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once the property of the Pringle family, and in the 17th century,, that of Sir William Scott of Harden, who possessed the neighbouring domain of Mertown. It is there that Sir Walter Scott has laid the scene of his ballad entitled the Eve of St. John. Smallholm is subsequently celebrated as the castle of Avenel, in the Monastery and the Abbot.
Towards the middle of the last century, Mr. Robert Scott, of Sandyknow, grandfather of the poet, a distinguished agriculturist, and proud of the character, became the farming tenant of his cousin, Scott of Harden, and the domain of Smallholm Craigs. The father of Sir Walter was a skilful Writer of the Signet at Edinburgh; but Sir Walter passed a great portion of his infancy at Smallholm, with his grandfather. It was there that, notwithstanding the fall he had from the arms of his nurse, a fall which has rendered him a cripple for life, he so fortified his constitution by exercise on horseback and on foot, that he is at once an indefatigable walker, and an equestrian worthy of the Scotts and Rutherfords, his ancestors. It was there also that Sir W., still a boy, delighted in furnishing his memory with the tales of his nurse, and some old grandames deeply versed in the local traditions. But let us listen to himself, describing his first impressions. These reminiscences of infancy possess a great charm in the works of a poet, who generally avoids, with marked care, the introduction of his own affairs on the stage. The introductory chapters of Marmion are, consequently,
separate poems, which appertain at once to the epistle, the elegy, and the ode; they alternately exhibit the simple and unpretending style of a friendly conversation, the expression of a tender melancholy, and the inspirations of a great poet.
Subjoined is the manner in which he explains the secret of his first verses.
"Thus, while I ape the measure wild
0 f tales that charmed me yet a child,
And feelings, roused in life's first day,
1 deemed such nooks the sweetest shade
With some strange tale bewitched my mind.
Of forayers, who, with headlong force,
Down from that strength had spurred their horse,
Their southern rapine to renew,
Far in the distant Cheviots blue,
And home returning filled the hall
With revel, wassell,route, and brawl.—
Methought that still with tramp and clang
The gate-way's broken arches rang;
Methought grim features seamed with scars,
Glared through the window's rusty bars.
And ever by the winter hearth,
Old tales I heard of woe or mirth,
Of lovers' sleights, of ladies' charms,
Of witches' spells, of warriors' arms;
Of patriot battles, won of old
By Wallace wight and Bruce the bold;
Of later fields of feud and fight,
When, pouring from their Highland height,
The Scottish clans, in headlong sway,
Had swept the scarlet ranks away.
While stretched at length upon the floor,
Again I fought each combat o'er,
Pebbles and shells, in order laid,
The mimic rank of war displayed;
And onward still the Scottish Lion bore,
And still the scattered Southron fled before,.
"Still, with vain fondness, could I trace, Anew, each kind familiar face, That brightened at our evening fire; From the thatched mansion's grey-haired Sire, Wise without learning, plain and good, And sprung of Scotland's gentler blood; Whose eye in age, quick, clear, and keen, Shewed what in youth its glance had been; Whose doom discording neighbours sought, Content with equity unbought; To him the venerable Priest, Our frequent and familiar guest, Whose life and manners well could paint Alike the student and the saint;
Alas! whose speech too oft I broke
I cannot express all the pleasure I derive from the perusal of this passage, when I date my letter from the same spot where the bard delighted in recalling the thoughts of his infancy. But independent of this apropos, independent of the beauty of the poetry itself, I associate with it a personal feeling, a fire-side recollection. I also, notwithstanding time and distance, picture to myself the Alps of St. Reney,* the valley watered by the Oriol; a valley of the same pastoral character as that of the Tweed; the farm of my maternal grandfather, an agriculturist also, and proud of the designation; and my good grandmother and mother smiling on my sports, and quietly bidding me be silent, when I giddily interrupted the discourse of my great uncle the canon. Our fireside also assembled guests replete with bonhomie, whose features engraven on my memory, I delight in retracing.
• A little village of Provence, of which a cardinal, exiled there by the Pope, said, bello paete, cattivo gente.
TO M. GU1Z0T.
The magician, Michael Scott, being much embarrassed what to do with a demon, for whom he was compelled to provide continual occupation, ordered him to build a bridge over the Tweed; and in one night the work was completed. Earl Buchan has, it seems, aspired at vying with the infernal architect, by his iron bridge thrown over the river at Dryburgh Abbey. This bridge, which is a of a light and elegant form, is not, perhaps, in entire harmony with the gothic arches of the Abbey; but it surpasses the Devil's Bridge, at Kelso; the devil, on the other hand, might easily have his revenge, by erecting a rival statue to that which the Earl has dedicated to Sir W. Wallace, on a rock on the banks of the Tweed; a colossus worthy of the Hygeia of Bernard's Well.
The mountain which commands Melrose, once rose in solitude on the south of the convent. Michael Scott desired his demon to separate it into three parts, and from that time, Eildon Hill is composed of three conical summits.
From the top of Eildon Hill, thirty miles of landscape may be surveyed. The shepherd who accompanied me to the summit, made me particu