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the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."
We do not admire Wilson's poetry as a whole ; and yet some beautiful strains might be culled from it. He wrote rapidly and diffusely; throwing off everything at a first draft, without much correction or polish. His “ Border Tales” are quite miscellaneous in their character, and contain much that he would doubtless have thrown out, had he lived to place them in a permanent form. They are written diffusely and carelessly. But with all their faults, they give indications of genius, humor and pathos, a keen insight into character, great descriptive powers, and a fine conception of the beautiful and true. Some of them are told with great pith and raciness; and though inferior in some respects, to Professor Wilson's - Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life,” are more natural and easy, more characteristic and amusing. Upon the whole, they give a better idea of the Scottish character than the Professor's splendid, but exaggerated pictures. James Mackay Wilson died too young for his fame; but his simple tales will be read, for many a day, in the homes of "bonny Scotland.” Among other things, they give a just representation of the religious character of the Scottish peasantry. While their faults and foibles are depicted with graphic power, their solemn faith, their profound enthusiasm, and their leal-hearted piety are exhibited in beautiful relief. Justice is done to the old Covenanters, whose rough patriotism and burning zeal
were the salvation of their native land. Long may their martyr spirit, softened by charity, prevail in Scotland; and generations yet unborn shall "rise up and call her blessed.”
In this series of sketches, now brought to a close, it has been the author's aim to make a contribution to literature, which, while it might prove attractive, would yet exert a pure moral influence. Such an excursion beyond the peculiar limits of his profession, he thinks, was permitted him, at least for once, and may tend to promote the great object for which he desires to live. At all events, if he has accomplished nothing more, he has yet succeeded in calling up “a gentle vision” of “ Auld Lang Syne," by which his own heart has been solaced and cheered.
“Lang Syne! how doth the word come back,
With magic meaning to the heart,
From which hope's dreams were loath to part!
For what is gone we fret and pine;
It could not match Lang Syne!
With us its pleasures bright and blithe?
And some have bowed beneath the scythe
O'er foreign lands, at fate repine,
To muse on dear Lang Syne !
Again so full of guileless truth;
Lang Syne !-the eyes no more shall see
Ah, no! the rainbow hopes of youth. Lang Syne !-with thee resides a spell
To raise the spirit, and refine. Farewell !—there can be no farewell To thee, loved, lost Lang Syne !"
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