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—chased rapidly away, by the breath of November; the surface of the earth is now equally bare and exposed with the decayed superstructure it supports; the trees of the surrounding forest are now themselves equally torn and ruinous with the turrets they surround; there is nothing now on the surface of the landscape to come into competition with those objects upon which the approach of winter effects no perceptible change with the mouldering battlement, which lifts its head midst the clouds,- -or the mutilated archway, which opens up its Gothc span from beneath. These objects now receive us like friends, who, withut any parade of promise or of smile, have yet stood the test of time and adversity. They are the "Cordelias" of ur winter rambles, and present us with subjects of interesting reflection, when their elder sister, Vegetation, has efused us other entertainment. There is yet one existence," which, as it never has partaken of orm or modification of being, remains, nd must ever remain, undissolved :Mind-soul"-that within us, which inks, and feels, and wills, and acts. pon this "formless," uncompoundd, simple Unity, neither time nor rcumstances can act as a solvent. All at is visible—all that is even capable, y the power of imagination, to be ictured out into shape and substance, ay, by some law or other of Nature, e decomposed, and the shape, and e particular substance, may be denged and destroyed; but the soul man, like the great" Parent Spirit mself," is one and indivisible. Înto s native elements that cannot be reced, which already exists, and can ly exist in an elemental condition. ut of being that cannot, by any existarrangements, be driven, which lds a charter of existence, equal in thority, and similar in privilege, th all the first elements of dependent istence. So long as "Nihil interit" written over the doorway of the iverse, so long must that which is, dependently of mode and manner, ntinue to BE. What, then, is it to that the woodland is now strewed ch the wrecks of the season, and that church-yard has become a Noaber repository of dissolution and ay? The formless, unimaged, inceivable "Existence," which is perly and incontrovertibly "Self,"
cannot, in any case, yield to the approach of winter, or disappear under the pressure of time.
Having pursued some such train of thought as the above, a few days ago, till I had drifted considerably, both mentally and corporeally, out of my reckoning, I was suddenly arrested in the current of my reflections, and my attention directed to a number of Children who were disporting themselves, seemingly with great glee and enjoyment, on the banks of the Eden in the immediate neighbourhood of the "good town of C***** The mind is never better prepared for the enjoyment of cheerful company, or exhilarating ideas and emotions, than after it has had its full swing of thoughtfulness and serious meditation-I have seen the truth of this exemplified by many an old woman at a "funeral dregy;" by many a venerable and pious Clergyman on a Sabbath evening, and if I may be permitted the privilege of a reference to myself, by my own conduct and feelings upon the present occasion. So, ascending a little eminence from which I could observe the juvenile sports, I seated myself quietly upon a covered stone," and in a few seconds was completely and very agreeably interested.
Now, Mr Christopher, if you are one of those wise, sober, prudential personages, who, in all they do, and in all they say, and in all they write, have a constant reference to a certain length, and breadth, and altitude of character, which they have adopted for themselves as the proper standard, who are always saying, or thinking, or expressing by action, "how will this conduct or that deportment suit-how will it become me!" If, I say, you are one of those old musty fusty Prigs,-why you are not the man I took you for nor will you enter at all into my present feelings.-I can sit, man! a whole day, and have often done it too, on the parapet of a bridge, striking stones into the smooth pool below, observing the "dead man's plump" which they cut, the bells which they raised, and the successive and widening circles which played off and off to both bank and stream. Did you ever skip slaties, man, or swim them, all scaly and dry, adown the current? Did you ever play with "Bent-heads" at "soldiers," decapitating hundreds of the enemy with one single veteran, but tough necked and
invincible warrior? Did you ever lay the "wabron-leaf" over the hollow of one hand, and crack it like a pistol by a smart application of the other? Have you never caught "Bumbees" in bluidy fingers," and held them buzzing and humming to your neighbour's ear? Have you never calculated the hour of the day from the "Dandelion?" Have you never made ponds of rainwater after a flood, and exulted in seeing them fill? Have you never constructed a "boat" with a paper sail," and launched her without the aid of helm or compass, upon the "flood" you had collected? Have you never suspended a water wheel by two props, over a gullet, and leapt to observe the success of your contrivance? Have you never flown your dragon, with a well papered and nicely balanced tail, and sent up from time to time the rapidly ascending Messenger?-I speak not of the "Columbian"t mysteries of "Hy-spy," "Clecking-broad," and "Ring," these are sports into which even the most saturnine and heavyheaded Dolt that props a class, is compelled to join. But I say, and I swear it-if you have never entered with a degree of enthusiasm, of which even yet, the very recollection is most pleasing, into the above-mentioned amusements,-If you have never been," semel imbutus," you had better trudge. You are no fit Editor for Ebony, let me tell you, nor can you appreciate how much from my seat of grey stone and convenient elevation I enjoyed the "fun below." But my pleasure was only of short continuance, for chancing to look rather more attentively upon the face of a Scar beneath me, under and along which a new road had been lately driven, I thought I could discover something like a "bone" projecting out from the brow; and to my inexpressible surprise, upon a more accurate survey, I found that the materials out of which my young friends had constructed, and were still constructing, the implements of their fun and diversion, had once been appropriated to other purposes, having probably figured in the athletic form and manly deportment of their ancestors. Here a human thigh bone, with its knobbed extremity still smooth and en
