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into it, the stream began to assume the importance of a river, and boats were launched on it and rolled on in a meandering course through a teeming country, freshening whatever it touched, and giving the whole scene a new character and beauty.
As it moved on now in majesty and pride, the sound of its gently heaving billows formed itself into the following words:
'At the outset of life, however humble we may seem, there may be in store for us great and unexpected opportunities of doing good and of being great. In the hope of these we should ever pass on without despair or doubt, trusting that perseverance will bring in its own reward. How little I dreamed when I first sprang on my course, what purposes I was destined to fulfil. What happy beings were to owe their bliss to me! What lofty trees, what velvet meadows what golden harvests were to hail my career. Let not the meek and lowly despair—heaven will supply them with noble inducements to virtue.'
LESSON II. Manners of the Scottish Highlanders.
The Highlanders were composed of a number of tribes called clans, each of which bore a different name, and lived upon the lands of a different chieftain. The members of every tribe were tied one to another not only by the feudal, but by the patriarchal, bond; for while the individuals who composed it, were vassals or tenants of their own hereditary chieftain, they were also descended from his family, and could count exactly the degree of their descent.
The right of primogeniture had, in the revolution of centuries, converted these natural principles of connexion between the chieftain and his people, into the most sacred ties of human life. The castle of the chieftain was a kind of palace, to which every man of his tribe was made welcome; where he was entertained according to his station, in time of peace, and whither all flocked, at the sound of war. Thus the meanest of the clan, knowing himself to be as well-born as the head of it, revered in his chieftain his own honor, loved in his clan his own blood, complained not of the difference of station into which Fortune had thrown him, and respected himself. •
The chieftain in return bestowed a protection, founded equally on gratitude, and the consciousness of his own interest. Hence the Highlanders, whom more savage nations called savage, carried in the outward expression of their manners the politeness of courts without their vices, and in their bosoms the high point of honor without its follies.
In countries where the surface is rugged, and the climate uncertain, there is little room for the use of the plough; and where no coal is to be found, and few provisions can be raised, there is still less for that of the anvil and shuttle. As the Highlanders were, upon these accounts, excluded from extensive agriculture and manufactures alike, every family raised just as much grain, and made as much raiment as sufficed for itself; and Nature, whom Art cannot force, destined them to the life of shepherds. Hence, they had not that excess of industry which reduces man to a machine, nor that total want of it which sinks him into a rank of animals below his own.
They lived in villages built in valleys and by the sides of rivers. At two seasons of the year, they were busy; the one, in the end of spring and beginning of summer, when they put the plough into the little land they had capable of receiving it, sowed their grain, and laid in their provision of turf for the winter's fuel; the other, just before winter, when they reaped their harvest: the rest of the year was all their own for amusement or for war.
If not engaged in war, they indulged themselves in summer in the most delicious of all pleasures, to men in a cold climate and a romantic country, the enjoyment of the sun and of the summer-views of nature; never in the house during the day, even sleeping often at night in the open air among the mountains and woods.
They spent the winter in the chase while the sun was up, and, in the evening, assembled round a common fire, they entertained themselves with the song, the tale, and the dance: but they were ignorant of sitting, days and nights, at games of skill or hazard, amusements which keep the body in inaction, and the mind in a state of vicious activity!
The want of a good and even of a fine ear for music, was almost unknown amongst them; because it was kept in continual practice among the multitude from passion, but by the wiser few, because they knew that the love of music both heightened the courage, and softened the tempers, of the people. Their vocal music was plaintive, even to the depth of melancholy; their instrumental either lively for brisk dances, or martial for the battle.
Some of their tunes even contained the great but natural idea of a history described in music: the joys of a marriage, ihe noise of a quarrel, the sounding to arms, the rage of a battle, the broken disorder of a flight, the whole concluding with the solemn dirge and lamentation for the slain. By the loudness and artificial jarring of their war-instrument, the bagpipe, which played continually during the action, theii spirits were exalted to a frenzy of courage in battle.
They joined the pleasures of history and poetry to those of music, and the love of classical learning to both; for, in order to cherish high sentiments in the minds of all, every considerable family had a historian who recounted, and a bard who sang, the deeds of the clan and of its chieftain: . and all, even the lowest in station, were sent to school in their youth; partly because they had nothing else to do at that age, and partly because literature was thought the distinction, not the want of it the mark, of good birth.
