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For Puir Auld Scotland's Sake
A Holiday in Arcadia


THE time is ten years ago, at least. There are three of us who have conspired to take a roaming holiday, and country-like /we have come up to town merely to take our departure. But we have also to settle a trifling matter—the direction of our flight The horizon is around us; imaginary invitations are held out to us on all sides; as soon as we accept one, the rest of course are virtually withdrawn. It is delicious to have all those offers. We will decide at the last moment Our baggage is as light as our hearts, and consists chiefly of a flask and a pipe; inspiration gurgles in the one, music exhales in visible arabesques from the other. The weather is summer weather-let it rain, let it shine, let it do both together; if there be one thing we abhor it is monotony.

A plateau existence is purgatory. Mother Nature is in her gala gown, the lightsome Lincoln green ; Father Jove has donned his sky-blue vest. Do you not see his cerulean swallow tails streaming in the high ether? If he but show us as much of the blue as make a pair of O-no-we-should-not-mention-’ems, what more could heart desire? Off we go! Whither? No matter where!—north, south, east or west Out of the island? No! The Rhine is, the geography books say, beautiful and romantic ; we will match it with the Tweed, and the Tay, and the Nith and the Spey, and a hundred others. The Alps are sublime, and toss their heads to heaven; but we will leave them to the Alpine Club, and keep our admiration for our own native Anakim, our Loch-na-gar and Morven and Macdhui, and Ben Lomond, Ben Ledi, and ]Ben-an, and other Bens and Benjaminas by the score. As for lacustrine scenery, commend us to our own Scottish lochs. We have nothing to say in dispraise of Como and Maggiore, of Geneva and Constance ; but we have an inexhaustible series of our own whose fairy nooks no single life (nor married) can ever wholly explore, whose grandeur and awe our souls can never cease to worship and tremble before. And we owe it as patriots and possessors of the little island that is the central gem of the inhabited globe to reckon up our diamond lakelets and prize them as brilliants of the first water (which they are) — our Lomonds and Levens, and Katrines, ay, our savage Loch Marees, and our bare and lonely Lochs of St Mary.

But here we are at the Waverley Station, Edinburgh, and the booking-clerk is asking us with a soup on of tartness in the tone (how we love the Doric in all its moods and tenses!) if we think we shall have made up our mind within a couple of hours? Thus pushed to the scratch we seek to identify ourselves with the party that has just preceded us, and ask for a copy of the last issue, not knowing what that was even remotely. At once that booking-clerk is metamorphosed—he stands to us in loco Fate, his dating-machine gives the irrevocable click, and here is our tessera—Peebles!

'Peebles for pleasure' Peebles then is the very place for us ‘on pleasure bent/ Has it not been immemorially associated with pleasure and play? Was it not to the south of the Forth what ancient Falkland was whilom to the north—one of the merriest burghs that ever welcomed King James of poetic memory? How goes the old ballad?—

'Was never in Scotland heard or seen
Sic dancing and deray,
Neither at Falkland on the Green,
Nor Peebles at the play.’

And then it is a gateway into the sad scenery of pastoral Scotland, over which hangs a heaven of purest poetry.

And this is the Tweed—the glorious river of Scottish romance !—whose steel-clear waters make once more their melody in our ears. Not that the mere sound of sliding waters, such as the love-lorn wanderer hears crying through the wilderness of the New World. It is the voice of Eld, conning over, with total disregard of the present, its many waning memories. There is a sadness in the tone, which the river has caught from its long and intimate association with vanished man. All the voices of Nature are originally cheerful: where they are tinged with melancholy man has been there to change the key, and disarrange the primal harmony. And well, O Tweed, may thy song sound in our hearing with something of the character of a lament; for thou, for many a century bygone, hast witnessed alike the oft-repeated follies of human passion and the transitoriness of earthly renown! Where now the moon-lighted mosstrooper of the old Border days?—the men-at-arms, the mail-clad knights of the age of chivalry, who have spurred along thy banks, time-hallowed river—who have swum on errand of love or war thy tranquil waters, or, it may be, have mingled their life-stream with thine ? The

heedless river keeps on its unintelligible murmur ; it will not share its secrets. Ask we, then, yon ruined tower on the river-brink— Neidpath Castle—over whose crumbling walls floats in this morning air neither

‘The Silver Cross to Scotia dear,’

nor the Ensign of St George, but the mildewed flag of a power beneath which even nationalities decay—the black banner of Oblivion! The tongueless occupant, staring from the mouldering loophole where haply the fragile bluebell is nodding bonnilie, frowns inexorable refusal. What! shall Oblivion seize all ? Arise, thou champion of our claims on the past, and, like one of thine own unconquerable knights, illustrious Scott, do battle in our interests against Oblivion for the fading memories of ‘ Scotland’s elder day.’ Mow down these nettles in the courtyard, and fill the enclosure with horsemen and spearmen, the neigh of steed and the bay of hound ; re-erect that fallen rooftree, and make its timbers ring to the rough Border song, the warrior’s boast, the lover’s toast, the clinking of cannakin, and the laughter emptied from lungs familiar with the mountain air! Who comes crashing through the pliant willows on his fiery charger, and is already stemming the mid-water of Tweed on his headlong errand? It is Will of Deloraine! Listen ! that is the twang of the aged minstrers harp, and see where his long white beard is flowing on the breeze. There glides like a ghost the far-travelled Palmer; you may know him by the cockle-shell sewed in his hat, and the faded palm-branch in his hand. For

‘How should we the Palmer know
From another one?
By his cockle-hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon!'

What earthly image shall best represent Time? The hills? They are old, but immortal, and deck themselves every summer in the garb of youth. The Heavens? They are from everlasting, but dowered, too, with undying beauty, and young with the lustre of eternal lights. The hills and the heavens are the symbols of immortality. It is among the creations of man we must look for the presentment of Time. And what more impressive image of Time could be found than yonder ruined keep of Neidpath Castle, that looks blankly at us from the opposite bank of Tweed? There we have the past visibly imaged in stone and lime—rigid, but with traces of decay; silent, but substantial before us. How purposeless and out of place are those walls of eleven feet thickness, that dungeon, that draw-well, with the Tweed so near! The powerful Frasers six centuries ago, the Hays of Gifford and Tweeddale later, and later still the Douglases of March lived and gave law and luxuriated there; and who now inherits their castle? A simple gamekeeper, who needs neither the security of such walls nor can summon terror from the dungeon.

