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11. The Pilgrim of the Hebrides ; a Lay of the North Countrie. By

the Author of "Three Days at Kilkenny.” 8vo. pp 299. London:

Longman & Co. 1830. 12. The Traveller's Lay, a Poem. By Thomas Maude, Esq. A. M.

8vo. pp. 94. London: Longman & Co. 1830. 13. Montmorency, a Tragic Drama. The first of a Series of His

, torical and other Dramas. Together with some Minor Poems. By

H. W. Montagu. 8vo. pp. 141. London : Joy. 1828. The preceding formidable list contains the titles of by no means the whole of the self-styled poetical works, which either their authors or publishers have forwarded to us for review within the last six or seven months. There lurks, we believe, somewhere or other, a notion, that if books be brought in this way, under our immediate notice, it becomes us at least not to speak harshly of them, if we cannot with a safe conscience exalt them to the regions of fame. The sooner this idea becomes dissolved into the empty air, the sooner shall the principles of this journal be perfectly understood. We have but one standard for our guidance, the real character of every particular publication which we sit down to review. We have no predilection either of censure or applause to gratify, no interests in the trading world to promote, no enmities to dread, no patronage to solicit. We do not care one farthing for all the booksellers in London, or in the empire. As little regard have we, professionally speaking, for any of the poets, dramatists, historians, philosophers, novelists, of the time in which we live. We look simply and exclusively to the soundness and purity of English literature, which we cultivate with unaffected devotion. When we meet with a new work that is worthy to be admitted into the sacred temple, we hail it with enthusiasm, from whatever quarter it comes. When we find that authors who once basked in the sunshine of public esteem, count upon their popularity in order to pass off the productions of a careless hour, or of a mind decayed, we boldly resist the imposition, and shut the door of the temple against them. When youthful aspirants turn impudent pretenders, and attempt to set up standards for themselves,-standards which they easily form by seeking to depress the literature of the country to their own level, or in other words by talking of schools to which their ideas and their phraseology belong, --we expose their folly, and compel them to hide again their miserable heads in that obscurity, from which they never should have dared to emerge. But when modest merit comes forth with burning brow and palpitating heart, to win the suffrages of the public for her earliest labours, we hold out the hand of encouragement. We listen to her accents, we know her by the ruby on her cheek, and the music that falls from her tongue, and far from repressing, we sympathize with her in her hopes, and stimulate her glorious ambition.

In pursuing this discriminating course, we offend numberless persons,—the author, the publisher, the author's friends, and

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whole worlds of various sort of individuals, who form literary coteries and conversaziones, both here and in Edinburgh. But all this is to us as the idle wind that passes over the desert. We utterly disregard it, because we feel and know what is right, and we have the courage to pursue it. We thus keep ourselves equally distinct from the parasitical critics of the week, or the day, who with open mouths are ready to swallow every absurdity, and to praise every book, as from the zoilous tribe of pedants, who look down with contempt upon every effort of modern genius.

We are not among those who think that it is absolutely necessary

that every man who writes verse and calls it poetry, should be a Byron or a Campbell. There are moods of the mind in which the light even of the lesser stars may produce a soothing effect, more particularly in the absence of the planets. It depends sometimes on the humour in which we chance to be at the moment, whether we should prefer the solitary sound of that beautiful instrument called the Æolina, to the finest chorus that ever was performed at the Philharmonic Society. In the revival of nature which takes place at this season of the year, when the voices of heaven and earth sometimes appear of an evening to mingle together, a thought or an image will touch the heart and vibrate through the frame, that under other circumstances might have no such power to charm. The reader may perhaps in this way find amongst the works which we are about to notice, something that he may take into the fields, and dwell upon with pleasure.

. It is with regret, however, that we cannot offer him for any such purpose, the book that stands first on our list-a place of honour assigned to it out of respect for the name of the author. Heaven help that name, if it had never been attached to a more precious composition than the Doom of Devorgoil! The Latin word inaninis which is explained to mean 6 want of fulness in the veins of the animal,” in some degree characterizes it. The veins, if we may carry on the metaphor, have in them a thin watery substance, of a colour that is neither red nor black. The work is

. called a melo-drama. We should like to see any set of actors attempt to perform it on the stage. The late Mr. Terry, for whose intended benefit it is said to have been written, shewed his good taste by not meddling with it. It is founded upon a version of the old story of the “Ghostly Barber,” but it is in point of plot and poetry so utterly worthless, that we shall pass it over without further comment. There is something more of nerve, and blood too, about the Ayrshire Tragedy. Here is indeed a tale of horror, sufficient to frighten all the nurseries from the Land's End to the Orknies. Murder is perpetrated after murder in the most wild and diabolical manner. A deadly feud existed between two rival familes in Ayrshire--the Mure of Auchindrane and the house of Cassilis. The head of the latter

other cause than that of envy, barbarously slain by the head of the former. A A

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young man who could have proved Mure's guilt, and who was spirited away by him for a while, returned to Scotland. Him he gets murdered by one of his own dependants, and that dependant he causes to be murdered by his own son, thus closing up, as he thought, the chain of evidence that might be unrolled against

But the bodies of his victims bear witness of the crime, and he and his accomplice are delivered over to the vengeance of the law. We extract part of the concluding scene.

Auchindrane. Where is he?-where's MacLellan ?
Philip.

In the deep-
Both in the deep, and what's immortal of them,
Gone to the judgment-seat, where we must meet them.

Auchindrane. MacLellan dead, and Quentin too ?-So be it
To all that menace ill to Auchindrane,
Or have the power to injure him !—Thy words
Are full of comfort, but thine eye and look
Have in this pallid gloom a ghastliness,
Which contradicts the tidings of thy tongue.

