Mary Queen of Scots, An Historical Poem.

Wedderburn, Margaretta.


Leigh Rios, -- creation of electronic text.

Electronic edition 110Kb
British Women Romantic Poets Project
Shields Library, University of California, Davis, California 95616
2001
I.D. No. WeddMMaryQ

Copyright (c) 2001, University of California

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Davis British Women Romantic Poets Series

I.D. No. 73
Nancy Kushigian, -- General Editor
Charlotte Payne, -- Managing Editor


Mary Queen of Scots, an historical poem

Wedderburn, Margaretta


Printed for the author
Edinburgh,
1811

[This text was scanned from its original in the Shields Library Kohler Collection, University of California, Davis. Kohler ID no. ISuppl:954. Another copy available on microfilm as Kohler ISuppl:954mf.]


The editors thank the Shields Library, University of California, Davis, for its support for this project.

Purchase of software has been made possible by a research grant from the Librarians' Association of the University of California, Davis chapter.

All poems, line groups, and lines are represented. All material originally typeset has been preserved, with the exception of running heads, the original prose line breaks, signature markings and decorative typographical elements. Page numbers and page breaks have been preserved. Pencilled annotations and other damage to the text have not been preserved.



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[Frontispiece]
Miss Monro del                 R. Scott sc
MARGARETA WEDDERBURN

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[Title Page]



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MARY
QUEEN OF SCOTS,
AN
HISTORICAL POEM.
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MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS,
AN
HISTORICAL POEM,
WITH
OTHER MISCELLANEOUS PIECES,

BY

MARGARETTA WEDDERBURN.


Speak of me as I am.
SHAKESPEARE

A branch lopp'd off that might have grown, but could
find no root: misfortune and an active spirit, struggling
with oppression, have quickened me a little; other than
this, I am but a simple woman, my whole art is to note
what I see, and to speak what I think. DESERTED DAUGHTER.

EDINBURGH:

PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
AND SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN LONDON,
EDINBURGH, AND GLASGOW.

1811.


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DEDICATION.

THE following Poem of MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS , published for the behoof of an Aged Parent, is most respectfully dedicated to

THE
DUTCHESS OF BUCCLEUGH,

whose characteristic beneficence is well known to all ranks in society, and acknowledged with pleasure by Her most obedient,
Very humble Servant,
MARGARETTA WEDDERBURN


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ADVERTISEMENT.

TO a respectable number of SUSCRIBERS , I return my sincere thanks for their early attention to encourage me in this work; and as it might be gratifying to some of them to see their names placed at the beginning of this book, while others rather decline having theirs published; I have, with a wish to please both parties, although to myself attended with an additional expence, presented each of them with an Engraving of the Author. From this likeness, perhaps, they will find it difficult to recognise the usual vivacity naturally impressed on the countenance of the once lively Margaretta, which
"Now the hue of sorrow wears;"

Yet my Friends, I hope, will esteem it a proof of my affection at this time, when about to leave all those I love in Caledonia; to bid (in all probability) a last farewell to dear Dalkeith and Lougton brae, where oft in early life I spent many a cheerful hour, in youthful innocence and undisguised friendship.

At the time these writings went to the press, I had some thoughts of presenting my readers with a likeness of Mary Queen of Scots; but after viewing several engravings for that purpose, and not finding two of them to correspond, I gave up my original intention.


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The References originally annexed to the manuscript of Mary Queen of Scots, have been left out in the printing, as the Author considered it highly probable, that every reader of taste is sufficiently acquainted with the history of Mary Stuart, hapless Queen of Scots, so as to render any such references quite superfluous.


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TO
THE READER*

WITH humble diffidence in my own abilities, yet looking up with some degree of trust to a generous Public, I submit a part of the produce of my pen to your perusal.

I cannot preface it with this, as worthy of your attention; for indeed I boast of nothing more than mere mediocrity, either with regard to skill or education.

*The following errors have escaped, viz. page 6 line 12, for connected read corrected. -- Same page line 16, for what read as.--Page 30 line 5, for which, read what.--Page 51, note, for Binny read Berry.--Page 63 line 11, read "Or inly pines, then bows its head and dies."--Page 75, for ears read ear.


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But having, from ill health for a lengthened period, and a variety of complicated trials, (trials, which even susceptible minds, who have lain in the bosom of their own family, or been dandled on the knee of prosperity all their lives, can form but a very superficial idea of,) been much alone for these some years, I have accustomed myself, at different times, to throw together such thoughts as occured from incidents that either disturbed my repose, or offered me any consolation; and, when opportunity served, committed them to paper. And although there is little of fancy cunningly pourtrayed in these compositions, as they have been chiefly dictated by local circumstances, or effusions of sorrow and disappointment of my own, or others that I have been interested in, with a variety of reflections, caused by the occurrences attendant on the peculiar situation in which I have been placed


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yet I will feel myself highly favoured, if any thing I have written will in any respect afford either instruction or amusement to my readers. To me, the composing of these pieces have sometimes beguiled a solitary hour, when at a distance from relatives, and overwhelmed with perplexity; I hope the reading of them will produce the same effect to those who may be possessed of like feelings, and who may, at any time, have been placed in similar circumstances.

Probably this Miscellany may prove acceptable to a few friends, for the Author's sake. Still I have not the vanity to suppose, that it has any other claim to public favour, than the motive which induced me to print it;-- that of being able, more largely to contribute towards the support of a beloved parent, who has, for several years, been gradually bending under the accumulated pressure of affliction,


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penury, and old age; to which of late, has been added that of solitude, having lost his second wife last May, 1810, which circumstance has served to increase my anxiety on his account. Tis true, I have my own, bequeathed to me by a much valued friend, what, with a blessing, frugality, and any tolerable share of health, (if I am fairly dealt with,) will always keep me above the frowns of the world; but I cannot do for my father what I could wish in these expensive times, and especially at such a distance from one another. I have done all that was in my power with pleasure; but alas! not adequate to his necessity. Although what I have done for him, has often called forth his gratitude in most expressive language, yet it was far from being of any essential service to him.

O How enviable the feelings of those, who not only have it in their power, by their benefi-


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cence to stop the tears affliction, but whose generous solicitude often, often cause them to flow in copious streams of heart-felt gratitude.

I could think of no other method more laudable, or likely to make up this deficiency, than the one I have at present adopted. For that reason, it is hoped, the eye of scrutiny will not be too severe on a subject that was never intended for public inspection, which will appear obvious from the different periods in which they were written; but merely arranged in some little order, for the use of my friends after my exit; or for my own amusement at a future period, if I should live till my shattered bark attains some quiet harbour, exempt from all those storms and sudden squalls which often has threatened its de-


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struction, while on life's voyage hitherto, when mine eye has forgot to weep for ills that are past, or Lethe's stream has washed them all away.

But O how short sighted are weak mortals! For that which I intended for my own private perusal while I lived, or for particular friends at my death, duty and affection to my dear father, has ushered into public notice, with all their faults and imperfections.

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS was transcribed and connected by a well-wisher of mine, who has little time to spare from his own department; yet, with his usual politeness, took upon him that trouble.

The rest of my writings are just what nature formed them; or simply adorned with


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any little improvement I was capable of giving them myself* . No one has added to their merit, (if they have any), nor can I accuse any person for their faults; indulgence, on that account, will be esteemed a favour.

*I intended to introduce, with these verses, a few essays in prose, which, by some readers, might have gained a preference. But some friends thought it more advisable to print them (along with some letters on different subjects) in a volume by themselves, which perhaps I may do at a future period.

But I do not write for fame. Your countenance I crave; nor clip too soon my untaught muse, ere it has strength of wing to soar beyond what it has yet attained. With out-stretched pinion it may mount aloft, and gain Parnassus' height, who knows, when favoured with the boon which now I claim.


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INTRODUCTION.

THESE thoughts, relative to the sufferings of MARY STUART , hapless Queen of Scots, were occasioned by having in view for three years her place of residence, the palace of Holyrood House, that ancient seat of our Scottish monarchs.

When these cogitations at different times were first wrote down, (without any regard to measure,) it was with no other design than to give vent to my own feelings, on a subject in which I had ever felt an interest since I came back to Scotland.


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They certainly appeared more poetical in their original state. For I find it extremely difficult to blend the sweetness of poesy with stubborn facts: and my own health, at the time I made the alterations, (and indeed almost ever since,) was so very precarious, and writing in particular such a hardship, that it was not in my power to bestow upon it that attention which the subject required, or that I, in happier circumstances might have been able to bestow.

But when I understood that with some more of my verses, there was a probability that these also would be published to the world, I found it absolutely necessary to introduce some historical truths, in order to elucidate in some degree the inference I could wish to have drawn, viz. Mary's innocence.


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If I have at any time expressed myself rather too warm, it is because I have always thought, that MARY STUART , whatever her failings may have been, (and I believe there are few who will pretend to say they are exempt,) was exceedingly ill used, both as a sovereign, whose rights should not be infringed upon, and as a female, whose weakness, from the generous, will always meet with indulgence.

