« AnteriorContinuar »
so as to give the advancing lines of the central pediment and wings a peculiarly airy effect. Since the High School was finished, the Calton Hill has been adorned further by the monuments of Dugald Stewart, and his friend Robert Burns. I say friend, because I wish to honour the memory of the philosopher by reminding the reader of this additional title, on his part, to our respect. The monument of Dugald Stewart is the slender and elegant temple, immediately above the western wing of the High School. It was erected in 1831, after a design by Mr Playfair, and is understood to be somewhat after the manner of a Grecian building called the Lantern of Demosthenes. In the open circle within the columns, there is a simple cinerary vase; and as yet no inscription has been affixed to the building. Burns's Monument was finished in 1832, being from a design by Mr Hamilton. It occupies a capital situation on a lower shoulder of the hill, where it is strikingly conspicuous in all directions except towards the north. It appears, however, to the individual who writes these pages, that the bulk of the structure would have been much more suitable to the exalted situation of Stewart's monument, which, on the other hand, is too gracile to have its proper efftct when seen from the general distances below. The details of Burns's monument are given so faithfully in the accompanying print, that a description of them is unnecessary. Suffice it to say, that the whole is in the purest Grecian taste. The mass of the building forms a grotto, which is lighted in an ingenious manner, and entered by the door visible in the engraving. This is destined for the reception of a statue of the poet, executed by Flaxman, and which was the result of a different fund from that employed in the monument.
It may be mentioned, as a circumstance honourable to Scottish national feeling, that a great part of the sums expended upon these endeared objects, was collected among our countrymen in India. I could dilate with much pleasure on the sentiment conveyed in this; but it is done to my hand in the following glowing verses by Mr M'Diarmid of Dumfries, with which I may wind up my observations on the Calton Hill.
Oh, ask yon lone exile, long destined to roam,
Where the dread Niagara, 'neath mountains of foam.
Or him who where Nature perennial blooms,
Where the land-breeze has drunk of a thousand perfumes,
Yes I ask why, 'midst regions thus fertile and fair,
Ah, to Scotsmen His bootless and vain to declare,
Yet they fate ne'er severed from home or from friends,
Who lists, while the Lascar his cane-oar suspends,
O! as message of angel to prophet of old,
Then weeps for the land he no more thall behold,
THE LYKEWAKE DIRGE.
Thou hast gazed on the wimpling burn,
If there never was in thy youth
Thought of joy or speech of truth,
If thou hast sat beneath the aik,
And ne'er pulled branch for true love's sake,
Nor lingered at thy dear one's knee,
Nor thought her beauty best to see,
Pass!—but thou hast not in thy heart
One spark that can from earth depart.
If thou hast never turn'd away
If thou hast look'd on the starry skies,
Pass to heaven!—for thy dreams have been
If thou hast not thought thy feast was poor,
When thy father's friend forgot thy door;
If the hand of a stranger laid the clay
On thy mother's head of silver gray;
If thy sister sat in her woe alone,
And thy brother mourn'd thy cold hearth-stone,
Pass away !—for the chill of death
Has been with thee since thou hadst breath;
Pass!—thy spirit alone will wait
Naked and cold at heaven's gate!
If thou canst not call an hour to mind
TO THE MEMORY OF A LADY.
High peace to the soul of the dead,
On the stars in her glory to tread,
In youth she was lovely; and Time, When her rose with the cypress he twined,
Left the heart all the warmth of its prime,
The summons came forth,—and she died!
Yet her parting was gentle, for those Whom she loved, mingled tears at her side—
Her death was the mourner's repose.
Our weakness may weep o'er her bier,
But her spirit has gone on the wing To triumph for agony here,
To rejoice in the joy of its King.
