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under the worst nioral influences. These, howover, had no power to corrupt his native goodness and sweetness. Onu of the most remarkable things about him is his disposition to look on the bright side, and the light and genile playfulness with which he enlivened, when possible, the darkest pages of his life.
The only teachers that found access to the Factory were some works of contemporary poets. These were great contemporaries for him. Scott, Byron, Moore, breathed full enough to fun a good blaze.—But still more important to the Scotsman and the craftsman were the teachings of those commemorated in the fol. lowing passage which describes the first introduction of them 10 the literary world, and gives no unfair specimen both of his prose
and his poetry :
it tends to indiscriminate indulgence and a leveling of the beautiful with what is morely tolerable. For indeed the vines pced judicious pruning if they are to bring us the ruby wine. 'In the golden age to which we are ever looking forward, these two tendencies will be harmonized. The highest sense of ful. . filled excellence will be found to. consist with the largest appre. ciation of every sign of life. The eye of man is fitted to range all around no less than to be lifted on high.
Meanwhile the spirit of the time, which is certainly seeking, though by many and strange ways, the greatest happiness for the greatest number, by discoverics which facilitate mental no less than bodily communication, till soon it will be almost as easy to get your thought printed or engraved on a thousand leaves as to drop it from the pen on one, and by the simultaneous bubbling up of rills of thought in a thousand hitherto obscure and silent places, declares that the genial and generous tendency shall have the lead, at least for the present.
We are not ourselves at all concerned, lest excellent expres. sion should cease because the power of speech to some extent becomes more general. The larger the wave and the more fish it sweeps along, the likelier that some fine ones should enrich the net. It has always been so. The great efforts of art belong to artistic regions, where the boys in the street draw sketches on the wall and torment melodies on rude flutes; shoals of sonneteers follow in the wake of the great poet. The electricity which flashes with the thunderbolts of Jove must first pervade the whole atmosphere.
How glad then are we to see that such men as Prince and Thom, if they are forced by 'poortith cauld' to sigh much in the long winter night, which brings them neither work nor pleasure, can also sing between.
Thom passed his boy hood in a factory, where, beside the disad. vantage of ceaseless toil and din, he describes himself as being
"Nearer and dearer to hearts liko ours was the Ettrick Shepherd, then in his full tido of song and story; but ncarer and dcarer still than he, or any living songster-lo us dcarer-was our ill-fated fellow-craftsman, Tannahill, who had iust then taken himself from a neglecting world, whilo yet that world waxed mellow in his lay. Poor weaver chicll What wo owo to thcol Your“ Bracs o' Balquidder," and “Yon Burnside," and "Gloomy Winter," and the "Minstrel’s” wailing dity, and the noblo "Glencifer." Oh! how they did ring above the rattling of a hundred shuttlcs! Let me again proclaim the debt wo owo those Song Spirits, as they walked in melody from loom to loom, ministering to the low-hearted; and when the breast was filled with everything but hope and happiness, and all but scared, let only break forth the healthy and vigorous chorus “A man's a man for a' chat,” tho fagged weaver brightens up. His very shuule skytcs boldly along, and clatters through in faithful timo to tho tuno of his merrier shopmatcs!
" Who dare measuro in doubt the restraining influences of these very Songs ? To us they were all instead of scrmons. Had ono of us been bold cnough to enter a church he must have been cjected for the sako of decency. His forlorn and curiously patched habiliments would have contested the point of attraction with the ordinary cloquence of that period. So for all parties it was better that he kept to his garret, or wandered far “in the decp green wood." Church hells rang not for us. Pocts were indeed our Priesta. But for those, the last relic of our moral existence would havo surely passed away! " Song was tho dew.drops that gathered dụring the long dark night of despon
In darkness we'll meet, and in silence remain,'
Ilk word now and look now, were niockful or vain; Ae mute moment morno the dreain that inisled, Syno sinder as cauld as the leaves that we tread.
"This ditty was sung in tho wcaving shops, and when in the warbling of one who could lend a good voice to the occasion, and could coax tho words and air into a sort of social understanding, then was it a song."
dency, and were sure to glitter in the very first blink of the sun. To us Virtue, in whatever shape, canie only in shadow, but even by that wo uw her swect proportions, and sometimes fain would have sought a kind acquaintance with her.—Thinking that the better features of humanity could not be utterly defaced where song and melody were permitted to exist, and that where they were not all crushed, Hope and Mercy might yet bless the spot, some wared bold, and for a time took leave of those who were called to "sing ayont the moon," groping amidst the material around and stringing it up, ventured on a home-made lill. Short was the search to find a newly kindled love, or some old heart abreaking. Such was aye amongst us and not always unnoticed, por as ye shall sce, unsung.
" It was not enough that we merely chaunted, and listened; but some more ambitious, or idle if ye will, they in time would try a self-conceived sung. Just as if some funny little boy, bolder than the rest, would creep into the room where laid Neil Gow's fiddle, and touch a note or two he could not name. How proud be is! how blest! for he had made a sound, and morc, his playmates heard it, faith! Here I will introduce one of these early touches, not for any merit of its own, but it will show that we could somctimes bear and even seek for our minds a short residence, though not elegant at Icast sinless,-a flecting visit of healthy things, though small they were in size and few in number. Spray from a gushing “linn," if it slackened not the thirst, it cooled the brow.