The severity of their climate, the height of their mountains, the distances of their villages from each other, their love of the chase and of war, with their desire to visit and be visited, forced them to great bodily exertions. The vastness of the objects which surrounded them, lakes, mountains, rocks, cataracts, extended and elevated their minds; for they were not in the state of men who only knew the way from one market town to another.
When strangers came amongst them, they received them not with a ceremony which forbids a second visit, not with a coldness which causes repentance of the first, not with an embarrassment which leaves both the landlord and his guest in equal misery, but with the most pleasing of all politeness, the simplicity and cordiality of affection, proud to give that hospitality which they had not received, and to humble the persons who had thought of them with contempt, by showing how little they deserved it.
Having been driven from the low countries of Scotland by invasion, they from time immemorial thought themselves entitled to make reprisals upon the property of their invaders; but they touched not that of each other: so that in the same men, there appeared, to those who did not look into the causes of things, a strange mixture of vice and of virtue; tor what we call theft and rapine, they termed right and justice: but from the practice of these reprisals, they acquired the habits of being enterprising, artful, and bold.
The lightness and looseness of their dress, the custom they had of going always on foot, never on horseback, their love of long journeys, but above all, that patience of hunger and every kind of hardship, which carried their bodies forward, even after their spirits were exhausted, made them exceed all other European nations in speed and perseverance of march. Montrose's marches were sometimes sixty miles in a day, without food or halting, over mountains, along rocks, and through morasses.
An injury done to one of the clan was held as an injury done to all, on account of the common relation of blood. Hence the Highlanders were in the habitual practice of war; and hence their attachment to their chieftain and to each other, was founded upon the two most active of all principles, love of their friends and resentment against their enemies.
But the frequency of war tempered its ferocity: they bound up the wounds of their prisoners, while they neglected their own, and in the person of an enemy, respected and pitied the stranger.
They went always completely armed: a fashion which, by accustoming them to the instruments of death, removed the fear of death itself, and which, from the danger of provocation, made the common people as polite and as guarded in their behavior, as the gentry of other countries.
To be modest as well as brave; to be contented with the few things which nature requires; to act and to suffer without complaining; to be as much ashamed of doing anything insolent or injurious to others, as of bearing it when done to themselves, and to die with pleasure in revenging the affronts offered to their clan or their country; these they accounted their highest accomplishments.
"Why is my sleep disquieted?
Who is he that calls the dead ?"—Byron.
Iit the beginning of the fine month of October, I was travelling with a friend in one of our northern states, on a tour of recreation and pleasure. We were tired of the city, its noise, its smoke, and its unmeaning dissipation; and, with the feelings of emancipated prisoners, we had been breathing, for a few weeks, the perfume of the vales, and the elastic atmosphere of the uplands.
Some minutes before the sunset of a most lovely day, we entered a neat little village, whose tapering spire we had caught sight of at intervals an hour before, as our road made an unexpected turn, or led us to the top of a hill. Having no motive to urge a farther progress, and being unwilling to ride in an unknown country after night-fall, we stopped at the inn, and determined to lodge there.
Leaving my companion to arrange our accommodations with the landlord, I strolled on toward the meeting-house. Its situation had attracted my notice. There was much more taste and beauty in it than is common. It did not stand, as I have seen some meeting houses stand, in the most frequented part of the village, blockaded by wagons and horses, with a court-house before it, an engine-house behind it, a store-house under it, and a tavern on each side; it stood away from all these things, as it ought, and was placed on a spot of gently rising ground, a short distance from the main road, at the end of a green lane; and so near to a grove of oaks and walnuts, that one of the foremost and largest trees brushed against the pulpit window.
On the left, and lower down, there was a fertile meadow, through which a clear brook wound its course, fell over a rock, find then hid itself in the thickest part of the grove. A little to the right of the meeting-house was the graveyard.
I never shun a grave-yard—the thoughtful melancholy which it inspires is grateful rather than disagreeable to me—it gives me no pain to tread on the green roof of that dark mansion, whose chambers I must occupy so soon— and I often wander from choice to a place, where there is neither solitude nor society—something human is there— but the folly, the bustle, the vanities, the pretensions, the competitions, the pride of humanity, are gone—men are there, but their passions are hushed, and their spirits are still—malevolence has lost its power of harming—appetite is sated, ambition lies low, and lust is cold—anger has done raving, all disputes are ended, all revelry is over, the fellest animosity is deeply buried, and the most dangerous sins