Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

resorting to Peebles for retirement, for hunt- | wards from Peebles, we find its level banks en

ing, and for other rural amusements; as well as in their way to and from Ettrick Forest. And the names of particular places, still existing, prove the importance of Peebles as a seat of religion, as well as having been that of royalty; for we have the King's meadows, the Dean's house, the Virgin inns, the Usher's wynd, the King's house, the King's orchards, and above all, the Cuinzee nook, or the place where a mint must have stood. Buchanan, in his history of Scotland, tells us, that Lord Darnley retired to Peebles with his attendants, to avoid the fury of the Queen's jealousy and the courtiers' envy. And he unconsciously proves to us the high state of civilization to which the town had at that time reached, by telling us, that it was so full of expert thieves that King Henry was speedily obliged to retire from it. As we do not profess, in following out our present plan, to give an account of all the towns which may be found on the banks of the rivers, we are describing, we should not have dwelt so long upon Peebles, but for the singular air of decayed royalty that hangs over it, and which so strangely blends with its perfect simplicity and rurality.

riched with the plantations, parks, and pleasure grounds of Kerrfield on the left, and King's meadows on the right. Hayston, the more ancient seat of the Hays, occupies a picturesque nook at some distance to the southward, towards the foot of the hills, which here send down several small feeders to the Tweed. The old riven Peel Tower of Horsburgh occupies a green knoll on the left bank, it is the ancient seat of a very old family, the Horsburghs of that ilk. It is an extremely picturesque object to look at, and the view from it is very beautiful. On the right bank, the woods of Kailzie hang on the slope of the rising grounds, and give evidence of a considerable expenditure both of taste and of money. Again, before reaching the little watering place of Innerleithen, which the public, we believe, without much justice or reason, have chosen to identify with the fictitious St. Ronans, we have the place of Glen Ormiston on the left bank, and Cardrona on the right.

The Leithen is a pretty considerable stream, and, rising in the northern heights which bound the county of Edinburgh, it has a fine run of above six miles, through the parish of the same name, in a pretty narrow glen between pastoral hills, till it joins the Tweed. The height of the hills is considerable, that of Windlestraw Law is 2,295 feet. The Leithen is a fine trouting river, and the village of Innerleithen is a great place of resort for anglers, where they may command the choice of that river, or the Quair, or the Tweed. But, indeed, the smallest burns among the hills connected with the Tweed, will be found to afford panniers full of fine trout to the skilful angler who knows when to take their streams at the proper time, and in the right condition; and there can be few pleasures, of the simple kind, which can excel the delight of wandering alone through these solitary wildernesses of heathguided by the thread of the little stream only, and, dropping, as you move onwards, a shortened line over its banks, finding yourself ever and anon yoked with a fish, that compels you, in prudence, to give him somewhat of his own way, and a little indulgence in the music of the reel, before you begin to think of drawing him gently near you, in order to lay your hands upon him. How agreeably does the lid of your willow basket utter its peculiar gently creaking sound, in welcome to the panting captive, as you open it to insert him among those who have been placed there before him; and all this occurs among the solitude of Nature-the bleat of a lamb from the hill-side, or the hum of a bee from a heather bell, being all that may tell of the vicinity of animal life. There are regular games held at Innerleithen under the superintendance of the St. Ronan's Club, and, amongst other prizes, I believe, one is given for competition among the anglers for the best basketful of trout. The mineral spring here is much resorted to, and, consequently, the village itself has had some good houses added to it. Its situation at the narrow mouth of the glen is extremely

