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cal feeling he must have inherited from nature, which led him to take pleasure even from his infancy in descriptive poetry; and the language, expressions, and pictures thus imprinted on his mind by habitual acquaintance with the best authors, and in literary conversation, seem to have risen spontaneously in the moment of composition.

Terrors of a Guilty Conscience.

Cursed with unnumbered groundless fears,
How pale yon shivering wretch appears!
For him the daylight shines in vain,
For him the fields no joys contain;
Nature's whole charms to him are lost,
No more the woods their music boast;
No more the meads their vernal bloom,
No more the gales their rich perfume:
Impending mists deform the sky,
And beauty withers in his eye.
In hopes his terrors to elude,
By day he mingles with the crowd,
Yet finds his soul to fears a prey,
In busy crowds and open day.
If night his lonely walks surprise,
What horrid visions round him rise!
The blasted oak which meets his way,
Shown by the meteor's sudden ray,
The midnight murderer's lone retreat
Felt heaven's avengeful bolt of late;
The clashing chain, the groan profound,
Loud from yon ruined tower resound;
And now the spot he seems to tread,
Where some self-slaughtered corse was laid;
He feels fixed earth beneath him bend,
Deep murmurs from her caves ascend;
Till all his soul, by fancy swayed,
Sees livid phantoms crowd the shade.

Ode to Aurora on Melissa's Birthday. ['A compliment and tribute of affection to the tender assiduity of an excellent wife, which I have not anywhere seen more happily conceived or more elegantly expressed.'-Henry


Of time and nature eldest born,
Emerge, thou rosy-fingered morn;
Emerge, in purest dress arrayed,
And chase from heaven night's envious shade,
That I once more may pleased survey,
And hail Melissa's natal day.

Of time and nature eldest born,
Emerge, thou rosy-fingered morn;
In order at the eastern gate
The hours to draw thy chariot wait;
Whilst Zephyr on his balmy wings,
Mild nature's fragrant tribute brings,
With odours sweet to strew thy way,
And grace the bland revolving day.

But, as thou lead'st the radiant sphere,
That gilds its birth and marks the year,
And as his stronger glories rise,
Diffused around the expanded skies,
Till clothed with beams serenely bright,
All heaven's vast concave flames with light;

So when through life's protracted day,
Melissa still pursues her way,
Her virtues with thy splendour vie,
Increasing to the mental eye;
Though less conspicuous, not less dear,
Long may they Bion's prospect cheer;
So shall his heart no more repine,
Blessed with her rays, though robbed of thine.

The Portrait.

Straight is my person, but of little size;
Lean are my cheeks, and hollow are my eyes:
Politely distant stands each single hair.
My youthful down is, like my talents, rare;
My voice too rough to charm a lady's ear;
So smooth, a child may listen without fear;
Not formed in cadence soft and warbling lays,
To soothe the fair through pleasure's wanton ways.
My form so fine, so regular, so new,

My port so manly, and so fresh my hue;
Oft, as I meet the crowd, they, laughing, say,
'See, see Memento Mori cross the way.'
The ravished Proserpine at last, we know,
Grew fondly jealous of her sable beau ;
But, thanks to Nature! none from me need fly,
One heart the devil could wound-so cannot I.

Yet though my person fearless may be seen, There is some danger in my graceful mien: For, as some vessel, tossed by wind and tide, Bounds o'er the waves, and rocks from side to side, In just vibration thus I always move: This who can view and not be forced to love?

Hail, charming self! by whose propitious aid My form in all its glory stands displayed: Be present still; with inspiration kind, Let the same faithful colours paint the mind. Like all mankind, with vanity I'm blessed, Conscious of wit I never yet possessed. To strong desires my heart an easy prey, Oft feels their force, but never owns their sway. This hour, perhaps, as death I hate my foe; The next I wonder why I should do so. Though poor, the rich I view with careless eye; Scorn a vain oath, and hate a serious lie. I ne'er for satire torture common sense; Nor show my wit at God's nor man's expense. Harmless I live, unknowing and unknown; Wish well to all, and yet do good to none. Unmerited contempt I hate to bear; Yet on my faults, like others, am severe. Dishonest flames my bosom never fire; The bad I pity, and the good admire: Fond of the Muse, to her devote my days, And scribble, not for pudding, but for praise.


