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With needless truths their libels to

adorn, And hang a nation up to public scorn, The generous soul condemns the frantic

rage, And hates the faithful, but ill-natured


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It kindles a good deal of indignation to see respectable satire engaged in the cruelty of running down a race of brave men, who had fought and bled for their opinions. A Russian bard, insulting the misfortunes of the Poles, would not employ his pen to a harsher purpose, than that of Churchill, in exulting over the Scottish people, prostrate after the battle of Culloden. Satire, never amiable, assumes its most repulsive aspect when it assails the weak. However it may serve as a vehicle for shrewd remark, and sometimes for the terse maxims of worldly wisdom, this style of composition is precluded by its very nature from ever rising to a true philosophy; and, perhaps no other department of literature has furnished the material of so much that is unjust and imaginary, in our estimates of the morals of different states of society, as this particular shelf of the professed satirists. After all, it is but a poor ambition, to point only the shafts of censure, laying up an armoury for combative or scornful spirits to draw upon, for the weapons of ridicule, contempt, or denuncia. tion—but furnishing no happy thought for the encouragement of virtue, the consolation of affliction, or the increase or preservation of any genuine or holy joy. The freaks of a splenetic humour, and the wrathful ebullitions of scorn, resentment, and insensate hate, have all, from time to time, clad in the splendours of genius, passed for the just indignation of morality; for private enmity is almost always the motive, public depravity the apology, of these bitter spirits. Armed with whips for the individual backs of Titus and Sempronius, they proclaim a mission to Jash the vices of the age—and while indulging the animosities of personal, or national bad blood, challenge the approbation due to a generous zeal for the public morals. We do not include Swift among these hypocritical pretenders to a public censorship. Whether animated by just anger, blind fury, or mere spleen, Swift assailed the objects of his hatred or contempt

All these bitter taunts are reality; and of Churchill's libel, the most popular in England of all the pungent effusions of that era, the only portion that remains likely to escape oblivion, are the ironically-meant, though really reasonable, lines of expostulation which the satirist addresses to himself:« Oft have I heard thee mourn the

wretched lot Of the poor, mean, despised, insulted Who, might calm reason credit idle tales By rancour forged, where prejudice

prevails, Or starves home-or practices

through fear Of starving, arts that damn all con

science here. When scribblers, to the charge by

interest led, The fierce North Briton foaming at

their head, Poured fresh invectives, deaf to candour's

cali, And injured by one alien, railed at all ; On northern Pisgah, when they take

their stand, To mark the weakness of that Holy




with proud and fearless personality, English society since the Reformation, siniting his real or supposed enemies just as plausibly as we attach the same with gigantic force, and scorching up charges to the audiences who witneswith fiery sarcasms the smaller game sed the Clouds and Frogs of Aristowho crossed his path, without deign- phanes, or to the literati who indulged ing a word of any such pharisaical in the perusal of Catullus. We do excuse. But his hatreds often were not believe Churchill's satire of the unreasonable--and of them all, none “ Times ;” no more do we believe more so, than this furious enmity to Juvenal's picture of the manners of the the Scotch. The homely dogmatism

Roman matrons. They had both of an unlettered ministry ought not to the same inducement to exaggerate, have irritated, for it could not have strengthened in Juvenal's case by the surprised, a well-read divine, and ex- diseased pleasure which he manifestly perienced student of mankind. Their took in describing the vices he exeaffectation of a morose sanctimony crates, and without some share of might have provoked an allowable rail- which, we do not believe his translator lery from one, who was conscious how could ever have toiled through the foul much the tranquillity of the church is labour of his version, perfect as it is in promoted by the agreeable address of all the proprieties of whatever is most the clergy-but it could never justify improper. Both, as professed satirists, that excessive ridicule, which reaches lay under the necessity of colouring at religion itself, past the follies of its their grotesques up to the standard viprofessors. At bome, in the venality vidness of earlier lampoons. The morand servility of the then Irish parlia- bid appetite excited by the Rosciad ment, his fury had a more legitimate would not have relished any picture of excuse — and here, his verses are as Apicius less abominable than the ter. affluent in all that can best express an


of Churchill has drawn it honest contempt and just indignation, as those of Juvenal himself. Still the “Why mourns Apicius thus

-his stomach palled reputation of the mere satirist is not And drowned in floods of sorrow? 'Hath an enviable one ; and we own, we

fate called would rather have written the Birth.

