Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


396 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. extensive tour of the Highlands, affords a tolerable specimen of his wandering life. If he is to be credited, he visited the abodes of many people of the highest rank and respectability ; and the kindness he everywhere experienced seems for the time to have considerably softened his democratic ravings, for “fair ” scenes and (‘ fair ” ladies are the chief themes of his poetical aspirations. The exquisite absurdity of his compositions is a sufficient apology for indulging our readers with a specimen or two of his sublime wooings of the muse. After celebrating the “Troshes (as he calls them) of Menteith,” and admiring the (‘ ladies fair at sweet Aughry,” we find the Doctor at Auchline, which is thus immortalised in his “Book of Fame :” “ Through famed Breadalbane I did rove, And saw Benmore, the hill of Jove, Where I beheld the palace fine, And ladies fair at sweet Auchline. Sure, by all the Powers above, The Dochart is the river of love, To bathe and wash dfhs CampbelL&e : Miss Auchallader like the sun doth shine ; To love such ladies can be no sin, So I’ll pass on to sweet Killin ! ” Ardvodich and Invercauld next claim his attention :- “ Sweet rural shades of Invercauld, Which calls to mind the days of old ; Such planting upon mountains high, Whose lofty summits touch the sky, Does honour to that Chieftain’s name ; Improvement is the way to fame. Your Highland reel I love to dance, It well might grace the Court of France.” ’ The author must obviously have cut a handsome figure in a Highland reel ; but lest such condescension in a philosopher should prove derogatory to his character, or any mistake exist’w to his identity, he concludes the sonnet with the following important information :- “ I am neither Lord Fife, nor Duke of Nar, . But Dr. B-n, from a country far And since you have deigned on me to look, I hope one day you’ll get yow book.” It would be fatiguing to accompany the Doctor farther in his tour ; enough . has been giyen to prove the harmony of his versification, and the sublimity and beauty of his ideas. Amid all the fair scenes and kind hearts he describes, however, his recollections of the excise suddenly cast their gloom around him, and he bursts into the following impassioned description of (‘H unger-him-ou %it Gauger :”- “ Would you the dregs of mankind trace, Or know a gauger by the face
Volume 9 Page 530
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BIOGMAPHICAL SKETCHES. 397 There is now ranging up and down The meanest face e’er came to town : The pimping officer starts the sport,’ By taking the widow’s stock too short ; The Supervisor comes with a smile, Says God be praised-a sweet beguile ; The widow and children they do cry- Never mind though they should die ; The God of Heaven is fast asleep, Let us make hay whde widows weep ; We’ll send a present to the Board, And all complaints will then be smoored ; And since by faith to heaven we are whiled, We’ll leave our conscience in this world.” A little farther on are four lines descriptive of “A Fine Lady, who paid for one hundred copies: and rides with an embroidered saddle-cloth :‘I- “ When you mount your horse, my eyes go blind, When you ride away, all grows dark behind ; Your slender hand has kindled a flame, And raised the muse to the summit of fame.” The price of “ one hundred copies’’ would be an acceptable offering, and a sure way to be enrolled in the “ Book of Fame.” The author appears to have been then soliciting subscriptions for his embryo publication. Among other n‘ames honoured with his high approval, we find that of the Hon. Charles James Fox- “ Whose memory for ever lives, The enemy of Revenue Thieves !” Mrs. Clarke also finds a niche in his temple of British worthies :- ‘ I In spite of pimping lawyer sages, For truth she stands the rock of ages ; They laid their traps to make her faUBy the god of war she foil’d them all !” The “Book of Fame,” do. II., is more indicative of the Doctor’s eccentric tenets in politics and religion. The titles of a few leading pieces are-“On Revenue Thieves”--“ On the Fast-day ”- ‘‘ On the War ”-‘‘ The Millennium, upon the Principle of Cause and Effect, universal peace must be preceded by universal monarchy ;” and in order to fix the subject more permanently on the minds of his hearers, he calls in the aid of melody, and directs his disquisitions to be sung to the tune of “Johnnie Cope :‘I*- ‘‘ Your thundering guns shall roar, roar, roar, Your fame extend to every shore ; And you shall conquer more and more, Till mankind is free in the morning !” 1 Of the author’s book, we presume. This musical hint is too good to be lost. Only think what an effect would be produced if “ Church Endowment” were warbled to the tune of Maqgie Lauder, or “ Vote by Ballot” to that of Morgan Raltlrr.
Volume 9 Page 531
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