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THE POACHER. A frt AGMENT.
Welcome, grave stranger, to our green retreats,
Seek we yon glades, where the proud oak o'ertops Wide-waving seas of birch and hazel copse, Leaving between deserted isles of land, Where stunted heath is patch'd with ruddy sand; And lonely on the waste the yew is seen, Or straggling hollies spread a brighter greenIIere, little worn, and winding dark and steep, Our scarce-mark'd path descends yon dingle deep : Follow—but heedful, cautious of a trip. In earthly mire philosophy may slip, Step slow and wary o'er that swampy stream, Till, guided by the charcoal's smothering steam, We reach the frail yet barricaded door Of hovel form'd for poorest of the poor; No hearth the fire, no vent the smoke receives, The walls are wattles, and the covering leaves; For, if such hut, our forest statutes say, Rise in the progress of one night and day (Though placed where still the Conqueror's hests o'er
And his son's stirrup shines the badge of law),
As wigwam wild, that shrouds the native frone On the bleak coast of frost-barr'd Labrador."
Approach, and through the unlatticed window peep, Nay, shrink not back, the inmate is asleep; Sunk mid yon sordid blankets, till the sun Stoop to the west, the plunderer's toils are done. Loaded and primed, and prompt from desperate hand, Rifle and fowling-piece beside him stand, While round the hut are in disorder laid The tools and booty of his lawless trade; For force or fraud, resistance or escape, The crow, the saw, the bludgeon, and the crape. His pilfer'd powder in yon nook he hoards, And the filch'd lead the church's roof affords— (Hence shall the rector's congregation fret, That while his sermon 's dry, his walls are wet.) The fish-spear barb'd, the sweeping net are there, Doe-hides, and pheasant plumes, and skins of hare, Cordage for toils, and wiring for the snare. Barter'd for game from chase or warren won, Yon cask holds moonlight,” run when moon was none: And late-snatch'd spoils lie stow'd in hutch apart, To wait the associate higgler's evening cart.
Look on his pallet foul, and mark his rest: * What scenes perturb’d are acting in his breast : His sable brow is wet and wrung with pain, And his dilated nostril toils in vain, For short and scant the breath each effort draws, And 'twixt each effort Nature claims a pause. Beyond the loose and sable neckcloth stretch'd, His sinewy throat seems by convulsion twitch'd, While the tongue falters, as to utterance loth, Sounds of dire import—watch-word, threat, and oath. Though, stupified by toil and drug;'d with gin, The body sleep, the restless guest within Now plies on wood and wold his lawless trade, Now in the fangs of justice wakes dismay’d.—
« Was that wild start of terror and despair, Those bursting eye-balls, and that wilder'd air, Signs of compunction for a murder'd hare: Do the locks bristle and the eye-brows arch,
For grouse or partridge massacred in March?»
No, scoffer, no! Attend, and mark with awe, There is no wicket in the gate of law! He, that would c'er so lightly set ajar That awful portal must undo each bar; Tempting occasion, habit, passion, pride, will join to storm the breach, and force the barrier wide.
That ruffian, whom true men avoid and dread. whom bruisers, poachers, smugglers, call Black Ned, Was Edward Mansell once;—the lightest heart, That ever play'd on holiday his part! The leader he in every Christmas game, The harvest feast grew blither when he came,
* Such is the law in the New Forest, Hampshire, tending greatly to increase the various settlements of thieves, smugglers, and deerstealers, who infest it. In the forest courts the presiding judge wears as a badge of office an antique stirrup, said to have been that of william Rufus. See Mr Willian Rose's spirited poem, entitled . The Red King."
* A cant name for smuggled spirits.
And liveliest on the chords the bow did glance,
But he, whose humours spurn law's awful yoke, Must herd with those by whom law's bonds are broke. The common dread of justice soon allies The clown, who robs the warren or excise, With sterner felons train'd to act more dread, Een with the wretch by whom his fellow bled. Then, as in plagues the foul contagions pass, Leavening and festering the corrupted massGuilt leagues with guilt, while mutual motives draw, Their hope impunity, their fear the law; Their foes, their friends, their rendezvous the same, Till the revenue baulk'd, or pilfer'd game, Flesh the young culprit, and example leads To darker villany and direr deeds.
Wild howl'd the wind the forest glades along, And of the owl renew'd her dismal song; Around the spot where erst he felt the wound, Red William's spectre walk'd his midnight round. When o'er the swamp he cast his blighting look, From the green marshes of the stagnant brook The bittern's sullen shout the sedges shook; The waning moon, with storm-presaging gleam, Now gave and now withheld her doubtful beam; The old oak stoop'd his arms, then flung them high, Bellowing and groaning to the troubled sky— "T was then, that, couch'd amid the brushwood sere In Malwood-walk, young Mansell watch'd the deer: The fattest buck received his deadly shot— The watchful keeper heard, and sought the spot. Stout were their hearts, and stubborn was their strife, O'erpower'd at length the outlaw drew his knife! Next morn a corpse was found upon the fell— The rest his waking agony may tell!
THE DANCE OF DEATH.
Night and morning were at meeting
T is at such a tide and hour,
'Lone on the outskirts of the host,
Our airy feet, - -
Wheel the wild dance,
Wheel the wild dance,
Wheel the wild dance,
Sons of the spear!