For one association Neidpath Castle is ever affectingly dear to the imagination. The scene is a window of the Castle, and Ellen Douglas —‘O, call her fair, not pale!’—worn and wasted by disease, looks forth, impatient of her exiled lover’s return. The dark but now relenting shadow of her father hovers in the background.

‘Earl March looked on his dying child,
And smit with grief to view her—
“The youth,” he cried, “whom I exil’d
Shall be restored to woo her.”

‘She’s at her window many an hour
His coming to discover;
And he looked up to Ellen’s bow’r,
And she looked on her lover.

true, as befits a Douglas—is thine image dear to gentle minds. A love that is stronger than death is stronger and more lasting than the memories of power and pride, and the monuments of battle. Earl March's daughter is more to posterity than the mailed Earl and all his retainers.

It was our purpose to cross the hills to St Mary’s Loch. The distance by the map seemed not more than we could cover in three hours. It only remained to find the path of communication. We necked an urchin who was speeding past bare-footed and vociferous of joy, and he sent us down the water to the bridge by way of initial movement. Arrived at the bridge, we accosted an idler, who would have sent us back again to ascend the hills by the Manor water; but we objected to patrolling the banks all morning, and were glad to act upon the instructions of a plaided shepherd, who, with the dew of the hills on his whiskers, came up at the moment on his way to Peebles show. At first, indeed, Tityrus rather confused us by a copious flood of topography, but at last, with a happy abandon of minutiae, he directed us with a sublime index to the hill ridges that rose due south of us, saying, ‘In fack, ye maun ma# your road, an’ they a’ meet on the taps yonder. Ye’ll be for Tibbie’s, nae doubt Frae the tap haud sooth> an’ a wee thocht wast. What needs names to strangers? Gude day to ye!'

This little hillside planting confines the Tweed from view. What a humming in the lown wood among the wild flowers at the pine-tree roots. There goes a red-endie pop into our ear. Jupiter tonans! what a thunder he makes. There, he has now got entangled among the meshes of our beard. Bizz-zz-zz! Will he use his poniard, think you?—for he is evidently losing his temper. Ah! here he is on terra firma—we flung him the metaphorical rope, and now, like a shipwrecked sailor just escaped with his breeks, he sits on our thumbnail and attends to his toilet. See, how he feels all down his sides for broken bones; not a rib is fractured. He expands his ‘ sheeny vans/ and with somewhat unsteady flight, off sails our bold aerial voyager.

Now, gents — A reades ambo! — while the angler is busy below, and the bees around us; and the linties, mavises, and merles aboon us are singing and whistling, and generally—as cheerful Allan Ramsay has it—‘chirmin’ owre their pleasant rants/ we also ought to be doing our best to earn the repose that comes with the cool smoke at gloaming; therefore DRAW! UNCORK! DECANT ! Nectar! the drink of the gods of ancient Hellas, and the sons of modern Scotland! Now, my co-mates, and brothers in travel, that sup has washed down the last sooty flake from our craigs that kept us in mind of Auld Reekie. Now shout with clear pipes; shout round us, let us hear you shout, ye happy shepherd boys! Mercy on us, what an echo! An echo! Leap for your lives, ye sons of Arcadia; ditch, and hedge, and stile. Well hopped all ! What horns; and a tail that might thresh corn or mow syboes; but mark his eyes; they are red and lowering, and gleam like the opal with imprisoned fire. At last Taurus sullenly retires to his favourite feeding-ground ; and we start for the watershed like roes.

Simultaneously with our departure from the path the wind freshens and frisks wildly around us—here twitching at tufts of the brown bent, there shrilling through dark-green ‘sprots' as if in jubilation of companions. How it blows over the bare glen of Hundlehope, and catches us with skelping strength on the flank of the ridge Pater, who has—such is the force of habit— brought a tall hat into these upland solitudes, is unmercifully badgered by the breezes. How they twit him about his hatter, and how continually he keeps doffing to them in acknowledgment of their attentions ! Held in his hand even, that hat is covetously grabbed at, the while gust after gust screams on its ram’s horn around his undefended capitol. The useless headpiece is finally transferred to me as armour-bearer, and complete defiance offered to iEolus and all his vagabonds by the assumption of a deep, well-fitting Kilmarnock! This is doubly secured by means of a white handkerchief tied turbanwise round the temples. He seems like one of Prince Charlie’s followers, broken and bandaged, but still with a keen desire for safety, making his way over the mountains from Culloden to his native clachan.

Neck and neck we have attained the summit. And here let us call a halt, for we are at the door of Nature’s private boudoir, and must not rashly invade her privacy. Mark these deep trenches, these treeless cul-de-sac glens, that are scooped out on the hillside up which we have just climbed. The marks these of winter torrents—when the hills acquire a voice, and that trebling streamlet, trickling down the shingly slopes in a bed a world too wide for its shrunk waters, swells to gigantic dimensions, and fills the hollows of the uplands with the horror of its bass. This is a nursery of rivers. Hence ‘ rivers, here but brooks, dispart to different seas.’ But look south, and east, and west! Hill-back rises above hill-back like a huge company of discomfited Titans. Not a tree, not a bush—nothing to diversify the view but height and a darkening towards the hollows far as the eye can pierce—a multitudinous sea of hill-tops, silent as the deep sea bottom. And there is more in the simile than at first blush meets the eye. For it is indeed an old sea bottom, and once slept as placidly under the unmoved world of waters as now in upper air. Where, indeed, has that blue destroying dragon, the sea, whose vocation it is to eat up the land/ not been?

‘Oh, earth, what changes thou hast seen;
Even where the long street roars, has been
The silence of the central sea.'

But the natural changes, the catastrophes, the cataclysms, the convulsions that have successively thrown back the cosmical beauty of earth re-adorning herself under the slow but kindly law of evolution—back to primeval chaos— while they excite our wonder and fill our minds with awe, have, after all, less interest to us than the vicissitudes of man among the scenes of Nature, and the vicissitudes among the scenes of Nature as under the dominion of man. These pastoral hills have been wandered over by Celt and Roman ; Arthur’s own knights have viewed their outlines and held them dear; Culdee and Covenanter have blessed their verdure with the print of their hallowed feet; the tragedies of rival loves among peaceful shepherds, and Border feuds among reiving mosstroopers, have been enacted in their solitudes. Bear witness, chronicle of monk and history’s page, and many a floating ballad. Not alone, then, are these uplands pathetic in their bareness and loneliness with

‘The grace of forest charms decayed
And pastoral melancholy'.

but with the entrusted secrets of generation and generation—secrets of friendship, love, religious faith—of disloyalty, hatred, and violent death!