Before quitting Peebles, we must not fail to notice a short but romantic legend connected with it which, we believe, owes its preservation to Sir Walter Scott. A daughter of the proud Earl of March, then the Lord of Neidpath castle, having accidentally met with a son of the Laird of Tushielaw, in Ettrick Forest, a strong mutual passion arose between them; a stop was put to their alliance by the parents of the lady, who thought that the match by no means befitted her quality. Filled with despair, the young man went abroad, and the result of his absence was, that the affliction of the young lady produced a deep consumption. The fond but foolish father, in the hope of saving his daughter's life, at last signified his wishes to the family of Tushielaw, that the young man might be recalled, and that his union with his daughter should be solemnized, so soon as the lady's convalescence should admit of it. The effect upon the lady's health seemed to be magical, but alas! it was but in appearance only. Eager to catch the first glimpse of her lover on the day he was expected, she ordered that she should be carried down from Neidpath to a house in Peebles, which belonged to the family, and there, laid at her ease on cushions on a balcony, she sat expecting him. So acute was her sense of hearing, that she distinguished his horse's footsteps at an incredible distance. The young man came riding briskly on, burning with eagerness to be in his lady's arms; and so intent was he on this object, and so filled with this one engrossing thought, that he never cast an eye on the balcony, or if he did, it was utterly to disregard a form and face which fell disease had now rendered difficult to recognize. On he rode, gaily and quickly to Neidpath. The lady, alas! unable to support the shock, fell back in the arms of her attendants, and died without a struggle. Following the gentle course of the Tweed down-pleasing and sequestered.

We must now cross the Tweed to its right bank, in order to investigate the scene→→

"Where Quair, wild wimpling 'mang the flowers,

Runs down yon wooded glen, lassie.'

This river and its tributaries and glens are extremely beautiful, and, in many places, very wild. The run of the Quair itself is about three or four miles. It has its source in Glendean's Banks, which form a chasm about half a mile in length, and from two hundred to three hundred feet in height. Its precipices are remarkable for producing falcons of a superior flight and courage. There are several quiet, rural, and romantic solitudes to be found here, and we may particularly notice Glen, the property of Mr. Allan above which yawns the fearful chasm of Gams-cleugh. But that which gives most interest to the scenery here is its association with "the Bush aboon Traquair," which indeed has, in reality, now dwindled to a comparatively insignificant object, being reduced to a few lonely looking birch trees standing in a thin clump, at a considerable height on the face of the hill. Doubtless, the grove was thicker and more shady at least, if it was not more extensive, at the time when young Murray of Philiphaugh, having crossed the intervening mountainwilds, first met at this place, with the lovely Lady Margaret Stewart, a daughter of the house of Traquair, and became deeply enamoured of her. If the verses that are wedded to the ancient melody are in any way truly descriptive of the sentiments of the parties, it would appear that the lady must have received the gallant young Philiphaugh's addresses with gracious smiles at first, so as to fill his bosom with the best hopes, but whether he had presumed rather too much in this his first interview, or that the lady was naturally a flirt, must be matter of mere conjecture.

"Hear me, ye nymphs and every swain,
I'll tell how Peggy grieves me;
Though thus I languish and complain,
Alas, she ne'er believes me.
My vows and sighs, like silent air,
Unheeded, never move her;
The bonny Bush aboon Traquair,
Was where I first did love her,

That day she smiled and made me glad,
No maid seemed ever kinder;

I thought myself the luckiest lad,
So sweetly there to find her.

I tried to soothe my amorous flame,
In words that I thought tender;

If more there passed, I'm not to blame,
I meant not to offend her.

Yet now she scornful flies the plain,
The fields we then frequented;
If e'er we meet, she shows disdain,
She looks as ne'er acquainted.
The bonny bush bloomed fair in May,
Its sweets I'll aye remember,
But now her frowns make it decay;
It fades as in December.

Ye Rural Powers, who hear my strains,
Why thus should Peggy grieve me?
Oh! make her partner in my pains;
Then let her smiles relieve me,
If not, my love will turn despair,
My passion no more tender;
I'll leave the Bush aboon Traquair,
To lonely wilds I'll wander."

Unfortunately, neither poet nor historian, that we wot of, has left us the smallest clue to what the issue of this love affair really was, and under these circumstances, it appears to us to hold out strong temptation to the fiction-monger to work out from it his own romantic tale of mingled distress and happiness.

