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Scenes and Legends of The North of Scotland
Chapter XXVI


"Oh, many are the poets that are sown
By nature; men endow’d with highest gifts,
The vision and the faculty divine,
Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse.”—Wordsworth.

During even the early part of last century, there were a few of the mechanics of Cromarty conversant in some little degree with books and the pen. They had their libraries of from ten to twenty volumes of sermons and controversial divinity, purchased at auctions or from the booksellers of the south; and I have seen letters and diaries written by them, which would have done no discredit to the mechanics of a more literary age. Donald Sandison’s library consisted of nearly a hundred volumes; and his son, whom I remember a very old man, and who had at one time been the friend and companion of the unfortunate Ferguson the poet, had made so good a use of his opportunities of improvement, that in his latter days, when his sight began to fail him, he used to bring with him to church a copy of Beza’s Latin New Testament, which happened to be printed in a clearer type than his English one. The people in general, however, were little acquainted with the better literary models. So late as the year 1750, a copy of Milton’s Paradise Lost, which had been brought to town by a sailor, was the occasion of much curious criticism among them; some of them alleging that it was heterodox, and ought to be burnt, others deeming it prophetic. One man affirmed it to be a romance, another said it was merely a poem; but a Mr. Thomas Hood, a shopkeeper of the place, set the matter at rest by remarking, that it seemed to him to be a great book, full of mystery like the Revelation of St. John, but certainly no book for the reading of simple unlearned people like him or them. And yet, at even this period, Cromarty had its makers of books and writers of verses; men of a studious imitative turn—prototypes in some respects of those provincial poets of our own times, who become famous for nearly half an age in almost an entire county. A few brief notices of the more remarkable of my town’s-men of this first class may prove not unacceptable to the reader; for, of all imitators, the poetical imitator is the most eccentric ;— though his verses be imitations, in character he is always an original.

On the southern shore of the Bay of Cromarty, two miles to the west of the town, there stood, about ninety years ago, a meal-mill and the cottage of the miller. The road leading to the country passed in front, between the mill and the beach ; and a ridge of low hills, intersected by deep narrow ravines, and covered with bushes of birch and hazel, rose directly behind. There was a straggling line of alders which marked the course of the stream that turned the mill-wheel; while two gigantic elms, which rose out of the fence of a little garden, spread their arms over both the mill and the cottage. The view of the neighbouring farm-steadings was shut out by the windings of the coast and the ridge behind; and to the traveller who passed along the road in front, and saw no other human dwelling nearer him than the little speck-like houses which mottled the opposite shore of the bay, this one seemed to occupy one of the most secluded spots in the parish. Its inmates at this period were John Williamson, the miller, or, as he was more commonly termed, Johnie o’ the Shore, and his sister Margaret—two of the best and most eccentric people of their day in the countryside. John was a poet and a Christian, and much valued by all the serious and all the intelligent people of the place; while his sister, who was remarkable in the little circle of her acquaintance for tlie acuteness of her judgment in nice points of divinity, was scarcely less esteemed.

The duties of John’s profession left him much leisure to write and to pray. During the droughts of summer, his mill-pond would be dried up for months together; and in these seasons he used to retire almost every day to a green hillock in the vicinity of his cottage, which commands an extensive view of the bay and the opposite coast. And there, in a grassy opening among the bushes, would he remain until sunset, with only the Bible and his pen for his companions. He was so much attached to this spot, that he was once heard to say there was no place in which he thought he could so patiently await the resurrection, and he intimated to his friends his wish of being buried in it; but, on his deathbed, he changed his mind, and requested to be laid beside his mother. It is now covered by a fir-wood, and roughened by thickets of furze and juniper, but enough may still be seen to justify his choice. On one side it descends somewhat abruptly into a narrow ravine, through the bottom of which there runs a little tinkling streamlet; on the other, it slopes gently towards the shore. We look on the one hand, and see, through the chance vistas which have been opened in the wood, the country rising above us in long undulations of surface, like waves of the sea after a storm, and variegated with fields, hedge-rows, and clumps of copse-wood. On the other, the wide expanse of the bay lies stretched at our feet, with all its winding shores and blue jutting headlands : we look down on the rower as he passes, and hear the notes of his song and the measured dash of his oars; and when the winds are abroad, we may see them travelling black over the water before they wave the branches that spread over our heads. Many of the poet’s happiest moments were passed in the solitude of this retreat; and from the experience derived in it, though one of the most benevolent of men, and at times one of the most sociable, whenever he wished to be happy he sought to be alone.