‘Oh, that some minstrel’s harp were near
To utter notes of gladness,
And chase this silence from the air
That fills the heart with sadness! ’

There is wheel-track no longer, my merry men, so now for the hawk's flight straight for St Mary’s Loch. How goes the sun ? We have it! Slide your eye down our finger, and follow the direction to yon white motionless cloudlet that seems like a forwandered lammie reposing on a lone hillside. Right below lies the eye of these pastoral hills, looking up a very sapphire to the sapphire heavens—St Mary’s. Look out for bogs, haggs, morasses, marshes, runnels, and well-e’es. Off ? — Ic, ic, irr-r-r ! Whirr-r-r! Gor-r-oc-oc! wheep-whee-eep — whee-ee-eep ! pee-ee-weet—p'weet! Crunch ! sh-sh-sh ! crack —thud ! Who’s that stopping the procession? By Jove! over! We're down, all three on all fours. Who said there was a silence in the lonely hills? Never was heard such a confounded row in the Cowgate on St Patrick’s Day in the morning. Grouse, partridge, blackcock, whaap (uneuphoniously called curlew), snipe, plover, shingle, rocks, waters, legs, arms, bodies, and a rattling as of violently dislodged teeth! Two sit up and look around, gasping; one leaps aloft as if he beheld a rainbow in the sky. He declares that he has lost skin, refuses to localise the loss, but only fears he will have to take his meals standing for some time to come. We notice a rent, and the revelation of a silver lining. Off again we go, our disabled comrade prudently in the rear. It’s a regular steeplechase, a broose! Panting we arrive at the brow, where birks and dwarf-pines begin to appear; another bound, and, lo ! like a cradled child, St Mary’s Loch, slumbering at noon-day among the mountains. We shout not, lest we awaken the infant Naiad. Rather, like Vasco Nufiez (and not, as Keats has it, Pizarro, though he was as great a man), we

‘Gaze with eagle eyes, Silent,'

upon the miniature Pacific hushed in the arms of the grey old hills.

Descending the green slope to the Yarrow Road, we find ourselves in the narrow glen of the Meggat, with the Meggat itself trotting along by our side. The *amusive tinkle* of its shallow stream is blown unbroken to our ears with the blended hum of bees revelling in the thyme, and the rustling, as of silken dresses, among the tall grasses that are ever bowing gracefully in their sober glee. By-and-by the 4 tinkle9 is silent, as the stream tells down its tributary crystal to the lake. For we are now at the head of the loch, and may either continue our journey down the margin to where the classical Yarrow—fabulosus amnis—begins to draw its line of silver from this upland urn, or turn aside to the right and cross the bridge between the sister lakes—she of the Lowes and St Mary—to Tibbie’s immortal change-house. Sweeter scenery, we well know, would greet our hungering senses, a broader expanse of waters, steeper hills of more emerald green, and 4 the pomp of cultivated Nature/ were we to follow the former route. We should be more in the centre of the classical lowlands strolling through the farm land of Altrive and gazing down 4 the dowie dens.' But Moffat, ay, Lockerbie, must be reached ere falls the gloaming grey. Still, let us pause, and allow the pros and cons for either route to decide it among themselves in our unconscious mind. Meanwhile stretch we our limbs among this fragrant grass on the fenceless roadside. Felt ye e’er such elasticity in sofa, couch, ottoman, or settee? Well might that true worshipper and waiter-on of Nature, William Cowper, say of his active years—

'No sofa then awaited my return,
No sofa then I needed’.

We seem to be buoyed up upon air. Not the slightest sensation of an earthly or material presence affects our back as we lie extended, looking up into the stainless heavens. Up! we are looking down—down through limitless depths of blue into the concavity of space! We are reposing on a cloud. We are unconscious of anything but thought and sight— transcendental both, for neither has an object We think of nothing; we see nothing. Thought requires exertion, but our brains are passive; colour requires variety, but all that we see is blue ; and so blotted from our memory are past experiences that the blue is colourless, for it is the all-prevailing absolute blue! The wind has fallen; the clouds are folded; Apollo sits supreme in some distant region of the sky; we are in eternity! Are we not some disembodied spirit that knows nothing of its past, and fears nothing of its future—to whom there is an unpassing present of passionless repose? We are beyond the despotism of space and time; We are unconditioned ; we are escaped, lost, in the infinite silence!

There shot a hawk athwart our line of vision. How majestically does that small bird of prey drop down the horizon ! Kingly were he beside the hugest gander, for there is fire in his eye and freedom in his wing ; he is among the aristocrats * of the air ; you may observe his high-breeding in the pose of his small head ; he has drunk the fierce draught of liberty! How easy might imagination transform him into Jove’s own proud bird, the imperial and imperious eagle !—the bearer of the forked arrows of lightning fast griped in his talons, sitting majestically beside the father of gods and men : Jupiter, meanwhile, gazes lazily down from his empyrean girdled with the gleaming world’ upon the petty affairs of men.

But yonder among the trees on the lake-edge shines Tibby’s cosy cottage. At one stride we are over the bridge, have opened the rustic wooden yett, and have walked up the pretty gravel path bordered with all the hues on the July palette of Flora, queen of flowers, and into the little parlour. We hear the clicking of the drowsy old clock as we cross the threshold, and immediately on entering the tight little room, a big bluebottle, scared from his contemplation on the porcelain brow of a statuette of Christopher North adorning the mantelpiece, incontinently, and with much wrath in his bum, flies out at the open lattice, and we hear him grumbling till he is a good half-mile away down the water side. Shade of the crutch-bearing Kit of the North! What malicious hand, in what evil hour, hath been here to damage the salient promontory on the landscape of thy regal countenance ? Christopher without a nose!—worse by far than ear-cropping, for the want of these ‘ side intelligencers* thy luxuriant locks might conceal as did those of De Foe. An enemy hath done this, and the intense brutality of the malignity savours of Cockaigne. Some impudent Cockney smarting under some well-deserved castigation, personal or inherited, hath so wreaked his puny spite on our dead Scottish Lion. We hope the creature’s mauley suffered when it dared the sacrilegious blow ; and, as we live, here is a drop that looks of a dingy sanguine hue. Fe-fo-fum, we smell the blood of a—Cockney!