My instructions I have gathered from different authors; but in particular selected from "An Inquiry, Historical and Critical, into the Evidence against Mary Queen of Scots," and "An Examination of Dr Robertson, " and Mr Hume, with respect to that evidence.


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MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS,

AN
HISTORICAL POEM .

DEPARTED shade of MARY , much reproach'd,
How oft I've view'd thy sufferings severe,
With faults contrasted: in my mind revolv'd,
And them arranged have, in dubious thought.

    When thou appear'dst again in Scotland's Isle,
At thy return from France, in widow'd state,
And in the bloom of youth and beauty still,
Thy radiance shone bright, in highest sphere,
More lovely than the rest of woman;--they
Of robust make, in manners polish'd less,
And less exciting love; when thus compar'd,
In action graceful, in exterior fair,


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With all the finer movements of the soul,
In a still more exalted mind possess'd:
(Tho' devious led in error's subtil maze,
Through many intricate and winding paths,)
Yet in the scale of worth, was higher rais'd,
Than all the vain embellishments of art,
The tinsel trapping of external glare,
Or gaudy pageantry, has e'er attain'd.

    As the full moon, when free from wat'ry clouds,
Shines forth superior, midst surrounding stars,
Which hide their heads beneath her splendid rays,
So MARY shone, with native pomp adorn'd,
And grac'd with ev'ry enviable charm,
At her return to Scotia's bleak domains,
To take possession of that fading crown,
(With cares and sorrows round about beset,)
Which prov'd, alas! the source of many woes:
Attended by a num'rous retinue


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Of Nobles, come to gratulate their Queen,
And throng'd by those, who with amazement gaz'd,
And in loud shouts, re-echo'd their applause.
Adoring lovers, pressing thro' the crowd,
Pay ev'ry tribute of profound respect;
Lay all their honours at their sov'reign's feet,
Or humbly, at a distance, homage shew.

    No wonder thou intoxicated [*The last word of the printed line has been eradicated; the word "wast" is pencilled in after "thou". Ed.]
With adulation, so profusely given,
In draughts that stronger heads might giddy make,
And of their brains destroy the equipoise.
But if it was a crime to gain all hearts
Who on thee look'd, or ventur'd near thy charms,
Thy crime was venial, and had gain'd forgiveness;
If envy's fatal sting, and malice keen,
Had not thy ruin aim'd, yea aim'd so sure,
That nothing thought of, could avert the blow,
Or ward the stroke from thy devoted head,


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Till vengeful hate had low thy body laid,
And hous'd thee in the melancholy tomb;
That place--where rest-united friends and foes,
That dreary vault, free from the tyrant's rage,
Whose ashes mix with those they have oppress'd,
Nor 'mong the dead can claim pre-eminence.--

    Alas! how quick the change, from pleasure's height,
To all the ills of misery extreme:
Debas'd, insulted, in the very place,
Where formerly a di'dem was bequeathed;
Tho' some would, surely, pity thy distress,
And feel the mock'ry done their injur'd Queen.
A few short years, and all thy splendour ceas'd:
With term of life did last thy suffering!--

    But when I call to mind those dire events,
(Till then in conduct irreproachable,)
Which drove her rapidly along the tide,
And left her sinking, never more to rise,--


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My heart is pierc'd, and pity drops a tear,--
Her love for Darnly , with as sudden hate,
(His treatment of her might be some excuse,
Too just a plea for love so ill repaid:)
He basely listen'd to aspersions false,
Nor strove to thwart the efforts of her foes.
Of this is Rizio's death a striking proof:
A foreigner, who patronised was
For skill in music; favour'ed by the Queen,
And then advanc'd to more important trust:
On this account--look'd on with envious eye,
By those who wish'd a preference to gain;
Or might perhaps their liege imprudent deem,
For chusing one as Secretaire of state,
His origin obscure, unknown to fame,
And likewise native of another clime.--
Yet other methods might have been devis'd
Him to supplant, than to bereave of life,
And in a manner hazarding the Queen's.


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They force the room where she was set at meat,
And stabb'd the man who her protection claim'd,
Unheedful of his cries, or her distress,
Or yet respect to presence of the King,
(In this conspiracy associated,
As is aver'd by them who did the deed.)
One whom from exile she to honour rais'd,
Was not aware that he thro' her disgrace
His own most certain fix'd nay, urg'd and seal'd,
Who basely murder'd was by the same power,
With whom 'gainst MARY he had join'd in league.

    Now all the woes that follow'd his decease,
Here to portray would pain me to the heart.
If all were true against her that's alleg'd,
With deeds of wrong, my paper would be fill'd;
And in them I of MARY would lose sight,
And substitute some demon in her stead.
Tho' she was superstitious certainly,


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Yet no allowance made there seems to be
For youthful errors, education's bent,
And the still worse effects of flattery;
Whose fascinating spell around her twin'd,
And prov'd the bane that blasted promis'd joys.
Bred up in France, that Court of manners gay,
Ideas lax, and morals not severe,
She early there those principles imbib'd,
To which, with latest breath she still adher'd:
And as a Queen, she claim'd her legal right,
To choose whate'er opinions she thought best.
Without engaging prudence as her guide,
(A worthy counsellor, and useful friend,
The want of which was fatal to her peace,)
Her fertile hopes were turn'd to barren waste;
For obstinate those tenets she retain'd,
That party rage but strengthen'd and confirm'd,
Surrounded by a train of sycophants,
Unworthy quite of love or patronage,


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Who seem'd to smile, as if her words and deeds
Had met their approbation and esteem;
While of her foibles taking minutes down,
To serve their purpose in some time to come;
Tho' when with judgement more maturely crown'd,
For youthful passions, (which were crimes indeed
Of tarnish'd hue,) she might have well aton'd
By real contrition for her errors past,
And firm resolves to mend her future ways.

    Within the lengthen'd course of eighteen years,
One might have thought that rancour would have ceas'd,
Ere usage harsh, or melancholy sad
Had changed her raven locks to silver grey:
But ah, hard case! her nearest relatives,
O'erleap'd each fence, and prov'd her deadly foes,
Whose wrath, 'gainst those they hate, nought can appease;


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(Especially if they have some design,
In opposition to a claim more just:)
For those who injured are may soon forgive,
But those who injure very seldom do.--

    Now disappointed in her fondest hopes,
Both as to power and domestic bliss,
Disasters complicate surround her steps,
Which penetration could not have foreseen,
And her discretion could not then prevent.
An insurrection speedily took place:
The Queen, intending contest to disarm,
Deliver'd herself up at Carberry,
Into the hands of those mischievous men,
Who artfully allow'd him to escape,
Who was accomplice in the daring crime,
Of which the poor deluded Queen's accus'd.
And, notwithstanding all the solemn vows,
And fair pretences of perfidious men,


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She that same night, disguis'd in mean attire,
To frustrate all attempts to rescue her,
Was taken from her residence, th' Abbey,
(Whose turrets mouldering, and sculptur'd stones
Gone to decay, its ancient date proclaim,)
Then in Lochleven castle strait immur'd,
(And other places equally recluse)
Whose ruin'd walls a monument remain,
A waste, the stranger's notice to attract,
Who oft are told, " 'Twas there that MARY dwelt."
There long pent up the Queen of Scotland was,
Who nature's ample fields had often rang'd,
And like the bee suck'd sweetness from each flow'r;
Which she as oft to all around diffus'd.--
From every store which loveliness imparts.
But now bereft of all that could delight,
When free as lark, whose matin song invites
To taste the freshness of the early dawn,
And join all nature with the voice of praise,


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Those happy days for ever banish'd hence,
With ev'ry pleasure of the varied scene:
Of royalty's external garb despoil'd,
And left to bear the taunt of rival hate,
Whose tongue malignant poison issues forth,
And taints the air with an infectious gale.

    This last flagitious act to palliate,
By most consummate artifice was found
A Casket, said to ascertain her guilt
So clearly, that it could not be denied;
Containing letters to the Earl of B.
On state affairs, and likewise love intrigues;
And furnish'd proof, that she had knowledge of,
And was concern'd in murder of the King.
A forgery entire, basely devis'd
By those who wish'd to arrogate her right!
A woman lost to ev'ry sense of shame,
Would scarce express herself in words so rude,


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As in that foul farrago will be found:
Where loose love-letters, sonnets, politics,
Are immethodically intermix'd.
Unlike to her , whose purity of style
And elegance of manner were well known,
And by the best historians evinc'd.
'Tis passing strange these writings were not seen
Till five days after MARY was confin'd;
Which happen'd on the fifteenth day of June;
And what they build on as their proof of guilt,
Was not detected till the twentieth day.
Yet how ingeniously do enemies,
Even in an English court of equity,
Where these proceedings were unjustly weigh'd
By English peers and Scotch ambassadors,
Upon this box their accusation ground,
'Gainst Mary Stuart, hapless Qeeen of Scots:
A futile subterfuge! and well seen through
By Noblemen, who shrewdly could discern,


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But were in judgment grievously misled;
Or they had crush'd those vipers instantly,
Who thus undaunted 'gainst their sovereign,
Invented and held fast such calumny.--
Her marriage with the Earl, supposed to be
In plot, so villanous, deprav'd, and base,
Shew'd weakness to a very great degree.
I am not yet convinced of her guilt,
Whatever art is us'd t' establish it:
'Tis past a doubt, they say.--To whom? to none
But those against her greatly prejudis'd:
For of this action vile, him they acquit,
To bring about the end they had in view.
The simple Queen believes him innocent,
And by her folly, thus her blame completes;
Complying with their own desire and grant.
Intangled in the web they jointly wrought,
Dreading no danger near, like witless bird,
That pecks, and pecks, unconscious of the snare


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Which subtile fowler warily has set;
Till scar'd by noise, or something that alarms,
It tries to mount--but tries, alas! in vain;
For feet are fix'd, beyond its power to loose!

