Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


368 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. cessarily woven up with the warlike, even from the days when our forefathers, with their good swords and true hearts, were enabled to defend their homes and hills against all the might of England, aided, ? as albeit the latter often was, by Ireland, Wales, and all the chivalry of Normandy and Aquitaine ; and to hand down to future times the untarnished crown of a regal race as an emblem of what Scotland was, ere she peacefully quartered her royal arms and insignia with those of her adversary, with whom she shared her kings, and as an emblem of what she is still, with her own Church, laws, and constitution, free and unfettered. The Old city-with its ?stirring memories of a thousand years ?-has records which are, in tenor, widely apart from those of the New; yet, in the former, we may still see the massive, picturesque, quaint and time-worn abodes of those who bore their part in the startling events of the past-fierce combats, numerous raids, cruelties and crimes that tarnish the?histonc page j while in the New city, with its stately streets, its squares and terraces, the annals are all recent,?and refer to the arts of Peace alone-to a literary and intellectual supremacy hitherto unsurpassed. Yet, amid the thousands of its busy population, life is leisurely there ; but, as has been well said, ?it is not the leisure of a village arising from the deficiency of ideas and motives-it is the leisure of a city reposing grandly on tradition and history, which has done its work, and does not require to weave its own clothing, to dig its own coals, or smelt its own iron. And then in Edinburgh, above all British cities, you are released from the vulgarising dominion of the hour.? For, as has been abundantly shown throughout this work, there every step is historical, and the past and present are ever face to face. The dark shadow cast by the Union has long since passed away; but we cannot forget that Edinburgh, like Scotland generally, was for generations- neglected by Government, and her progress obstructed by lame legislation ; that it is no longer the chief place where landholders dwell, or the revenue of a kingdom is disbursed ; and that it is owing alone to the indomitable energy, the glorious spirit of self-reliance, and the patriotism of her people, that we find the Edinburgh of to-day what sheis, in intellect and beauty, second to no city in the world.
Volume 6 Page 368
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