We are so far unfortunate that we are not to look upon the face of our venerable hostess today. Age rather than infirmity—she is well over her ninetieth year — is beginning to tell on her enfeebled frame. What a link is she to the generation of last century ! Waterloo! She had been ten or fifteen years a grown woman before it was thought of. What faces dear to. fame—but now no longer shining upon earth— has it been her lot to look upon. The great Sir Walter, the manly Wilson, the buirdly Shep herd ! strong and active, vigorous and full of life; and she has outlived them all. Another such term of years as her life has reached would take us back to the landing almost of the Prince of Orange.

But here comes at last a ‘ neat-handed Phillis/ and as we are going to dine—silence for the space of one hour ! The man that would interrupt the serious duty of eating with the small change of his talk has got not only an ungrateful stomach, but an uneasy mind. Let no such man be trusted.

Here on the grassy beach of lone St Mary’s let us with grateful heart and haggis recline among the scented verdure, and drink in at every pore the sweet influences of the season as they silently ply their ethereal tasks in sky, on land, and on the liquid element. Brought on a level with the greensward—which somewhere, sometime, we humbly and reverently hope to lie at rest beneath—the grass-blades fanning our face, and the lithe grass-hopper chirping at our ear—saw ever any man such beauty of form, such variety of colouring among the wild-flowers ? Where have our eyes been all day that we saw not the beauty that was flinging itself so lavishly under our careless feet? But now we bethink us, the hills we have just crossed are quite destitute of flowering herbs. Green, green as the dewy hills of Ireland were they, but their monotony of hue was unbroken by the white enamel even of the universal gowan, and it is too early for the purple gleam of heather. It seems to us—and we are rather delighted with the fancy—that all the wilding children of the Scottish hills—the hardy, gentle, graceful, uncared-for, yet affectionate little flowers of the wilderness, each with her bonny bit of colour—her blue, or red, or yellow, or white—have come tripping down the shingly mountains and by the dry grey cairns like fairies, as they are, to wash their bit faces, and in innocence of heart gaze at their own loveliness in St Mary’s. Here is their rendezvous— nay, their habitation, for too well do they love the Mother Lake ever again to leave her. Now if an artist could transfer this square yard of floral form and colour to canvas, and could so improve on his art as to communicate their gentle swayings, their languishing leanings, their saucy airs—what a power were his! and what a boon were the achievement all the year to some city-pent lover of Nature I Here is meadow-sweet, and mill-foil, and pile-wort— nay, rather let us give them the names our mothers taught us to know them by—yarra, both pale and blushing, with its fringed leaf; queen o’ meadow and celandine; crow-foot and marigold; the bluebell, swinging dreamily on its delicate, inky-blue stem ; the bonnie gowan with its clean white mutch—'wee, modest, crimson-tippit flooer;' the larger oxlip and buttercups; and even 'the rough bur-thistle spreading wide*—the 'symbol dear' of auld Scotland, and a flower, and a right royal flower it is, sturdy and independent, yet domesticated among the tender flowerets that put their trust in its thorny shadow.

We will give a guinea to the man who can tell us which day of the week it is. A week-day we are half-convinced it must be, but the calm around us is the reverential composure of Nature keeping Sabbath among the hills ! Surely there is a divine Spirit in the wilderness—such as the gentle poet of the Lakes found in the ravished hazel wood. The man that would kill a gowlock here were guilty of murder. Why hear we not the * church-going bell?' Yonder is the little temple where our shepherds and shepherdesses of the district meet to. worship. How tranquilising to the mind the very view of its silent spire pointing to heaven like the finger of God/ as seen among the encircling bushes across the placid lake. Community of worship here!— what a blessed thing it must be! The solitary lives of the communicants must make them open their hearts with a sympathy towards each other unknown among the too often cold and indifferent congregations of towns. Here, with Coleridge, we could say that it were a goodly thing

To walk together to the kirk
With a goodly companie;
To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,

While each on the great Father calls—
Rich and poor, and high and low,
And youth and maiden gay.’
We quote at least the sentiment.

But we must be ‘up, Timothy; up with our staff and away! * And yet, before going, there is one thing we should not like to omit noticing. It is in connection with the bareness of the scenery, both of hill and lake, which has been in our vision most of this day; and the strange fascination which the scenery, in spite of its bareness, has had upon the imagination. We mean simply to notice the phenomenon. Each poetical visitor to these pastoral uplands has prefaced the account of his experience with the question—Andy now that the visit is an accomplished fact, what, after all\ is it that I went cut to see ? That is the plain prose of their experience. Of course the Sons of Song put it more melodiously. Hear Wordsworth:—

‘What’s Yarrow, but a river bare,
That glides the dark hills under;
There are a hundred such elsewhere
As worthy of your wonder.
Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown;
It must, or we shall rue it;
For when we’re there-
’Twill be another Yarrow!’

And again when, eleven years later, he did venture to see it, and to know it in reality, in spite of the warning given him by other visitors as well as by his own prophetic heart, he says,—

'And is this—Yarrow? This the stream
Of which my fancy cherished
So faithfully, a waking dream?
An image that hath—-perish'd! ’

Now, contrast the disparagement and disappointment respectively in these two quotations with the following expressions, by the same poet, of praise and of unanticipated pleasure. First,—

'Earth has something yet to show—
The bonny holms of Yarrow!’

And secondly,—

'I know, where’er I go,
Thy genuine image, Yarrow!
Will dwell with me to heighten joy,
And cheer my mind in sorrow!’

Now, hear Professor Shairp,—

‘Will ye gang wi’ me and fare
To the bush aboon Traquair?
Owre the high Minchmuir we’ll up and awa’
This bonny simmer noon
While the sun shines fair aboon
And the licht sklents saftly down on holm and ha’

Then comes in the spirit of Peter Bell, if Peter had one; he pokes in with his gruff interrogatory,—

‘And what wad ye do there,
At the bush aboon Traquair?
A lang dreich road, ye had better lat it be;
Save some auld skrunts o' birk? the hill-side lirk,
There’s nocht i’ the warld for man to see!’

But the poet made the pilgrimage, and, though Peter was indisputably, in the gross sense, correct in his croakings of bareness and uselessness, the poet, moreover, was satisfied. Let us ask him, and listen to his reply,—

'And what saw ye there,
At the bush aboon Traquair?
Or what did ye hear that was worth yer heed?
I heard the cushies croon
Through the gowden afternoon,
And the Quair Burn singing doun to the vale o’ Tweed.

'And birks saw I three or four,
Wi’ grey moss bearded owre,
The last that are left o’, the birken shaw,
Where fond lovers did convene
Mony a simmer e’en—
Thae bonny, bonny gloamings that are lang awa’.