In going to church every Sabbath, instead of following the public road, he used invariably to strike across the beach and walk by the edge of the sea; and, on Teaching the churchyard, he always retired into some solitary corner, to ponder in silence among the graves. To a person of so serious a cast, a life of solitude and self-examination cannot be a happy, unless it be a blameless one; and Johnie o’ the Shore was one of the rigidly just. Like the Pharisees of old, he tithed mint, and anise, and cumin; but, unlike the Pharisees, he did not neglect the weightier matters of the law. It is recorded of him, that on descending one evening from his hillock, he saw his only cow browsing on the grass-plot of a neighbour, and that, after having her milked as usual, he despatched his sister with the milk to the owner of the grass.

Ninety years ago, the press had not found its way into the north of Scotland, and the people were unacquainted with the scheme of publishing by subscription. And so the writings of Johnie o’ the Shore, like those of tlje ancients before the invention of printing, existed only in manuscript; and, like them too, they have suffered from the Goths. A closely written fragment of about eighty pages, which once composed part of a bulky quarto volume, is now all that survives of his works, though at his death they formed of themselves a little library. One of the volumes, written wholly in prose, and which minutely detailed, it is said, all the incidents of his life, with his thoughts on God and heaven, the world and himself, fell into the hands of a distant relative who resided somewhere in Easter-Ross. It must have been no small curiosity in its way, and for some time I was flattered by the hope that it still existed and might be recovered; but I have come to find that it has shared the fate of all his other volumes. The existing fragment is now in my possession. It bears date 1743, and is occupied mostly with hymns, catechisms, and prayers. His models for the hymns seem to have been furnished by our Scotch version of the Psalms; his catechisms were formed, some on the catechisms of Craig and the Palatine, and some on that of the Assembly Divines; his prayers remind me of those which are still to be heard in the churches of our northern parishes on “the day of the men.” Some of his larger poems are alphabetical acrostics; —the first line of the first stanza of each beginning with the letter A, and the first line in the last with the letter Z. Most of them, however—and the fact is a singular one, for John and his sister were stanch Presbyterians—are commemorative of the festival-days of the English Church. There are hymns for Passion Friday, for Christ’s Incarnation-day, for Circumcision-day, and for Christmas :—a proof that he must have had little in him of that abhorrence of Prelacy which characterized most of the Presbyterians of his time. And he seems, too, to have been of a more tolerating spirit; and, in the simple benevolence of his heart, to have come perhaps as near the truth on some dark points as men considerably more skilled in dialectics, and more deeply learned. “There are some people,” remarks the querist in one of his catechisms, “who say that those who have never heard of Christ cannot be saved?” “It is surely not our business,” is the reply, “to search into the deep things of God, except so far as He is pleased to reveal them; and, as He has not revealed to us that He condemns all those who have not heard of Christ, it is rash to say so, and uncharitable besides.”1 One of the most curious poems in the manuscript, is a little piece entitled “An Imagination on the Thunder-claps.” It was written before the discoveries of Franklin; and so the imagination is rather a wild one—not wilder, however, than some of the soberest speculations of the ancients on the same phenomena. The green hillock on this occasion appears to have been both his Observatory and his Parnassus;—he seems to have watched upon it every change of the heavens and earth, from the first rising of the thunder-clouds until they had broken into a deluge, and a blue sky looked down on the red tumbling of streams as they leaped over the ridges, or came rushing from out the ravines. Though quite serious himself, his uncouth phraseology will hardly fail in eliciting the smile of the reader.

AN IMAGINATION ON THE THUNDER-CLAPS.

Lo! pillars great of wat’ry clouds
On firmament appear,
And mounting up with curled heads,
Towards the north do steer.
East wind the same doth contradict,
And round and round they run;
And earth and sea are dark below,
And blackness hides the sun.
Like wrestling tides that in the bay
Do bubble, boil, and foam,
When seas grow angry at the wind,
And boatmen long for home;
Ev’n so the black and heavy clouds
Do fierce together jar—
They meet, and rage, and toss, and whirl,
And break, and broken are.
Up to the place where fire abides
These wat’ry clouds have gone
And all the waters which they hold
Are flung the fire upon.
And the vex’d fire boils in the cloud,
And lifts a fearful voice,
Like rivers toss’d o’er mighty rocks,
Or stormy ocean’s noise.
It roars, and rolls, and hills do shake,
And heavens do seem to rend;
And should the fierce unquenched flame
Through the dark clouds descend,
Like clay ’twould grind the hardest rocks,
Like dust the strongest brass,
And prostrate pride and strength of man
Like pride and strength of grass.
And now the broken clouds fall down
In groff rain from on high;
And many streams do rise and roar.
That heretofore were dry.
And when the red speat will be o’er,
And wild storm pass’d away,
Rough stones will lie upon the fields,
And heaps of sand and clay.
But I, though great my sins, am spared,
These fields to turn and tread:
Which surely had not been the case
If Jesus had not died.

