« 前へ次へ »
As he sat at his meat, the music play'd sweet,
On its tablets of crimson I swore,
I never could thiuk of thee more!
Ere zephyr, in frolicsome play
Both tablet and promise away,
HUMAN GLORY.-A FRAGMENT. : IN the piping times of peace' literature, science, and the arts attain their highest perfections, and men bail these halcyon days as the harbinger of national prosperity. Indeed, so repugnant is the very sound of WAR to a benevolent mind that pature sickens at those scenes of desolation and carnage with which the paltry ambitiou of man has so often strewed the earth, and dyed the very corn of the soil in human blood. Such was the victory of WATERLOO, the last in the annals of our history! Triumphs thus dearly purchased rather add to the calendar of crime than to the honors of a nation; and when the clamour of victory has subsided, the philanthropist mingles bis sorrow with the groans of the wounded, and with the sympathies and bewailings of the widows and orpbans of the slain.
BOWED DAVIE. HERE is an evident propensity in man, to confer the stamp of reality or past existence on even the most imaginary characters that come before him, whether from the pen of the dra
matist, novelist, or incidental story-teller. Accordingly, in conformity with this principle, I find the Quarterly Reviewers, in an article published on the "Tales of my Landlord,' pointing out an individual as the probable prototype of the Black Dwarf, or • Cannie Elshie,? of the ingenious and far-famed, novelist. Now, with a laudable regard to facts, the Reviewer has referred us to the actual spot where tbis supposed original is said to, have resided. He has thus rendered inquiry practicable; as I happen to know some particulars regarding the individual alluded to, which bear the reviewer's story out, as far as facts go, and correct it where exaggeration seems to have led him astray.
David Richie, alias Bowed Davie, for such was the name of this real dwarf, lived for many years in a small cottage, on the farm of Woodhouse, parish of Manner, Peedles. sbire, and was very generally known in that part of the country, by the name of. Bowed David o' the Woduse, a name given to him from his remarkable deformity, his stature being short, his body thick, and his legs aukwardly bent, and although not possessed of that spheroidal form which is given to the Black Dwarf, yet evidently af.
fording us, in all appearance, an imperfect prototype of that mysterious personage. He also resembled Elshje in his temper, which was quite sour and misanthropical. This was particularly displayed in his conduct to a sister of his own, who resided many years in a neighbouring cuttage, but from whom he was completely estranged. This cottage was erected for him by Sir James Nasmyth, and was given to him rent-free. It was remarkable for the lowness of the door, which was made proportionate to the size of the inhabitant. The cottage was surround. ed by a garden, which was cultivated by Davie himself ; and was long the admiration of every passenger who came through the sequestered vale in which it lay. It was, in fact, the richest garden for verdure and beauty which the surrounding country could display; its walls were seven feet high (a height uncommon in that part of the country) and included some very largestones, which the dwarf him. self is said to have lifted. The late Dr. Adam Ferguson, who resided in the neighbouring mansion of Hallyards, ased sometimes to visit Davie as an amusement, in this retired spot; but I never heard that any thing remarka. ble occurred on these occasious. Sir Walter Scott was also a frequent visitor of Davie's and was said to have held long communings with him. So far the reviewer's account of Bowed Davie' is consistent with facts; but I believe it may be affirmed, that he was never much remarked for his intellectual superiority, and that the history of his mysterious appearance, and hasty rearing of the cottage, rests on no better grounds than the mere exaggerations of vulgar report. He lived to the advanced age of 76 years; and rendered more dwarf-like by intirmi. ty, died the 6th December, 1811-utterly unconscious, I dare say, that his name and story would ever come before the public. He was interred in the parish church-yard, although he himself had expressed a wish that he might be interred on a particular hillock in the neighbourhood of his cottage. The following not unappropriate epitaph was proposed by some pseudo poét, to mark bis remains: '
• Here lies D. Ritchie's singular banes,
A VISIT TO THE VICARAGE,
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.'
JUST once a year, when summer days are long,
was not humble twenty year
How drinking bouts, and boxing matches cease, And some old saints have died in faith and peace."
So pass the evening hours, and pleased to hear The toils and triumphs of a friend so dear, I go to rest; but promise to attend, Next morn, the parish progress of my friend, First for the task with social meal and prayer, Our bodies and our spirits we prepare; Then through the garden plot while still the dew Gives every leaf a greener, brighter, hue; And by the church-yard elms we take our way, Beneath whose shadows lie the tombstones grey, There stands, of transept and of nave bereft, One parrow aisle, the little that is left, And then the vicar pauses still, to tell From what high glory Hartley Abbey fell; How she in aneient time ber abbots sent, With all a bishop's pomp, to parliament; And spread her cloister'd palaces around A hundred acres of that holy ground, Till conscientious Henry's holy zeal Reform'd the tainted church with fire and steel. I ne'er could catch this antiquarian rage, But you may read the whole in Dugdale's page.
"Tis but a step across the village green, Where the geese paddle in the pools between ; We lift the latch, and there before our eyes, Bed-rid and blind the widow Thompson lies. That short five minutes' walk across the green, Suffic'd my friend to tell what she had been. Loving and lov'd, she enter'd upon life, A village beauty, and a farmer's wife; And children sprung around, that left no fears Of kindly succour in declining years, All promis'd fair: but then her husband gave His name, the credit of a friend to save; And when the bill was due, that friend had town: And left his bail to meet the storm alone:. Markets were dull, and harvest months were wet, And so poor farmer Thompson died in debt. Then, though her children bloom'd in manly pride, Consumption came, and one by one, they died All-all were gone, and she was left behind. To mourn and suffer,-poor, decrepid, blind! She knew the very step of him, whose voice Had taught her 'midsi ber sorrows to rejoice;