties of nature, and exploring the galleries of Rome, Naples, and Florence, he returned t Cambridge, and amid its noble libraries and learned society spent the greater part of his remaining life. Here he devoted much of his time to classical learning, and studied the Greek poets with such intense devotion and critical care, that their spirit and essence sank deep into his mind, and colored all his efforts at original composition. He is one of the few, of the very few, of our greatest poets, who deserve to be studied in every line for the apprehension of that sweetness, power, and splendor of versification, which has made him one of the most popular writers; we say popular, for his Elegy - one of the most classical productions that ever was penned by a refined and thoughtful mind — had he written nothing else, is of itself sufficient to immortalize him. So long as feeling hearts are to be found, so long as the ear is attracted by "the still, sad music of humanity," just so long will this Elegy be admired for the pensive melancholy of its numbers, for the sentiments which are imbodied, and the felicity of language both in sound and significance of the words employed. It is doubtless read and repeated more frequently than any of his other productions, because it is expressive of genuine feeling, and describes what all persons must at some time or other have felt or imagined. It will always find more readers than those inspired flights of imagination or recondite allusions, however graced with the charms of poetical diction, which can only be appreciated by persons of refinement and possessing something of a kindred taste and knowledge with the writer. It is said that in his country tours he carried with him a plano-convex mirror, which, when properly adjusted in the surveying of landscapes, gathers in one confined glance the forms and tints of the surrounding scene. It would seem as if his imagination, in many cases, performed a similar operation in collecting and arranging the materials of poetry. All is bright, and natural, rich and magnificent; all the coloring harmonizes, and all the parts are beautifully symmetrical. The following may be taken as a specimen :
"Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm ;
That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey."
Here is a scene fully equal to any thing which was ever grouped by the plano-convex mirror. Here is a finished picture. Here, at one glance, may be seen "the azure realm" flushed with the tints of morn; the sunbeam circles playing around the vessel freighted with Youth and Fleasure,
and sailing with wind, and tide, on a sea of glory; and, at the same time, in the far, dim distance, may be seen the Whirlwind, lying "hushed in grim repose," and watching for his "evening prey." Nothing can be more terrible than this "grim repose," or more intensely affecting than the sight of Youth and Pleasure, unconscious of the impending danger, and regardless of the inevitable doom on which they were verging!
34. Interview between Jeanie Deans, the Duke of Argyle, Queen Caroline, and Lady Suffolk.
THE Duke of Argyle made a signal for Jeanie to advance from the spot where she had hitherto remained, watching countenances which were too long accustomed to suppress all apparent signs of emotion, to convey to her any interesting intelligence. Her majesty could not help smiling at the awe-struck manner in which the quiet, demure figure of the little Scotchwoman advanced towards her; and yet more, at the first sound of her broad, northern acBut Jeanie had a voice low, and sweetly toned, an admirable thing in woman; and she besought "her leddyship to have pity on a poor, misguided young creature," in tones so affecting, that, like the notes of some of her native songs, provincial vulgarity was lost in pathos.
The queen asked Jeanie how she travelled up from Scotland.
"On foot mostly, madam," was the reply.
“What! all that immense way on foot! How far can you walk in a day?"
"Five-and-twenty miles, and a bittock."
"And a what?" said the queen, looking towards the Duke of Argyle.
"And about five miles more," replied the duke.
"I thought I was a good walker," said the queen; “but this shames me sadly."
"May your leddyship never hae sae weary a heart, that
ye canna be sensible of the weariness of the limbs," said Jeanie. "And I didna, just a' thegether, walk the haill way neither; for I had whiles the cast of a cart, and I had the cast of a horse from Ferrybridge, and divers other easements," said Jeanie, cutting short her story; for she observed the duke made the sign he had fixed upon.
"With all these accommodations," answered the queen, 'you must have had a very fatiguing journey, and I fear to little purpose; since, if the king were to pardon your sister, in all probability it would do her little good; for, I suppose, your people of Edinburgh would hang her out of spite."
"She will sink herself now outright," thought the duke. But he was wrong. This rock was above water, and she
"She was confident," she said, "that baith town and country wad rejoice to see his majesty taking compassion on a poor unfriended creature."
"His majesty has not found it so in a late instance," said the queen; "but, I suppose, my lord duke would advise him to be guided by the votes of the rabble themselves, who should be hanged and who spared."
'No, madam," said the duke; "but I would advise his majesty to be guided by his own feelings and those of his royal consort; and then, I am sure, punishment will only attach itself to guilt, and even then with cautious reluctance."
"Well, my lord," said her majesty, "all these fine speeches do not convince me of the propriety of so soon showing favor to your I suppose I must not say rebel'ious-but, at least, your very disaffected and intractable metropolis. Why, the whole nation is in a league to screen the savage and abominable murderers of that unhappy man; otherwise, how is it possible but that, of so many perpetrators, and engaged in so public an action for such a length of time, one, at least, must have been recognized? Even this wench, for aught I can tell, may be a dépositary of the secret.
Hark ye, young woman; had you any friends engaged in the Porteous mob?"
"No, madam," answered Jeanie; happy that the question was so framed, that she could, with a good conscience, answer it in the negative.
But I suppose," continued the queen, "if you were possessed of such a secret, you would hold it matter of conscience to keep it to yourself."
'I would pray to be directed and guided in the line of duty, madam," answered Jeanie.
Yes, and take that which suited your own inclinations," replied her majesty.
"If it like you, madam," said Jeanie, "I would ha gaen to the end o' the earth to save the life of John Portecus, or of any other unhappy man in his condition; but I might lawfully doubt how far I am called upon to be the avenger of his blood, though it may become the civil magistrate to do so. He is dead and gane to his place; and they that have slain him must answer for their ain act. But my sister— my puir sister, Effie- still lives, though her days and hours are numbered. She still lives, and a word of the king's mouth might restore her to a broken-hearted auld man, that never, in his daily and nightly exercise, forgot to pray that his majesty might be blessed with a long and a prosperous reign; and that his throne, and the throne of his posterity, might be established in righteousness. O madam, if ever ye kenned what it was to sorrow for and with a sinning and suffering creature, whose mind is sae tossed that she can be neither ca'd fit to live or die, have some compassion on our misery! Save an honest house from dishonor, and an unhappy girl, not eighteen years of age, from an early and dreadful death. Alas! it is not when we sleep soft, and wake merrily ourselves, that we think on other people s sufferings. Our hearts are waxed light within us then; and we are for righting our ain wrongs, and fighting our ain battles. But, when the hour of trouble comes to the mind, or to the and
body and seldom may it visit your leddyship,