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New Publications. Muir's Poems.
Extracts from New Publications.
TO THE EDITOR.
It is too often the fate of men of genius, that they live unnoticed and unrewarded-and their merits only begin to be appreciated, when the applause of the world is to them of no avail. Without perhaps an incident in their history that could bring them into public notice-without a friend to take them by the hand, and draw them from their obscurity, they have passed their lives neglected and unknown. The relicts of their talents which death only has had the merit of bringing into day, stamp an enduring stigma upon the world for its neglect. Names, high in reputation, must at once suggest themselves to every one's recollection, as illustrative of the fact.
I have been led to make this observation from perusing a vol· ume of Poems just published. I refer to "Poems on various subjects, by the late WILLIAM MUIR, Campsie." This man was born, lived, and died in obscurity. But he has left behind him the memorial of a mind which was worthy of a rank far above his lowly lot. If we make an allowance for occasional errors in style, &c. which a scanty education did not afford him the means of improving, we cannot but be astonished and delighted by the singular versatility of his poetical talent. Throughout the volume, we discover a richness and variety of imagery— an easy and happy power of description-and frequent sallies of pungent, Horatian wit, which we often look for in vain in works of far higher pretensions.
I had occasion to know a good deal of this ingenious and unobtrusive person- -and I deem it an act of kindness to his memory, to bring this posthumous volume of his works before your readers, by quoting one or two specimens of his poetry: and I am sure they will not fail to recognize in it the germ of talents, whose growth was checked by an unkindly lot in lifeand blasted by a premature death.
Glasgow, 12th Oct. 1318.
New Pullications-Muir's Poems.
THE WOOD OF CRAIGMARLOCH.
Written June, 1816, (Near Kilsyth.)
Craigmarloch is craggy, Craigmarloch is steep,
In the caves of its rocks the sly foxes they creep,
Craigmarloch is sullen, Craigmarloch is grave,
As it winds from the Clyde to the Forth.*
Craigmarloch is haughty, Craigmarloch is proud,
Craigmarloch is chilly, Craigmarloch is bleak,
With the blast of the north sticking close to his cheek,
Craigmarloch is old, and Craigmarloch is grey,
The sons of his youth are laid low in the clay,
Craigmarloch is shaven, Craigmarloch is shorn,
Yet sweet on Craigmarloch's rude summit at morn,
The Great Canal, which washes its very base.
New Publications-Mir's Poems.
THE HYND-BERRY BRAE.
A Retrospect of Juvenile Pleasure.
When life it was life, an' when fancy was young,
When frae the rank blue-bells I skiffed the clear dew,
I kent na there was sic a thing as dull care,
The flower o' the present I pu'd, an' still mair
How happy was I, &c.
The spring had its pleasures, the simmer an' a',
Before I cou'd prize them, get aff an' awa,
How happy was I, &c.
On the Hynd-berry brae how aft did I pu
The fruit o' the rasp an' the brier,
The bramble, the slae, an' the juniper too,
How happy was I, &c.
The Hynd-berry brae is now bleak an' now bare,
I canna believe that it ever was there
I felt those delights I ha'e lost.
How happy was I, &c.
Thus retrospect views are the bane o' our bliss,
Reflexion still fondles the past ;
Wi' the tear in our e'e we look back for the kiss,
We us'd wi' sic rapture to taste.
We winna believe that the future has joys,
We tell you it canna be sae;
But muster the pleasures, the pleasures, when boys, We found on the IIynd-berry brae.
Superstitions of Clydesdale.
POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS OF CLYDESDALE.
From the Edinburgh Magazine.
Upper and Nether Auchenlecks are said to have been anciently the property of one of the relatives of Wallace, and to have been so denominated after the possessions of his family in Ayrshire. At Nether Auchenleck, or as it is usually called Nether Affleck, there is a very curious relic of antiquity called Wallace's Syles, which, as tradition reports, was made by that matchless man while he was staying with his kindred at Killbank and Nether Auchenleck. The Syles, which are of a very curious and complicated construction, and exceedingly strong, are made of oak, which, having stood for centuries in one of the smokiest hovels in Scotland, has long ago become quite saturated with soot, and rendered almost incombustible. The feet of the Syles are placed on the ground, with the sides built firmly into the wall; and though the house has been twice burned down to the ground, this venerable relic of Wallace has escaped unharmed. The people around, fond of the memory of their beloved chief, attribute this preservation to the interposition of some superior power; for they contend that Sir William Wallace was not only the greatest hero and most disinterested patriot that the world ever saw, but also an eminent Christian.
