Page images
PDF
EPUB

ronet, and the tendency they had to large and unmerited emoluments ; hold up to obloquy whole classes of and such obloquy an honest House dignified persons. Wherein consists of Commons should always be prethe obloquy, wherein the invidious pared to heap upon those who deand personal character of the enqui- serve it. It comes, in short, to this, ry, I know not; except, indeed, that whether they whose pockets are it may be called personal to seek the dipped into for the money, are to ask names of persons, respecting whom whether their pockets cannot be spawe are desirous of obtaining specific red ? As to the bastard delicacy, the facts or information. Beyond that, spurious sense of honour, which only (but though I do not suspect the kicks at giving a reason for receiving right honourable gentleman of quib- thousands, but never falters at rebling or punning upon the word,) it ceiving them, I should be as little is no more personal, in any offensive inclined to treat it with respect, as I sense of the term, to investigate what should the delicacy of an Old Bailey Privy Councillors receive out of the witness, who considered it personal public purse, than to examine, as is and invidious to have the truth twistconstantly done, how the Sovereign ed out of him. Give me the delicacy himself spends the money which is and honour which will not touch the voted for the Civil List.

gold that has not been fairly and hoI am no admirer of this squeamish nourably earned. Look, for examdelicacy about confessing the receipt ple, to Sir G. Cockburn's speech. If of money, when there is none as to every member of the Privy Council, the receiving of it. If men be not in his own person, or by deputy, ashamed, nor have cause to be asha- could stand up in the House of Commed, of what they do, or have done, mons, and give the same account of they will not shrink from the men- his emoluments, the country would tion of it. A derives L.5000 a-year be satisfied, poor and beggared as it from the national purse in the shape is. " Let every member of the Privy of a sinecure or a pension, and A Council,” observed Mr Huskisson, knows he has rendered the nation “shew that he has earned his emoservices which that sum does not luments as deservedly as my hooverpay. He has no personal feel- nourable and gallant friend has, and ings to be wounded, nor will he re- depend upon it there will be no disgard it as invidious scrutiny, if they satisfaction created by the producwho pay the L.5000 ask to know his tion of the original return.” Not only services. The more just his claim, would the country be satisfied, but the more unimpeachable his merits, the House would redeem its characthe prouder will be his position, the ter, and the individuals themselves, more triumphantly will he come out instead of branding the enquiry as of the enquiry. It can only be when invidious and personal, must be grateenquiry would disclose insufficient ful to the honourable Baronet for the claims, or establish the fact of no opportunity he had afforded them of claims, that it will be resented as an proving that they deserved what they invidious encroachment on personal received. The gallant Admiral's feelings, and that offensive motives speech was a modest, manly, and come into consideration. But it is unanswerable statement; holding up the Members of the Privy as might have made the waspish lord Council to obloquy! How? To ens who provoked it (Lord Milton) quire what they receive, with a view ashamed of his coarseness, and the to ascertain whether they ought to honourable Baronet, who brought receive it? If this involve any oblo- forward the motion, regret the alluquy upon the parties concerned, it sion he had made to his case. can be in no other way than as the consequence of dragging to light

[ocr errors]

such a one

A REAL VISION.

BY THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.

'Tis strange that people now-a-days persist
In bringing up their offspring mere machines;
Pruned vegetables-flowers of formal cut;
A class of nature wholly by itself;
And not as relatives of heaven and hell,
And all the mighty energies between,
A link of God's interminable chain
Connecting all existence.“ Please you, sir,
Talk not of spirits here—It is our rule
That neither ghost nor fairy, goblin stern,
Portentous light, wraith, death-watch, warning voice,
Or aught impalpable to human sense,
Shall to our family ever once be named.”

Good people! some enthusiasts would despise,
But I sincerely pity you ! This mode
May make them gentle, elegant, nay, good,
(As Bramah makes his pens with a machine,)
But never great.-Lord, what is man, whom thou
Mad’st next unto the angels, thus instructed,
Thus qualified ? A Cockney—a mere grub!
O, I would teach their little hearts to quake,
And harrow up their energies of soul
Proportionate to their allied compeers,
And sphere of action! I would have them claim
Connexion with the worm, the bat, the mole,
The hedgehog's tottering brood, all helpless things,
To twang the chords of pity on the heart.

Then, as a shred of elemental life,
Point them the eyry o'er the dizzy cliff
With eaglets young to count their brotherhood;
Then would I tell them of the fallen fiends
That claim'd their fellowship. The path that led
Where they with angels might communicate,
Holding high intercourse with God himself
Through all of his creation.-But enough.
Thus was I rear'd, and glory in the rule;
And had I not, the scene I here describe
Had ne'er been witness'd, or reveal'd to you.