Johnie’s sister Margaret (after his death she seems to have fallen heir to his title, for she then became Meggie o’ the Shore) survived her brother for many years, and died at an extreme old age, about the year 1785. The mill, on its falling into other hands, was thrown down, and rebuilt a full half mile further to the west, but the cottage was spared for Meggie. She had always been characterized by the extreme neatness of her dress and her personal cleanliness, by her taste in arranging the homely furniture of her cottage, and her hospitality : and now, though the death of her brother had rendered her as poor as it is possible for a contented person to become, she was as much marked by her neatness, and as hospitable as ever. On one occasion, a Christian friend who had come to visit her (the late Mr. Forsyth of Cromarty), was so charmed with her conversation, as to prolong his stay from noon until evening, when he rose to go away. She asked him, somewhat hesitatingly, whether he would not first “break bread with her.” He accordingly sat down again; and a half cake of bread and a jug of water (it was all her larder afforded) were set before him. It was the feast of the promise, she said, “ Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure.” Her circumstances, she added, were not quite so easy as they had been during the lifetime of her brother, but the change was perhaps for the better; for it had led her to think much oftener than before, when rising from one meal, that God had kindly pledged Himself for the next.

Meggie lived in a credulous age, and she was one of the credulous herself. Like most of her acquaintance, she heard at times the voices of spirits in the dash of waves and the roar of winds, and saw wraiths and dead-lights ; but she was .naturally courageous, and had a strong reliance on Providence; and so, with all her credulity, she was not afraid to live alone, with, as she used to say, only God for her neighbour. On a boisterous winter evening, two young girls who were travelling from the country to the town, were forced by the breaking out of a fierce snow-storm to take shelter in her cottage. She received them with her wonted kindness, and entertained them as she had done her friend. They heard the waves thundering on the beach, and the wind howling in the woods, but peace and safety were with them at Meggie’s fireside. About midnight there was a pause in the storm, and they could hear strange sounds, like the cries of people in distress, mingling with the roar of the sea. “Raise the window-curtain,” said Meggie, “and look out.” The terrified girls raised the curtain. “ Do you see aught?” she inquired. “There is a bright light,” said the girls, “in the middle of the bay of Udoll. It hangs over the water at about the height of a ship’s mast; and we can see something below it like a boat riding at anchor, with the white sea raging round her.” “Now drop the curtain,” she replied; “I am no stranger, my lassies, to sights and noises like these —sights and noises of another world; but I have been taught that God is nearer to me than any other spirit can be; and so have learned not to be afraid.” A few nights after, as the story goes, a Cromarty yawl foundered in the bay of Udoll, and all on board perished.

Meggie was always a rigid Presbyterian, and jealous of innovations in the Church; and, as she advanced in years, she became more rigid and more jealous. She is said to have regarded with no great reverence the young divines that filled up in the parishes around her the places of her departed contemporaries ; and who too often substituted, as she alleged, the learning winch they had acquired at college for a knowledge of the human heart and of the Bible. She could ill brook, too, any interference of the State in the concerns of the Kirk :—an Act of Parliament, when read from the pulpit, she deemed little better than blasphemy, and a King’s fast a day desecrated above every other. Her zeal in one unlucky instance brought her in contact with the civil law. Her favourite preacher was Mr. Porteous of Kilmuir, a divine of the old and deeply learned cast—eloquent and pious—not unacquainted with the book of nature, and thoroughly conversant with that of God. After hearing him deliver, in the church of Nigg, a powerful and impressive discourse, what was her horror and indignation when she saw him descending from the pulpit to read from the precentor’s desk some Proclamation or Act of Council! Had he been less a favourite, or anybody else than Mr. Porteous, she could have shut her ears and sat still; as it was, she sprang from her seat, and twitching the paper out of his hand, flung it to the floor and stamped upon it with her feet. She was apprehended and sent to the jail of Tain; but she found the jail a very comfortable sort of place, and, for the three days during which she was confined to it, she had for her visitors some of the very best people in the country; among the rest, Mr. Porteous himself, who had enough of the old Covenanter in him to feel that she had, perhaps, done only her duty, and that he had very possibly failed in his.