The ancient house of Traquair itself forms a very important and striking feature in the angle between the two streams, and in the midst of the combined scenery of the Quair and the Tweed. It raises its venerable head out of the fine old timber in which it is embosomed, and looks sternly over the vale, like a battle-seamed warrior, contented to enjoy his repose, but quite ready to be roused up to action in the event of circumstances demanding it. The building, indeed, when viewed at a distance, appears to be more important than it really is when approached; for then it is found to be considerably raised by an artificial terrace, so that the height of absolute masonry is not so great as might at first sight be imagined, and yet there is enough in reality to warrant the description in a note on Dr. Pennecuik, which says, Traquair House, the seat of the noble Earl of that name, is a large and ancient building, on the banks of Tweed and Quair. The venerable, yet elegant appearance of this house, or rather palace, as Dr. Pennecuik terms it, has not less the air of royal grandeur, than the extensive policy and gardens have of taste and judgment. It is not particularly known at what time, or by whom, the oldest part of this noble structure was built. Part of it is of very remote antiquity, built on the banks of the Tweed, easily defensible from that side, and might possibly, in the days of hostility, be properly guarded

66

on the other. It was in the form of a tower." Chambers tells us that "the great additions to the ancient tower, which caused the house to assume its present unfortress-like aspect, were made in the reign of Charles I., by John Earl of Traquair, Lord High Treasurer of Scotland under that monarch.” We must say that we felt it to be a place replete with interest. Even the partial symptoms of disorder or decay, which we observed both within and without doors, heightened the effect of this. The policy, as the note we have already quoted, more Scotico designates the pleasure grounds, has grown up very much into a wilderness, amongst which there are some of the finest yews anywhere to be seen. When we visited the place, we had the good fortune to fall in with Lord Traquair's chaplain, the earl himself not being in Scotland at the time, and this kind and hospitable ecclesiastic of the Romish Church, to which this noble family has unremittingly adhered, gave us full license to indulge all the curiosity of antiquarian research with which we were filled. We visited every part of this curious housecurious from its many strange passages and stairs, and singular apartments and minute closets. Some of the furniture was old; but one very richly carved morceau, the cradle of James IV., under went our minutest inspection, as being one of the most interesting objects we had met with. But if

we possessed the means of giving an outline of the unpretending and truly genuine hospitalities of this house as they were administered, generation after generation, by its successive noble proprietors, during a long course of ages-we should, as we most conscientiously believe, be enabled to produce a series of graphic scenes, many of which would be infinitely touching to the human heart, as we have had full occasion to guess at from the slight sketches which we, from time to time, received from our grandfather of his experience of, and participation in, its hospitalities, during his acquaintance, as a young man, with what were then considered to be the ancient usages of the noble House of Traquair.

scene altogether would be very different. If not founded by Sir Gideon Murray, the father of the first Lord Elibank, and directly descended from the renowned family of Blackbarony, it was at least repaired and enlarged by him. He was altogether a very remarkable man, and so remarkable for the judicious management of his affairs, that when James VI. came to Scotland to visit his northern subjects, Sir Gideon was chosen as the fittest individual to manage and control the expenditure consequent on the expedition. But whilst we cannot afford to go into any general account of the merits of Sir Gideon in this place, there is an anecdote connected with him which cannot be too often recorded, as it is richly illusTra-trative of the manners of the times.

Old Pennecuik himself, in parting with quair, breaks out into the following verses, which, as a specimen of his poetry, we all the more consider ourselves as bound in honour to give to our readers, after the consideration that we have so abundantly availed ourselves of his prose:

"On fair Tweedside, from Berwick to the Bield, Traquair, for beauty, fairly wins the field, So many charms, by nature and by art, Do there combine to captivate the heart, And please the eye, with what is fine and rare; Few other seats can match with sweet Traquair." And, after leaving it, he hastens to conclude his account of the Tweed, and of Tweeddale or Peeblesshire, by telling us that, "on the other side is the Pirn, which was the residence of the chief of the name of Tait; after which follow the Haughhead Bole-the Scrogbank-Kirnaw—Purvishill-Caverton-Gatehope Knowe-and Gatehope Burn, where Tweeddale ends, and marches with the sheriffdom of Selkirk, or the Forest." And as we know that none of these are objects of any peculiar interest, we shall now proceed to trace the Tweed into the Romantic Forest.