    O Liberty, inestimable prize!
With health united, dearest gem on earth:
Without thee, naught can please that wealth bestows;
And with thee, scanty fare affords content.
Ill guided Mary! yet deluded much;
For when young Douglas (touch'd with love for thee;
Or by ambition fir'd), contrived the means
For thy escape, from thy confinment here,
Thy flight to England sum'd up all thy griefs:
Then liberty took leave of thee for ever.

    How easily, by soft persuasion's voice,


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Is led astray an unsuspicious heart!
Thy character was credulous throughout;
But ne'er more strongly mark'd this trait appears
Than in this last unguarded hasty flight.--
Expecting sanction from thy greatest foe,
And still confiding in the specious mask
Of care profess'd for thy repute, by her
Who all the laws of truth had basely broke,
And wish'd for nothing more than thy dismay:
Who saw with jaundic'd eye, whate'er eclips'd
Her person, fame, or sovereign power:
Who all along most cunningly conceal'd
Those schemes, with well dissembled kindness,
Which by her influence had been promulg'd;
Those feuds, that in this kingdom then prevail'd,
By emissaries to her purpose firm,
Of tender ties who separation made,
By which the bond of union must be held,
With people rul'd, and those who guide the helm.


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Instead of welcoming the refugee
With that respect due to a sister Queen,
And very near relation of her own;
Instead of list'ning to her tale of woe,
And lending help to mitigate her wrongs,
Or giving counsel for her future weal;
She tried by every means, her to mislead
With seeming courtesy, and vague excuse;
Message friendship breathing, or by letter,
Until her deep concerted schemes were ripe
For Mary's final and complete disgrace.--
Afraid, her injur'd look she durst not meet;
But shunn'd her presence by each faithless art:
Till Mary, blind no longer to her fate,
Recanted those concessions she had made;
Assum'd a firmness which her case inspir'd,
And conscious innocence strove to support:
But saw too late the net which had been spread,
By fraudful guile, for her incautious steps.--


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    From jail to jail, she hastily was mov'd,
And watch'd more closely by attendant spies.--
Is this thy cousin's kindness, much wrong'd Queen?
Respect and duty towards thee effac'd,
And treach'rous treatment made their substitute.

    To strengthen hope, or anxious fears suppress,
How oft has fancy brought thee to my mind,
In pensive, sad, and studious attitude,
With thoughts absorb'd in scenes for ever fled,
That wing their flight to realms of purer air:
Or, tun'd to woe, thy voice melodious
Accompanied thy lute, in plaintive notes,
Which had erewhile, in gay and lively strains,
When touch'd by thee, oft charm'd the ravish'd ear.
But now, responsive to thy feelings, moves
In softer cadance , steals upon the sense,
And vibrates sweetly to each dulcet sound:


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Its varied tones has sometimes sadness cheer'd,
But still it strives in vain to sooth despair;
Or when thy needle, ply'd with dext'rous skill,
And works produc'd, which yet admir'd remain,
And which employ beguil'd thy mournful hours,
When shut from converse with the grave or gay,
And no companions had, but menal slaves,
Unfit associates for Scotland's Queen!
Unless by kind exertions, to prevent
Thy ev'ry wish, and in their narrow sphere
Communicate the bliss they could bestow.--
Of every usual previlege depriv'd,
Which from a subject never was withheld,
Not ev'n from felons, in such dire distress,
Nor sons of France, who claim'd protection here;
To glut the spleen of one who, as a Queen,
In many things might greatly merit praise;
But as a female, not possessed of that,
Which ever should distinguish womankind.


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    And now forsaken Mary, quite forlorn,
The crisis of her weary days arriv'd,
Accus'd of a conspiracy with those,
Who basely sought the Queen of England's life;
No friend in time of need to succour her,
To pour the balm of comfort in those wounds
Which bleed afresh, for every effort made
To stab her honour, or to blast her fame;
But those who artless, through mistaken zeal,
Or other causes, heighten'd her distress:
For to the most of them it fatal prov'd.--
Whate'er their motive, who her cause espous'd,
The Duke of N. deserv'd a better fate
Than what he met, desirous to befriend.
Of rank the highest in the English realm,
For many virtues preferable still;
Noble himself, sincere and generous,
But made the dupe of cant, and artifice.
He was betray'd by those confederate


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Against thee falsely, hapless Queen of Scots!
(Their triumph in iniquity was short:
The end of each was suited to his ways,)
Not all the protestations thou didst make
Of innocence, could in the least avail
In thy defence, to free thee from abuse,
To clear thy name, or save thee from the block.
A falling tear has dropt upon the word,
As if it wish'd wholly to blot it out.
Tears many oft from sympathy have flow'd,
When I indulg'd the tender thought, that thou
Deserv'dst a milder and less rigid fate,
Than what thy portion in this world appear'd.

    O Mary! had I lived during thy life,
And found thy name falsely impeach'd, I had
Thy cause espous'd, and join'd in thy defence:
And if by providence I had been rais'd
Above the bugle path which now I tread,


Page 33

My interest in thy favour I had us'd;
In thy behalf had spent my influence;
Or endeavour'd, by candour's best advice,
And kind injunctions, wholly to disperse
Each prejudice that harbour'd in thy mind,
But hasten'd on thy meditated doom.

    And is it wrong to plead another's cause?
To feel their woe, participate their grief,
When harshly us'd and vilify'd, by men
Who now with words, or more offensive means,
The unprotected helpless can outbrave;
Who in the balance weigh'd might wanting seem,
Or shrink appall'd from scrutiny's keen search?
Then I am often guilty, I confess:
For those confin'd in dark and dreary jails,
My fellow-mortals plac'd in durance low,
Is oft to me sufficient cause to grieve;
Though they alone the smart must still endure!


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For pity's the chief boon that I can give,
Or ardent wish that they more happy were.--
The die is cast ; no longer in suspense,
Your pre-determin'd destiny evolves;
For now you are convey'd to Fotheringay,
A castle strong, with bolts and bars secur'd,
And massy doors, through which is no retreat,
Without a mandate for that end obtain'd.
But hark! there is a knock at the dread gate,
And certain 'tis a messenger of note ;
The sound of which thrills thro' the prisoner,
And fills her with alternate hope and fear.
Perhaps it is a friend, or Pastor kind,
To bring thee peace, and sooth thy troubled breast;
To point at prospects, bright'ning from afar,
Whose cheering influence might yet disperse
The gloom that long has round thy dwelling hung,
Or vex'd thy mind for many tedious years;
To fix thy thoughts beyond this earthly scene,


Page 35

Whose false attractions prove themselves but vain,
(Many its sorrows, fleeting are its joys,)
Above the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars,
With ev'ry beauteous planetary sphere,
Or ought those mortal eyes could ever scan;
For mercy still in store.--Thy mind prepare,
And fortify for suff'rings yet to come.--

    The Jailer comes with key of pond'rous weight;
With quick, yet cautious haste, the door unlocks,
Which seldom us'd, grates harshly on its hinge,
As if its guests unwilling to admit.--
And, Mary, are they those thy hopes presag'd?
Ah, no! Elizabeth two trusty Earls
Has sent, to give thee notice, her decree,
Tho' long deferr'd, is aim'd against thy life.
The message, with no consolation fraught,
No word of comfort to thy lonely state,
But with the heart-alarming warrant, which


Page 36

Bids thee for death immediately prepare;
For morrow's dawn sees thee a lifeless corpse!

    In history the foul catastrophe
Is drawn, by Dr Robertson and others,
In colours lively, delicate and just:
And any portrait I could now produce,
Would come far short of what my feelings are,
As well's the picture they so nicely paint.--
The mild demeanour of the Scottish Queen,
Condemn'd by one who was in blood allied;
But not a drop that flow'd within her veins
Felt aught for Mary, but malignant hate.
Though with her finish'd craft, to blind the world,
She could pretend, (the cruel deed perform'd)
That she was much offended and abus'd,
And boldly said, without her leave 'twas done:
Then vengeance took on those weak instruments,
Who only acted by her own desire.