tire, "did unco weel as a shinty,”—and there a crooked and still elastic rib-bone was converted into " a bow," and like the martial breast, which in all likelihood it once enclosed, it still delighted in warlike feats. Here a skull was laid upon its occiput, with the whole family of the passions under water, and having a white stick by way of a mast thrust immediately across the organ of "veneration." Two Collies, (dogs) which had long shared the sport with the shinty-players, after having receiv ed some pretty intelligible hints from their associates in the game, to make themselves scarce, had taken to the graving of bones, and were venturing to erect a very respectable" Collyshangy" over the bleaching relics of mortality. "Surely," said I to a middle-aged and respectable looking personage, who happened to be passing at the time, "surely, Sir, this is, or rather has been, hallowed ground, and must have been once appropriated to quite other pur poses than those by which it is now so shamefully profaned." The Figure looked me stedfastly in the face, as if to inquire whether or not I were quite in earnest in my vituperative mode of interrogation; and, with its hands in its breeches pocket, proceeded, without taking any further notice of my inquiry, on its way.-Frustrated in this attempt, I submitted quietly to my fate, waiting the approach of rather a more stylish looking appearance, which came up whistling, and seemed to take a particular interest in this new line of road. My inquiry, however, was equally unsuccessful on this as on the former occasion; and had not a work man who was within hearing of my question, referred me very attentively to "the Provost himsel," as he was pleased to designate a little figure, with a smart and a pleasing expression of countenance, I believe I should have departed just as wise as I came. From this metropolitan dignitary, I learnt, in the most condescending and obli ging manner possible, that I had, in the first place, been unfortunate in the Individuals to whom my inquiries had just been addressed, for that these were precisely the men who, in consequence of the active part they had taken in forwarding this new line of
+ Vide Travels of Christopher Columbus the younger.
road, even at the expense of the repose of the dead, had been most exposed to obloquy, and were, therefore, as he termed it, a little "thin skinned" upon the subject. Not that they had stood singular in this business, nor that they were more to blame, if blame was at all attachable, than others; but that being really and truly men of "weak nerves," and having discover ed their error in adopting this unhalowed line of road when it was too late o prevent or remedy the evil, they had become exceedingly superstitious, and were reported as living in a constant apprehension of nocturnal visits from the dead. Several stories, he informed me, had got abroad upon this subject, through the communicativeness of their Wives, but as these were so over-done and absurd as to render their truth extremely suspicious, he forbore, very prudently, from mentioning them. In regard to the ground which had thus been cut up, I learned that, previous to the union of that parish with the adjoining and more extensive one of C****, it belonged to the parish-church of "St Michael;" and that the ground had so long been in crop, and pasture, as to efface every memorial (from the surface at least) of its former appropriation. "But is there no remedy," said I," for this evil, for a most glaring and revolting evil it is? Is there no method whereby the Land can be made to protect its own dead, and the pick-axe and shovel can be kept out of the graves of our ancestors?" " Yes," replied my intelligent Informer, "there appears to me to be two ways, by which this object may be accomplished, the one of these methods you find very simply and feelingly stated in Gilbert Burns's letter to the editor of his Brother's works. When my father,' says this most udicious narrator, 'feued his little property near Alloway Kirk, the wall of the church-yard had gone to ruin, and cattle had free liberty of pasturing in it. My father, with two or three other neighbours, joined in an application to the Town-council of Ayr, who were superiors of the adjoining and, for liberty to rebuild it; and raised, by subscription, a sum for inclosing this ancient cemetery with a wall. Hence,' adds he, my father came to consider it as his burial-place, and we learned that reverence for it people generally have for the burial
place of their Ancestors.""You have a surprising memory, Sir," said I, 66 to recollect all this so correctly; but now for your second method.' My second plan," added he, "is in fact that for which the one I have mentioned is only a substitution. It is the plain common sense proceeding, upon which churches and manses are built, and upheld; let it be in every case the duty of those concerned with the support of our religious establishment, to protect the dead, as well as to find spiritual comfort and advice for the living, and the whole object is gained." "But are there not many old Cathedrals and monastic Cemeteries," said I, "which are not properly under the superintendance of the Proprietors of the adjoining soil;-but which having, at the Reformation, escheated to the Exchequer, are still considered as subjected to the royal protection ?"