‘They were blest beyond compare
When they held their trystin’ there,
On thae greenest hills shone on by the sun.’

Why should we multiply quotations? Have not the holms of Yarrow been from time immemorial ‘dowie dens?’ They are ‘dowie,’ they are ‘bare dark hills/ and ‘there is nocht in the warld for man to see at them. That is so; they are all these through the tameness, and sameness, and poverty of their scenery. And the general scenery of the entire stretch of country comprising the South Scottish Uplands, from St Abb's Head, in Berwickshire, to the western limits of Galloway, may fairly be described in the same or similar terms. So that the fascination, the glamourie, is extrinsic—it is communicated; it is of human origin. The shifting scenes of human life, comedy and tragedy together, enacted long ago in these pastoral wilds, have left their interest, their beauty, their passion shadowed on the hill-sides, and reflected on the waters on and beside which they were, originally and as incidents of actual history, in truest reality represented. These shadows and reflections diversify, as it were, with a subdued chequering of shade and shadow the spectral bareness of a region that boasts no other variety of character.

But lo! what heavenly apparition on the blue bosom of the tranced lake 'comes this way sailing?’ Not otherwise into the youthful mind of poet glides the first dawning of fancy’s ray. It is the visual presentment of the genius loci— the genie of the lake—the one Being without whom the region were forsaken indeed—the actual swan of tradition! And, true to the cherished image, the fairy conjuration of poesy —floating double, swan and shadow! With what a stately air the graceful creature moves hitherward, propelled as by mere volition, selfgoverned without sign or hint of exertion—like Wordsworth’s summer cloud that

‘Heedeth not the loud winds when they call,
But moveth altogether, if it move at all.’

What divine arching of neck, what purity of plumage, what gentle rounding of unruffled bosom cushioned on the unmurmuring waters! Diana herself among the water-lilies, and without a thought beyond the lovely solitude!

We will in fancy send our eyes over the Uplands of Southern Scotland, from the broad flat crown of Broad Law. We already feel ourselves standing on that sublime solitude, ankle-deep in the short, thick, verdant heather. But how is this? We look round us and round us, facing in succession ‘a’ the airts the wind can blaw', and hills we see none; we seem to be in the centre of an extensive plateau, or rather plain —for not at first have we the idea of elevation, and are at last only brought to the conception of a table-land by the extreme fineness of the air which tickles our lungs, fills our brain-cells with a delightful intoxication, and gives keenness and breadth of range to our eyes. We recollect, however, that we are somewhere close upon a thousand yards above the sea-level, and that therefore this surrounding district that gives us the notion of a table-land intersected by shadowy cuts, and gashes, and trenches, must be after all a series of long broad-backed lesser hills vanishing away—away—till they become sublimated to a blue mist, yet with a clear outline, leaning against the paler blue of the sky. These cuts, which cross the field of our view mainly from south-west to north-east, and which lie like shady lines on the clearer landscape, are then, we know, glens and haughs and valleys, through each of which, though lost to view, winds some singing, shining stream. In yon dark hollow the infant Tweed is shouting in the delirium of newly-found freedom; in this winding glen the Meggat is toying with the wild flowers which the amorous banks hold forth to her in passing; in that fairy strath trips along to the distant Annan the shallow Moffat, unscreened from the morning or the evening sun. Who can count all the lines that, from this commanding Law, are seen to give character, after all, to the somewhat monotonous landscape ? And every one of them is a bonny green glen, soberly cheerful with the lulling sound of running water. Suppose these glens filled up, and the voice of the streams hushed, smothered beneath the superimposed layers of earth—now, at length, you have your flat, unvaried table-Iand, your raised sea-bottom. Yes! we may believe the geologist—the Scottish Uplands, as well as the Northern Highlands, derived the plateau-seeming character of their surface, which they present to the eye that surveys them generally, from the action of waves and tides—the instruments of destruction of the great leveller, the ocean. Not once or twice in the world’s unrecorded history, we may be sure, have these Uplands been subjected to the equalising influences of the sea.

Are not the hills like so many sheep-backs when the dry-stane circular fauld is full of the bleating congregation at merry sheep-shearing times ? And do not the valley-lines exhibit the most perfect and natural system of drainage that the most enthusiastic engineer could dream of or devise ? An old sea-bottom then, a pastoral upland now. Then sea-monsters—leviathans, and megatheria, and jokatheria—wallowed in their unwieldy joy among the umbrageous dulse and tangle that overspread yon former ocean-floor ; now peaceful sheep and social grouse dot the verdant hillsides, or cuddle and confab together amorously among the darker green of the unblown heather.

But hold! whose statue meets us face to face?

Adrian’s or Titus'? No; ’tis that of HOGG. Very proper the feeling that found expression to the Shepherds praise in stone, and very creditable to our Scottish dalesmen this carved monument in memory of their tuneful brother of the crook. But we question after all the need, not to mention the taste, that placed this lifeless effigy in remembrance of the immortal bard among the hills and waters that are ever lisping—no,, that won't do—bleating and swelling the honours of his name. Never shall that day dawn, so long as the Scottish tongue is an instrument of vocal utterance, when the pilgrim of nature, as he journeys through the hallowed basin of the Tweed, shall fail in fancy’s ear to hear the blithe—the jolly—Shepherd of Ettrick whistling through his native glens. It's no’ beneath the pinnacled monument, nor yet upon the storied stone, but in the affectionate hearts and on the grateful tongues of his fellow-countrymen, and brother dalesmen to all generations, that the name and fame of James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, the author of the ‘Queen's Wake,’ the father of ‘Bonny Kilmeny,' and mony a braw sang besides, shall or should find its most endearing and most undying temple, shrine, and habitation. Would not he himself have preferred as the text for his panegyric his own most melodious lines, so happy in their expression of humble but loving contentment?—

‘Then when the gloamin’ comes,
Low in the heather blooms,
Sweet let my welcome and bed of love be!’

Let us, in the fashion of a Greek chorus, apostrophising the departing Shepherd who has just made choice of his last resting-place both of body and name, say or chant together in conclusion,—

‘Emblem of happiness,
Blest be thy dwelling-place!
Oh, to abide in the desert with thee!
Now, westward ho! for Moffat.