JAMES BEATTIE was the son of a small farmer and shopkeeper at Laurencekirk, county of Kincardine, where he was born October 25, 1735. His father died while he was a child, but an elder brother, seeing signs of talent in the boy, assisted him in procuring a good education; and in his fourteenth year he obtained a bursary or exhibition (always indicating some proficiency in Latin) in Marisehal college, Aberdeen. His habits and views were scholastic, and four years afterwards, Beattie was appointed schoolmaster of the parish of Fordoun. He was now situated amidst interesting and romantic scenery, which increased his passion for nature and poetry. The scenes which he afterwards delineated in his Minstrel were (as Mr Southey has justly remarked) those in which he had grown up, and the feelings and aspirations therein expressed, were those of his own boyhood and youth. He became a poet at Fordoun; and, strange to say, his poetry, poor as it was, procured his appointment as usher of Aberdeen grammar school, and subsequently that of professor of natural philosophy in Marischal college. This distinction he obtained in his twenty-fifth year. At the same time, he published in London a collection of his poems, with some translations. One piece, Retirement, displays poetical feeling and taste; but

the collection, as a whole, gave little indication of "The Minstrel.' The poems, without the translations, were reprinted in 1766, and a copy of verses

with madness'-an allusion to the hereditary insanity of their mother. By nature, Beattie was a man of quick and tender sensibilities. A fine landscape or music (in which he was a proficient), affected him even to tears. He had a sort of hysterical dread of meeting with his metaphysical opponents, which was an unmanly weakness. When he saw Garrick perform Macbeth, he had almost thrown himself, from nervous excitement, over the front of the two-shilling gallery; and he seriously contended for the grotesque mixture of tragedy and comedy in Shakspeare, as introduced by the great dramatist to save the auditors from a disordered head or a broken heart!' This is 'parmaceti for an inward bruise' with a vengeance! He had, among his other idiosyncrasies, a morbid aversion to that cheerful household and rural sound-the crowing of a cock; and in his Minstrel,' he anathematises fell chanticleer' with burlesque fury


James Beattie.

on the Death of Churchill were added. The latter are mean and reprehensible in spirit, as Churchill had expiated his early follies by an untimely death. Beattie was a sincere lover of truth and virtue, but his ardour led him at times into intolerance, and he was too fond of courting the notice and approbation of the great. In 1770 the poet appeared as a metaphysician, by his Essay on Truth, in which good principles were advanced, though with an unphilosophical spirit, and in language which suffered greatly from comparison with that of his illustrious opponent, David Hume. Next year Beattie appeared in his true character as a poet. The first part of 'The Minstrel' was published, and was received with universal approbation. Honours flowed in on the fortunate author. He visited London, and was admitted to all its brilliant and distinguished circles. Goldsmith, Johnson, Garrick, and Reynolds, were numbered among his friends. On a second visit in 1773, he had an interview with the king and queen, which resulted in a pension of £200 per annum. The university of Oxford conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. and Reynolds painted his portrait in an allegorical picture, in which Beattie was seen by the side of an angel pushing down Prejudice, Scepticism, and Folly! Need we wonder that poor Goldsmith was envious of his brother poet? To the honour of Beattie, it must be recorded, that he declined entering the church of England, in which preferment was promised him, and no doubt would have been readily granted. The second part of the 'Minstrel' was published in 1774. Domestic circumstances marred the felicity of Beattie's otherwise happy and prosperous lot. His wife (the daughter of Dr Dun, Aberdeen) became insane, and was obliged to be confined in an asylum. He had two sons, Doth amiable and accomplished youths. The eldest lived till he was twenty-two, and was associated with his father in the professorship: he died in 1790, and the afflicted parent soothed his grief by writing his life, and publishing some specimens of his composition in prose and verse. The second son died in 1796, aged eighteen; and the only consolation of the now lonely poet was, that he could not have borne to see their elegant minds mangled