Page 37

    To be in pow'r and favour, near the throne
Of any Monarch so capricious,
A very fickle fortune seems to me.
It is as if on point of craggy rock
A person stood, who ventures near the verge,
Where one false step may hurl to dark despair.
There is a day when secrets stand disclos'd,
And crimes like these will not forgotten be;
When innocence shall shine like morning light,
And fraud and vi'lence meet a just reward.

    To Mary's grand deportment, I return,
In view of death, so awful, dark, and sad.
Her fortitude, composure, dignity,
And calm submission to the fatal stroke,
When those who present were beheld the sight
Their eyes with tears were fill'd, their hearts with grief,


Page 38

In sympathy, all other feelings lost;
And admiration, when they heard her words;
When enemies she readily forgave:
And kindly mention'd all who faithful were,
When trouble all around her overwhelm'd,
In terms affectionate, and due regard
For all their watching, toil, and service past:
Her humble suit, for pardon at the throne
Of mercy, truth, and undeserved grace;
With faith and hope, preferr'd to heaven's King,
Eternal, great, supreme, Almighty Lord.--
But all her manner, at the closing scene,
(To do it justice) ought to be pourtray'd,
In glowing language, by some abler pen.


Page [39]

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

AUGUSTA.

March 7th, 1801.

SHOULD I attempt Augusta's praise
    With each peculiar grace,
One out-line of her real worth,
    My numbers ne'er could trace.

But if my muse Parnassus' height,
    Attain, with full fledg'd wing,
My verse will take a noble flight,
    Thy merit dare to sing.


Page 40

Till then this theme I'll not presume,
    Lest I appear to aim
At honours to the wise belong,
    And not the weak and vain.

To Miss M. Duncan,--Jan. 1800.

YE gude for naething thrawn Dunny,
I wish I had eneugh o' money,
I on some elf wad spend a plack,
To bring ye here upon his back;
Then souse ye down among the snaw,
Tak to his heels, and rin awa,
And leave ye there your tale to tell,
As ye did me,--ye ken yoursel.
Sic treatment I could ne'er expected,
Frae ane that I sae weel respected.
But if ye do what I wish now,
I may forgie ye yet, I trou.


Page 41

And that is, ca' at Mrs Rattat's,
And bring we ye ane twa three caps;
Whilk if ye do, without delay,
Some time I may the favour pay.
And whan that I am weel and canty,
I'se mak ye a' fu' blythe and vauntie,
I'se tell a tale, or sing a sang;
To ye a' the mirky night lang.
Neist time ye are at Mrs T's.
Gie my respects t' her, gin ye please,
An' thank her for a' favours past,
Before from hence I gang,
    For gin I hae a kittle cast,
I winna need them lang.
Speer for that book I lent her last Monday was se'ennit.
An' gin she hae read it, awa wee ye bring it;
It may chear me a wee bit, whan dowie and wae:
I'se forget my ain cares, whan thinking of they


Page 42

That other folk meet wi' in their journey thro life,
Till death his ain-sel' put an end to the strife.
I'm unco ill, sae I this flite maun end,
Of nae sense, ye may say, eneugh is pennd'
Gie my regards to your auld father,
Your bonnie neice, and sonsy mither,
Your brithers three, and sisters twa,
An' gin ye like, among them aw,
Ye may put in yoursel.
Nae mair at present frae your muckle offended friend.

MARGARETTA WEDDERBURN.

The Mouse.                          1800.

LAST night, whan silence reign'd o'er a' the house,
Nae other thing was stirring, but a Mouse,


Page 43

That sought ilk hole, ilka nook and crannie,
In search it was, to fill its wee wamie,
But naething fand;
Sae into the cheese fa' it did loup, waes me!
An' there was hang'd.

Tho' mony mony a tummil it gied,
To rid itsel';
But safe it was alake wi' wire an' wood,
As in a mill.
Than wee an eldritch squeel it turn'd the trap,
While I wi' pity felt for its mishap;
An' never in my life was sae inclin'd,
To free a beast that was of vermin kind.
Than aw was quiet,
But my distemper'd brain, that sleep had fled,
An' left my thoughts
To roam at large o'er scenes of promis'd joy,
My mind had form'd,


Page 44

In eary days, whan a' was calm, serene,
An' mild within.
Alas how changed! for they are fled for aye,
And in this world they never can return.

Verses addressed to R. T. who desired me to write
to him, if the papers contained only the letters
of M. W.--January,
1st. 1802.

MAY every blessing you attend,
    Which this new year affords,
May peace with plenty at your gates,
    display their ample hoards;
May friendship still, with unity,
    within your walls preside,
And angel seraphs guarding still,
    Her whom you make your bride.


Page 45

And may a progeny arise,
    To bless the nuptial bands,
Whose fame for science arts and arms,
    May spread to distant lands.
O may your sons with manly grace,
    Their father imitate;
And daughters fair, with virtues rare,
    Their mother's heart elate;

And when arrived at age mature,
    May they their parents bless,
With likeness of themselves encreas'd,
    In every loveliness.
All this I wish with mind sincere,
    For him who is my friend:
Now may I add two letters more,
    And thus my rhyming end.

M. W.


Page 46

A Paraphrase, when recovering from a severe fit
of Illness.
--1805.

PHYSICIAN'S skill brings no relief,
    Except the Lord a blessing give;
But when he does, the smallest aid
    Restores my health, and bids me live.

Long time I have afflicted been
    With Sickness sore and pain;*
One single fiat can revive,
    And raise me up again.


Page 47

When God, with voice of mercy says,
    O daughter cheerful be,
Thy faith on him, who has the power
    To cure, hath healed thee.

Still trusting him, now go in peace,
    Thy sins are all forgiven;
Live to God's honour while on earth,
    Then join his praise in heaven.


Page 48

To Father, Son, and Sp'rit Divine,
    The One united three,
Be glory; as it is in heav'n,
    On earth so let it be.

*When I first came to Edinburgh, I was dangerously ill for thirteen weeks, my life frequently despair'd of, and, to add to my calamity, far from relatives or friends. I take this opportunity to return my sincere acknowledgments to those gentlemen of the faculty who attended me at that time, (Dr Duncan in particular,) for their united exertions to restore me to health, and for their respectful politeness and consolatory attentions in the hour of distress to a stranger.

    Accept my thanks, 'tis all I have to give;
But when with wealth endow'd, I'll more bestow
On gentlemen, whose time, their health, and strength,
With every brilliant talent they possess,
Devoted is for public weal. Alas!
My wishes and my power but seldom join:
Yet rather let me every ill endure
That can befal a wretch forgot by those
Who once were kind, than ere have reason to
Reproach myself with that base name, INGRATE.

M. W.

A Hymn, selected from among five or six, that
were composed at the age of fourteen.

O SUN of Righteousness arise,
    Do thou revive my drooping mind,
And may I live by faith on thee,
    And taste of pleasures most refin'd.

When clouds arise within my soul,
    O dissipate the gloom;
And let not any sinful thought
    Within my heart have room.


Page 49

O let my mind be wean'd from all
    The fading joys of sense,
And fix'd my heart on things above,
    Where God my treasure is.

Father of spirits me instruct,
    And own me for thy child,
And still improve in all thy ways,
    With temper meek and mild.

Let no unseemly passion gain,
    Ascendency o'er me,
But ev'ry hour, with anxious care,
    Approve myself to thee.

And still through each succeeding day,
    Live in thy fear and love,
And ev'ry night rest in the same,
    Till safe arriv'd above.


Page 50

Such precious gifts, O Lord my God,
    I humbly beg from thee,
Then will I praise thee evermore,
    Amen, so let it be.

Dalkeith, on the happy days I have enjoyed with-
in its bonny bounds.

These verses were occasioned by returning to the place
where I was brought up (about six miles from Edinburgh)
after several years absence.

In Scotia's isle much lov'd Dalkeith,
        How have I wish'd to see
    Its ancient spire, each lowly cot,
        As it was wont to be.

This wish (in part) accomplished,
        But fill'd my heart with woe,
    The different aspect which it wears,
        Oft cause the tears to flow.


Page 51

For now where once the dwelling stood,
        Of aunt who did me rear,*
    From infant days instruction gave,
        And taught me to revere

Her conduct as a Christian friend,
        Which gratitude demands
    From me, as long as life doth last,
        A stately fabric stands.+

Although this structure doth excel.
        With artchitect so rare,
    In beauty and magnificence,
        Few with it may compare,

Yet decorated thus superb,
        To me its charms are fled,


Page 52

    For friends are gone, and social mate,
        Are number'd with the dead.

Farewell those prospects of delight,
        With life's gay morn in view;
    Cold apathy no cherish'd guest,
        For ev'ry scene was new.

While we with jocund hearts improv'd,
        Each pleasure then in store,
    And night her sable mantle spread,
        E'er we our sports gave o'er.