What white flashing yonder breaks in foam down the hill-steep?—and the muffled thunder, that some distance back first broke on our ear-drum a faint, faint sound of ethereal tenuity, the minimum audibile of sound—can it be our Scottish Staubach, our Velino? Already the bass is losing its force, being smothered with layers of intervening air—we know the wonder, and pass it in no contemptuous mood, for we have felt its beauty and its power, and have gazed erewhile on the ponded tarn from which its waters leap, like another Anio, in foam— the dark giving birth to the fair, the dead to the living, the night to the glorious dawn. We have not forgotten the black rocks that ‘ frown round dark Loch Skene*—grand in their gloom, miserable in their melancholy, sullen in their strength, guarding with a jealousy that is bordering on anger, the unsunned waters lying at their feet, gift-given into their charge long eons ago by some translated glacier. But let the rocks and the hills stand firm—motion and music are the natural attributes of the water; and see where she steals with gentle cunning through the terminal moraine, and in glad experience of freedom, escaped the shadow of the parent rock, leaps into the valley and the sunshine, and streams down the long green glen singing on her seaward way! So from the sunless harem of some jealous Turk the fair, young, newly-arrived captive escapes by the lattice to the arms of her Frankish lover! Not otherwise from the shuttered house of Shylock tripped forth into the moonlight the lovely Jessica, and sought love and liberty with Lorenzo in the gardens at Belmont!

'Tis time, before we pass from-their sterner features, to notice the walls—the green hill-walls—of the glen we are speeding down so noiselessly. In the upper end the scenery is sufficiently wild and lofty to be suggestive of a real Highland glen. The braes are not so uniformly green, not so rounded, and less gentle in their acclivities to stand as the typical braes of the Scottish Uplands. It is hardly fair— indeed, quite incorrect—to call these slopes 'braes;' they are the flanks of mountains. Look up! there is a good long ascent, and the angle of elevation with the horizon cannot be less than thirty degrees; it looks nearer forty. Notice yon black escarpment on the brow of the hill—these knobs on the hillsides—these long breadths of shingle—these big angular blocks of detached stone at the bottom of the glen. We have seen little of these signs—so distinctive of true Highland scenery—to-day. In other respects, however, the upper end of the glen borrows none of the traits of northern scenery. It is still of a prevailing green—the green of short natural grass, unvaried by the taller fern and bracken, unrelieved by the purple of fox-glove, blue-bell, or heather-bloom—treeless and bushless, save by the burnie-side; and even there, bush and tree are a scanty product. By-and-by, however, as we journey down the glen, signs of cultivation begin to relieve the monotony ; here is a delightful and fertile haugh waving with the bearded barley; yonder the stream is screened from Apollo’s burning glances by the cool dark green of a grove of alders; woods begin to appear; farms, mansion-houses, and country-seats. We turn a bend in the road, and, lo! the chimneys of Moffat and sunset on the mountains.

There is more of poetry, philosophy, and religion awakened in our souls by the declining than by the ascending day. Dawn is an incentive to action ; sunset conduces to contemplation.

Dawn makes us in love with the fair earth, our temporal habitation ; but the cloudy splendours of the setting sun raise our thoughts to ‘cloudless skies aboon. Light—at all times holy—seems (in the language of George Eliot) ‘ holier in its grand decline.’ The poets have ever been in their happiest moods at evening, for then poetry and religion are at one. Even the devotee, the priest of the sensual gods and goddesses, Eros and Dionysus—Venus and Bacchus—turns from his idols to the contemplation and worship of a purer and more exalted divinity—

‘When light with parting beam delays
Among the opening clouds of even,
And we can almost think we gaze
Through golden vistas into heaven—
Those hues that mark the sun’s decline,
So grand, so glorious, Lord, are thine! ’

But what pen or pencil shall dare to copy the glories of yon sunset? Can only the mysterious power of memory take in and retain for us the divine grandeur of yon blending of mountain, cloud, and light? We must be dumb, for we are no poet, and none but a child of genius can adequately describe a sunset. Let us be silent, then; or, if we must have yon splendid poem, written in characters of the sun against the western firmament, set to earthly music ere it be quite forgotten among the children of men, let us listen to the sweet notes of the American quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, who alone, in our estimation, has as yet with some degree of success sung the glories and interpreted the mysteries of sunset—

'Touched by a light that hath no name,
A glory never sung,
Aloft on sky and mountain-wall
Are God’s great pictures hung.
How changed the summits vast and old!
No longer granite-browed,
They melt in rosy mist; the rock
Is softer than the cloud;
The valley holds its breath; no leaf
Of all its elms is twirled—
The silence of eternity
Seems falling on the world.

'The pause before the breaking seals
Of mystery is this—
Yon miracle-play of Night and Day
Makes dumb its witnesses.
What unseen altar crowns the hills
That reach up stair on stair?
What eyes look through, what white wings fan
These purple veils of air?
What Presence from the heavenly heights
To those of earth looks down?
Not vainly Hellas dreamed of gods
On Ida’s snowy crownI
Slow fades the vision of the sky.
The golden water pales,
And over all the valley-land
A grey-winged vapour sails.
‘I go the common way of all;

he sunset fires will burn,
The flowers will blow, the river flow,
When I no more return.
No whisper from the mountain pine,
Nor lapsing stream shall tell .
The stranger, treading where I tread,
Of him who loved them well.

'But beauty seen is never lost,
God’s colours all are fast;
The glory of this sunset heaven
Into my soul has passed—
A sense of gladness, unconfined
To mortal date or clime;
As the soul liveth, it shall live
Beyond the years of time;
Beside the mystic asphodels
Shall bloom the home-born flowers,
And new horizons flush and glow
With sunset hues of ours.

‘Farewell! These smiling hills must wear
Too soon their wintry frown,
And snow-cold winds from off them shaker
The maple’s red leaves down.
But I shall see a summer sun
Still setting broad and low;
The mountain-slopes shall blush and bloom,
The golden waters flow.
A lover’s claim is mine on all
I see to have and hold—
The rose-light of perpetual hills,
And sunsets never cold! ’

Beautiful in thought, fancy, feeling, and expression! Look again at the main idea that gives such lofty and such original colouring to the penultimate stanza. What a graceful concession does the soul in that stanza make to the weak, but after all amiable companion of its earthly exile! Here is that harmony of mind with matter, of soul with the things of sense, where the former yet preserves its legitimate supremacy. Of such a union Beauty is the offspring:—

‘She is the birth
Of the sweet sympathy of man with earth.’

