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people. Their vocal music was plaintive, even to the depth of melancholy; their instrumental either lively for brisk dances, or martial for the battle.
Some of their tunes even contained the great but natural idea of a history described in music: the joys of a marriage, the noise of a quarrel, the sounding to arms, the rage of a battle, the broken disorder of a flight, the whole concluding with the solemn dirge and lamentation for the slain. By the loudness and artificial jarring of their war-instrument, the bagpipe, which played continually during the action, their spirits were exalted to a frenzy of courage in battle.
They joined the pleasures of history and poetry to those of music, and the love of classical learning to both; for, in order to cherish high sentiments in the minds of all, every considerable family had a historian who recounted, and a bard who sang, the deeds of the clan and of its chieftain: and all, even the lowest in station, were sent to school in their youth; partly because they had nothing else to do at that age, and partly because literature was thought the distinction, not the want of it the mark, of good birth.
The severity of their climate, the height of their mountains, the distances of their villages from each other, their love of the chase and of war, with their desire to visit and be visited, forced them to great bodily exertions. The vastness of the objects which surrounded them, lakes, mountains, rocks, cataracts, extended and elevated their minds; for they were not in the state of men who only knew the way from one market town to another.
When strangers came amongst them, they received them not with a ceremony which forbids a second visit, not with a coldness which causes repentance of the first, not with an embarrassment which leaves both the landlord and his guest in equal misery, but with the most pleasing of all politeness, the simplicity and cordiality of affection, proud to give that hospitality which they had not received, and to humble the persons who had thought of them with contempt, by showing how little they deserved it.
Having been driven from the low countries of Scotland by invasion, they from time immemorial thought themselves entitled to make reprisals upon the property of their invaders; but they touched not that of each other: so that in the same men, there appeared, to those who did not look into the causes of things, a strange mixture of vice and of virtue; for what we call theft and rapine, they termed right and
Justice: but from the practice of these reprisals, they acquired the habits of being enterprising, artful, and bold.
The lightness and looseness of their dress, the custom they had of going always on foot, never on horseback, their love of long journeys, but above all, that patience of hunger and every kind of hardship, which carried their bodies forward, even after their spirits were exhausted, made them exceed all other European nations in speed and perseverance of march. Montrose's marches were sometimes sixty miles in a day, without food or halting, over mountains, along rocks, and through morasses.
An injury done to one of the clan was held as an injury done to all, on account of the common relation of blood. Hence the Highlanders were in the habitual practice of war; and hence their attachment to their chieftain and to each other, was founded upon the two most active of all principles, love of their friends and resentment against their
But the frequency of war tempered its ferocity: they bound up the wounds of their prisoners, while they neglected their own, and in the person of an enemy, respected and pitied the stranger.
They went always completely armed: a fashion which, by accustoming them to the instruments of death, removed the fear of death itself, and which, from the danger of provocation, made the common people as polite and as guarded in their behavior, as the gentry of other countries.
To be modest as well as brave; to be contented with the few things which nature requires; to act and to suffer without complaining; to be as much ashamed of doing any thing insolent or injurious to others, as of bearing it when done to themselves, and to die with pleasure in revenging the affronts offered to their clan or their country; these they accounted their highest accomplishments.
The Village Grave-Yard.
"Why is my sleep disquieted?
Who is he that calls the dead?"-BYRON.
In the beginning of the fine month of October, I was travelling with a friend in one of our northern states, on a
tour of recreation and pleasure. We were tired of the city, its noise, its smoke, and its unmeaning dissipation; and, with the feelings of emancipated prisoners, we had been breathing, for a few weeks, the perfume of the vales, and the elastic atmosphere of the uplands.
Some minutes before the sunset of a most lovely day, we entered a neat little village, whose tapering spire we had caught sight of at intervals an hour before, as our road made an unexpected turn, or led us to the top of a hill. Having no motive to urge a farther progress, and being unwilling to ride in an unknown country after night-fall, we stopped at the inn, and determined to lodge there.
Leaving my companion to arrange our accommodations with the landlord, I strolled on toward the meeting-house. Its situation had attracted my notice.
There was much
more taste and beauty in it than is common. stand, as I have seen some meeting houses stand, in the most frequented part of the village, blockaded by wagons and horses, with a court-house before it, an engine-house behind it, a store-house under it, and a tavern on each side; it stood away from all these things, as it ought, and was placed on a spot of gently rising ground, a short distance from the main road, at the end of a green lane; and so near to a grove of oaks and walnuts, that one of the foremost and largest trees brushed against the pulpit window.