O to thy cursed scream, discordant still, Let harmony aye shut her gentle ear: Thy boastful mirth let jealous rivals spill, Insult thy crest, and glossy pinions tear, And ever in thy dreams the ruthless fox appear. Such an organisation, physical and moral, was ill fitted to insure happiness or fortitude in adversity. When his second son died, he said he had done with the world. He ceased to correspond with his friends, or to continue his studies. Shattered by a long train of nervous complaints, in April 1799 the poet had a stroke of palsy, and after different returns of the same malady, which excluded him from all society, he died on the 18th of August 1803.

In the early training of his eldest and beloved son, Dr Beattie adopted an expedient of a romantic and interesting description. His object was to give him the first idea of a Suprême Being; and his method, as Dr Porteous, bishop of London, remarked, had all the imagination of Rousseau, without his folly and extravagance.'

'He had,' says Beattie, 'reached his fifth (or sixth) year, knew the alphabet, and could read a little; but had received no particular information with respect to the author of his being because I thought he could not yet understand such information, and because I had learned, from my own experience, that to be made to repeat words not understood, is extremely detrimental to the faculties of a young mind. In a corner of a little garden, without informing any person of the circumstance, I wrote in the mould, with my finger, the three initial letters of his name, and sowing garden cresses in the furrows, covered up the seed, and smoothed the ground. Ten days after he came running to me, and with astonishment in his countenance, told me that his name was growing in the garden. I smiled at the report, and seemed inclined to disregard it; but he insisted on my going to see what had happened. "Yes," said I carelessly, on coming to the place; "I see it is so; but there is nothing in this worth notice; it is mere chance," and I went away. He followed me, and taking hold of my coat, said with some earnestness, "It could not be mere chance, for that somebody must have contrived matters so as to produce it." I pretend not to give his words or my own, for I have forgotten both, but I give the substance of what passed between us in such language as we both understood. So you think," I said, "that what appears so regular as the letters of your name cannot be by chance?" "Yes," said he with firmness, "I think so!" "Look at yourself," I replied, "and consider your hands and fingers, your legs and feet, and other limbs; are they not regular in their appearance, and useful to you?" He said they were.


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"Came you then hither," said I, "by chance ?" "No," he answered, "that cannot be; something must have made me." "And who is that something?" I asked. He said he did not know. (I took particular notice that he did not say, as Rousseau fancies a child in like circumstances would say, that his parents made him.) I had now gained the point I aimed at; and saw that his reason taught him (though he could not so express it) that what begins to be, must have a cause, and that what is formed with regularity, must have an intelligent cause. I therefore told him the name of the Great Being who made him and all the world, concerning whose adorable nature I gave him such information as I thought he could in some measure comprehend. The lesson affected him deeply, and he never forgot either it or the circumstance that introduced it.'

The Minstrel,' on which Beattie's fame now rests, is a didactic poem, in the Spenserian stanza, designed to trace the progress of a poetical genius, born in a rude age, from the first dawning of fancy and reason till that period at which he may be supposed capable of appearing in the world as a minstrel' The idea was suggested by Percy's preliminary Dissertation to his Reliques-one other benefit which that collection has conferred upon the lovers of poetry. The character of Edwin, the minstrel (in which Beattie embodied his own early feelings and poetical aspirations), is very finely drawn. The romantic seclusion of his youth, and his ardour for knowledge, find a response in all young and generous minds; while the calm philosophy and reflection of the poet, interest the more mature and experienced reader. The poem was left unfinished, and this is scarcely to be regretted. Beattie had not strength of pinion to keep long on the wing in the same lofty region; and Edwin would have contracted some earthly taint in his descent. Gray thought there was too much description in the first part of the 'Minstrel,' but who would exchange it for the philosophy of the second part? The poet intended to have carried his hero into a life of variety and action, but he certainly would not have succeeded. As it is, when he finds it necessary to continue Edwin beyond the flowery path' of childhood, and to explore the shades of life, he calls in the aid of a hermit, who schools the young enthusiast on virtue, knowledge, and the dignity of man. The appearance of this sage is happily described