Wheel the wild dance,
Burst, ye clouds, in tempest showers, Redder rain shall soon be ours—
See, the east grows wan—
Yield we place to sterner game,
Shall the well&in's thunders shame;
At morn, gray Allan's mates with awe
FAREWELL TO The MUSE. *
Ench ANTREss, farewell, who so oft hast decoy'd me,
Each joy thou couldst double, and when there came
‘Twas thou that once taught me, in accents bewailing,
EPITAPH ON MRS FRSKINE.
Plain, as her native dignity of mind,
MR KEMBLE'S FAREWELL ADDRESS, on taking leave of the Edinburgh stage.
As the worn was horse, at the trumpet's sound, Erects his mane, and neighs, and paws the ground— Disdains the ease his generous lord assigns,
And longs to rush on the embattled lines, So I, your plaudits ringing on mine ear, Can scarce sustain to think our parting near;
To think my scenic hour for ever past,
Here, then, adieu' while yet some well-graced parts May fix an ancient favourite in your hearts, Not quite to be forgotten, even when You look on better actors, younger men: And if your bosoms own this kindly debt Of old remembrance, how shall mine forget— O, how forget !—how oft I hither came In anxious hope, how oft return'd with fame! Iłow oft around your circle this weak hand Has waved immortal Shakspeare's magic wand, Till the full burst of inspiration came, And I have felt, and you have fann'd the flame! By memory treasured, while her reign endures, Those hours must live—and all their charms are yours.
But spied a mouse upon her marriage day,
Yes, times are changed, for in your fathers' age The lawyers were the patrons of the stage; However high advanced by future fate, There stands the bench (points to the Pit) that first received their weight. The future legal sage, 't was ours to see, . Doom though unwigg'd, and plead without a fee.
But now astounding each poor mimic elf, Instead of lawyers comes the Law herself; Tremendous neighbour, on our right she dwells, Builds high her towers and excavates her cells; While on the left, she agitates the town With the tempestuous question, Up or down?” Twixt Scylla and Charybdis thus stand we, Law's final end and law's uncertainty. Eut soft! who lives at Rome the pope must flatter, And jails and lawsuits are no jesting matter. Then—just farewell! we wait with serious awe, Till your applause or censure gives the law, Trusting our humble efforts may assure ye, We hold you court and counsel, judge and jury.
Enough, after absence to meet me again,
Enough, that those dear sober glances retain
« O open the door, some pity to show,
It is necessary to mention, that the allusions in this piece are all local, and addressed only to the Edinburgh audience. The new prisons of the city, on the Calton Hill, are not far from the Theatre.
* At this time the public of Edinburgh was much agitated by a lawsuit betwixt the magistrates and many of the inhabitants of the city, concerning the range of new buildings on the western side of the North Bridge; which the latter insisted should be removed as a deformity.
The glen is white with the drifted snow, And the path is hard to find.
« No outlaw seeks your castle gate,
Though even an outlaw's wretched state
• A weary Palmer, worn and weak, I wander for my sin;
O open, for Our Lady's sake,
• I'll give you pardons from the pope, And reliques from o'er the sea,
Or if for these you will not ope,
«The hare is crouching in her form,
An aged man, amid the storm,
& You hear the Ettrick's sullen roar, Dark, deep, and strong is he,
And I must ford the Ettrick o'er,
«The iron gate is bolted hard,
The owner's heart is closer barr'd,
• Farewell, farewell ! and Mary grant, When old and frail you be,
You never may the shelter want,
The ranger on his couch lay warm,
But oft, amid December's storm, -
For lo, when through the vapours dank,
A corpse amid the alders rank,
The MAID of NEIDPATH
There is a tradition in Tweeddale, that when Neidpath Castle, near Peebles, was inhabited by the Earls of March, a mutual passion subsisted between a daughter of that noble family, and a son of the Laird of Tushielaw, in Ettrick Forest. As the alliance was thought unsuitable by her parents, the young man went abroad. During his absence, the lady fell into a consumption, and at length, as the only means of saving her life, her father consented that her lover should be recalled. On the day when he was expected to pass through Peebles, on the road to Tushielaw, the young lady, though much exhausted, caused herself to be carried to the balcony of a house in Peebles, belonging to the family,
that she might see him as he rode past. Her anxiety and eagerness gave such force to her organs, that she is said to have distinguished his horse's footsteps at an incredible distance. But Tushielaw, unprepared for the change in her appearance, and not expecting to see her in that place, rode on without recognizing her, or even slackening his pace. The lady was unable to support the shock, and, after a short struggle, died in the arms of her attendants. There is an instance similar to this traditional tale in Count Hamilton's Fleur d'Épine.
O Loyers' eyes are sharp to see,
All sunk and dim her eyes so bright,
Yet keenest powers to see and hear
He came—he pass'd—an heedless gaze, As o'er some stranger, glancing; Her welcome, spoke in faltering phrase, Lost in his courser's prancing— The castle arch, whose hollow tone Returns each whisper spoken, Could hardly catch the feeble moan, Which told her heart was * WANDERING WILLIE. All joy was bereft me the day that you left me, And climb'd the tall vessel to sail yon wide sea; O weary betide it! I wander'd beside it, And bann'd it for parting my Willic and me.
Far o'er the wave hast thou follow'd thy fortune,
Ae kiss of welcome 's worth twenty at parting,
When the sky it was mirk, and the winds they were