His father from the grave to second life? day Odes to Stella, than the Legion Hath Clodius on his hands returned his Club—and would rather, with John

wife? Milton, have failed in translating the Or hath the law, by strictest justice

“ Quis multâ gracilis," taught, than boast with Gifford, a triumphant Compelled him to restore the dower she success, in making Juvenal speak all

brought? his coarsest sentiments in the purest

Hath some bold creditor against his will English.

Brought in, and forced him to discharge

a bill ? &c. &c. While upon the subject of the Sa

No-none of these_his debts are still tirists, let us for a moment assume the

unpaid-&c. &c. part of Brother Gerund, and say a His wife is still a

and in his power, word to our younger clergy, whose The woman gone, he still retains the zeal for religion sometimes betrays

dower : them into an unconscionable use of Sound in the grave (thanks to the filial those extravagant pictures drawn by the ancient satirists of Greek and

That mixed the draught, and kindly sent Roman manners.

him there) Let us suppose the case our own, and that in some future

His father sleeps, and till the last trump

shake state of society, it should become an

The corners of the earth, will not object with an equally learned and in

awake.” fluential class of teachers, to draw debasing comparisons between us and And this parricide, dishonoured by the members of some future new- his wife, this cheat, glutton, and whatlight communion. Place in the hands ever else more detestable satire has deof such men the plays of Beaumont nounced on the persons of monstrous and Fletcher, the comedies of Fielding, villains, is the type in Churchill's and the satires of Churchill, and there “ Times,” of the English nobleman of is no enormity of Greek or Roman the last century; just as Laufella in vice which they may not fasten on the Latin scold stands for the Roman

little gem,


with grass,

lady of the age of Tiberius. For our Till night-grass still suificing for the part, we give as little credit to the proofItalian, as to the English railer.

Or, if again, it were our task to drive Apicius, we know, was the personal

Yoked oxen of the noblest breed, sleek

haired, and political enemy of the one satirist. Laufella, or Laufella's husband, may

Big-limbed, both battened to the full well enough be presumed to have given

Their age and aptitude for work the cause of similar personal hostility to

same, the other. Ingenuous young priests, Not soon to be fatigued; and were the and ye candid deacons, take this into field account, as often as you feel tempted to

In size four acres, with a glebe through flatter the self-esteem of your hearers

which at the expense of those who are dead

The share might smoothly glide, thou

then shouldst see and gone, and have left no one to speak a word on their behalf_except

How straight my furrow should be cut,

and true." when now and again the words of eternal truth and justice fashion them- And mark how nobly from the selves into poetic form, in the verses plough the warrior rises to feats of of such a man as the wise and loving arms, and the king to the expression ploughman, whose name we have placed of his princely indignation :at the head of this paper, and who has sung even for your instruction

“ Or, should Saturnian Jove, this day,

excite “Oh, would some power the gistie gie

Here battle, or elsewhere, and were I us,

armed To see ourselves as others see us,

With two bright spears, and with a It wad frae mony a blunder free us,

shield, and bore And foolish notion :

A brazen casque well fitted to my brows, What airs in gait and dress wad lee us, Me, then, thou shouldst perceive mingAnd even in devotion.”

ling in fight

Among the foremost chiefs, nor with the Burns was a ploughman—not a me.

crime nial servant, but the driver, first, of

Of idle beggary shouldst upbraid me his father's, and then of his own plough

But thou art much a railer, one whose -an occupation of which no man live

heart ing on the earth, from which God has

Pity moves not, and seemst a mighty said, man shall earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, need be ashamed. And valiant to thyself, only because From the kings and sovereigns of the Thou herdst with few, and these of world, to the beggar by the way-side, little worth. all who pray for their daily bread, de

But should Ulysses come, at his own

home pend, under God, on the ploughman ; and the occupation which in former

Again arrived, wide as these portals are, times exercised the heroic hands of

To thee at once too narrow they should

secm, Ulysses and Cincinnatus, still exists un

To shoot 'thee forth with speed enough changed as the basis of all national and

abroad." individual prosperity. All the pursuits of agriculture are in this sense heroic, The ploughnan's occupation is combeing still the same with those practi- paratively solitary, especially where a sed in heroic times by the chiefs and

small farmer can yoke no more than a sages of the early world.