Some forty years agone, and haply more,
One memorable dark autumnal day
I lay upon a mountain, on the brink
Of that immoulded hideous precipice
That walls the western side of dark Loch Skene.
The wild was calm as death, and o'er it hung
A lurid eurtain of portentous hue,
Dreadful to look upon.

There was no mist,
Yet every mountain that uprear’d its head
Abrupt and sheer around that dreary scene,
Seem'd at a weary distance, hardly seen.
The tremulous bleat that casually was heard,
Startled the ear as something in the air,
It was so nigh, while yet the steep from whence
The voice proceeded seem'd so far away.

I look'd up to the heavens—all was dark,
A murky blue; with deathlike masses speck’d,
That crept athwart its face like shrouded ghosts,

Or demons crawling from the wrath behind.
I look'd down to the lake for some reprieve
Of dread, but there the scene was darker still,
And phantoms journey'd on a heaven below.
Nature seem'd in her travail-throes, about
Some elemental monster to produce,
That might set all her energies on flame,
And ruling principles at roaring war.

A poor secluded and bewilder'd boy,
Alone amid this dismal scene I kneel’d,
Leaning my brow against the crested rock
That frown'd far o'er my head, and gave myself
To my great Maker's charge in simple guise;
But O how fervent! I remember well?
Could I but feel such holy ardour now!

My heart was strengthen'd, and I felt myself
Above the terrors of the rolling storm,
The bursting thunder, or the sheeted flame;
An energy above the flocks, the ravens,
The foxes, and the eagle's haughty brood,
The only tenants of that land sublime.

But all at once my faithful dog began,
With short and fitful growl, to manifest
Strange terror. The old raven sped away,
And left her young. The eagle took the cloud,
And yell’d her terror at the gates of heaven.

From these foreboding omens, well I knew
Some beings of the spiritual world
Were nigh at hand. "I cast my eyes around,
And straight below my feet, on a green shelve
Between me and the dark blue lake, I saw
A female form rise slowly from the earth.
It was a mist–a vapour-a pale shred;
I wot not how composed, but yet it bore
Resemblance all complete to one I knew.
There was no feature wanting—not a line
Of that mild countenance. No attitude
Was lacking of the venerable form
It represented. With a solemn look
And supplicating earnestness, it stretch'd
Its hands tow'rd me. Then I remember'd well
Of that same attitude when late she press'd
A solemn task on me, which I refused,
Though urged to it with tears. My very soul
Thrill'd at the strange appeal in such a scene.

Yet it was something. The Almighty knows
Of what it was composed, for I know not;
But the dumb creatures saw it with dismay,
Two lambs were near it, nigher far than I.
I saw them gaze at it, and still their looks
Grew more and more intense; and then they turn'd
Their innocent and stupid faces round,
And, staring at each other, tried to read
The sentiments of fear 'gendering within,
Then stretch'd their sapient noses to discern
If savour of humanity was there,
Tramp'd with the foot, and whistled through the pose,
Then fled with hesitating starts away.

But, what alarm’d me most, my faithful dog
Lay in extremity, with closed eyes,
And trembling every limb. Sometimes he oped

A dull and drumly eye towards the wraith,
But shut it close again and inly groan'd.

The spectre stretch'd itself upon the sward,
And roll'd and writhed as if in agony,
Then turn'd its face to me; and then I knew
That my beloved and venerable friend
Was in the throes of death. I saw the grasp
Convulsive at the sward-the hand outstretch'd
For the last kindly pressure-the glazed eye-1
The parched lip—the long remitted throbs-
And the last gasp, the last but vain endeavour
The lingering, longing spirit to retain !

I saw some forms around the couch of death,
To me well known, though indistinctly seen ;
But at that moment a celestial ray,
Like sunbeam from an opening of the cloud,
Beam'd on the vision, melting it away-
Then all grew, dark and gloomy as before.

But she was gone! my faithful monitress
Departed then unto a better world.
Yet have I e'er forgot her ? E'er forgot
That last behest, so often urged before ? :
No! When I dono curses will I crave
On my own head. But had I not resolved
That last behest to cherish in my heart,
And kept that resolution--God of life!
What had I been ere now ? A thing of scorn-
A blot on nature's cheek—a being lost-
Whom shepherds long with pity would have named,

To all the injurious world beside unknown,
ALTRIVE LAKE.