“The following ditty had its foundation in one of those luckless doings which ever and aye follow misguided attachments; and in our abode of freedom these wero almost the only kind of attachments known; so they were all on the wrong side of durability or bappiness.
AIR—" Lass, gin you lo'e me, lell me noo."
When wrestling leaves forsake ilk tree;
Nor o' friends that again we never maun sce:
Ovows that were made and were broken to mo:
By yon blighted auld bush that we fatally kon ;
For my heart amun beat to ito music again.
'Thom had no furtherance for many years aftor this first ap. pearance. It was hard work at all times to win bread; when work failed he was obliged to wander on foot elsewhere to procure it, losing his youngest child in a barn from the hardships endured one cold night of this untimely “fitting;" his admira. ble wife too died prematurely from the samo cause. At one time he was obliged to go with his little daughter and his Aute, (on which he is an excellent performer,) into the streets as a mendi. cant, to procure bread for his family. This last seems to have been far more cruel than any hardship to the honest pride native to the Scotchman. But there is another side. Like Prince, he was happy, as men in a rank more favoured by fortune seldom are, in his choice of a wife. He had an equal friend, a retined love, a brave, gentle, and uncomplaining companion in every sor. row, and wrote from his own experience the following lines :
THEY SPEAK O WYLES.
AIR" Gin a bodio mcel a bodia."
They speak o' wylcs in woman's smiles,
An' ruin in her o'm
That's unco sair to drce;
The first fond fa'in' tcar,
An' lints o' hauren boro.
selves. This is the case as to thost; which followed this little sketch :
When twa leal hearts in fondness neet,
Life's tempests howl in vain
When paid with tears aguin.
Shall cauldrife caution fcar ?
That lichts a heaven here! He was equally happy in his children, though the motherless bairns had to be sent, the little girl to tend cows, the darling boy to a hospital (where his being subjected, when alone, to a surgical operation, is the occasion of one of the poor Poet's most touching strains.) They were indeed his children in love and sympathy, the source of thought and joy, such as is never known to the rich man who gives up for banks and ships all the immor. tal riches domestic joys might bring him, leaving his children first to the nursery-maid, then to hired masters, and last to the embrace of a corrupt world. He was also most happy in his “ aérial investments," and like Prince, so fortunate, midway in life before his power of resistance was exhausted, and those bitterest of all bitter words Too LATE, stamped upon his brow, as to secure the enlightened assistance of one generous journal, the tinely assistance of one generous friend, which, though little in money, was large in results. So Thom is far from an unfortu. nate man, though the portrait which we find in his book is marked with wrinkles of such prenature depth. Indeed he declares tha: while work was plenty and his wife with him, he was blest for " nine years with such happiness as rarely falls to the lot of a human being."
Thom has a poetical mind, rather than is a poet. He has a delicate perception of relations, and is more a poet in discerning good occasions for poems than in using them. Accordingly his prefaces to, or notes upon, his verses, are often, as was the case with Sir Walter Scott, far more poetical than the verses them
“For a period of seventeen years, I was employed in a great weaving factory in Aberdeen. It contained upwards of three hundred looms, worked by as many male and femalo weavers. 'Twas a sad place, indeed, and many a curiosity sort of man and woman entered that blue gate. Amongst the rest, that littlo sly fellow Cupid would stcal.past.Willie, the porter' (who never drcaniod of such a being)-steal in amongst us, and make a very harvest of it. Upon the remembrance of one of his rather gravo doings, the song of 'Mary' is composed. One of our shopmatcs, a virtuous young woman, fairly though unconsciously, carried away the whole bulk and value of a poor weaver's heart. Ho becamo restless and miserable, but could never muster spirit to spcak his famo. " He never told his lovo"-yes, ho told it to mo. At his rcqucst, I told it to Mary, and she laughed. Five wecks passed away, and I saw him to the churchyard. For many days ero ho diod, Mary watched by his bedsido, a sorrowful woman, indeed. Never did widow's tears fall more burningly. It is twenty years since then. She is now a wifo and a mother; but the remembrance of Ibat, their last meeting, still haunts her sensitivo nature, as if she had dono a deed of blood."
The charming little description of one of the rural academies known by the name of a “ Wifio's Squeel,” we reserve to reprint in another connexion.-As we are overstepping all limits, we sball give, in place of farther comments, three specimens of how the Muse sings while she throws a shuttle. They are all inter. esting in different ways. “One of the Heart's Struggles" is a faithful transcript of the refined feelings of the craftsman, how opposite to the vulgar selfishness which so often profanes the name of Love! "A Chieftain Unknown to the Queen,” ex. presses many thoughts that arose in our own mind as we used to read the bulletins of the Royal Progress through Sootland so carefully transferred to the columns of American journals. “ Whisper Low" is perhaps the best specimen of song as song, to be found in this volume.