How oft by moon light on the green,
        We danc'd the hours away,
    Or tried our skill at some new feat,
        We had acquired that day.

As jumping over the mill-dam,
        When wheel was going round,


Page 53

    One false step, would have seal'd our doom,
        That one had sure been drown'd.

And running o'er the stepping stones,
        Just by the hanging leaves,
    Or list'ning to the sound they made,
        With every passing breeze.

Or travers'd oft the winding path,
        That led to iron mill,
    O'er wooden bridge, which safe conveyed
        To where my friend did dwell. *

And often when I there arriv'd,
        Would Christiana find,
    In the garden wat'ring flowers,
        Or arbor cool reclin'd.

For she was wont there to retire,
        And leave the giddy throng,


Page 54

    To meditate on matchless works
        Of power supreme alone.

Who left this world in early age,
        Now shines a saint in light,
    Who knew her worth to say with me,
        Her memory dear unite.

Whose social converse journeying on,
        Remember'd oft I ween,
    Thro' life and usual haunts where we
        E'er now, have happy been.

For scarcely had the sun arose,
        When walking forth to view
    The verdant field, the spangled thorn,
        Bedeck'd with morning dew.

Or join the great Creator's praise,
        With birds from every spray,


Page 55

    Whose tuneful throats, a lesson teach,
        To sing the vocal lay.

Or ramble through the woodland scene,
        By Lougton or bridgend,
    To gather strawberries that grew,
        Spontaneous from their stem.

Or when our silk worms did engage
        Our search for mulberry leaves,
    Their labour in return for food,
        Was always sure to please.

Like grain of mustard-seed or spots,
        Those insects first appear,
    Yet thousands from their silken stores,
        Are clothed every year.

Each one retir'd to separate cell,
        In work of different dye,


Page 56

    Employ'd, finish'd each web comes forth,
        A charming Butterfly.

Example rare for those who would
        Excel in useful art,
    In solitude the place to learn
        To act the brightest part.

Or seek the shade from noon-tide heat,
        With unison of mind.
    Alternate read historic page,
        Till ev'ning rays declin'd.

These summer days sped swift away,
        Nor did we think of home
    Till town clock bell with usual peal,
        Gave warning to return.

And when by winter fire we sat,
        And plied our seam, or spun,


Page 57

    While some have told the merry tale,
        And others they have sung.

Rosanna fair who died for love,
    While all around did weep;
Each task perform'd for bed prepar'd,
    And there felt fast asleep.

No lasting grief our youthful minds oppress'd,
    For every night, we sunk in calm repose;
Nor carping care, that bane to peaceful rest,
    We still with joy to meet each other rose,
Or hail'd the morning dawn.

*Mrs C. Binny.

+Mr Davidson's Grand Hotel.

*Mis C. Hutcheson, of the iron mill.

MARGARETTA WEDDERBURN.


Page 58

An Acrostic, occasioned by the death of Lord Nel-
son, at the memorable battle of Trafalgar, Oc-
tober
21st, 1805, sent to General Taylor, Jan.
1, 1806.

R enown'd afar the warrior chief,
O beys the mandate, which declares
B ritannia's sons must haste to arms,
E xpel the foe who England dares.
R esolved to conquer or to die,
T o fall like Nelson, not to fly;
T ill vengeance, death, or victory,
A nd peace restor'd to Britain's Isle.
Y our laurels won, with arduous toil,
L et friendship form the wreath your brows intwine,
O ft praise your matchless worth in prose or rhyme,
R eturned the strength and honour of your native clime.


Page 59

The Effusions of sorrow.
March the
12th, 1807.

O SAINTED spirit of my parent dear,
Like ills with these I feel, you never knew;
For under eye of loving mother rear'd,
A father excellent, devout, exact,
And favour'd with protection of those guides
Of infant days, and inexperienc'd years;
Beneath their wings arriv'd at age mature,
Ere adverse fate your humble dwelling chang'd.
Upon a much lov'd youth was then bestow'd,
Whose conduct has thro' life him worthy prov'd.
Oh! such a partner! virtuous and discreet.
Alas! for me, too soon she left the earth;
But for herself, remov'd to richer soil,
To bliss perpetual, and triumphant joy.


Page 60

    Far other scenes has been your daughter's lot:
No mother's watchful, unremitting care,
To form the genius of my youthful mind,
Or smooth the rigour of afflicted hours.
The loss of other friends, while young in years,
And the neglect of those who yet remain'd,
With various ills my life severely tried.
Originating thus from this sole cause,
Without a guide, was thrown on the world's stage,
And wanting skill to shun dissembling fraud,
With sorrows complicate my heart prob'd deep.
The autumn of my days already come;
For lurking cares long since my bloom decay'd,
And wasted hath my youth before its time.

    For many months, my strength debilitate,
With sickly languor, or corroding pain;
And when on bed of languishing confin'd,
No relative to succour in distress,
Each anxious thought, by soft persuasion sooth .


Page 61

Or point the way to where they soon must end;
Thus kindly mixing in the cup of woe,
A palliative with the bitter draught;
Then wipe the big drop from the palid cheek,
Or spread the couch for weary head to rest.
Instead of these attentions from my own,
Which much affliction renders doubly dear,
The chief part of my life 'mong strangers been,
And none but strangers in my griefs have shared.

The Rose.--April 13. 1807.

A FAV'RITE flow'r, while on its genial bed,
Salubrious air, from noxious vapours free,
And screen'd from piercing cold, or drifting show'r,
For frag'rance, and in beauty doth excel:
With early culture crown'd, its leaves expand,
Amongst its compeers seen in fairest hue,


Page 62

Surpassing each; this fost'ring care repaid.
And dropping dew its sweetness still improves;
Or when an ev'ning breeze blows gentle gales,
Exhales around its delicate perfumes,
And stands confess'd unrivel'd in the shade.
When morning dawns, with blessings ever new,
Displays its loveliness to rising sun,
Now cherish'd by his vivifying rays.

    Thus it shines forth in every varied glow,
Admir'd by all, and by the fair carress'd ,
While with their cheeks it vies in beauteous tint,
Each one exclaims, What an elegant rose![This line is corrected in manuscript after the word "exclaims" to read "That rose how elegant" in original printed edition. Ed.]

    But if while rearing it should chance to be
Sudden transplanted to some bleaken soil
Or barren, rather unfrequented waste,
There plac'd alone, amidst impendent storms,
No more the dew-drop glisters on its stem,
Or gives a brightness to its silken folds.


Page 63

Ah! languid now, each fibre colour's faint,
And early blossoms sickly at the core,
Lovely it bends, deprived of genial warmth,
Or timely aid to raise its drooping form.--
'Tis fragrant still, but moisture is decayed,
And for sweet scent, it only can be priz'd.
If scorching beams pervade at noon day hour,
Or chilling blast, when comes the close of eve,
Should light upon its now unsheltered top,
How soon it withers on its tender stalk,
Or only pining bows its head and dies.

    Likeness of Margaretta, loss of friends,
Unkindness and neglect, like keen north winds,
Or such as parch the desert burning suns,
Hath nip'd her prospects from their early dawn,
And stampt the colour of her future years.


Page 64

September the 22nd. 1807.

ONE melancholy week hath past in pain,
This day still more with apprehensive dread,
Oh does my father live, or is he gone,
To yonder happy clime, exempt from all
His pains and toils on earth?--Yes, sure 'tis true,
Those tears are wip'd, which oft for me he shed;
In silent anguish down his grief worn cheek,
When he has thought how hard hath been my lot.
No Mother's care, to point my heedless steps,
Or teach my feet to walk in paths secure.
Chill blows the blast, and cold around my heart,
And opens every pore that bleeds afresh,
For ills accumulate, sustain'd long since,
And might have been forgot by vulgar minds,
Who think of nought beyond their present ken,
But what their daily hourly wants suggest.
Would that were me! But no; for there are times


Page 65

I would not give those dear delicious joys,
These solitary, musing pensive thoughts,
For all the wealth that both the Indias prize.

October 21, 1809.

            "There is a destiny in this strange world,
            "Which oft decrees an undeserved doom.
            "Let schoolmen tell us why."

HOME.

ERE now I've wish'd that I had never been;
But that is wrong, a crime, (which heaven forgive,)
To murmur at those ills which man's great Lord
Decreed that he should suffer while on earth,
To try his faith, his patience, and his love;
To fit him for those joys, for him prepared
In realms of peace, beyond the reach of woe;
Where neither envy, slander vile, nor hate,
Or mark'd hypocrisy shall enter in.


Page 66

At times I'm apt to think hard is the fate;
Of those, no husbands have to cheer their state,
And ward the blow that's threaten'd at their fame;
Or sympathizing friend at hand, into
Whose bosom they may pour without restraint,
The sad effusions of their woe-fraught hearts,
When calumny's dread fang o'erwhelms their minds
With sorrows plaint, and likewise dire dismay.
Oh may I be enabled to sustain,
What I could not foresee or yet prevent;
In meek submission to His will supreme
Who knows my frame, and will support the load,
Which in his providence I'm doom'd to bear.