At early dawn the youth his journey took, And many a mountain passed and valley wide, Then reached the wild where, in a flowery nook, And seated on a mossy stone, he spied An ancient man; his harp lay him beside. A stag sprung from the pasture at his call, And, kneeling, licked the withered hand that tied A wreath of woodbine round his antlers tall, And hung his lofty neck with many a floweret small.

[Opening of the Minstrel.]

Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar;
Ah! who can tell how many a soul sublime
Has felt the influence of malignant star,
And waged with Fortune an eternal war;
Checked by the scoff of Pride, by Envy's frown,
And Poverty's unconquerable bar,
In life's low vale remote has pined alone,
Then dropped into the grave, unpitied and unknown!

And yet the languor of inglorious day Not equally oppressive is to all;

Him, who ne'er listened to the voice of praise, The silence of neglect can ne'er appal.

There are, who, deaf to mad Ambition's call,
Would shrink to hear the obstreperous trump of Fame;
Supremely blest, if to their portion fall
Health, competence, and peace. Nor higher aim
Had he, whose simple tale these artless lines proclaim.
The rolls of fame I will not now explore;
Nor need I here describe, in learned lay,
How forth the Minstrel fared in days of yore,
Right glad of heart, though homely in array;
His waving locks and beard all hoary gray;
While from his bending shoulder, decent hung
His harp, the sole companion of his way,
Which to the whistling wind responsive rung:
And ever as he went some merry lay he sung.
Fret not thyself, thou glittering child of pride,
That a poor villager inspires my strain;
The gentle Muses haunt the sylvan reign;
With thee let Pageantry and Power abide;
Where through wild groves at eve the lonely swain
They hate the sensual, and scorn the vain;
Enraptured roams, to gaze on Nature's charms.
The parasite their influence never warms,
Nor him whose sordid soul the love of gold alarms.
Though richest hues the peacock's plumes adorn,
Yet horror screams from his discordant throat.
Rise, sons of harmony, and hail the morn,
While warbling larks on russet pinions float:
Or seek at noon the woodland scene remote,
Where the gray linnets carol from the hill,
O let them ne'er, with artificial note,
To please a tyrant, strain the little bill, [will.
But sing what Heaven inspires, and wander where they
Liberal, not lavish, is kind Nature's hand;
Nor was perfection made for man below.
Yet all her schemes with nicest art are planned,
Good counteracting ill, and gladness wo.
With gold and gems if Chilian mountains glow;
If bleak and barren Scotia's hills arise;
There plague and poison, lust and rapine grow;
Here peaceful are the vales, and pure the skies,
And freedom fires the soul, and sparkles in the eyes.
Then grieve not thou, to whom the indulgent Muse
Vouchsafes a portion of celestial fire:
Nor blame the partial Fates, if they refuse
The imperial banquet and the rich attire.
Know thine own worth, and reverence the lyre.
Wilt thou debase the heart which God refined?
No; let thy heaven-taught soul to Heaven aspire,
To fancy, freedom, harmony, resigned;
Ambition's grovelling crew for ever left behind.
Canst thou forego the pure ethereal soul,
In each fine sense so exquisitely keen,
On the dull couch of Luxury to loll,
Stung with disease, and stupified with spleen;
Fain to implore the aid of Flattery's screen,
Even from thyself thy loathsome heart to hide
(The mansion then no more of joy serene),
Where fear, distrust, malevolence abide,
And impotent desire, and disappointed pride?
O how canst thou renounce the boundless store
Of charms which Nature to her votary yields!
The warbling woodland, the resounding shore,
The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields;
All that the genial ray of morning gilds,
And all that echoes to the song of even,
All that the mountain's sheltering bosom shields,
And all the dread magnificence of heaven,

O how canst thou renounce, and hope to be forgiven!