The story of her death is curious and affecting. A friend, in passing her cottage on a journey to the country called in, as usual, to see her. She was as neatly dressed as ever, and the little apartment in which she sat was fastidiously clean; but her countenance was of a deadly paleness, and there was an air of languor about her that seemed the effect of indisposition. “You are unwell, Meggie?” said her friend. “Not quite well, perhaps,” she replied, “but I shall be so very soon. You must stay and take breakfast with me.” The visitor knew too well the value of one of Meggie’s breakfasts to refuse, and the simple fare which her cottage afforded was set before him; but he was disappointed of the better part of the repast, for she spoke but little, and seemed unable to eat. “God has been exceedingly good to me,” she remarked, as she rose when he had eaten to replace in her cupboard the viands which still remained before him; “with no one to provide for me but Himself, I have not known what it was to want a meal since the death of my brother. You return this way in the evening?” said she, addressing her friend. He replied in the affirmative. “Then promise that you will not pass without coming in to see me; I am indisposed at present, but I feel—nay, am certain—that you will find me quite well. Do promise.” Her friend promised, and set out on his journey. Twilight had set in before his return. He raised the latch and entered her apartment, where all was silent, and the fire dying on the hearth. In a window which opened to the west, sat Meggie, with her brother’s Bible lying open before her, and her face turned upwards. The faint light of evening shone full on her features, and their expression seemed to be that of a calm yet joyous devotion. “I have returned, Meggie,” said the man after a pause of a few minutes. There was no answer. “I have returned, Meggie,” he reiterated, “ and have come to see you, to redeem my promise.” Still there was no answer. He went up to her and found she was dead.

About twenty years after her death, the grave in which she had been buried was opened to admit the corpse of a distant relative. A woman of my acquaintance, who was then a little girl, was at play at the time among the stones of the churchyard ; but on seeing an elderly female, a person much of Meggie’s cast of character, go up to the grave, she went up to it too. She saw the woman looking anxiously at the bones, And there was one skull in particular which seemed greatly to engage her attention. It still retained a few locks of silvery hair, and over the hair there were the remains of a linen cap fastened on by-two pins. She stooped down, and drawing out the pins, put them up carefully in a needle case, which she then thrust into her bosom. “Not death itself shall part us!” she muttered, as if addressing herself to the pins; “you shall do for me what you have done for Meggie o’ the Shore.”

But, in holding this tete-drtete with Meggie, I have suffered myself to lose sight of the poets, and must now return to them. Next in the list to Johnie o’ the Shore was David Henderson, a native of Cromarty, bom some time in the early part of the last century, and who died in the beginning of the present. He was one of that interesting class, concerning whom Nature and Fortune seem at variance; the one marking them out for a high, the other for a low destiny. They are fitted, by the gifts of mind bestowed upon them by the one, to think and act for themselves and others; and then flung by the other into some obscure lumber-comer of the world, where these gifts prove useless to them at best, and not unfrequently serve only to encumber them. From Nature David received talents of a cast considerably superior to those which she commonly bestows; by Fortune he was placed in one of the obscurest walks of life, and prevented from ever quitting it. He acquired his little education when employed in tending a flock of sheep ; the herd-boys with whom he associated taught him to read, and he learned to write by imitating the letters of one of the copy-books used in schools upon the smooth flat stones which he found on the sea-shore.