[merged small][ocr errors]

We had refitted, and been four days be crossing us hereabouts ; indeed at sea, on our voyage to Jamaica, more than once I thought there was when the gun-room officers gave our a strange sail close aboard of us, the mess a blowout.

scud is flying so low, and in such The increased motion and rushing white flakes'; and none of us have of the vessel through the water, the an eye like Mr Cringle, unless it be groaning of the masts, the howling John Crow, and he is all but frozen." of the rising gale, and the frequent - Well, Tom, I suppose you will trampling of the watch on deck, were go?--Anglice, from a first lieutenant prophetic of wet jackets to some of to a mid“ Brush instanter.” us; still, midshipmanlike, we were as Having changed my uniform, for happy as a good dinner and some shag-trowsers, pea-jacket, and southwine could make us, until the old west cap, I went forward, and took gunner shoved his weatherbeaten my station, in no pleasant humour, on phiz and bald pate in at the door. the stowed jib, with my arm round

Beg pardon, Mr Splinter, but if the stay. I had been half an hour you will spare Mr Cringle on the there, the weather was getting worse, forecastle for an hour until the moon the rain was beating in my face, and rises.”—(“Spare,” quotha, “ is his ma- the spray from the stern was flashjesty's officer a joint stool?')-_-“Why, ing over me, as it roared through the Mr Kennedy, why ? here, man, take waste of sparkling and hissing waa glass of grog:"-" ļ thank you, ters. I turned my back to the wean sir. It is coming on a roughish ther for a moment, to press my hand night, sir; the running ships should on my strained eyes. When I open

* See “ Cruize of the Torch,” in Numler for November last. VOL. XXVII. NO. CLXyin.

E

me

ed them, I saw the gunner's gaunt me. I peered still more intensely high-featured visage thrust anxious into the night. I was now certain. ly forward; his profile looked as if A sail, broad on the lee-bow.” The ľubbed over with phosphorus, and ship was in a buz in a moment. The his whole person as if we had been captain answered from the quarterplaying at snap dragon. “What has deck-" Thank you, Mr Cringle. come over you, Mr Kennedy ?-who How shall we steer ?"-"Keep her is burning the bluelight now?"_"A

away a couple of points, sir, steady." Wiser man than I am must tell you -“ Steady," sung the man at the that; look forward, Mr Cringle-look helm; and a slow melancholy cathere; what do your books say to dence, although a familiar sound to that?”

me, now moaned through the rushI looked forth, and saw, at the ex ing of the wind, and smote upon my treme end of the jib-boom, what I heart as if it had been the wailing had read of, certainly, but never ex of a spirit. I turned to the boatpected to see, a pale, greenish, glow, swain, who was now standing beside worm coloured flame, of the size and “ Is that you or Davy steering, shape of the frosted glass shade over Mr Nipper? if you had not been there the swinging lamp in the gun-room. bodily at my elbow, I could have It drew out and flattened as the sworn that was your voice.When vessel pitched and rose again, and the gunner made the same remark as she sheered about it, wavered it startled the poor fellow; he tried round the point that seemed to at to take it as a joke, but could not. tract it, like a soapsud bubble blown There may be a laced hammock from a tobacco pipe, before it is with a shot in it, for some of us ere shaken into the air; at the core it morning." was comparatively bright, but faded At this moment, to my dismay, the into a hâlo. It shed a baleful and object we were chasing, shortened, ominous light on the surrounding gradually fell abeam of us, and finalobjects; the group of sailors on the ly disappeared.

ly disappeared. “The Flying Dutchforecastle looked like spectres, and man.”-“ I can't see her at all now.” they shrunk together, and whispered -“She will be a fore-and-aft-rigged when it began to roll slowly along vessel that has tacked, sir.” And the spar towards where the boat sure enough, after a few seconds, I swain was sitting at my feet. At this saw the white object lengthen, and instant something slid down the stay, draw out again abaft our beam. and a cold clammy hand passed “ The chase has tacked, sir, put the round my neck. I was within an ace helm down, or she will go to windof losing my hold, and tumbling over ward of us.” We tacked also, and board. “ Heaven have mercy on me, time it was we did so, for the rising what's that?”—“It's that skylarking moon now showed us a large schooner a gun,

Jem Sparkle’s monkey, under à crowd of sail. We edged, sir. You, Jem, you'll never rest till down on her, when finding her mathat brute is made shark bait of.”*' nouvre detected, she brailed up her But Jackoo vanished up the stay flat sails, and bore up before the again, chuckling and grinning in the wind. This was our best point of ghostly radiance, as if he had been sailing, and we cracked on, the capthe “ Spirit of the Lamp.” The light tain rubbing his hands—“ It's my was still there, but a cloud of mist, turn to be the big un this time." like a burst of vapour from a steam Although blowing a strong northboiler, came down upon the gale, and wester, it was now clear moonlight, flew past, when it disappeared. I and we hammered away from our followed the white mass as it sailed bow guns, but whenever a shot told down the wind; it did not, as it ap amongst the rigging, the injury was peared to me, vanish in the dark- repaired as if by magic. It was eviness, but seemed to remain in sight dent we had repeatedly hulled her, to leeward, as if checked by a sud from the glimmering white streaks den flaw; yet none of our sails were along her counter and across her taken aback. A thought flashed on stern, occasioned by the splintering

son of

* Prophetic. See • Heat and Thirst,” in Number for June last,

« PreviousContinue »