Philip. Hear me, old man— -There is a heaven above us,
As you have heard old Knox and Wishart preach,
Though little to your boot. The dreaded witness
Is slain, and silent. But his misused body
Comes right ashore, as if to cry

for

vengeance; It rides the waters like a living thing. Erect, as if he trode the waves which bear him · Auchindrane. Thou speakest frenzy, when sense is most required.

Philip. Hear me yet more !-I say I did the ed
With all the coolness of a practised hunter
When dealing with a stag. I struck him overboard,
And with MacLellan's aid I held his head
Under the waters, while the ranger tied
The weights we had provided to his feet.
We cast him loose when life and body parted,
And bid him speed for Ireland. But even then,
As in defiance of the words we spoke,
The body rose upright behind our stern,
One half in ocean, and one half in air,
And tided after as in chase of us.

Auchindrane. It was enchantment!-Did you strike at it?

Philip. Once and again. But blows avail'd no more
Than on a wreath of smoke, where they may break
The column for a moment, which unites
And is entire again. Thus the dead body
Sunk down before my oar, but rose unharm’d,
And dogg'd us closer still, as in defiance.

. Auchindrane. 'Twas Hell's own work!
Philip.

MacLellan then grew restive
And desperate in his fear, blasphemed aloud,
Cursing us both as authors of his ruin.
Myself was wellnigh frantic while pursued

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By this dead shape, upon whose ghastly features
The changeful moonbeam spread a grisly light;
And, baited thus, I took the nearest way
To insure his silence, and to quell his noise ;
I used my dagger, and I fung him overboard,
And half expected his dead carcass also
Would join the chase--but he sunk down at once.

* Auchindrane. He had enough of mortal sin about him, To sink an argosy.'--pp. 327-330.

This is horrible enough in the description. But Sir Walter Scott, to whom has undoubtedly been denied dramatic genius, has the good taste not only to have his double murder minutely described, but also to have the dead body of one of the victims floated on the mimic shore, where it bleeds at the touch of a virgin! This is too bad even for the Coburg theatre.

The author of the sketches founded on the pastoral poetry of Scotland, intended to produce eclogues, not dramas. His idea was to give pictures of the rural manners which prevail, or more properly speaking, have prevailed in that country. A Master of Arts could not, however, be supposed to know a great deal from his own personal experience on the subject, although he informs us that in his youth he was a sort of poetical shepherd boy. For his scenes, however, he has gone, not to his own experience, such as it was, but to the old pastoral songs of his native country. From these he has drawn a series of sketches, in which he has given to Bessy Bell and Mary Gray, to the lowland lass and the highland lad, to Annie, and Peggie, and Colin, and Phemie, and to a whole race of Scottish shepherds and shepherdesses, language which they certainly never spoke, and which they cannot even speak at this day. It is amusing to see an educated mind, sophisticated in the notions of the world, ape the simplicity of the hamlet and the fields. As for instance, Colin after singing to Annie asks

,
her,
• What say you, my sweet Annie, will you come?

• An. Hold there! Deep hid amid the yellow broom,
Who shall protect me, Colin, from thyself?
I doubt that would be giving to the fox
The lambs to keep :bad shepherd-craft, I ween.

· Col. And dost thou ask who would be thy protector?
Love, my dear lassie! pure, true love shall be
Thy sure protection :--Love, the viewless bond-
Viewless, but mighty-joining earth and heaven!
Love, universal as the air we breathe.
Look round on the broad hills, the springing grass,
The budding flowers, the honeyed heather-bell, -
The thousand living things that hum around,
All in boon Nature's bounties revelling,
And all, as their capacities permit,
In song or gambol telling of their joy.

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Can, then, a native wanderer of the wilds
Fail to perceive-to feel the general spell,-
To own the potent agency of Love?
And dares he violate that sacred power,
And in its pure domains betray the trust
Of sweet, confiding, maiden innocence ?
My Annie, no! This heart of mine was ne'er
Made for such villainy!
An,

How
easy

'tis
To make a fair show with fair promises !
But I have seen among the dews of mora,
Woven amid the interlacing briers,
A filmy web of glittering gossamer,
Round, bright, and studded like a Highland targe.
The sun shone out;-the dews arose; - I look'd,
The fair round targe was melted all away,
And spiky thorns, urged by the rising breeze,
Swept harrowing through the dark forsaken place.-
Such and so fleeting are men's protestations !
And such the joys they leave the trusting heart !

Col. My eloquent disputant! well may I
From thee learn lessons of sweet minstrelsy ;
But sure thy Colin's faith, unsullied yet
By word or thought, should bear a greater weight
Than loose and general accusations.

Better
To trust too little than too much.

Come, come;
Look not so distant, dearest! I could brook
The thickest, keenest snow-drift ever blew,
Wearing my sheep upon the brent hill-side,
Where it smites chillest, rather than the cold
Unkindness of thy cheek and eye.
"An.

Oh ! flatterer !
A woman's frown, were it of hate and scorn,
Is mirth and sunshine to the angry blast

Of winter.'--- pp. 71-73. We do not suppose that in all the highlands or lowlands of Scotland, there is to be found a single shepherd who could understand, not to say, talk in the language that is here set down for the amiable Annie, and the amorous Colin. We must do the author the justice to remark, however, that some of the songs which he has introduced into his scenes, breathe the hospitable spirit of Caledonia, and that too in her native dialect. We shall take one at random from the harvest field.

• Awa'

ye

fretful carles a',
We dinna want ye here ;
Your crabbed words, and looks sae sour,

Wad only spoil our cheer:
The sunshine, an' the glorious sky-...

The gloaming's dewy air,

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