From his earliest years his life was one of constant toil. He was a herd-boy in his seventh, and a ploughman in his sixteenth year. He was then indentured to a mason; and he soon became one of the most skilful workmen in this part of the country, especially in hewing tombstones and engraving epitaphs. There is not a churchyard within ten miles of Cromarty in which there may not be seen some of his inscriptions. His heart was an affectionate one, and open to love and friendship ; and when he had served his apprenticeship, and began to be known as a young man of superior worth and a good clear head, his company came to be much courted by the better sort of people. In his twenty-fifth year he became attached to a young girl of Cromarty, named Annie Watson, much celebrated in her day for her charms personal and mental. She was beautiful to admiration, rationally yet fervently pious, and possessed of a mind at once powerful and delicate. It was no wonder that David should love such a one; and, as no disparity of condition formed an obstacle to the union—as she was a woman of sense and he a man of merit—in all probability she would have made him happy. But, alas! in the bloom of youth she was taken from him by that insidious disease, which, while it preys on the vitals of its victims, renders their appearance more interesting, as if to make their loss the more regretted. She died of consumption, and David was left behind to mourn over her grave, and, when his grief had settled into a calm melancholy, to write a simple ballad-like elegy to her memory. I have heard my mother say, that it was left by David at the grave of his mistress, where it was afterwards picked up by a person who gave copies of it to several of his acquaintance; but I do not know that any of these are now to be found. I have failed in recovering more than a few stanzas of it; and these I took down as they were repeated to me by my mother, who had committed them to memory when a child. They may prove interesting, rude and fragmentary as they are, to such of my readers as love to contemplate the poetic faculty wrapt up in the dishabille of an imperfect education. Besides, the writer may be regarded less as an insulated individual than as representative of a class. The unknown authors of some of our simpler old ballads, such as Edom o’ Gordon, Gilmorice, and the Bonny Earl of Moray, were, it is probable, men of similar acquirements, and a resembling cast of intellect.

She’s slain by death, that spareth none,
An object worthy love;
And for her sake was many a sigh,—
No doubt she’s now above.
In dress she loved to be neat,
In handsome trim would go;
She loved not to be above
Her station, nor below.

* * *

But, in brief sentence, to have done
Of all I have to say—
In midst of all her prospects here,
She on a deathbed lay.
And when she on a deathbed lay,
To her were visits made
By good and reverend elders, who
In her great pleasure had.
For she though in her pleasant youth,
When time speeds sweetly by,
Esteem’d it, trusting in her God,
A blessed thing to die.
And she their questions unto them
Who sought her state to know,
Did answer wisely every one,
In pleasant words and low.

* * *

Her lykewake it was piously spent
In social prayer and praise,
Performed by judicious men,
Who stricken were in days.
And many a sad and heavy heart
Was In that mournful place;
And many a weary thought was there
On her who slept in peace.
And then the town’s-folk gather’d all
To bear her corpse away.
And bitter tears by young and old
Were shed that mournful day.
And sure, if town’s-folk grieved sore,
Sore grieve may I and pine;
They much deplored their heavy loss—
But what was theirs to mine?
For her loved voice, I only hear
Winds o’er her dust that sigh
For her sweet smile, I only see
The rank grass waving high.
And I no option have but think
How I am left alone;
With none on earth to care for me.
Since she w ho cared is gone.

* * *

She was the first that everI
In beauty’s bloom did Bee
Departing from the stage of time,
Into eternity.
O may her sex her imitate,
Example from her take,
And strive t’ employ the day of grace.
And wicked ways forsake!

David survived his mistress for more than forty years. For thirty of these he was an elder of the Church—a man conversant with deathbeds, and a visitor of the fatherless and the widow. Few persons die so regretted as David died, or leave behind them so fair a name; nor will the reader fail to recognise something uncommon in his character when I tell him, that he was steady and prudent though a poet, and of a grave deportment, good-natured, and a Christian, though of a ready wit. He left behind him, treasured up in the memories of his many friends, shrewd, pithy remarks on men and things—specimens of mind, if I may so express myself, which exhibit the quality of the mass from off which they were struck. His wit, too, was equally popular. I have heard some of his bon-mots repeated and laughed at more than twenty years after his death; but his writings were so much less fortunate, that there were few of the people with whom I have conversed concerning him, who even knew that he made verses, though none of them were ignorant of his having been a good man.

The last of the Cromarty poets who lived and wrote before the beginning of the present century, was Macculloch of Dun-Loth. He was, for nearly sixty years, a Society schoolmaster in that parish of Sutherlandshire whose name, for some cause or other, is always attached to his own. But I shall attempt introducing him to the reader in the manner in which he has been introduced to myself.

“About twenty-eight years ago,” said my informant, "I resided for a few weeks with the late Dr. R- at the manse of Kiltearn. I was lounging one evening beside the front door, when a singular-looking old man came up to me, and asked for the Doctor. He was such an equivocal-looking sort of person, that it was quite a puzzle to me whether I should show him into the parlour;—he might be little better than a beggar; he might be worth half a million; but whether a rich man or a poor one, no one could look at him and doubt of his being a particular man. He was very little, and very much bent, with just such a grotesque cast of countenance as I have seen carved on the head of a walking-stick. His outer man was cased in an old-fashioned suit of raven grey, and he had immense plated buckles in his shoes and in his breeches. I thought of the legend of the Seven Sleepers, and wondered where this fragment of the old world could have lain for the last hundred years. The Doctor relieved me from my perplexity. He had seen him from a window, and, coming out, he welcomed the little old man with his wonted cordiality, and ushered him into the parlour as the poet of Dun-Loth.