Crolt. THE STRANGER*
Hodnkt is a village in Shropshire. Like all other villages in Shropshire, or anywhere else, it consists principally of one long street, with a good number of detached houses scattered here and there in its vicinity. The street is on a slight declivity, on the sunny side of what in England they call a hill. It contains the shops of three butchers, five grocers, two bakers, and one apothecary. On the right hand, as you go south, is that very excellent inn, the Blue Boar; and on the left, nearly opposite, is the public hall, in which all sorts of meetings are held, and which is alternately converted into a dancing-school, a theatre, a Methodist chapel, a ball-room, an auction-room, an exhibition-room, or any other kind of room that may be wanted. The church is a little further off, and the parsonage is, as usual, a white house surrounded with trees, at one end of the village. Hodnet is, moreover, the market-town of the shire, and stands in rather a populous district; so that, though of small dimensions itself, it is the rallying place, on any extraordinary occasion, of a pretty numerous population.
One evening in February, the mail from London stopped at the Blue Boar, and a gentleman wrapped in a travelling cloak came out. The guard handed him a small portmanteau, and the mail drove on. The stranger entered the inn, was shown into a parlour, and desired that the landlord and a bottle of wine should be sent to him. The order was speedily obeyed; the wine was set upon the table, and Gilbert Cherryripe himself was the person who set it there. Gilbert next proceeded to rouse the slumbering fire, remarking, with a sort of comfortable look and tone, that it was a cold, raw night. His guest assented with a nod. "You call this village Hodnet, do you not?" said he, inquiringly.—" Yes, sir, this is the town of Hodnet" (Mr Cherryripe didnot like the term " village.") And a prettier little place is not to be found in England."—'' So I have heard; and as you are not upon any of the great roads, I believe you have the reputation of being a primitive and unsophisticated race."—" Privitive and sofiscated did you say, sir? Why, as to that I cannot exactly speak; but, if there is no harm in it, I daresay we are. But you see, sir, I am a vintner, and don't trouble my head much about these matters."—" So much the better," said the stranger, smiling. "You and I shall become better friends; I may stay with you for some weeks, perhaps months. In the meantime get me something comfortable for supper, and desire your wife to look after my bed-room."
• This is a clever extension of a story told by Mr Hazlitt, which is found, ed on real occurrences.
Mr Cherryripe made one of his profoundest bows, and descended to the kitchen, inspired with the deepest respect for his unexpected guest.
Next day was Sunday. The bells of the village church had just finished ringing, when the stranger walked up the aisle, and entered, as if at random, a pew which happened to be vacant. Instantly every eye was turned towards him, for anew face was too important an object in Hodnet to be left unnoticed.—" Who is he?" "When did he come?" "With whom does he stay?" "How long will he be here?" "How old may he be?" "Do you think he is handsome?" These and a thousand other questions flew about in whispers from tongue to tongue, whilst the unconscious object of all this interest cast his eyes calmly, and yet penetratingly, over the congregation. Nor was it altogether to be wondered at that his appearance had caused a sensation among the good people of Hodnet, for he was not the kind of person whom one meets with every day. There was something both in his face and figure that distinguished him from the crowd. You could not look upon him once, and then turn away with indifference. His features arrested your attention, and commanded your admiration. His high Roman nose, his noble brow, his almost feminine lips, and beautifully regular teeth,-—his pale but not delicate cheek, his profusion of dark and curling hair, his black bright eyes, whose glance, without being keen, was intense,—all, taken together, produced an effect which might have excited attention on a wider stage than that of Hodnet. In stature he was considerably above the middle height; and there was a something in his air which they who were not accustomed to it did not understand, and which some called grace, others dignity, and others hauteur. When the service was over, our hero walked out alone, and shut himself up for the rest of the day in his parlour at the Blue Boar. But speculation was busily at work, and at more than one tea-table that evening in Hodnet, conjectures were poured out with the tea, and swallowed with the toast.
A few days elapsed, and the stranger was almost forgotten; for there was to be a subscription assembly in Hodnet, which engrossed entirely the minds of men. It was one of the most important events that had happened for at least a century. Such doings had never been known before. There was never such a demand for milliners since the days of Ariadne, the first milliner of whom history speaks. Needles worked unremittingly from morning till night, and from night to morning. Fiddles were scraped on in private, and steps danced before looking-glasses. All the preparations which Captain Parry made for going to the North Pole, were a mere joke to the preparations made by those who intended to go to the Hodnet as