There lived in Gothic days, as legends tell,
A shepherd-swain, a man of low degree,
Whose sires, perchance, in Fairyland might dwell,
Sicilian groves, or vales of Arcadv:

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And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb,
When all in mist the world below was lost-
What dreadful pleasure! there to stand sublime,
Like shipwrecked mariner on desert coast,
And view the enormous waste of vapour, tost

In billows, lengthening to the horizon round,
Now scooped in gulfs, with mountains now embossed!
And hear the voice of mirth and song rebound,
Flocks, herds, and waterfalls, along the hoar pro-

In truth he was a strange and wayward wight,
Fond of each gentle and each dreadful scene.
In darkness and in storm he found delight;
Nor less than when on ocean-wave serene,
The southern sun diffused his dazzling shene.
Even sad vicissitude amused his soul;
And if a sigh would sometimes intervene,
And down his cheek a tear of pity roll,

A sigh, a tear, so sweet, he wished not to control.


Oft when the winter storm had ceased to rave,
He roamed the snowy waste at even, to view
The cloud stupendous, from the Atlantic wave
High-towering, sail along the horizon blue;
Where, 'midst the changeful scenery, ever new,
Fancy a thousand wondrous forms descries,
More wildly great than ever pencil drew;
Rocks, torrents, gulfs, and shapes of giant size,
And glittering cliffs on cliffs, and fiery ramparts rise.
Thence musing onward to the sounding shore,
The lone enthusiast oft would take his way,
Listening, with pleasing dread, to the deep roar
Of the wide-weltering waves. In black array
When sulphurous clouds rolled on the autumnal day,
Even then he hastened from the haunt of man,
Along the trembling wilderness to stray,
What time the lightning's fierce career began,
And o'er heaven's rending arch the rattling thunder


Is there a heart that music cannot melt?
Alas! how is that rugged heart forlorn;

Responsive to the sprightly pipe, when all

In sprightly dance the village youth were joined,
Edwin, of melody aye held in thrall,
From the rude gambol far remote reclined,
Soothed with the soft notes warbling in the wind.
Ah then, all jollity seemed noise and folly!
To the pure soul by Fancy's fire refined,

Ah, what is mirth but turbulence unholy,
When with the charm compared of heavenly melan-

Lo! where the stripling, wrapt in wonder, roves
Beneath the precipice o'erhung with pine;
And sees on high, amidst the encircling groves,
From cliff to cliff the foaming torrents shine;
While waters, woods, and winds, in concert join,
And echo swells the chorus to the skies.
Would Edwin this majestic scene resign
For aught the huntsman's puny craft supplies?
Ah, no! he better knows great Nature's charms to For Edwin, Fate a nobler doom had planned;


Song was his favourite and first pursuit.
The wild harp rang to his adventurous hand,

And oft he traced the uplands to survey,

When o'er the sky advanced the kindling dawn,
The crimson cloud, blue main, and mountain gray,
And lake, dim-gleaming on the smoky lawn:
Far to the west the long long vale withdrawn,
Where twilight loves to linger for a while;
And now he faintly kens the bounding fawn,
And villager abroad at early toil:

And languished to his breath the plaintive flute.
His infant muse, though artless, was not mute.
Of elegance as yet he took no care;
For this of time and culture is the fruit;
And Edwin gained at last this fruit so rare:
As in some future verse I purpose to declare.
Meanwhile, whate'er of beautiful or new,

But, lo! the sun appears! and heaven, earth, ocean, Sublime, or dreadful, in earth, sea, or sky,


By chance, or search, was offered to his view,
He scanned with curious and romantic eye.
Whate'er of lore tradition could supply
From Gothic tale, or song, or fable old,
Roused him, still keen to listen and to pry.
At last, though long by penury controlled,
And solitude, his soul her graces 'gan unfold.