66

[ocr errors]

A feud had for some time existed between the Murrays and the Scotts. In prosecution of this, William Scott, son of the head of the family of Harden, stole, with his followers, from his Border strength of Oakwood Tower on the river Ettrick, to lead them on a foray against Sir Gideon of Elibank. But Sir Gideon was too much on his guard for his enemies, and having fallen on them as they were driving off the cattle, he defeated them, took them prisoners, and recovered the spoil. His lady having met him on his return, and congratulated him on his success, ventured to ask him what he was going to do with young Harden. Why, strap him up to the gallows-tree, to be sure,' replied Sir Gideon. "Hout na, Sir Gideon," said the considerate matron, “would you hang the winsome young Laird of Harden, when ye have three ill-favoured daughters to marry?" "Right," answered the baron, "he shall either marry our daughter, mickle-mouthed Meg, or he shall strap for it." When this alter native was proposed to the prisoner, he at first stoutly preferred the gibbet to the lady; but as he was led out to the fatal tree for immediate execution, the question began to wear a different aspect, and life, even with mickle-mouthed Meg, seemed to have a certain sunshine about it very different from the darkness of that tomb to which the gallows would have so immediately consigned him. He married Meg, and an excellent wife she made him, and they lived for many years a happy couple, and Sir Walter Scott came by descent from this marriage. Would we could transfer to these pages the animated sketch of this scene by our friend Mr. Charles Kirkpatrick

But before doing so we must notice the pleasant modern residence of Lord Elibank on its right bank, and still more, Elibank Tower, the ancient stronghold of his ancestors. The general scenery of the river here is that of prettily, though not grandly, shaped hills of fine green pasture, and the ruin in question stands high up on the gentle slope of one of these, there being no wood nearer to it than on the immediate bank of the river. This castle consisted of a double tower, surrounded by its outworks and subordinate buildings. Attached to it was a beautiful terraced garden, which encompassed it on the south and west sides, and one may easily imagine, that when the hill-Sharpe, which, we believe, hangs at Abbotsford, sides were covered with their due proportion of forest, and when these terrace gardens were in trim order, and when knights and ladies gay were at all times furnishing them with living figures, the

where a few bold lines so perfectly convey the whole humour, not only of the subject, but of the individual characters, as to leave all verbal description quite in the background. (To be continued.)

DR. MERLE D'AUBIGNE'S LIFE OF CROMWELL.*

roundly, when it so pleased him; and if he sometimes chose to involve himself in the fume and smoke of solemn words, either to render his real meaning unintelligible or double-handled, it is not always easy to clear such obscure or oracular utterances from every shade of seeming hypocrisy.

Ar first sight it might be somewhat difficult to imagine what reasonable motive could have induced another foreign writer, however able and accomplished, to assume "The Protector and his Times" as a theme. So much has been written, and admirably written, upon the subject, especially of late, that very little, it might be presumed, remained to be said by Dr. Merlef D'Aubigné. Accordingly, of original facts, or the fruit of renewed and careful historical research, we find little or nothing—absolutely nothing; and apart from one grand and leading idea, the key to the work, which we shall immediately explain, quite as little of original thought, or appreciation of the charac-in ter of Cromwell.

It ought to satisfy the most unqualified admirers of Cromwell, that, in public affairs, he was no greater hypocrite than the ablest and most upright and consummate politicians have generally been, and in religion no hypocrite in any discernible degree, when read and judged the true spirit of his age. If Lord Brougham, Sir Robert Peel, or Lord John Russell were to hold forth in Parliament in the language of Cromwell, there would be little hesitation in pronouncing each of them a thorough hypocrite; though, on the other hand, he would be rash or uncharitable, who, from their avoidance of the Puritanic phraseology of the seventeenth century, would set them down as men without re|ligion.