Next morning up early — and away! for though we do not go to bed with the lark we like to rise with him. And yonder he goes, his grey, homely wings transmuted into silver and gold in the red beams of the rising sun. See with what elasticity of motion he leaps up the sky, and mark the tremulous quivering of his wing that thrills in the ecstasy of returning life, and light, and freedom. What devouter worshipper at the shrine of Nature’s great divinity, the sun, will you find among the feathered folk than the laverock? The yellow-billed merle hops from his couch or his roosting-twig close by ‘the hopes of his household,’ and, lifting his liquid eye heavenward through the interstices of his favourite hedge, pours forth his melodious orisons to the great luminary. The mavis leaps forth from his snug cradle in the shelf of the flounced and furbelowed pine-tree, and straight hies him to the spiry pinnacle of the same, from whence he directs sunward the stream of his praise till the wide coppice rings and echoes to its utmost bounds. And so with the other birds, each after his manner. Some, indeed, such as ‘the wren with little bill,' treble out their thin note of acknowledgment in a querulous or mechanical kind of way, while they busy themselves all the time in beginning the petty labours of the day. The ‘ bird that man loves best, the pious bird with the scarlet breast ’—Robin—keeps his piety for winter, and even then it is, we much fear, rather a counterfeit to procure admission to the soup-kitchen, and a claim on the charity of the flannel-waistcoat committee ; but in summer he is no hypocrite—on the contrary, he is a shameless little profligate and infidel—a paunchy epicurean—a juicy lover of tit-bits, however come by—a sleek depredator whose crimson expansion of vest and jolly rotundity and unfailing good luck keep him respectable; chickweed, groundsel, and the whole race of seeds generally are for his Fridays, and his Lent, and his physic to diminish his obesity or counteract a threatened plethora of fat things ; he prefers fish and flesh to vegetable; he thinks a snail as good as you do an oyster; he loves a dish of vermicelli, all alive, all alive! ’—he smacks his mandibles over a caterpillar; he enjoys the luxury of the fluttering butterfly, who is at its wit's end to escape him; he will make no bones, the little scoundrel, of the industrious bee; he says no grace, and returns no thanks; he has no song to salute the reascending orb ; his first thought on getting over the bed-stock is breakfast! a devilled kidney or a Scotch collop, with plenty of mustard ; or if his wee head is aching after the night's debauchery, a Soda-and-B.! Even the crow—we mean the social rook—the sparrow, and the swallow have a caw, and a chirp, and a twitter in lieu of matin song—brief and too often unmusical though they be—with which, ere they address themselves to their several vocations, they hail the awakening dawn. We except the carrion crow—for his first words on slouching to the doorway of his dilapidated hovel are addressed to his sooty spouse in the question—‘Whar sail we gang an' dine the Klay?' But the laverock, light-hearted, harmless, happy bird—the laureate of the feathered choir—lofty only in his desire and power to be and to express himself as grateful and contented ; he ascends in the fervour of his devotion from the lowly plain, above the hedges, and the forests, and the hills, up to the very gates of morning! No Pharisee is this sweet guileless bird—he places himself afar off, for his thanksgiving is not for others to hear,, though hear it they do and admire, but is addressed primarily to his Great Benefactor—the sun. Nor till he has fully told out his orisons—our little plumaged Parsee, whose ancestors had worshipped the Fire-god ages before Zoroaster taught a heathen creed—not till he has unburdened his heart of joy, gratitude, and thanks* giving, does he drop down again to the affairs of earth. Nor does his religion end with the morning song, for he will return again and again twenty times in a day to his tower and temple of praise in the blue dome of the sky. Therefore have the poets loved him, and revealed the beauty of his life to the children of men—Shakespeare, and Shelley, and Wordsworth ; these are among the masters of men, but they got part of their teaching from the laverock.

We are now in the valley of the Milk, a tributary of the Annan. Well-wooded is the valley, and patches of pine-wood diversify the surrounding region, yet hardly save the country from being characterised as mainly bare. Bare it may be, but the hilly landscape is clad in a coating of green, whose gloss is untarnished by the smoke of coal-pit or iron-furnace; and now while we view it, glittering in the copious dews of dawn. How brightly against the emerald hill slopes show the trim whitewashed farmhouses. Let us leap this wayside fence on our left as we journey southward, and ascend yon flat-topped hill which seems to command the adjacent country. It is—you may be familiar with the name—the green hill of Burnswerk, or Birrenswark, for the spelling is various. It is one of the landmarks of Eastern Dumfriesshire. You may remember that Scott, in the most profoundly tragic and pathetic of all his prose* dramas, ‘The Bride of Lammermuir/ makes Lucy Ashton the loveliest maiden of the Lowlands of Scotland, reckoning from Burnswerk to Berwick Law. As we climb the soft springy acclivity, look through that clump of firs, and behold the very picture that Wordsworth so graphically describes in his ‘Leechgatherer':—

*The hare is running races in her mirth;
And with her feet she from the plashy earth
Raises a mist, which, glittering in the sun,
Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.’

Not less observant was the eye of Burns to the habits and manners of the wild animals of his country when, in describing the hare that has just risen from her form, he says, ‘The hare is hirplin’ down the fur.' Very expressive is the term that here defines the motion of the newly-awakened hare, and very correct; but our hare is the hare that Wordsworth no less actually saw, only it has got past the ‘hirplin' period of the morning, and is taking a constitutional exercise to get up an appetite for those growing turnips whose aroma you may feel blending with the various breath of the morning.

But here we are at the base of the hill proper—a little marshy—but fear no treachery ; there isn't a single well-e'e to dismay you. Now, gents, we must spiel the hill in good style—so

‘Without stop or stay,
Up the grassy brae.’
And now—open your eyes and circutnspice!

High hills in the background to the north— the Lowthers; high hills in the far west—the '‘hills o' Gallowa.' Yonder, among them, but in front, are Maxwelltown Braes; and a little that way—mark the direction of our digit—Criffel! Do you know the story of Criffel by which it got its name? It should have been in the repository of anecdote of Alfred Jingle. England once as hilly as Scotland now, Devil— very odd—no accounting for motives—took it into his head to carry off English hills to Scotland—got them all to the north-west corner— busy carrying over the Solway—used a creel to carry them in—waded—nearly all over—old Scotch wife with sow-back looked out of window —Devil frightened—let the creel fall just as he was landing—there the burden lies—Criffel— Creel-fell!

