Page images
PDF
EPUB

Promiscuous crowds one common ruin share,
And death alone employs the wasteful war;
They trembling fly, by conquering Scots opprest,
And the broad ranks of battle lie defaced ;
A false usurper sinks in every foe,
And liberty returns with every blow !”

The following extracts, being the last mournful scene between Wallace and his wife, possess, I think, some poetical merit.

“But various cares solicitate my breast,
Invade my heart, and rob my soul of rest;
While to my drooping mind's prophetic eyes,
A thousand griefs in fatal prospect rise!
Methinks I view the cruel raging foes
End that dear life and finish all my woes,
Methinks I see that sacred blood now spilt,
To fill up Hesilrig's black scene of guilt;
And now, to save thee from the coming blow,
And shield thee from the malice of the foe,
I have prepared, of youth a chosen band,
Ready to march, whene'er thou shalt command.
Some well built tower, an hospitable seat,
Shall prove from war's alarms, a safe retreat;
There, nor the battle's voice shall wound thine ear,
Nor the fierce spoiler, blaek with guilt, appear;-
There may thy constant prayers bless my sword,
And waft thy kindest wishes to thy Lord,
Till circling time bring back the happy day,
When Scotland shall be free from English sway,
Till her extended plains be called her own,
And yet a Scottish king ascend a Scottish throne!"
“But say, in vain is all this flow of tears,
Fantastic passion, a weak woman's fears ;
Yet with her Wallace let his consort go,
Join with his ills, sad partnership of woe!

Or if propitious Heaven shall deign to smile,
With faithful love reward my hero's toil.
What though my tender nerves refuse to bend
The twanging yew, and the feet dart to send;
Round thy distinguished tent, yet will I stay,
And wait impatient the decisive day,
When freedom on thy helm, shall crested stand,
Nor fortune linger with her doubtful hand.
But let the war's rude shock assault my ears-
The woman, Wallace, shall throw off her fears.
Then take me with thee, whate'er chance betide,
Firm to thy cause, and honest I'll abide;
Nor let me mourn alone, when I am left
Of thee, and every joy with thee bereft!"
“Cease, cease!” he cried, “nor urge a vain relief,
Nor by thy livg'ring doubts increase my grief.”

AUTHORITIES.

Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 18, Edinburgh, 1797.Blind Harry's Life of Wallace, A Poem, Perth Edition.Warton's History of English Poetry, vol. 1.-Miss Porter's Scottish Chiefs, vol. 1.

WILLIAM JAMIESON,

THE BLIND PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, IN THE UNIVERSITY OF

GLASGOW

Very little is known of the history of William Jamieson. It appears, from the few facts we have been able to collect from contemporary writers, that he was a native of Renfrewshire, in Scotland, and blind from his infancy. Crawford, in his history of this county, mentions a number of its distinguished natives, and, among the rest, the subject of this memoir, of whom he writes; near the house of Barochan, and within that barony, was born the learned Mr. William Jamieson, preacher of the gospel, and also professor of History, in the University of Glasgow, who was a miracle of learning, considering he was deprived of the sense of sight from his birth, and his works afford sufficient proof of his being a very able scholar.”

Woodrow, in his history of the church of Scotland, in speaking of the martyrdom of that christian patriot, the Earl of Argyle, pays a very handsome compliment to the learning and talents of professor Jamieson. We give the passage as we find it.

“Let me conclude with observing that the Earl was so full of composure, and the thoughts of his death were so easy to him, that the day before his execution, he wrote some very pleasing and affecting lines, as his own epitaph. This epitaph, of the Earl's own composing, was turned into Latin elegiacs, by the reverend and learned Mr. William Jamieson, preacher of the gospel, and History Lecturer in the University of Glasgow, my dearest and much honoured friend; and they have so much of the spirit of the original lines in them that I have likewise added them, with two lines of his own, which fell from him when translating them, as a just debt he owed to this great man. 'Though they were written in the days of his youth a little after the Earl's death, I am persuaded he needs not be ashamed of them in his advanced years, and after he hath favoured the world, and defended the interests of religion, and the church of Scotland, by his learned and valuable performances.

Watts, in his “ Bibliotheca Britannica,” thus refers to him; “ several books are mentioned as written by him, all on the subject of the Episcopal controversy. He carried on a controversy also with Mr. Robert Calder, an Episcopal curate, who wrote with great bitterness and some talent."

That most excellent Divine, the Rev. Matthew Henry, makes mention of our blind professor. At the time he wrote, the more wealthy of the English dissenters sent their children, particularly those that were intended for the ministry, to some one of the Scotch Universities for their education; among these was the Rev. Dr. Benzon, the intimate friend of Mr. H., from whose writings the following passage is taken. “In June 1695, Dr. B. went to the college of Glasgow. Among the learned men of that University, Mr. Jamieson, History Professor there, did correspond with him. That wonderful inan is quite blind, and has been so from his birth ; and yet, as appears by the learned works he has published, he is a most accomplished scholar, and very ready and exact in his quotations of authors."

Extracts from the Minutes of the “ Senatus Academicus” of the University of Glasgow. “May 30, 1692. The Faculty this day taking into consideration the condition of Mr. William Jamieson, who though born blind, yet having been educated at this university, hath attained to great learning, and particularly is well skilled in history, both civil and ecclesiastical; and having no estate to subsist upon, the Faculty considering that he may be useful in these sciences they have thought fit to allow to the said Mr. William

Jamieson, two hundred marks Scots per annum, for two years, commencing from the first of April last; the said Mr. W.J. employing himself according to his capacity, at the discretion of the Faculty."

“December 29, 1692. The Faculty determined that Mr. William Jamieson have a public lecture in civil history, once a week, on the Thursdays, at three of the clock in the afternoon, in the Common Hall.”

We conclude this article with the following extract, from the preface of a work entitled, “The defence of the Church of Scotland," printed in 1713.

“I therefore earnestly wish, that the pastors of the Kirk of Scotland would spend more time in explaining this controversy, especially in their catechetical discourses, and confirm from Scripture the Presbyterian principles, and confute the adversaries. This I earnestly wish were done in a grave way and clear style, for it certainly would be of great use, especially to the common people. It would also be of great advantage to give from the pulpit now and then, calmly and plainly, a deduction of God's mercies unto this land, by delivering us from spiritual Babylon, Rome. We find in Scripture, that the prophets and godly Jews did spend much time in relating historically the deliverance that God gave to Israel, from the Egyptians and other enemies, and I am persuaded that in this our Pastors ought to imitate them; it would do much to carry down the sense of God's mercies from fathers to children, and from generation to generation."

“In the third place, I earnestly desire my readers, that they be earnest in prayer, and wait closely on God, that they have not only a form of godliness

« PreviousContinue »