The character of Cromwell as a politician, a patriot, and a hero, as a man of strong devotional feelings, and one, free-like, thank Heaven! the great majority of civilized mankind—from gross vices, being now tolerably well understood, little was left to any new biographer, save to ascer

With the remarkable work of Carlyle fresh in the mind of every reader, although there were no other obstacle, it must be admitted, that Dr. Merle has assumed no easy task. Of this he is fully sensible; and the magnitude of the undertaking, and fear of failure appear, from his deprecatory introduction, to have increased upon him. This modest apprehension leads to numerous preliminary explanations and apologies. What has grown into a work was originally, it appears, intended for an article in a continental Review ; but—to accept the explanation of the author-as he proceeded, he came to feel it to be his duty to rectify the common opinion with regard to Cromwell's religious character; in brief, to compose an elabo-tain the precise degree in which this great man rate vindication and laudation of The Lord Protector, to do which, with effect, it was necessary to quote largely from his letters and speeches, as these are found in Carlyle's volumes. If left to form our own judgment of the motives which led Dr. Merle to expand his work, motives besides those common ones which induce men of letters to write and publish books, we would have said, that he wished to give to Protestant Europe an AntiCatholic rallying-cry-a battle-word against Popery, in the name and memory of Cromwell. In England, at all events, the opinion formed of the character of The Protector is neither so low, nor yet so erroneous, as Dr. Merle D'Aubigné has assumed. Men of every party, and even the most bigoted Catholics, or fanatical High-churchmen, allow Cromwell to have been the most able of statesmen, a great military commander, and even a true patriot; to whom the honour and glory of his country were ever dear, and who exalted both. Few will now stigmatize Cromwell as a religious hypocrite, though policy made him, like other political leaders, sometimes temporize among hostile sects, or, when hard pushed, evade sincere explanation, by shrouding his real sentiments and wishes in a mystical jargon, only too familiar to religious men in his age. No man could declare his genuine sentiments more freely, forcibly, and

possessed the distinguishing graces of a private Christian, and a Christian ruler. And Dr. M. D'Aubigné, labouring very hard to establish the religious character of the Protector,leaves this chosen and honoured instrument in the hand of Provience, this great man— -for great he was-immeasurably below many and many a humble, obscure Christian-if there be but one all-perfect pattern and model of the Christian virtues and graces. It is, then, his hostility to the Roman Catholic faith, shown chiefly, it is alleged, upon religious grounds, that Dr. Merle considers the leading object of Cromwell's life, as it was his crowning glory to have been, not alone the Protector of the Reformed Religion in England, but of European Protestantism. On this absorbing and interminable subject of Popery our author is an avowed alarmist; and, without sharing in his fears, his readers may admit, to the fullest extent, his statements concerning the zeal and activity of the modern Romish propagandists; though, at the same time, they may be no more afraid of the authority of the Pope being unduly extended over Great Britain, than that the altars of Jupiter will be again set up in Rome. Dr. Merle D'Aubigné fancies he perceives a crisis approaching in Britain, and involving all Protestant Europe, precisely similar to that which occurred in England

*Octavo, pp. 379. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd.

Dr. Merle D'Aubigné requests his English readers to give him his true surname of MERLE, D'AUBIGNE being merely an honourable addition assumed by his grandfather, in virtue of some matrimonial alliance, and in order that an appellation, which deserved well of Protestantism, might not become extinct.

in the middle of the seventeenth century-an insidious attempt, by Rome and her cohorts, to reconquer England, and thus to triumph over the principles of the Reformation in every land. He makes little, or but slight account of the political elements which incited, or rather produced, the civil wars of the seventeenth century, nor considers that the struggle was as much-and, in truth, far more—against arbitrary power, overstretched prerogative, than against Popery. He regards the great Rebellion almost solely as a religious war, which England, he imagines, may soon again be called upon to renew, with, alas! no Cromwell to direct her councils and lead her armies. Him God raised up to crush and destroy royalty, which had grown into the stronghold of Popery, and to become the champion and bulwark of the Reformed Religion. We conceive Dr. Merle's fears either overstrained or

the grand and leading principle of Cromwell's public life. In the war which, it may be supposed, Cromwell waged with Spain from State policy and the desire of national aggrandizement, his biographer finds a more powerful motive in the Protector's fixed determination to crush Rome. After | quoting from one of Cromwell's speeches, delivered at an epoch when war was to be declared against Spain, and to be vindicated, not by citing Grotius and Vatel, as statesmen do now, but the Revelations, "The Beast," and "The Man of Sin," Dr. Merle D'Aubigné says:

"In Cromwell's views Rome was the antichristian spiritual power, and Spain the civil power by which she had long been abetted. There may be persons who will dispute that this can be found in the Apocalypse, but no one will dispute that it is really found in history. The verdict of posterity has ratified his opinion.