Mark how

single plough; but in the tillage seaUlysses glories in his skill in rural

son, although each man may be alone labour

in his field, yet the fields around him

are all, more or less, alive, and in the “Forbear, Eurymachus : for, were we

pauses of his occupation the small farmatched

mer, guiding his own team, may hear In work against each other, thou and I, Mowing in spring-time when the days

from every bill and valley the voices are long;

of his neighbours encouraging their catI with my well-bent sickle in my hand,

tle, where busy ploughs are whistling Thou armed with one as keen, for trial's thrang,” than which neither town nor sake

country affords a more cheerful music. Of our ability to toil, unsed

The labour of directing the plough is



by no means so severe as that of many which brings no remorse, since even other rural duties; and besides the its excess is virtue :freshness of the open air, and the cheerfulness of early hours and active

The rough burr-thistle spreading wide exercise, an exhilarating and whole

Amang the bearded bear, some gas rising from the newly opened

I turned the weeder-clips aside, soil, fills the lungs of the ploughman

And spared the symbol dear ! with life, and flushes his cheek with

Of all the shows and mottos dishealthy vigour. The labour of the mower, in which

played at the Ayr festival, that splenUlysses also boasts his ability, is far

did and affecting tribute to Burns's more toilsome: fitter for the broad.

memory, of which we must speak so

much hereafter, none so instantaneously backed, strong-loined, and sedate mid

raised the suffusion of affection to the dle aged man, than for a young brisk worker. But Burns was from his youth people's eyes, and evoked from their a big-boned, stout-built, and vigorous clamation, as these ingenuous lines, in

breasts such thundering shouts of acman, and at the scythe could tire out

which Burns confesses how his youthall competitors ; though we can hardly

ful love of country followed himn into imagine a more ungenial task to a youth of his temperament.


his daily avocations, and invested even

the weeds of the field with a sacred are few more perfect pictures of

inviolability. patient unconquerable toil, than that of the mower standing for the length

At a time when threshing machines

were unknown, the Aail was another of a summer's day at this monoto. nous continuous labour, swaying the

instrument of toil with which the

hands of every young man in Burns's upper, part of his body from side to side with the successive strokes of

station of life were necessarily familiar.

There is a cheerful racket and bustle his scythe, while his lower limbs ad.

about this labour that makes it one of the vance him by slow degrees into the thick meadow. Professor Wilson, that

most agreeable occupations of a counillustrious countryman of Burns, from

tryman's life. The rattle and clatter whom our poet's memory has received

of the flails, the leaping sheafs and the so many eloquent and beautiful tributes,

scattering grain, make the barn where has somewhere presented a wonder

two or three pairs of threshers are at

work, as animated and as noisy as the fully striking picture of two sedate middle-aged men mowing together

smith's forge itself-another favourite without emulation, but without inter

resort of the young labourer—when mission, except to whet their scythes-

its sparks are showering about under

the noisy din of the hammers, and it being piece-work—from grey morn. ing to grey twilight, the scene varied

“ Burnewin comes on like death at only by the coming of their wives with

every chap." their humble fare at meal times. Reading it, one scents the moist grass

Nae mercy, then, for airn or steel;

The banie, brawny, ploughınan chiel with all its bleeding juices, and

Brings hard ower hip wi' sturdy wheel half feels the grasp of lumbago across

The strong fore-hammer, the loins. How these men work for Till block and studdie, ring and reel their bread! What excessive toil to

Wi' dinsome clamour." be allowed the privilege of life! How strong and patient is the labour of Such are the main occupations of love!

the labouring farmer—a sort of life Next to the toil of the mower, that for which it would be a blessing if soof the shearer is, perhaps, the most ciety permitted the rest of mankind trying in point of physical endurance ; occasionally to exchange the wasting but the shearer's labour is wonderfully head-work of their trades and prolightened by the charm of society, and fessions. How different the enjoythe fescendine mirth of the harvest. ment of repose arising from whole. field. Burns, who learned to medi- some labour in the open air, and the tate at the plough, learned to love with lassitude of mind and body that folthe sickle in his hand. In the barley- lows the close occupations of the field, too, his youthful heart acknow- citizen! Our nobility and gentry, Jedged that other noble passion, equally ashamed to be seen between the stilts indigenous in the manly breast, but of a plough, or digging with the


spade, purchase a fatigue not half so exhibit as profound a reverence for sweet or natural from their costly the ordinances and exercises of relifield sports.