- "In all such cases," interrupted my Mentor,' who, in fact, became apparently a little impatient at my ignorance, "wherever the superiority rests, whether in Town-council, Heritor, or Prince, upon that Proprietor' likewise rests the 'onus' of having the burial-ground properly inclosed and protected. It is indeed more shameful than you are probably aware of," continued my new acquaintance, the light of indignation seeming to kindle in his eye, "the manner in which not only old and disused 'Cemeteries' are neglected, but even those which are appropriated to present use, are exposed to waste and dilapidation. All over the country, and in the kingdom of Fife in particular, this is the case; and from the period when the slaps in the 'kirk-yard dyke' admit the Minister's cow, or his Visitor's poney, to that extreme advance of profanation,-when the village herd of swine are permitted and invited by the attractions of the place, to take up their daily rendezvous, young and old, pig and dam, among the auld through stanes,'-there is, not unfre quently, a most supine and culpable inattention and negligence, on the part of those by law' concerned. Provided one small corner or two continue to be protected by a square enclosure, having a black door, ornamented with a suitable sprinkling of chalky-coloured and inverted tears, where the more-honoured and more-fortunate ashes of the principal Proprietors may rest,-all goes on as it has gone,-and,
with an occasional reflection it may chance from some hardy and lessfavoured parishioner, respecting the shamefulness of all this, matters pass from father to son, from generation to generation, without any suitable reparation or amendment. I know," continued my Instructor, "a church-yard at this moment, which is still the burial-ground of the parish, and through the corner of which a mountain torrent has forced its way. This breach, notwithstanding the instances in which even entire coffins have been swept off by the flood, has never been, and is not at this hour, repaired. And there is a story current of an honest Labourer's mother, who, after having been fairly-and as her son deemed, immoveably fixed in the earth, in a season of continued rain, was found, upon his return home from the funeral, to have reached, by help of the torrent, his own door before him. Of no country that I know or have read of, nor of any other age or state of society, however rude and uncivilized, can this disgraceful allegation," that they shew disrespect to the ashes of their Forefathers," be made with so much truth as of our own,-of reformed Presbyterian Scotland in particular. One is almost disposed, upon taking a survey of this truly-melancholy subject, to wish back again that "hallowing and Catholic faith," which, whilst it consecrated the very ground in which the dead reposed, by this means sufficiently guarded them from all violation or disturbance; or, at least, to take shelter under the guardian wings of the younger, and more courtly sister, "Prelacy," who, in this respect, is little behind her elder relative." "To this sentiment, (subjoined I) rising, and looking around me, I can never, notwithstanding all my reverence for the ashes of the dead, accede, whilst I inhabit a county where the happy principles of Presbyterian reform were first promulgated, supported, and sealed with blood;-where a Mill, a Hamilton, and a Wishart suffered,-a
Knox and a Melville preached, and an aroused and a manly Nobility stood, on that very Moor now immediately under my view, firm and undismayed in the cause of civil and religious freedom." Hereupon, "my friend,"for our intimacy, though strangers when we met-or, as we country folks are apt to word it, "forgathered,"– had gradually ripened into something very like friendship, proposed our retiring to talk the subject over, more at our leisure, upon a draught of what he termed Macnab's brown stout." To which proposal having acceded, and having, upon second thoughts, added to the Porter a convenient accompaniment of mutton-chops and rum-toddy, I spent one of the hap piest evenings I have for some time enjoyed, in company and conversation with a man, who, after having lived a bustling and an anxious, and somewhat of a political life, amidst "Towncouncils" and county-meetings," has now retired from this busy annoyance to enjoy his friend, his glass, and the inexhaustible resources of an acute and a vigorous mind. At what hour we parted, and what additional time passed before I reached home, are questions of curiosity only, and of no importance whatever.
Suffice it to observe, in conclusion, that although there existed no previous arrangement, or connexion, or affinity, betwixt the current of my meditations and the little trivial occur rences I have just circumstantially stated, yet I could not help thinking to myself on my way home, that a cunning and ingenious reasoner might contrive, without any very extraordinary stretch of generalization, to bring both subjects under one rule, and might institute no very unnatural alliance betwixt the neglected and scattered bones of dead men, and that vegetable devastation which November exhibits. Adieu. Yours, &c.
Nov. 23, 1821.
* You may talk of your Youngs and your Ambroses as you please. Whoever has had the good fortune to experience the comfort, civility, and accommodation which are to be had at "Macnab's," will be apt to become a very testy and troublesome guest anywhere else.
"Pictaviensis and Orderic say that he was buried on the beach; most of the historians, that the body was given to his mother without ransom, and interred by her order at Waltham. A more romantic story is told by the author of the Waltham M.S. in the Cotton Library, Jul. D. 6, who wrote about a century afterwards. If we may believe him, two of the canons, Osgod Cnoppe, and Ailric, the Childe-maister, were sent to be spectators of the battle. They obtained from William, to whom they presented ten marks of gold, leave to search for the body of their benefactor. Unable to distinguish it amongst the heaps of slain, they sent for Harold's mistress, Editha, surnamed the fair,' and the swan's neck.' By her his features were recognized."-LINGARD'S History of England.
There-midway, where the sunny shore
Oh! Freedom, thou art worth the striving-
The very day-beam not enliven.
Their golden skies may glow serenely,
Like gems upon a harlot's bosom.
And all is silent, desert now,
Save that there is one noteless spot,
Were ceaseless as the wave that flows.
For whether, in warm autumn's glow,