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(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
The bosom of his Father and his God.
Thomas Gray was born at London, 1716. After completing his education, he travelled through Europe. In this excursion, being accompanied by a person of eminence and distinction, he found ready access to the most refined society. After visiting places noted for the beauties of nature, and exploring the galleries of Rome, Naples, and Florence, he returned to Cambridge, and amid its noble libraries and learned society spent the greater part of his remaining life. Here he devoted much of his time to classical learning, and studied the Greek poets with such intense devotion and critical care, that their spirit and essence sank deep into his mind, and colored all his efforts at original composition. He is one of the few, of the very few, of our greatest poets, who deserve to be studied in every line for the apprehension of that sweetness, power, and splendor of versification, which has made him one of the most popular writers; we say popular, for his Elegy-one of the most classical productions that ever was penned by a refined and thoughtful mind — had he written nothing else, is of itself sufficient to immortalize him. So long as feeling hearts are to be found, so long as the ear is attracted by "the still, sad music of humanity," just so long will this Elegy be admired for the pensive melancholy of its numbers, for the sentiments which are imbodied, and the felicity of language both in sound and significance of the worús employed. It is doubtless read and repeated more frequently than any of his other productions, because it is expressive of genuine feeling, and describes what all persons must at some time or other have felt or imagined. It will always find more readers than those inspired flights of imagination or recondite allusions, however graced with the charms of poetical diction, which can only be appreciated by persons of refinement and possessing something of a kindred taste and knowledge with the writer. It is said that in his country tours he carried with him a plano-convex mirror, which, when properly adjusted in the surveying of landscapes, gathers in one confined glance the forms and tints of the surrounding scene. It would seem as if his imagination, in many cases, performed a similar operation in collecting and arranging the materials of poetry. All is bright, and natural, rich and magnificent; all the coloring harmonizes, and all the parts are beautifully symmetrical. The following may be taken as a specimen :
“ Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
While, proudly riding o'er the azure realm,
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm ;
Here is a scene fully equal to any thing which was ever grouped by the plano-convex mirror. Here is a finished picture. Here, at one glance, may be seen “ the azure realm" fushed with the tints of morn; the sunbeam circles playing around the vessel freighted with Youth and Pleasure,
and sailing with wind, and tide, on a sea of glory; and, at the same time, in the far, dim distance, may be seen the Whirlwind, lying “hushed in grim repose,” and watching for his “evening prey.” Nothing can be more terrible than this "grim repose," or more intensely affecting than the sight of Youth and Pleasure, unconscious of the impending danger, and regardless of the inevitable doom on which they were verging!
34. Interview between Jeanie Deans, the Duke of
Argyle, Queen Caroline, and Lady Suffolk.
THE Duke of Argyle made a signal for Jeanie to advance from the spot where she had hitherto remained, watching countenances which were too long accustomed to suppress all apparent signs of emotion, to convey to her any interesting intelligence. Her majesty could not help smiling at the awe-struck manner in which the quiet, demure figure of the little Scotchwoman advanced towards her; and yet more, at the first sound of her broad, northern accent. But Jeanie had a voice low, and sweetly toned, an admirable thing in woman; and she besought "her leddyship to have pity on a poor, misguided young creature,” in tones so affecting, that, like the notes of some of her native songs, provincial vulgarity was lost in pathos.
The queen asked Jeanie how she travelled up from Scotland.
“On foot mostly, madam,” was the reply.
“What! all that immense way on foot ! How far can you walk in a day ?”
“Five-and-twenty miles, and a bittock.”
“ And a what?" said the queen, looking towards the Duke of Argyle.
“ And about five miles more," replied the duke.
“I thought I was a good walker," said the queen; "but chis shames me sadly."
May your leddyship never hae sae weary a heart, that
ye canna be sensible of the weariness of the limbs," said Jeanie. “ And I didna, just a' thegether, walk the haill way neither; for I had whiles the cast of a cart, and I had the cast of a horse from Ferrybridge, and divers other easements,” said Jeanie, cutting short her story; for she observed che duke made the sign he had fixed upon.
“With all these accommodations," answered the queen, 'you must have had a very fatiguing journey, and I fear co little purpose ; since, if the king were to pardon your sister, in all probability it would do her little good; for, I suppose, your people of Edinburgh would hang her out of spite."
