Imagini ale paginilor

And every shepherd tells his tale

Under the hawthorn in the dale.

Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
Whilst the landscape round it measures,

Russet lawns, and fallows grey,

Where the nibbling flocks do stray,
Mountains on whose barren breast
The lab'ring clouds do often rest,
Meadows trim with daisies pied,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide.
Towers and battlements it sees
Bosom'd high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighb'ring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes,
From betwixt two aged oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses;
And then in haste her bow'r she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves,
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tann'd haycock in the mead.
Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecs sound

To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;

And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday.

Hay-making, the half-sportive labour of the early summer,-has been charmingly described by Joanna Baillie :


Upon the grass no longer hangs the dew;

Forth hies the mower with his glittering scythe,

In snowy shirt bedight, and all unbraced,

He moves athwart the mead with sideling bend,
And lays the grass in many a swathey line:
In every field, in every lawn and meadow,
The rousing voice of industry is heard;
The haycock rises, and the frequent rake
Sweeps on the fragrant hay in heavy wreaths.
The old and young, the weak and strong are there,
And, as they can, help on the cheerful work.
The father jeers his awkward half-grown lad,
Who trails his tawdry armful o'er the field,
Nor does he fear the jeering to repay.

The village oracle and simple maid

Jest in their turns and raise the ready laugh;
All are companions in the general glee;
Authority, hard-favoured, frowns not there.
Some, more advanced, raise up the lofty rick,
Whilst on its top doth stand the parish toast
In loose attire and swelling ruddy cheek.
With taunts and harmless mockery she receives
The tossed-up heaps from fork of simple youth,
Who, staring on her, takes his arm away,
While half the load falls back upon himself.
Loud is her laugh, her voice is heard afar:
The mower busied on the distant lawn,

The carter trudging on his dusty way,

The shrill sound know, their bonnets toss in air,
And roar across the field to catch her notice:
She waves her arm to them, and shakes her head,
And then renews her work with double spirit.
Thus do they jest and laugh away their toil
Till the bright sun, now past his middle course,

Shoots down his fiercest beams which none may brave.

The stoutest arm feels listless, and the swart
And brawny-shouldered clown begins to fail.
But to the weary, lo-there comes relief!
A troop of welcome children o'er the lawn
With slow and wary steps approach: some bear
In baskets oaten cakes or barley scones,

And gusty cheese and stoups of milk or whey,
Beneath the branches of a spreading tree,

Or by the shady side of the tall rick,

They spread their homely fare, and, seated round,
Taste every pleasure that a feast can give.

Old Allan Ramsay has caught the inspiration of one of his most charming songs from the same scene:—

The lass of Patie's mill,

Sae bonnie, blithe, and gay,

In spite of all my skill,

She stole my heart away.
When tedding out the hay,
Bareheaded on the green,
Love 'midst her locks did play,
And wanton'd in her een.

Her arms white, round, and smooth;
Breasts rising in their dawn;

To age it would give youth,

To press them with his han'.
Through all my spirits ran
An ecstasy of bliss,

When I such sweetness fand
Wrapt in a balmy kiss.

Without the help of art,

Like flow'rs which grace the wild,

Her sweets she did impart,

Whene'er she spoke or smiled:

Her looks they were so mild,

Free from affected pride,

She me to love beguiled ;

I wish'd her for my bride.

O had I a' the wealth

Hopetoun's high mountains fill,
Insured long life and health,

And pleasure at my will;

I'd promise, and fulfil,

That none but bonnie she,

The lass of Patie's mill,

Should share the same with me.


Burns invites his "bonnie lassie" to go forth to the "foaming stream" and "hoary cliffs," when simmer blinks on flowery braes." He only echoes the general summons to the enjoyment of "the lightsome days" which Nature gives to all her children :—

Bonnie lassie, will ye go, will ye go, will ye go,
Bonnie lassie, will ye go to the Birks of Aberfeldy ?

Now simmer blinks on flowery braes,
And o'er the crystal streamlet plays,
Come, let us spend the lightsome days
In the Birks of Aberfeldy.

Bonnie lassie, &c.

While o'er their heads the hazels hing,
The little birdies blithely sing,

Or lightly flit on wanton wing,
In the Birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonnie lassie, &c.

The braes ascend like lofty wa's,
The foaming stream deep roaring fa's,
O'er-hung wi' fragrant spreading shaws,
The Birks of Aberfeldy.

Bonnie lassie, &c.

The hoary cliffs are crown'd wi' flowers,
White o'er the linns the burnie pours,
And, rising, weets wi' misty showers
The Birks of Aberfeldy.

Bonnie lassie, &c.

Let fortune's gifts at random flee,
They ne'er shall draw a wish frae me,

Supremely blest wi' love and thee,

In the Birks of Aberfeldy:

Bonnie lassie, &c.




[FRANÇOIS DE BASSOMPIERRE, Marshal of France, was born in Lor raine, in 1579. He was of a noble family, accomplished in martial exercises, and handsome in his person; and it was a natural consequence of these advantages that he was received with the highest favour at the Court of France, which he first visited in 1598. some thirty years his career was that of a gallant soldier, a successful diplomatist, and a "chartered libertine." But he found time to write accounts of his Embassies, which are curious, though somewhat dull. The most interesting of these productions is a narrative of his Embassy to England, in 1626, which has been ably translated, with notes, by a living writer of eminence. The last twelve years' of Bassompierre's life present a dreary contrast to his early adventures. They were spent in prison, at the absolute bidding of the powerful minister of France, Richelieu, whom he had thwarted and offended. His prison hours were employed in the composition of his Memoirs. He was released on the death of the Cardinal, and died three years afterwards, in 1646.]

The origin of the execrable and accursed practice of duelling, which has cost France more noble blood than the loss of twenty battles, is to be traced no farther back than the reign of King Henry the Second; for, before that time, if any difference arose between gentlemen, it was amicably arranged or decided by the decree of the constable and marshals of France, the natural judges of the honour of the nobility; the satisfaction from the aggressor to the offended party being apportioned to the outrage which had been given or received: and if the offence was so great that it could not be atoned for by words, apologies, or imprisonment, or if the disagreement was of so aggravated a nature that the parties could not be reconciled, and no sufficient proofs were to be had of the facts, very rarely, and with great difficulty, they permitted single combat in the lists, with the customary formalities and ceremonies; and if it happened that they discovered malice or insolence in either party, they never failed to adjudge the penalty or chastisement which the crime deserved. No man, therefore, took justice into his own hands, since complainants were sure to receive the most equitable compensation possible; and every body put such restraint upon him



« ÎnapoiContinuă »