Page 67

An Acrostic to a Young Gentleman, who ask'd me
the day before, why I was not married yet.--
May
4, 1808.

     T he man whom I could thus approve,
H ath not to me his love avow'd,
O f manners free and debonair,
M ight with a prince himself compare;
A sprightly youth, and free from spleen,
S ocial, good natur'd, and serene,
C andidate for the wreath of fame,
A much respected honour'd name.
L et every blessing crown his head,
L et every day diffusive spread,
A ll joys unknown before,--
N ow when with such a mate I'm blest,
A nd former griefs are lulled to rest,
N ew pleasures are in store

for M. W.


Page 68

The Sky, or a Description of a fine Evening:
August
17. 1808.

WITH rapture and delight I oft admire
Jehovah's works that come within my view,
Himself exceeding admiration's ken,
Or ought that I could fancy that is great,
Is good, is glorious, without compare.

    The season this, when Autumn richly pours
Prolific bounty o'er this fav'rite isle.
Here universal peace and plenty reigns,
While beasts, and birds, and insects feed around.
And when their thirst is quench'd at limpid stream,
In sportive gambols spend the live-long day.
Till sober eve invites to rural walk,
By humble hedge-row, deck'd with foliage green,
To smell the fragrance of the scented briar.


Page 69

Now ev'ry scene looks gay, it yields delight,
And fits the mind to wonder and adore.

    Among the branches, feather'd choristers
Have sung their ev'ning lay, and are retir'd
To rest their downy wings, till morning dawn.
All but sweet philomel, her notes prolong'd
Swell with the breeze, in charming symphony,
To sooth the lover's woe, that wanders forth,
(When absent from the maid his heart holds dear,)
Alone to vent his plaint. Pensive and sad
He seeks the shade, and shuns each vulgar joy.
Thy song, sweet bird, hath lull'd his griefs to rest,
While pleasing hope restores his fancied bliss.

    And now retard my wond'ring eyes this eve,
With divers hues, and beauties manifold.
The sky in azure clad, serene and clear,
By sun's decline, just tinged with florid gold;
And not the most elaborate assay


Page 70

Of skilful artist, when his pencil's dip'd
In ev'ry varied tint he hath prepar'd,
A form so lovely ever could produce
To gazer's eye, as that I now behold.

    But as I upwards look again, how chang'd!
The clouds seem hov'ring round, with moisture fill'd,
From vapours gather'd and laid up for use,
(By sov'reign will of him who all commands,)
And liberal sends on earth their copious show'rs,
The water ev'ry flow'ret, tree, and plant,
That else would languish, wither, and decay,
If long withheld from vegetation's store,
The liquid juice that makes all nature bloom.
But while my thoughts o'er various prospects rove,
Or fix'd intent on some peculiar space,
Behold the day's most splendid visitant,
His pow'rful beams withdrawn to other climes,
And cheering warmth hath left our hemisphere.


Page 71

But in his absence not without solace,
The moon appears with milder radiance,
Her influence benign and fainter glow,
With each revolving planet as it rolls,
Performs her destin'd circuit through the sky,
Tho' not like sparkling emanation,
Of dazz'ling, grand, majestic god of day,
When he shines forth in full meridian blaze;
Or when his rising beauties streak the east,
And brightness gilds the lofty mountain's brow;
Yet peaceful and serene, she sheds her light
Around the globe, diffusing happiness,
With less obtrusive unoffending lustre.

    Also those twinkling stars re-animate,
With their resplendant rays, the dusky night.
Throughout the vast expanse, those gems appear,
(Beneficent that Power that plac'd them there,)
When they withdraw, darkness reigns absolute,
And throws around a joyless total gloom.


Page 72

    One lucid orb, more glitt'ring then the rest,
'Tis called the star of eve, and strikes the eye,
Amidst the num'rous throng, with circled sphere,
Surpassing, and more refulgent brightness.

Annexed to the Sky, a Paraphrase.--August 18,
1808.

But shone superior in degree,
    That Morning Star so bright,
Which rising on our darken'd world,
    Dispell'd the gloom of night.

Transcendently illustrious,
    Appear his rays divine;
The mist of error to disperse,
    And make each virtue shine.


Page 73

Hard sayings to elucidate,
    Each myst'ry to unfold,
Which handed down, from age to age,
    By prophets were foretold.

Till then the mind of man was held,
    In ignorance obscure,
With superstitious rites profan'd,
    His intellectual power.

Idolatrous impiety,
    Completely envelop'd;
Freed from its baneful influence,
    He scarcely could have hop'd.

Until that beauteous Star arose,
    The Gentiles to enlight,
And of his people Israel,
    The glory, strength, and might.


Page 74

To whom ever be ascrib'd,
    All praise in earth and heaven,
But whose exalted name is far.
    Above all blessing given.

Verses occasioned by the death of Andrew Cassels,
Esq. Judge of the Colony at the Cape of Good Hope.
He departed this life on the
7th of
January,
1809.

                'Tis fourteen years since first I knew,
                That person, which I much regret,
                This tribute to his memory due.
To Miss Harriot Cassels I inscribe, and with respect.

NO more his eloquence attention claims,
    Now silent laid in melancholy tomb,


Page 75

His language pure, august assemblies prais'd,
    Approv'd abroad, and much belov'd at home.

He sleeps in dust, that friend of whom I speak
    In mournful accents, while the tears do flow;
His timely solace in the hour of need,
    Hath sweeten'd oft the bitter cup of woe,

The head-strong passion still he would reprove,
    Then with his best advice direction give,
And sympathy in trouble he bestow'd,
    Which I'll remember ever while I live.

Oh could I paint the feelings of my soul,
    When first the news struck solemn on mine ear!
In colours vivid as the opening rose,
    My grief in liveliest tint would then appear.


Page 76

But what avails each lamentation dire,
    That vents itself in outward show, and loud,
Or trickling tear, which down the cheek doth move,
    Retir'd afar from all the noisy crowd.

For can these sorrows rouse the sleep of death,
    That final debt which mortals all must pay?
When the grim tyrant points his barbed dart,
    The summons each one quickly must obey.

Then what is all the boast of man below,
    These empty titles of a great renown?
Like blazing meteor, while on it we gaze,
    It breaks, dissolves, and all its glory gone,

If it were ought of substance that indures,
    Then Cassels sure bid fair for lasting fame,


Page 77

His sphere of action and his merits own'd,
    Each worldly honour, and a deathless name.

Since sublunary joys glide swift away,
    And transitory every pleasure giv'n,
May our concern be, while on earth we stay,
    To gain a name immortaliz'd in heaven.

Another on the same subject.

LONG live our sovereign, George the three,
With honest men still compass'd be,
His subjects to protect;
And when our Prince shall rule the state,
May officers that on him wait,
Like Cassels gain respect.


Page 78

Even foes abroad, and friends at home,
From all to whom his worth was known,
To speak his praise is due.
He still would plead the injur'd cause;
The villain shackle by the laws;
A terror not to few.

Those people where he did preside,
As judge, an arbiter of right,
May long his loss deplore,
Whose talents rare was much employed,
In usefulness to many round,
Let sound from shore to shore.

But when he found the time draw near,
To leave this world he did prepare,
His mind to tranquillize;
To quit this frail and mortal coil,
For a more rich and fertile soil.
Immortal in the skies.


Page 79

Scenes of youth, or the Days of other Years,--
1809.-- In two parts.

PART I.--Remembrance.

THOSE days of youth I call to mind,
    Like dream by night away are fled,
Or rose that's pluck'd, which soon doth fade,
    And quickly all its honours shed.

No more with sportive feet I tread,
    The daisied bank where I have been,
For butterflies prolong'd the chace
    With play-mates, oft from morn to e'en.

Or sometimes form'd a party with
    Companions, volatile and gay,


Page 80

At various games; among the rest
    The choice at shuttle-cock to play.

With gazing eye still watch its course,
    And then to strike it all our aim;
Which warily with battle-door,
    Was oft rebounded back again.

Or toss'd the ball with dext'rous skill,
    Then run with speed to distin'd place:
Thus health, with exercise combin'd,
    While early we renew'd the chace.

But ah! no more well range the heath* ,
    Or climb the steep of Highgate hill;
Those scenes remote, yet once injoy'd,
    And leave a pleas'd remembrance still.


Page 81

No more I view Judge Mansfield's seat,
    'Tis call'd Caen Wood by men of lore,
Where long his Lordship did preside,
    The dread of knaves in days of yore.

Each fertile mead and orchard fair,
    With birds that wing from tree to tree,
Green pasturage for lowing herds,
    For lambs that bleat, or frisk with glee,

No barren waste offends the eye,
    With hemlock, weed, or nettle crown'd,
But industry and healthful toil,
    Diffusing plenty all around.

No more the landscape glads my sight,
    Which Fitzroy Farm luxurious yields,
Where great Southampton held his seat,
    The lord of all those ample fields.