We could imagine a gion, unalloyed by sectarian animosinew and better Grafenburg for the ties, as any man; and this he has done invalids of luxury, where the disci. in as sweet strains as have ever been pline of a farm would oblige the consecrated to the holy services of patients to do farm-work and to keep family worship either before or since. country hours, and where the wealthy No religious man, be his theology ennuiè, paying for the liberty of mak- what it may, can read the “ Saturday ing the earth yield her increase to his Night,” without a fervent glow of own hands, would earn a content of affection for his brethren of mankind, mind and wholesomeness of body that and a holy love, mixed with an awful he now seeks for in vain with his dog fear of God. But we apprehend the and gun, or even with his rent-devour- piece was written more as a vindicaing pack of hounds. In no healthier tion of Burns to himself and to those or happier state need any youth of who loved him, and felt that blaspheBurns' temperament have desired to mous abuses of the holy name were be brought up, and under no more far from his heart, than as a picture favourable opportunities for cultivat- of any actual scene on which he could ing that insight into the human heart, look back with agreeable recollections. and that quick perception of charac- In fact, the Cotter's fire-side wants teristics and manners with which he cheerfulness, not to say mirth. The was so bountifully gifted. About this father, “ iningling a' wi' admoni. period of his life-putting out of sight tion due,” is drawn with an excess of that miserable time which he spent at severe gravity that casts a degree, if Irvine, learning the flax-dressing busi- not of gloom, at least of constraint,

- there can be no question.- over the whole picture. The mother Apart from the occasional despondency boasting “ her weel-hained kebbuck" caused by his father's straitened circum- to Jenny's shame-faced but happy stances, he was as happy as any man with lover, gives occasion for the only touch the aspirations of a poet could be, of hunour in the piece, and truly it is and he was fast learning to express as dry as the gude wife's own bannocks. these aspirations, and to win the ap- The opening of the poem, too, is plauses of the world. Let us pause loosely constructed, and evidently here, and while the prospect is still never drawn from any individual scene fair, and the clouds high, contemplate in nature-leading the mind about the sort of scenes among which young

with devious images, and mixing up Burns' hours of relaxation

a picture of “miry beasts retreating passed. It is said we have a picture from the plough” with the indications of bis father's own household in “ The of spade-husbandry, and these again Cotter's Saturday Night." This we with a somewhat disconnected image doubt, though Allan Cunningham of a moor and a cottage beneath the affirms it. The poem was a tribute shelter of an aged tree, which, if you to Aiken, the brave defender of Gavin imagine it a single tree, only adus Hamilton, when the sour zealots of dreariness, and gives no shelter, and Mauchline would have visited that is, in point of fact, the undisguised worthy man with ecclesiastical censures “ line for rhyme” of the stanza. A for allowing his servant girl to fetch similar discrepancy appears in the picin some dug potatoes from his garden ture of youthful love, which the illus. of a Sunday morning ; and as Burns tration carries away from the scene had used a reprehensible freedom in whence the idea originates, and the espousing the quarrel of his friend, month of November, to an interview bringing religion itself into of lovers beneath a milk-white thorn, tempt in his exposure of the hypo- scenting the gale of a May evening in crisy of “Holy Willie,” · Daddy some sunny valley. Then the introAuld,” and the rest of the bitter pro- duction of lines and couplets from other moters of that illiberal charge, “ The poets, such as the picture we have just Cotter's Saturday Night” was written, mentioned—“ hope springs exulting on as it would appear to us, to show that, triumphant wing," and "an honest however he might hate hypocrisy and man's the noblest work of God," beassert a strong contempt for Calvinis- token anxiety, and that the writer felt tic dogmas and discipline, Burns could he was on his stilts. Besides, we must



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