"If the positive principle he gave to the British state was morality and faith, the negative principle was re

portance, for at bottom they concentre in one ......in the Gospel. With their aid England has seen the days of her exaltation; when they are neglected or set aside, then will come the day of her decline. While the Protector made war upon Spain, he was in reality fighting against Rome."

groundless. The nonsensical and superstitious frip-sistance to Popery. He held each of these in equal impery of Puseyism at which he is so alarmed, will, if left to itself, soon pass away, and is already fast vanishing before the returning sobermindedness of many of its adherents, and the good-humoured derision of the spectators of its phantoms and fooleries. Puseyism has, in fact, never taken any hold whatever of either the thinking or the industrious classes of the community. How should it? Its apostles have been either enthusiasts or restless priests, desirous of fortifying the tottering power of the Church and the sacerdotal order; and its disciples idle, half-instructed men and women of the "higher classes," with whom shows and substances, words and things, assume much the same importance. We refer to the grosser element the outer husk of Puseyism; for in its core, as in the inner heart of all things, there is to be found good as well as evil. This view cheers us under the solemn warnings and grave prophecies of the Genevese doctor, delivered in such terms as the following:

"If England desired in the present day, as her princes desired in the seventeenth century, to restore Poperyif the number of those unfaithful ministers, who abjure the Gospel for the Pope, should multiply in her bosom if that superstitious madness should spread to their congregations-if the heads of the Church should continue to slumber, and, instead of rescuing their flocks, allow them to proceed towards the wolf that is waiting to devour them-if the government, not satisfied with granting liberty to Popery, should encourage it still farther by endowing its seminaries, paying its priests, building its churches, and restoring throughout Great Britain the power of the Roman bishop......then would England probably be convulsed by a crisis, different, it might be, from that which startled the reign of Charles, but not the less formidable. Again the earth would quake, again would it open to pour forth devouring flames."

The object of this work, we have said, and it is one never lost sight of, is to arouse the anti-Catholic feelings or slumbering religious prejudices of the British nation; and, to effect this, the deeds and the name of The Protector are made the battle-word. The great, if not actuating motive of Cromwell, during his whole career, is represented as deadly and determined hostility to the Papal power and the Catholic religion. The love of liberty, the interest and glory of England, were always subordinate to what our author considers

As the volume is a continual testimony against the Popish faith, a perpetual sounding of the alarm against Popery to the degenerate rulers of England, we are at no loss to find passages, often written with much animation and fervour, in which the author, both directly and indirectly, enforces his doctrines which, it may be remarked, are very frequently accompanied by protestations of the warmest zeal for religious liberty. It is not our business to vindicate Dr. Merle D'Aubigné's consistency. In one place, in referring to the grand model he would set before the eyes of modern English statesmen, he remarks:

"CROMWELL was not satisfied with merely frightening the Pope in his own Babylon, and with directing his efforts in every quarter against the Roman power; he at the Reformation in Europe and in the world, and thus assame time zealously pursued the great cause of the signed to England that station as Queen of the Protestant World, which has been, and ever will be, her glory and her strength, so long as she shall remain true and faithful to This was his third ruling passion, this great calling. religious liberty-the greatness of England-the prosperity of Protestantism. has ever had in view nobler and more beneficial objects?

[blocks in formation]

Where is the statesman that

"Cromwell thought it his vocation to be in the whole world what he was at home-the great champion of religious liberty."

In another place it is said, and we give but slender samples of this sort:

"It is the Protector's glory that he discerned in Rome the chief enemy to the liberty, prosperity, and piety of nations. This in our days is called prejudice and superstition. Severe lessons will teach the nations, to their cost, which of the two is right their modern leaders, or the great man of the seventeenth century.'

It is throughout forgotten, or wilfully overlooked, that Elizabeth, to whom Dr. Merle will scarcely, we imagine, allow the very name of Protestant, was, politically, as much entitled to be called "the Defender of the Faith," as was Cromwell, who is thus honourably designated by him. In referring to the massacre of the Protes

« AnkstesnisTęsti »