Yes! that silver streak to the south-west is the Solway. Mark how it gradually widens seaward till it seems—in the language of an unknown poet—4 to wed with the sky.' Yonder is a tidy bit craft getting out from the little harbour of Annan—they are putting up sail— how her canvas shines like the wings of a seagull! Fancy you are in the eighteenth century, and she may prove the Jumping Jenny, In the novel of ‘Redgauntlet' returning in ballast to the south side of the firth after discharging overnight her cargo of contraband liquids. But the tide must be going out, for you may already notice a good breadth of gleaming brown sand edging the silver water; the Fiord held a brimmer an hour ago, but you know the rapidity of the Solway tides—* Love swells like the Solway, and ebbs like its tide.’ Beyond the firth you can clearly descry the seaside hamlets of Cumberland—the morning light is ‘sklenting' brightly off their slate roofs. Farther distant are the mountains of the English Lake district, some of the loftier eminences you can spot—Skiddaw, Scafell, Helvellyn, etc., and, running away eastward to beyond our view, the blue aerial ridges of the Cheviots—the old boundary line between the rival kingdoms of England and Scotland. Right to our east, from the Lowthers to the Cheviots, lies an extension of the same pastoral region of bare green hills and bare green holms which we saw yesterday from Broad Law top. The southland straths just beside us are Eskdale (it was this Esk that young Lochinvar stemmed so gallantly) and Annandale with its confluent dales of the Dryfe and the Milk—the latter on our right hand as we look south, Eskdale on our left.

But what long turf-clad ramparts and rounded gowany hillocks are these on the southern slope of the hill on whose level summit we are standing? A freak of Nature they cannot be, for no freak of Nature ever yet manifested itself in mounds so regularly drawn, or so mathematically exact in the figure which their well-defined ridges mark out. The enclosure is none other than the site of an ancient Roman camp. Here you have a fine specimen of the engineering skill of martial Rome and the stability of old Roman workmanship. Even yet, though these earthern works were thrown up seventeen centuries ago, the larger and more important features of the castra-ground stand forth in distinct alto-relievo, green from the green hillside. The camp must have accommodated a respectable body of Roman legionaries, for it forms a square of somewhere about or over a hundred yards on the side. A fosse, broad and green, and partly filled up in some places, but never to a level with the surrounding ground, runs round the entire square—a good quarter of a mile—except where occurs the gateways that gave entrance to the fortified enclosure. From the bottom of the sosse to the top of the mound or earth-dyke which it encloses is a height of about five feet, in some places even more; if you descend to make more minute investigation you will he surprised at the grand scale on which has been executed a work that shows like a Liliputian camp when viewed from the summit of the hill. Yon three dwarf hillocks Aat stand in line at equal distances on the northern side of the camp, and right in front of the three principal portce or entrances which they were meant to defend, are at least twelve feet in vertical altitude. You notice that they, too, have their demi-lune of fosse protecting their outward slopes. In the north-eastern corner are clear traces of what we take to have been the strongest portion of the camp—the general's quarters, the prcetorium— though we confess ourselves by the conjecture liable to a home-thrust from some local Edie Ochiltree. Down the very middle of the camp-proper runs a rill of purest cold water, not without a suggestion of iron in its taste; and here, also within the camp, is the spring itself, doubtless bubbling up as pellucidly as when, so many many years ago, the heated soldier, Caius or Marcius or Publius, dipped his burnished helmet among its liquid crystal, and slaked his Roman thirst. The whole enclosure, we have already stated, is on the southern slope of the hill, from the top of which its nearest boundary line is distant some ninety or a hundred yards. It was' thus protected from the cold blasts of winter which blow from the north, and lay finely exposed to the rays of the summer sun. We think it was no mere temporary camp, but stativa castra—a camp that was used as a kind of depdt, and constantly garrisoned. A line of sentinels on the ridge that begins from Burnswerk would command the motions of an enemy for many miles all round, and could rouse with a shout, or a trumpet-blast, the whole camp beneath from its midnight slumbers. Go where you will in a country that has been subjected to Roman invasion, you will find that the Romans chose their heights of observation and their sites of fortification, with an adaptation of means to ends that, in men unacquainted with the character of the land-surface, cannot but call up our admiration ; and the thorough-going style of their work is still visible to us, in roads and walls, as well as in camps, after the passage of nearly two millenniums.

Look southward from Burnswerk top. You can readily guess the route by which the Romans entered Caledonia. On the very ridge of yon distant mountains that shut in our view to the south, and which, we know, run along the western side of Ulleswater in Westmoreland —on yon mountain ridge, at an elevation of in some places twenty or thirty hundred feet, runs a Roman stratum or road, bearing present witness alike to the indomitable pluck, which no impediment of Nature could daunt, and to the stability of structure, which has lasted for so many centuries, of those early conquerors of our island. That road goes on to Penrith, and thence to the wall of Severus, stretching still,, though in broken traces only, from the Solway to the Tyne. Here and there along the line of that road are frequent signs of Roman fortification. From England to Scotland the route which the Romans would naturally take on their first invasion under Agricola, about the year of our Lord 80, is across the mouth of the Esk, where its current is lost in the opening firth, and thence in a line almost straight to our encampment on the brow of Burnswerk. But possibly this encampment was not the work of Agricola, nor, indeed, thrown up anterior to the wall of Severus early in the third century. If the latter supposition—not the most probable one, in our estimation—be correct, then this camp must have been constructed by the last generation of Romans that occupied our country—in other words, some time between the close of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century. We rather incline to think that it was marked out and made during the first occupation of Scotland—that is, between the years 80 and 200 or thereby.

And who shall tell its history since then? Doubtless its existence and signification were well known to the brave Strathclyde heroes, who, thrown upon their own military resources after the departure of the Romans, gathered around Arthur and such as Arthur—whoever at the time might be the champion of ancient British freedom against the encroachments of the heathen Saxons. The tradition of its use and meaning was then fresh in the country. But what, think you, were the ideas of the old Borderers, Scotch or English, as, in their forays upon the territory of each other, going or returning, their line of march took them over these grassy mounds? What should we not give to ascertain the thought of some Geordie Bourne, or other thieving mosstrooper, anent the raison d'etre of this enclosure, as some moonlighted night or early morning he drove at leisure his lowing booty over the solitary mounds and ditches? Lonely enough, in all truth, they are now. The sheep are feeding tranquilly on their wind-swept herbage. Where, in old old days, salt was used and bread broken daily by trusty brothers-in-arms, the nettle waves its melancholy green—emphatic type of desertion—and the thistle erects its head and flings out its regardless branches on the very walls of the old Roman camp, in sturdy assertion of Scotland's right and resolution to be free!


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