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Andrew Lang, D.E., LL.D.
BY WALTER O. HARDEN. ONCE saw a photograph of Mr. Lang in Homer and the Cock-Lane Ghost, Golf and which his head was surmounted by a cloth Anthropology, Angling Sketches and ballads of
cap, he was dressed in an easy fitting tweed Aldines and Elzevirs—is there anything, I jacket, his legs were encased in fishing stockings, wonder, that he could not write about? We all and in his hand he held a fishing-rod. That photo remember that celebrated Borderer who had to graph led me to wonder how many different choose between a muckle-mou'd wife and a portraits might be taken of the subject. He might hanging, but I feel sure, that if, in place of a be "took," for example, in the editorial sanctum matrimonial alternative, Mr. Lang, in order to of the Daily News whisking off a leading article escape capital punishment, had to write a poem on, say, Austin Dobson's latest volume of poems, on the platinum mines of the Ural mountains, or in scarlet jacket and with open mouth crying he would, in fifteen minutes turn out a delicate, "Fore!" to some strollers on St. Andrews finished, “naitral-like” little piece, even on that links, or again, in the stately halls of that metallic and utilitarian subject. And yet it Fifeshire Academe, surrounded by grave and must be said that this versatility has its drawreverend signiors, we might snap-shot him backs. Mr. Lang is one of the most prolific lecturing on Natural Theology, or again, as of literary men, and this fact makes it a popular president of the Folk-lore Society, we might belief that he is just a little bit of a dilettante. take him delivering his inaugural address to the He touches and adorns everything, saith the members on the diffusion and variants of the man in the street, but then he only touches it. ancient tale of “ Cinderella and her Slipper," or And certainly it does not require a great stretch some cognate subject. “A woman's preaching," of imagination to fancy Thomas Carlyle laying said Dr. Johnson, "is like a dog's walking on down “Ballades in Blue China,” and remarking his hind legs. You are not surprised to find it in his own dry way, “Andra, when are you done well, you are surprised to find it done at going to do some wark." all.” But, in the case of Mr. Lang, you are not Mr. Lang is a Borderer, of course, or he surprised to find him writing on any subject would not be dealt with here. He is a son of under the sun, and you know that he will do it well. the Forest, and Selkirk claims him for her own. Natural Theology and the “Bloody Doctor,"* We are sometimes apt to forget that Mr. Lang
For the benefit of the uninitiated it may be explained that this is is a Scotsman at all, for Oxford and the Daily pot a sanguinary epithet applied to a medical man, but the News have had their due effect on him, and he cognomen of a fly said to be of much efficacy in enticing the wary mo t iin
has but little of the proverbial perfervidum
ingenium, but the good folks of Selkirk never When one considers the extent and variety of forget that he is one of their distinguished Mr. Lang's literary sympathies, it is curious, yet natives, and a few years ago, when he opened not perhaps inexplicable, that of the literature their new Public Library they made him "lick the of the Kailyaird he has a somewhat poor birse” which operation was intended not only to opinion. Over the genial virility of Mr. Crockett, signify that Mr. Lang had been enrolled among and Robert Louis Stevenson, he can wax the free-men of the capital of the Forest, but to enthusiastic, but for the crowd of writers who proclaim to all men that he was a Souter.. have of late given us such a plethora of idylls
And Mr. Lang was not ungrateful for the and character sketches of the Scottish peasantry, honour done to him. If you go into Selkirk he has little to say. Truth to tell, it is the "big Library (it was once the County jail. “To bow-wow style” in literature, for which, with Sir what good uses may we come, Horatio,”) and Walter, he has most liking, and like the author take down a book or two, you will perhaps see of “ Old Mortality,” his sympathies are not on their title pages the words, “With the with the Whigs. publishers' compliments,” and you wonder why The mention of Scott's name leads one to
From Photo by A. R. Edwards,
Selkirk great London publishers should be mindful of refer to the beautiful edition of the Waverley the library of an obscure Scottish town until Novels which Mr. Lang has edited for Mr. the courteous librarian tells you that the books Nimmo. It is true that he has not cast so were presented by Mr. Lang. Thus doth the much new light on these ever popular books as inded reviewer get rid of an incubus of literature was expected, but we are duly grateful for the to his own relief, and doubtless to the benefit handsome volumes with their delightful introof the reading public of Selkirk. It was believed ductions and beautiful etchings. There may be at one time that Mr. Lang's statue would yet more elaborately got up, but there is no more adorn the market place of the town, for he was handsome set than the Border Edition. It is to write his magnum opus and was to stand in gratifying to know that Mr. Lang is following imperishable stone between Sir Walter and up his labours on the novels with an edition of Mungo Park, where the people might gaze upon Lockhart's Life of Scott. Certainly, if there is their great triumvirate; but the magnum opus room for anything, it is a new edition of that has never come, and the site is not fenced in great work, for the journal and the letters are
now available to fill up lacunæ and elaborate the
chronicle of Sir Walter's son-in-law. Mr. Lang is also writing a biographical sketch of Lockhart, a work which one is astonished was not done long ago, and if any readers of the Border Magazine have any letters of Sir Walter's Boswell, I fancy Mr Lang would not object to peruse them.