On the left, and lower down, there was a fertile meadow, through which a clear brook wound its course, fell over a rock, and then hid itself in the thickest part of the grove. A little to the right of the meeting-house was the graveyard.
I never shun a grave-yard-the thoughtful melancholy which it inspires is grateful rather than disagreeable to me-it gives me no pain to tread on the green roof of that dark mansion, whose chambers I must occupy so soonand I often wander from choice to a place, where there is neither solitude nor society-something human is therebut the folly, the bustle, the vanities, the pretensions, the competitions, the pride of humanity, are gone-men are there, but their passions are hushed, and their spirits are still-malevolence has lost its power of harming-appetite is sated, ambition lies low, and lust is cold-anger has done raving, all disputes are ended, all revelry is over, the fellest animosity is deeply buried, and the most dangerous sins
are safely confined by the thickly-piled clods of the valley ―vice is dumb and powerless, and virtue is waiting in silence for the trump of the archangel, and the voice of God.
I never shun a grave-yard, and I entered this. There were trees growing in it, here and there, though it was not regularly planted; and I thought that it looked better than if it had been. The only paths were those, which had been worn by the slow feet of sorrow and sympathy, as they followed love and friendship to the grave; and this too was well, for I dislike a smoothly rolled gravel-walk in a place like this.
In a corner of the ground rose a gentle knoll, the top of which was covered by a clump of pines. Here my walk ended; I threw myself down on the slippery couch of withered pine leaves, which the breath of many winters had shaken from the boughs above, leaned my head upon my hand, and gave myself up to the feelings which the place and the time excited.
The Village Grave-Yard.-Concluded.
THE Sun's edge had just touched the hazy outlines of the western hills; it was the signal for the breeze to be hushed, and it was breathing like an expiring infant, softly and at distant intervals, before it died away. The trees before me, as the wind passed over them, waved to and fro, and trailed their long branches across the tomb-stones, with a low, moaning sound, which fell upon the ear like the voice of grief, and seemed to utter the conscious tribute of nature's sympathy over the last abode of mortal man.
A low, confused hum came from the village; the brook was murmuring in the wood behind me; and, lulled by all these soothing sounds, I fell asleep. But whether my eyes closed or not, I am unable to say, for the same scene appeared to be before them, the same trees were waving, and not a green mound had changed its form.
I was still contemplating the same trophies of the unsparing victor, the same mementos of human evanescence. Some were standing upright; others were inclined to the
ground; some were sunk so deeply in the earth, that their blue tops were just visible above the long grass which surrounded them; and others were spotted or covered with the thin yellow moss of the grave-yard. I was reading the inscriptions on the stones, which were nearest to me they recorded the virtues of those who slept beneath them, and told the traveller that they hoped for a happy rising.
Ah! said I-or I dreamed that I said so—this is the tes timony of wounded hearts—the fond belief of that affection, which remembers error and evil no longer; but could the grave give up its dead-could they, who have been brought to these cold dark houses, go back again into the land of the living, and once more number the days which they had spent there, how differently would they then spend them! and when they came to die, how much firmer would be their hope! and when they were again laid in the ground, how much more faithful would be the tales, which these same stones would tell over them! the epitaph of praise would be well deserved by their virtues, and the silence of partiality no longer required for their sins.
I had scarcely spoken, when the ground began to tremble beneath me. Its motion, hardly perceptible at first, increased every moment in violence, and it soon heaved and struggled fearfully; while in the short quiet between shock and shock, I heard such unearthly sounds, that the very blood in my heart feit cold-subterraneous cries and groans issued from every part of the grave-yard, and these were mingled with a hollow crashing noise, as if the mouldering bones were bursting from their coffins.
Suddenly all these sounds stopped-the earth on each grave was thrown up-and human figures of every age, and clad in the garments of death, rose from the ground, and stood by the side of their grave-stones. Their arms were crossed upon their bosoms-their countenances were deadly pale, and raised to heaven. The looks of the young children alone were placid and unconscious-but over the features of all the rest a shadow of unutterable meaning passed and repassed, as their eyes turned with terror from the open graves, and strained anxiously upward.
Some appeared to be more calm than others, and when they looked above, it was with an expression of more confidence, though not less humility; but a convulsive shuddering was on the frames of all, and on their faces that same shadow of unutterable meaning. While they stood thus, I