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for the imperfections in the works of many poetical writers, which are ascribed to want of education, may, he believes, with more justice, be ascribed to want of genius." Genius, forsooth! Imagine a Scottish genius singing the praises of water, and abusing poor courage-inspiring John Barleycorn in terms as savage as those of Hector Macneil himself. This, too, from a man whom Burns had called "ace of hearts!" If Davie be forgiven at all, 'tis only for his fiddle's sake.
Sillar's volume, though sufficiently deficient in signs of poetical power, contains one highly interesting effusion-"The Auld-farrant Frien❜ly Letter," which called forth Burns's "Second Epistle to Davie, a Brother Poet." So exceedingly little known, yet so pregnant with an extraneous interest, is the poem, that we shall transcribe it for the benefit of our readers. Its literary merit is very small, but the ideas are clearly and lustily expressed. The tenth verse shows that Davie was quietly looking forward to be honoured himself as a shining and an untaught genius.
"While Reekie's bards your muse commen',
And praise the numbers of your pen,
Accept this kin'ly frae a frien',
Your Dainty Davie,
Wha ace o' hearts does still remain,
"I ne'er was muckle gien to praisin',
Plays sweet as Robin Fergusson,
"Your Luath Cæsar bites right sair;
An' when ye paint the Holy Fair,
Or when ye turn,
And sing the follies o' the fair,
How sweet ye mourn!
"Let Coila's plains wi' me rejoice,
And praise the worthy Bard, whose lays,
Their worth and beauty high doth raise
His works, bis worth, will ever praise
And crown his name.
* Allan Ramsay.
"Brave Ramsay now and Fergusson,
Wha hae sae lang time fill'd the Throne
Quiet i' their urns,
Since Fame, in justice, gies the crown
'Hail, happy Bard! ye're now confest The king o' singers i' the west; Edina hath the same exprest;
Wi' joy they fin'
That ye're, when tried by Nature's test,
Sing on, my frien', your fame's secured,
To blast your name; mair just reward
"For tho' the tent o' Fame may please you,
When ye write weel, will always praise you Out o' gude will.
"Great numbers in this earthly ba',
As soon as death gies them the ca',
An' straught forgot
Forbid that this should ever fa',
To be your lot!
"I ever had an anxious wish,
Forgive me, Heaven! if 'twas amiss,
It from the cruel tyrant's crush
Beyond the grave.
"Tho' the fastest liver soonest dies,
An' length o' days'sud mak' ane wise;
An' spur your horse,
They're shortest aye wha gain the praise
"Sae to conclude, auld frien' an' neebor,
Whose soun' shall reach ayont the Tiber
To compare this epistle with Burns's reply is of course to set pottery and porcelain side by side; but it is not amiss to allude to a mere technical particular-the awkwardness and falseness of Sillar's rhymes -for the purpose of remarking the master-power of Burns as a rhymster. We have heard English readers remark, that the rhymes of Burns are frequently false; but they are seldom or never so, if the words be properly pronounced. Indeed, nothing is more remarkable than the wonderful command over mere jingle shown by the Ayrshire ploughman, even when writing in the most difficult metres.