But the editing of the Waverley Novels is only one of Mr. Lang's literary tasks. To mention all his work would require almost an entire copy of the Border Magazine, and when the bibliographer of the literature of the nineteenth century comes to the letter L he has his work cut out for him. I cannot pretend to anything like a complete knowledge of Mr. Lang's books, but his work, I fancy, began with
read the review of that novel which appeared in the March number, a review written by the worthy daughter of a worthy sire. And then we have the Gifford Lectures which Mr. Lang delivered at St. Andrews and which did not create a sensation, we have his studies in the domain of folk-lore, we have his book on St. Andrews, and we have his fairy tale anthologies. Our author once compared anthologists to literary “cadgers" and he did not intend it as a compliment to the anthologists, but Mr. Lang has “cadged” to some purpose, and multitudes of children reverence him as the bookish godfather of Christmastide.
This is a somewhat varied and lengthy list of works yet it is not exhaustive. Add to it
From Photo by A. R. Edwards, delicate hot-house plants like “Rhymes à la Mode" and "Ballades in Blue China ” which in time blossomed into “Grass of Parnassus” and sundry marvellous translations of French verse. Of hardier growth were his fine translation, with Professor Butcher, of Homer's Iliad, and his “Helen of Troy.” In the ploughed field of politics Mr. Lang reaped, his “Life of Lord Iddesleigh,” and to continue the agricultural simile he has now blossomed out as a novelist on his own account. The firm which produced the “ The World's Desire” has been broken up and we are inclined to think that the partners do better in separate premises. But I scarcely require to mention “A Monk of Fife” for the readers of the Border Magazine must all have
Selkirk. innumerable “leaders” in the Daily News, and many articles scattered throughout nearly every magazine of any importance on either side the Atlantic and you feel inclined to exclaim as Professor Huxley did when he read the first number of the Review of Reviews, “ Mashallah ! It is wonderful.” Pity, is it not, that the bulk of it is evanescent, ephemeral, the creature of a day, and that somuch literary industry and kindly and pleasurable writing is not to entitle the author to a place among the immortals.
Space does not permit me to do more than refer briefly to Mr. Lang's Border poems. There are, I think, some half-a-dozen of them, of which that entitled “Twilight on Tweed " is the most familiar. It is a perfect little picture, every detail true and the words themselves—"wan ” -“fabled "_"dusky”_"broods” all conveying the very atmosphere of the well known scene. And then there are “ April on Tweed," and the sonnet on “Sunset in Yarrow," and "A Ballade of the Tweed." The last is written in Lowland Scots and the first verse may be quoted.
“The ferox rins in rough Loch Awe,
A weary cry frae ony toun,
They praise a' ither streams aboon ;
Gie me to hear the ringing reel
By fair Tweed-side, at Ashiestiel.”
“Deil tak’ the dirty trading loon
Wad gar the water ca' his wheel,
By fair Tweedside at Ashiestiel !” The poem that I like best is, however, that entitled “ The Last Cast, the Angler's Apology,” and a few verses from it may fittingly conclude this paper. “Just one cast more ! how many a year,
Beside how many a pool and stream,
I've sighed, reeled-up and dreamed my dream !
Her hands fulfilled with flowers and snow,
Where Etirick and where Teviot flow.
Border Battles and Battlefields.
BY JAMES ROBSON,
approached to something like panic, but
only for a few brief moments. A sudden rushing to and fro, rousing of comrades, clutching of weapons, donning of helmets, and the Scot was himself again, cool and resolute in the face of danger, unflinching and formidable in presence of an enemy.
The English knights and men-at-arms dismounted, leaving their horses to the care of servants while they prepared to fight on foot. The spear was then the chief weapon on which they depended for a night attack. There was one banner for each of the many divisions of the English army, so that even in the fading light they presented an imposing spectacle. It was a rash and highly imprudent act on the part of Hotspur to commence the attack without having rested his followers, who had that day walked or ridden about thirty miles without any rest or proper refreshment. Doubtless, however, the vow which he made in the presence of his followers, and before Douglas at Newcastle, to reclaim his lost trophies, was uppermost in his mind, and the sacredness of such a duty would brook no delay. The stain which Douglas had cast upon his prowess must be effaced. He was eager, also, to avail himself at once of whatever advantage he seemed to possess over the Scots, in taking them by surprise. His admirable tact, as general, was displayed in a little maneuvre which, however, though well conceived, proved unnecessary and futile. He despatched Sir Thomas Umphreville, together with a number of other distinguished knights and a body of troops, to intercept the Scots in their expected flight northward, in order thus to secure the spoil and “holde them in yt they fled not awaye.”
Despite the cautious movements of the English host and the suddenness of their attack on the “slumbering Scots,” in an incredibly short time the latter were ready for the fight. The hurry and commotion, consequent on the sudden surprise, caused some confusion in the Scottish ranks, and this told against them even when the battle raged most keenly. Many, indeed, were only partially armed, and thus placed at a decided disadvantage. The donning of the cumbrous armour, the “closing up” of the rivets, and the marshalling of the various divisions, had all to be done with the utmost expedition, while shouts
Brief are man's days at best ; perchance
I waste my own who have not seen The castled palaces of France
Shine on the Loire in summer green. And clear and fleet Eurotas still,
You tell me, laves his reedy shore, And flows beneath his fabled hill
Where Dian drave the chase of yore.
I may not see them, but I doubt,
If seen, I'd find them half so fair As ripples of the rising trout
That feed beneath the elms of Yair.
Unseen, Eurotas, southward steal,
Unknown, Alphaeus, westward glide, You never heard the ringing reel,
The music of the waterside! Though gods have walked your woods among,
Though nymphs have fled your banks along ; You speak not that familiar tongue
Tweed murmurs like my cradle song, My cradle song-nor other hymn
I'd choose nor gentler requiem dear Than Tweed's, that through death's twilight dim Mourned in the latest minstrel's ear.”