“He stayed with us this evening, and never was there a gayer evening spent in the manse. The Doctor had the art of eliciting all that was eccentric in the little man’s character, and that was not a little. He plied him with compliments and jokes, and rallied him on his love-adventures and his poetry. The old man seemed swelling like a little toad, only it was with conceit, not venom. He chuckled, every now and then, at the more piquant of the Doctor’s good things, with a strange unearthly gaiety that seemed to savour of another world—of another age at least; and then he would jest and compliment in turn. What he said was, to be sure, great nonsense; but then it was the most original nonsense that might be, full of small conceits and quibbles, and so old-fashioned that we all felt it could not be other than the identical nonsense that had flourished in the early days of our great-grandmothers. The young people were all delighted—the little old man seemed delighted too, and laughed as heartily as any of us. Mrs. R-, when a young lady, had been eminently beautiful, and the poet had celebrated her in a song. It was a miserable composition, and some of his neighbours, who wrote nearly as ill as himself, made it the occasion of a furious attack upon him. There were remarks, replies, and rejoinders beyond number; until at length, by mere dint of perseverance, the poet silenced all his opponents, and took to himself the credit of having gained a signal victory. The Doctor brought up the story of the song, and got him to repeat all the replies and rejoinders, which he did with much glee. Next morning he took leave of us, and I never again saw the poet of Dun-Loth.” Macculloch was, as I have stated, a native of the parish of Cromarty, and passed the greater part of a long life as a Society schoolmaster, on a salary of twelve pounds per annum. Out of this pittance he contrived to furnish himself with a library, which, among other works of value, contained the whole of the Encyclopaedia Britannica in its second edition. Though full of compliment and gallantry in his younger days, he was for the last forty years of his life, so thoroughly a woman-hater, that he would not suffer one of the sex to enter his cottage, cook his victuals, or wash his linen. His wardrobe consisted of four suits—one of black, one of brown, one of raven grey, and one of tartan; and he wore them week about, without suffering the separate pieces of any one suit to encroach on the week of another. It has been told me that, in his eightieth year, he attended the dispensation of the sacrament in the Highland parish of Lairg, dressed in his tartans—kilt, hose, and bonnet.

I do not well know whether to consider his singularities as those of the rhymer, the most eccentric of all men, or his predilection for rhyming as merely one of his singularities. His compositions were mostly satirical; but his only art of satire was the art of calling names in rhyme; and he seems to have had no positive pleasure in bestowing these, but to have flung them, just as he used to do his taws when in school, at the heads of all who offended him. His death took place about twenty years ago. I subjoin two of the “pasquils” pointed against him in his war with his brother rhymers, and the pieces in which he replied to them. They may show, should they serve no other purpose, what marvellous bad verse could be written in the classical age of Johnson and Goldsmith, and with what justice Dun-Loth piqued himself on having vanquished his opponents.

TO DUN-LOTH.

Dunloth, be wise, take my advice.
Silence thy muse in time;
For thy thick Bkull it is too dull
To furnish prose or rhyme.
But if thy pride will still thee guide
To sing thy horrid lays;
For any sake, my counsel take.
And ne’er attempt to praise.
Thy wit’s too low, thyself says so.
In this we both agree;
The Kilmote flower is, I am sure,
A theme too high for thee.

ANSWER.

To notice much, base trash as such,
I think it were a crime;
Or yet to stoop, thou nincompoop.
For thy poor paltry rhyme.
Thy saucy gee shows thee to be
Like a blind muzzled mole:
Or like a rat chased by the cat
To a dark muddy hole.
The first time I thy place pass by.
For thy poetic lesson,
Thou’lt crouch, be sure, behind the door.
Like a poor yelping messan.

TO------
How hard is thy lot, fair flower of Kilmote,
To be sung by a poet so dull;
Thy symmetry fine, is a theme too divine
For a blockhead with such a thick skull.

ANSWER

So hard is thy lot, poor scurrilous sot,
by poetry brings thee to shame;
60 high to aspire, thou’rt thrust in the mint
And laugh’d at by all for the same.


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