The publication of the poems was unfortunate in more than one way. In the anxiety of preparing the work for the press, he neglected his business. Directly he had failed as a poet, he failed as a grocer. Bankrupt for the sum of five pounds, poor Daintie Davie was pulled off to prison. He came forth a changed man-a wiser if not a better one. Henceforth, though he continued occasionally to rhyme in secret, he never again courted publicity. He betook himself to his old profession of schoolmaster, throve tolerably in it, married, and had offspring. One morning he awoke and found himself rich. The property of a brother, who had become wealthy abroad and died childless, became Davie's heritage; and a large share of the property of another, who also died abroad, was speedily added. To remain a Dominie any longer was out of the question. Respectability claimed Davie as her own. The man was no longer our old friend Daintie Davie. His very fiddle must have blushed for him. Lost to all sense of shame, deaf to all the remonstrances of Memory, the man who had drunk and made love with Burns, and over whose fiddle all the vagabond tunes of his country had met in glorious harmony, became a town councillor of Irvine. Daintie Davie, the breaker of laws, the harumscarum minstrel of the "rockings," transformed into a Bailie! what a falling off was there! The worst has yet to be told. He who had sung the praises of water, now, in the heyday of his prosperity, discarded the honest devil-may-care Fiddle for the flimsy, egotistic, lisping, Dulcimer. Utterly and miserably lost! We will contemplate the wreck no more, but turn away with an anecdote showing what
Daintie Davie had come to. Years after the first dawn of his prosperity, Davie was asked to subscribe to Burns's Monument. "I canna weel do so!" he replied; "you starve us when leeving, and ye canna wi' grace erect monuments to us when dead!"
The rest of Sillar's career is unimportant. Enough has been said to show that we owe a debt of gratitude to this first bosom friend of the great Ploughman. Therefore, when true Scots next meet for the anniversary of Burns's Birthday, let this toast be drunk among the others which pass with honours yearly
DAINTIE DAVIE SILLAR AND HIS FIDDLE!
The Name in the Book.
I GAVE him all that I had to give,
My heart and my whole heart's love,
And he called me his joy and the pride of his life,
And his fair-haired, meek-eyed dove;
But all that is left is here-you may look
His name in full in this dear old book.
Why not a dear old book? it is
He was only untrue to me;
I love him as well and as much as I did,
Before he went over the sea,
And left me alone in this lonesome nook,
With nought but his name in this dear old book.
You see he wanted a richer wife,
Though he thought not of that at first;
And I thought my poor heart would burst,
With nothing of him, but his name in the book.
He return and be wiser! you say:
Ah! yes, perchance he may;
My woman's heart would forgive him, I know-
Yet he maddened me nearly that day by the brook,
How we Inaugurated Ensign M'Nish.
BY CAPTAIN LAURENCE LOCKHART.
MRS. M'ALISTER'S TEA-PARTY.
AN effort had been made to transform an officer's quarter into as close as possible a resemblance to a lady's drawing-room-an effort which I cannot say had been crowned with any great success. In this apartment, clothed (by the benevolence of Soosie M'Whirter, the barrack-master's daughter, who was a confidant) in a very tight sky-blue silk dress, my poverty of hair disguised by an umbrageous wreath, and my wealth of fleshy finger concealed as much as possible by the tightest of white kid gloves, I took up my position, and awaited the arrival of my guests. Nor had I long to wait; for soon the sound of the heralding bagpipes warned me of their approach. Nearer and nearer came the strain, "Fie! let us a' to the bridal"-till, the door opening, its "interpreter" entered. He was a real bona fide piper, who, profoundly ignorant of all save his art, and speaking no language but what our pipe-major used to call "the langidge," was considered, and justly so, as safe. He stalked in, blowing like a whale, and "halting" and "fronting" to let the guests pass him, as if he were playing a returning regiment on to parade.
The Colonel, arm-in-arm with the Viscount, entered first. They moved to the music-the Viscount high and undisposedly, the Colonel, with less vigour, confining his gambols to a perpetual "change-step." After them came the Snorter, with M'Nish still in tow, the latter much discomposed by the jerkings and jibbings of his companion, who was pretending to try to dance. After them came the oi rooi, from whom my supposed husband-one M'Alister-immediately disengaged himself; and taking up his position beside my sofa, prepared to assist me in doing the honours.
"Selina, my love," he said, when the Colonel and Peaugout had halted opposite my seat, and commenced a series of genuflexions and handkissings, the fossil relics of a darker age-"let me present to you our revered Chief, Colonel M'Alpine, and oblige me for the future by looking on him as a father; he has proved so to me. Colonel M'Alpine, this is my wife; favour me by being to her the father you have been to me.'