Nether Auchenleck has always been a peculiar haunt of the fairies and other spiritual beings. The late tenant, Alexander Waddel, having, in the course of his improvements, grubbed up a broomy. brae where the fairies were wont to hold their revels, incurred the displeasure of these irritable spirits. They rade his horses in the night till they were quite blawn, shot his ky, an' did na even haud aff himsell. For ae nicht as he was sharpin his saw by the fire-en', ben cam an elfshot-stane wi' unco birr frae the door, an' dang a tuith out o' the saw. But nae doubt it was ettled to break his arm, gif no to do him war skaith." At another time as he was felling some trees, he perceived an arm strike at him several times with a hatchet; "but the shaft o' his aine axe was made o' rowan-tree, sae they could nae harm him."-There is a deep glen at Nether Auchenleck, called Hellsgill, wherein a spirit has frequently appeared in the very extraordinary shape of a cart-wheel, or rather the ring of a cart-wheel, trundling down the brae. It appears always rolling right against the beholder, and often has the eirie night-traveller been terrified that he would be overturned by this whimsical apparition: but after coming bounding from brae to brae, thundering to his very feet, all of a sud den it vanishes, and a loud unearthly laugh, or, as its expressed in our country dialect, "an eldritch nicheran gaffaw" is heard in the bot tem of the ravine,
Letter from the Bishop of Landaph.
TO THE EDITOR.
By inserting the following" Extract of a Letter from the late Bishop of Landaff to an intimate friend, in answer to one received from him" you will much oblige,
Kilmarnock, Oct. 1818.
A Wellwisher to your Mirror.
"My religion is not founded, I hope, in presumption, but in piety. I cannot look upon the Author of my existence in any other light than as the most commiserating parent; not extreme to mark what is done amiss, not implacable, not revengeful, not disposed to punish past offences when the heart abhors them, but ready, with the utmost benignity, to receive into his favour every repentant sinner.
"By the constitution of nature, which may properly be considered as indicating the will of God, all excess in sensual indulgences tends to the depravation of the mind, and to the debilitation of the body, and may, on that account, be esteemed repugnant to the will of God. This repugnancy is made more apparent by the Gospel. Now, all our happiness in this world and in the next depending ultimately on the will of God, every one may see a moral necessity of conforming his actions to that will. But as the will of God has no degree of selfishness in it. is not excited on any occasion to gratify the resentment or any other passion of the Supreme Being (as often happens in the will of man) I cannot but believe, that a change of temper, accompanied by a change of conduct, is all that God requires of us in order to be restored, after our greatest transgressions, to his perfect acceptance.
"We know not in what the felicity of the next world will consist, but we do know that it will not consist in the gratification of our present senses; yet God is not an harsh Master, for he hath furnished us with abundant means of present enjoyment; and had every enjoyment of seнse been sinful, he certainly would neither have given us senses nor objects adapted to them; he hath done both; and he requires from us such a moderation in the use of them, as may preserve our minds from being so addicted to them, as to prevent us from having any relish for the duties of benevolence and holiness, in the exercise of which it is not improbable that our future happiness may consist.
"Every denunciation of God against intemperance in the pleasures of sense, against injustice in our intercourse with mankind, against impiety towards himself, seems to proceed from his extreme affection for us, by which he warns us from a course of conduct, the final issue of which we cannot in this state, comprehend.
"The love of God casteth out fear; let us once bottom our principle of action on the desire of obeying Him, and though we may be impelled by our passions to occasional deviations from what is right, yet this obliquity of conduct will not continue long; the hope of living under his fatherly kindness and protection will bring us to a rational sense of duty, to a just confidence of acceptance with Him.