Page 82

His honour'd name was still rever'd,
    By those who knew his native worth;
For mildest virtues much esteem'd,
    Far, far above his rank or birth.

Tho' he could boast a noble race
    Descendant from, by genial line;
Those deeds heroic prov'd them such,
    As grac'd the annals where they shine.

No more the cottage at the grove,*
    A garden neat, with fruits well stor'd,
With herbs and flow'rs of various kinds,
    Which comfort and delight afford.

No more it meets my ardent gaze,
    Tho' once the dwelling of my sire,
A pleasing haunt for thinking mind,
    Or those who feel poetic fire.


Page 83

No more I cull from gay parterre,
    The tulip, rose, or lilly fair,
And glowing pink my sisters rear'd,
    With humbler foliage spreading near.

No more the rural turf, our seat,
    Plac'd on the sloping bank so green,
Which overlooks the op'ning glade,
    The waving corn, and blossom'd bean.

No more we'll pluck the cherry red,
    The apple sweet, with filbert rare,
The orlean plum, or downy peach,
    The wall-nut fine, with juicy pear.

No more we'll share the lucious grape,
    That round our cot in clusters hung,
The power of which, to glad the heart,
    Our ancient bards have often sung.


Page 84

No more we'll chaunt in vocal strain,
    Or speak the Gentle Shepherd's love.
While parent list'ning to our song,*
    Would often smile, and oft approve.

This was the man by heaven decreed.
    Each precept on the thought to bind,
Whose lessons and whose memory still,
    Around my heart shall be intwin'd.

For well he knew with cadence smooth,
    To touch the feelings of the soul,
Or pathos strong by reason's aid,
    To keep the passions in controul.

Would often read some book well chose,
    Instruction for our future years,


Page 85

Expatiate on each varied theme,
    Till mind illum'd, shone thro' a tear.

Then oft with emulative zeal,
    Each strove to gain the well earn'd prize
For task performed, by sire bestow'd,
    While pleasure sparkled in his eyes.

*Hampstead and Highgate are two sister hills, about four miles distant from London.

*The grove at Highgate.

*My father, who was a native of Scotland, (as was also my mother,) took great complacency in hearing my sisters, (and me in particular,) repeat the comedy of the Gentle Shepherd, in the Scottish style.

Part 2d.--Regret, mixed with hope.

THRICE happy sisters, who enjoy'd
    Such privilege till fully grown!
While I, deprived of fost'ring care,
    The various ills of life have known.

For when afar from those so dear,
    Few social joys have I to boast,
Or intercourse with kindred souls,
    But still with anxious cares am tost.


Page 86

Since six years old I've often been
    An absentee from natal home;
And from my much lov'd father's house,
    An exile have been doom'd to roam.

A stranger here I still sojourn;
    O Scotia, generous warmth impart!
Your kindness I will oft retrace,
    And bind it near my woe-fraught heart.

For those who would, with pity feel,
    For all the wrongs I have endur'd,
Are long since number'd with the dead,
    And in the silent tomb immur'd.

Those friends too, whose sweet sympathy
    Hath often sooth'd my troubled mind,
Are now remov'd to distant lands,
    And in their stead, how few I find.


Page 87

Ah! who remains to heed my plaint,
    Wipe from my cheek the tricking tears,
That cheek, which once the bloom of health,
    But now the hue of sorrow wears.

But wherefore should these chequer'd ills,
    Depress the mind, superior grown
To aught there is in fortune's smiles,
    Or yet by folly's vot'ries known.

O may this hope still chear my breast,
    That when the storms of life are past,
My weary soul, will then find rest,
    Where joys triumphant ever last.

Then may I through each subtile path,
    With agile steps pursue my way,
Till I arrive where spirits wait,
    To welcome me to realms of day.


Page 88

There join with them the general song,
    Of angels bright, and sons of men,
To Father, Son, Spirit divine,
    A never ending glorious theme.

An Acrostic, sent to Dr Alexander Reid, with a
Watch Paper, July
27th , 1809.

A s token of my skill, this gift I send,
L et it but please, as coming from a friend,
E ach wish gratified, I had in view,
X anthus, may then with usual speed pursue,
A nd neigh, and foam, when trumpet sounds to arms,
N o harpy's breed, shall e'er your breast alarm,
D etermin'd in your way, still onward move,
E ach act commended, by those friends who love
R eanimated while they yet approve.


Page 89

R etired from bustle, and the crowded scene,
E ach thought connected, and your mind serene,
I n life pass through, without a vicious stain,
D etraction's efforts, impotent and vain.

Verses addressed to Mr F. A. at the birth of his
first child; born in August,
1809.

LONG may your little son, now lent,
    To you a pleasure prove,
And may each anxious care be crown'd,
    With gratitude and love.

May nothing ill, him e'er beset,
    Or dangerous disease,
But as he grows in days and years,
    At least succeed to please.


Page 90

And when as through the thorny paths,
    Of life, he bends his step,
May parents' wings him shelter give,
    Him guide and still direct.

May each instruction then, bestowed
    To form his infant mind
Far virtuous deeds, be all your aim,
    Each precept still to bind.

O may his mother's mildness shine
    In what he does or says,
And manly sense with it combine,
    In all his future ways.

May all his conduct marked be

[This line is corrected in manuscript after "conduct" to read "thus be marked" in original printed edition. Ed.]


    With uprightness and truth,
And never any sinful course,
    Pervade his days of youth.


Page 91

For comfort to his friends, may he
    Be blest with many years,
With health of body, peace of mind,
    To dissipate their fears.

At length, when call'd to leave this earth,
    May a more sure abode
Be open'd wide, him to receive,
    In presence of his God.

Epitaph.--May 19, 1810.

STAY traveller, stay, and view this silent tomb,
Where there is nought remains, but food for worms,
Of one who strove, aright to act her part,
But was repulsed, and died with broken heart.


Page 92

That heart alive, to friendship's finest touch,
Yet keen resentment felt, alas! too much
For cold neglect, it scarcely worth her care,
Who had, in some respects, so large a share.

Of what might make her happy, good and wise,
And always has been, the most highly priz'd,
By the discerning few. * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Author's farewell to Edinburgh. --1810.

EDINA'S cloud-cap'd hills and spires,
    With castle-rocks, and cannon's roar,
These fortresses which guard your coast,
    Encompass'd by the sea-girt shore.


Page 93

Your public domes where poor are fed,
    Instruction given by wholesome laws,
To many a useful citizen
    An honour to your country's cause.

Your seminaries that excel,
    And laurel branch has oft obtain'd,
For rearing sons of lit'rature,
    To distant Isles are justly famed,

Your monument for Neilson raised,
    His martial trophies to proclaim,
Whose deeds of arms at Trafalgar,
    Strove Britain's empire to maintain.

Your ships of commerce, pleasing sight,
    At anchor, or while under way,
The prospect grand from Calton Hill,
    Which all those various scenes display.


Page 94

Your lofty turrets, sculptur'd walls,
    With craigs, and lochs, and crystal springs,
Your buildings of superior height,
    With ancient seat of Scottish Kings.

Farewell, from these romantic views,
    In search of health, I haste away,
To Woodburn's cool sequester'd shade,
    Excluded from Apollo's ray.

Beneath some spreading tree reclin'd,
    Made vocal by the warbling choir,
In concert with their melody,
    Will help to harmonize his lyre.

There I may weave the numbers smooth;
    When free from anxious cares and strife,
Which oft pervade my footsteps here,
    Harrass my mind, imbitter life.


Page 95

Within the shady grove retir'd,
    Converse, with wisdom, and attend
To what she dictates, pleasant path,
    And safety at my journey's end.

Then wander by the burn so clear,
    Exempt from storms or sudden squall,
Or onward move through Lothian glen,
    To view the white-foam'd water fall.

Then lean me down on Ancram bank,
    To listen to its dashing roar,
Till down meand'ring stream it glides,
    Like passions, spent which rage no more.

Or ramble o'er the meadows green,
    Then pull the gowan from the lea,
With peace, contentment in my train,
    Enjoy the bliss of liberty.


Page 96

And health, if ever I regain,
    Those talents, which neglected lie,
Within my sphere of usefulness,
    I will endeavour to employ.

Till then, unfit for arduous task,
    The powers of action not in tune;
With thoughts perplex'd, and strength decay'd,
    I languish now from morn till noon.

And tho' I am at even-tide,
    To all appearance cheerful gay,
'Tis but the fume of plant infus'd,
    And vapor-like, soon flies away.

For bleak has blown the northern blast,
    Upon my unprotected head,
Since I came here, and nights and days,
    The tears of sorrow make me shed.


Page 97

And in this place no relative* ,
    To sooth my mind, when grief and smart
Depress my spirits, dim mine eyes
    With torrents, and a woe-fraught heart.

Ah! scarcely three-and-twenty suns,
    Revolving years to me were shown,


Page 98

When death shot thrice his fatal dart,
    And thrice he laid in silent tomb

An aunt, when entering in my teens,
    A mother, when but six years old.
My hardships since, here to relate,
    A mournful tale it would unfold.