“She will sink herself now outright,” thought the duke. • But he was wrong. This rock was above water, and she avoided it.
“She was confident,” she said, “that baith town and country wad rejoice to see his majesty taking compassion on a poor unfriended creature."
“His majesty has not found it so in a late instance," said the queen ; " but, I suppose, my lord duke would advise him to be guided by the votes of the rabble themselves, who should be hanged and who spared."
"No, madam," said the duke; “but I would advise huis majesty to be guided by his own feelings and those of his royal consort; and then, I am sure, punishment will only attach itself to guilt, and even then with cautious reluctance."
“Well, my lord,” said her majesty, “all these fine speeches do not convince me of the propriety of so soon showing favor to your – I suppose I must not say rebellious — but, at least, your very disaffected and intractable metropolis. Why, the whole nation is in a league to screen the savage and abominable murderers of that unhappy man ; otherwise, how is it possible but that, of so many perpetrators, and engaged in so public an action for such a length of time, one, at least, must have been recognized ? Even this wench, for aught I can tell, may be a depositary of the secret.
Hark ye, young woman; had you any friends engaged in the Porteous mob?"
“No, madam," answered Jeanie; happy that the question was so framed, that she could, with a good conscience, answer it in the negative.
“But I suppose," continued the queen, “ if you were possessed of such a'secret, you would hold it matter of conscience to keep it to yourself.”
“I would pray to be directed and guided in the line of duty, madam," answered Jeanie.
“ Yes, and take that which suited your own inclinations," replied her majesty.
“If it like you, inadam,” said Jeanie, “ I would ha gaen to the end o' the earth to save the life of John Portecus, or of any other unhappy man in his condition ; but I might lawfully doubt how far I am called upon to be the avenger of his blood, though it may become the civil magistrate to do so. He is dead and gane to his place; and they that have slain him must answer for their ain act. But my sister — my puir sister, Effie still lives, though her days and hours are numbered. She still lives, and a word of the king's mouth might restore her to a broken-hearted auld man, that never, in his daily and nightly exercise, forgot to pray that his majesty might be blessed with a long and a prosperous reign; and that his throne, and the throne of his posterity, might be established in righteousness. O madam, if ever ye kenned what it was to sorrow for and with a sinning and suffering creature, whese mind is sae tossed that she can be neither ca'd fit to live or die, — have some compassion on our misery! Save an honest house from dishonor, and an unhappy girl, not eighteen years of age, from an early and dreadful. death. Alas! it is not when we sleep soft, and wake merrily ourselves, that we think on other people s sufferings. Our hearts are waxed light within us then; and we are for righting our ain wrongs, and fighting our ain battles. But, when the hour of trouble comes to the mind, or to the hody - and seldom may it visit your leddyshin, - and
“ do not
when the hour of death comes, that comes to high and low, - long and late may it be yours - O my leddy, then, it is na what we have dune for oursells, but what we have dune for others, that we think on maist pleasantly. And the thoughts, that ye hae intervened to spare the puir thing's life, will be sweeter in that hour, come when it may, than if a word of your mouth could hang the hail Porteous mob at the tail of ae tow."
Tear followed tear down Jeanie's cheek, as, with features glowing and quivering with emotion, she pleaded her sister's cause, with a pathos which was at once simple and solemn.
“ This is eloquence," said her majesty to the Duke of Argyle. “ Young woman,” she continued, addressing herself to Jeanie, “I cannot grant a pardon to your sister, but you
shall not want my warm intercession with his majesty. Take this housewife case,” she continued, putting a small embroidered needle-case into Jeanie's hands; open it now, but at your leisure; you will find something in it which will remind you that you have had an interview with Queen Caroline.”
Jeanie, having her suspicions thus confirmed, dropped on her knees, and would have expanded herself in gratitude; bat the duke, who was upon thorns lest she should say more or less than just enough, touched his chin once more.
“Our business is, I think, ended for the present, my lord duke," said the queen, “and, I trust, to your satisfaction. Hereafter I hope to see your grace more frequently, both at Richmond and St. James's. Come, Lady Suffolk, we must wish his grace good morning."
They exchanged their parting reverences, and the duke, so soon as the ladies had turned their backs, assisted Jeanie, to rise from the ground, and conducted her back through
which she trod with the feeling of one who walks in her sleep.
WALTER SCOTT, 12