Is there, who ne'er those mystic transports felt
Of solitude and melancholy born?

He needs not woo the Muse; he is her scorn.
The sophist's rope of cobweb he shall twine;
Mope o'er the schoolman's peevish rage; or mourn,
And delve for life in Mammon's dirty mine;
Sneak with the scoundrel fox, or grunt with glutton

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Thus on the chill Lapponian's dreary land,
For many a long month lost in snow profound,
When Sol from Cancer sends the season bland,
And in their northern cave the storms are bound;
From silent mountains, straight, with startling sound,
Torrents are hurled; green hills emerge; and lo!
The trees with foliage, cliffs with flowers are crowned;
Pure rills through vales of verdure warbling go;
And wonder, love, and joy, the peasant's heart o'erflow.

[Morning Landscape.]

Even now his eyes with smiles of rapture glow,
As on he wanders through the scenes of morn,
Where the fresh flowers in living lustre blow,
Where thousand pearls the dewy lawns adorn,
A thousand notes of joy in every breeze are borne.

But who the melodies of morn can tell?
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side;
The lowing herd; the sheepfold's simple bell;
The pipe of early shepherd dim descried
In the lone valley; echoing far and wide
The clamorous horn along the cliffs above;
The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide;
The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love,
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.

The cottage-curs at early pilgrim bark;
Crowned with her pail the tripping milkmaid sings;
The whistling ploughman stalks afield; and, hark!
Down the rough slope the ponderous wagon rings;
Through rustling corn the hare astonished springs;
Slow tolls the village-clock the drowsy hour;
The partridge bursts away on whirring wings;
Deep mourns the turtle in sequestered bower,
And shrill lark carols clear from her aërial tower.

[Life and Immortality.]

O ye wild groves, O where is now your bloom!
(The Muse interprets thus his tender thought)
Your flowers, your verdure, and your balmy gloom,
Of late so grateful in the hour of drought?


Why do the birds, that song and rapture brought
To all your bowers, their mansions now forsake?
Ah! why has fickle chance this ruin wrought?
For now the storm howls mournful through the brake,
And the dead foliage flies in many a shapeless flake.
Where now the rill, melodious, pure, and cool,
And meads, with life, and mirth, and beauty crowned?
Ah! see, the unsightly slime, and sluggish pool,
Have all the solitary vale embrowned;
Fled each fair form, and mute each melting sound,
The raven croaks forlorn on naked spray.
And hark: the river, bursting every mound,
Down the vale thunders, and with wasteful sway
Uproots the grove, and rolls the shattered rocks away.

Yet such the destiny of all on earth:
So flourishes and fades majestic man.
Fair is the bud his vernal morn brings forth,
And fostering gales a while the nursling fan.
O smile, ye heavens, serene; ye mildews wan,
Ye blighting whirlwinds, spare his balmy prime,
Nor lessen of his life the little span.
Borne on the swift, though silent wings of Time,
Old age comes on apace to ravage all the clime.
And be it so. Let those deplore their doom
Whose hope still grovels in this dark sojourn;
But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb,
Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn.
Shall Spring to these sad scenes no more return?
Is yonder wave the Sun's eternal bed?
Soon shall the orient with new lustre burn,
And Spring shall soon her vital influence shed,
Again attune the grove, again adorn the mead.

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O, while to thee the woodland pours
Its wildly warbling song,
And balmy from the bank of flowers
The zephyr breathes along;

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