Then silent anguish pal'd my cheek,
    Ere furrowed by the hand of time,
Deploring long a much lov'd youth;
    Alas! he droop'd in manhood's prime.


Page 99

To form him with superior grace,
    Both art and nature had design'd;
His countenance exceeding fair,
    Was the bright index of his mind.

Taught with each virtuous sentiment,
    Which prov'd itself in actions rare;
In manners, and in words discreet;
    How few with Edwy could compare.

Ah! now no more the rural walk,
    At eve, where fertile scenes rejoice,
With him in pleasing converse, while
    I listen'd to his soothing voice.

From lips, where soft persuasion hung,
    To attract the ear or charm the heart;
For ever lost their wonted skill,
    Repell'd by death's unerring dart.


Page 100

Those eyes that once with lustre shone,
    And spoke each thought, in pleasure drest,
Are now obscur'd with sable shroud,
    Clos'd in his narrow house at rest.

My sorrow since I need not tell * ,
    Nor yet the mark'd disdain of such,
As are in happier plight * * * *
    * * * * * * * * * *

Affection's ties few now to boast,
    And of those few removed afar,
The most of them, to other climes,
    Engag'd amidst the din of war.

Deprived thus of social friends,
    Expos'd to shrewd design of those,


Page 101

Who still with fair pretence mislead;
    More dangerous such than worst of foes.

Affliction's child since early day,
    Too apt, to lean on broken reed,
A frail support which soon gives way,
    Or stands aloof in time of need.

A lesson this, to wean me from
    Each fading sublunary joy,
Or trusting ought but bliss secure,
    Which pow'rs combin'd cannot destroy.

And now tho' pensive, sad I tread,
    If once our mortal conflict's o'er,
This cheering hope, in happier skies,
    Friends meet again to part no more.

One comfort still, my father lives;
    To Anglia I again return;


Page 102

(If in my power bestow solace,
    To him, for me who oft doth mourn.)

My native land, still more indear'd;
    There, wrapp'd in clay, my mother lies,
To where affection draws me hence,
    Before death close my father's eyes.

Anticipation's on the wing,
    I haste to meet a parent's love,
Receive a blessing from his lips,
    And feel it ratify'd above.

I go! * --nor cast one lingering look,
    On all the various charms of town,
Far better pleas'd with filial care,
    The calm retreat and russet gown.


Page 103

Yet gratitude, for kindness shown,
    Within my heart shall always rest;
And may the stranger's friend, each one,
    In Scotia's Isle, be ever blest.

And haply when I sleep in dust,
    With soft regret perhaps the few
Who love me, drop a friendly tear,
    And call to mind my last adieu.

*It is not improbable, after reading the above lines, the following inquiry may be suggested, what brought M. W. to Edinburgh, if she had no relations in it?-- To such a question I could give this answer,--I have not enjoy'd a good state of health for several years, (especially in London); on that account I was advised by a medical gentleman, who had attended me for some time, and others of my acquaintance, who knew I had been brought up here, to try the air of Scotland, thinking it might be of service to me, and, if I got better, to continue there. I readily acquiesced with their advice, as I had always a warm heart for Scotland, and its inhabitants. I made my arrangements accordingly, and came down here: But alas, circumstances prevented me from putting my original plan into effect, which was, if restored to any tolerable share of health, to settle at Dalkeith, the place of all others that I preferred; tho' I believe, there are individuals residing there at this time, who will be best able to judge whether I have had much reason to retain such an affection.

Filled with grief and disappointment I came to Edinburgh, where I have remained these six years. It is not at all times suitable, to make a change for every inconvenience; under what disadvantages I have persevered, this little book, will give some information. (Signed) MARGARETTA WEDDERBURN.
April 10, 1811.

*

Fate oft tears the bosom chords,
That nature finest strung.

BURNS.

*In all my removes on this side heaven, may I be enabled to attend the conduct of Divine providence, and acknowledge God in all my ways, who guides me with his eye, least I should at any time depart from him.

Song.

HOW happy those days, when with health
    I tasted the freshness of morn!
Then sweet was the song of the lark,
    While the dew-drops bespangled each thorn.
                While the dew-drop, &c.


Page 104

With Edwy through meadows I stray'd,
    View'd with pleasure the full-bending corn,
Then cull'd the sweet flow'rets that bloom'd,
    For a chaplet my head to adorn.
                For a chaplet, &c.

A token of love I receiv'd,
    Which since in my bosom I've worn,
Then warbled my thanks with the lark,
    While the dew-drops bespangled each thorn.
                While the dew-drops, &c.

When Edwy his passion reveal'd,
    I never once laugh'd him to scorn;
For his language, devoid of all guile,
    Was pure as the dew-drops of morn.
                Was pure, &c.

His ashes now rest in the urn,
    And I am left pensive and lorn,


Page 105

Unheeded the song of the lark,
    Or the dew-drops that spangle each thorn.
                Or the dew-drops, &c.

An address to my Friends, when it may be sup-
posed, that they have read the Contents of this
Volume.

THIS little book claims patronage,
    Though merits are but few;
O save it from the Author's fate* ,
    Till twice you read it through.


Page 106

For if one simple flow'ret bloom,
    Upon such barren ground,
Then cherish it till fragrance shed,
    Its influence around.

Each tint tho' faint may warmer glow,
    When plac'd in fertile soil,
And various, beauties, still improv'd,
    Reward your care and toil

To those who have with timely aid,
    Thus favour'd my design,


Page 107

I'll dedicate more lively strains,
    When I'm in milder clime.

To where with anxious step I haste,
    To sooth a father's care
(Who oft to heaven, for my return,
    Hath sent his ardent prayer.)

Delightful task! if gleam of joy,
    Shine on his latest years;
I'll think the effort well repaid,
    That dries a parent's tears.

An honest man, who has through life
    Maintain'd integrity,
Alas! in more advanced age,
    Reduced to penury.

For whose emolument alone,
    This trial of my skill,


Page 108

The subject is of haughty scorn,
    Or meets with right good will.

To friends, all-hail, R. T. the first,*
    That dignified my verse,
Who found, or fancied genuine worth,
    In what I did rehearse.

When thoughts in a poetic style,
    Selected from among
My prose or rhyme, I sent to him,
    He patroniz'd my song.

And when by cruel destiny,
    Deprived of those I lov'd,
He gently strove persuasively,
    To have those griefs remov'd.


Page 109

Such friendship founded on esteem,
    Is not a shade, a name,
Unchang'd through each vicissitude,
    It still remains the same.

Tis nine long years, since I have seen,
    My generous patron's face,
Yet always in my heart of hearts,
    He has retained a place.

And always shall, while life remains,
    Or reason granted me,
I will remember with regard,
    Each kindness done for me.

My other friends I'll not forget
    But ever grateful prove,
For countenance that they have shown,
    Which testify'd their love.


Page 110

A good new year to all of you,
    And many a return,
Is my last wish, I take my leave,
    Your friend, M. WEDDERBURN.

*Neglect, or prejudice from those who ought to have been my protectors when in danger, and my consolation in distress, the conseqnence of such a procedure, has appeared too obvious in the complicated sorrows of my life to need any comment at this time.

God's ways are in the seas, his path in the great waters, his footsteps are not known; I desire submission to his sovereign will; for God is just in all his ways, although they appear unscrutable to weak, ignorant, and erring mortals. Nevertheless if it should be so ordered in his providence, that any of those persons to whom I allude read this passage, or indeed almost any part of this little volume, and cast one retrospective glance, on their conduct towards me. I am convinced that their own reflection, will readily admit of the truth of my assertion, and plead more powerfully in my behalf, than any demonstration I could give on the subject.

*The Honorable General Robert Taylor.

CONCLUSION:

WHEN I first gave consent to let some of my writings be published, my design was, to leave out those verses chiefly relative to my own concerns, or at any rate to abridge them; but when I came to revise and correct them, ready for the press, which brought to my recollection many discouragements I had experienced, owing apparently in a great measure to the unprotected situation in which I had been placed in the bloom of life, and marked the way to many sorrows, which instead of diminishing, have conspicuously encreased with years, I soon discovered very powerful motives for continuing them, and ra-


Page 111

ther being more explicit than consise , as I at first intended. The simple narrative comprised in these pieces, is too true, which forms the best apology that I can give, for the manner in which it is described; as it may, without any impropriety, be styled, a little history in verse, under a variety of vicissitudes, with the feelings of the author on those occasions, pourtrayed in a diversity of colouring.

Born to an humble fortune, with a mind less susceptible, I might glide through life without many of the painful sensations I now feel, in looking upon every disregard or incivility as an insult: for I must confess, that in the solitary situation which has been my voluntary portion for a lengthened period, those feelings were at all times too acute for the smallest appearance of unkindness, or, it is likely, this book had never existed. MARGARETTA WEDDERBURN.
April 10th, 1811.