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One more quotation, and we turn our back on Haddington. It is from the monument of a magistrate's wife, or widow.
“ Her husband died; and while she tried
In the church-yard of Aberlady, Mr. Monteith found one inscription which we transfer to our pages
6 Here lies John Smith
God prepare and make us ready." In the same page of Mr. Monteith’s volume from which our last quotation was taken, we find the following inscription,
Among the many monumental inscriptions in the churchyard of Montrose, with which Mr. Monteith has enriched his pages,we find only one suitable to our purpose ; and we quote it for the pious resignation it breathes, and as a good lesson to all those husbands who may be foolish to grieve for the loss of their wives. John Beattie, after telling us that his wife Janot was " an honest cbaste and pious woman," thus complacently disposes of her,
“ Let Earth take Earth, the Dev'l his Sins again,
Heav'n' contain." In this distribution of Mrs. Beattie and her Goods, his infernal Majesty as usual comes in for the worst share. Would he not call in question honest John's award? Verily, he had
At Inch-chappel, near Montrose, we find the following epitaphs, which please us much on account of their brevity.
“ This honest Skipper, Andrew Scott,
To all his Neighbours, was the Cock.” The next is also worthy of commendation on account of its good sense. It is on a man and his wife.
“ We do this, for no other end,
be kend.” In the church-yard of Cupar we are presented with the following inscription on William Rymour, a Maltman, which, from its ludicrous boldness, we would be half inclined to think was composed by its worthy object when under the vivifying influence of the dew distilled from the commodity in which he trafficked.
“Through Christ, I'me not inferiour
Rom. 8. 37. We never understood, till this worthy Maltman informed us, that William the Conqueror figured in Scripture--and though this information is now conveyed to us as the "last words” of William Rymour, we must still be permitted to doubt its accuracy.
In the church-yard of Halkirk, is the monument of Sir John Graham, a chieftain who joined Wallace in his chivalrous attempts to secure the independence of Scotland, and who fell, according to tradition, at the battle of Falkirk. The lines are,
“ Here lies Sir John the Grame, both right and wise,
He died xxii. July 1298." Mr. Monteith quotes also two Latin lines from the same monument; but as we do not think them very ancient, and as Mr. Monteith's translation of them is execrable, we quote neither one nor t'other.
We now present our readers with a Border inscription. It is on “John Bell who lived in Annandale on the Scots side, and has a stone (200 years old) on him." Thus far Mr. Monteith : we may be permitted to state, that we do not think the inscription quite so old as our worthy collector seems to do. It is as follows: “ I Jocky Ball o' Braikenbraw lie under this Stane,
Five of my aun Sons laid it on my Wame!
Was Man o'my Meat, and Master o' my Wife.
Take the Stane off my Wame, and lay it on o'thine."
Without. Are we to believe this of a borderer?
One more, and we close our quotations. Mr. Monteith gives the following inscription on “ John Speirs Monument; Dumfreise as reported”—and we suspect he has good reason to qualify in this cautious manner its “local habitation and name.”
“Here lies John Speir,
We have now made our readers acquainted with the chief treasures to be found in the volumes of the Weever of Scotland : and we trust we have not been unsuccessful caterers for their amusement and information. After all, we are apprehensive that we have spoken somewhat too slightingly of the " eight years sore travel and vast charges and expences” of Mr. Robert Monteith, M.A. We are indebted to him for many inscriptions which have perished, and of which we find no trace but in his collections. And when we reflect that these collections were made in poverty and disappointment, and apparently for the purpose of procuring subsistence, we do feel disposed to soften our censures and to be more grateful for what has been done
The allusions to the personal history of the collector in, the poetical address we have quoted, to his journey to London as a literary adventurer, to his disappointments there, and to his having employed his pen in such modes of address unsuccessfully, are all sufficiently painful, and must disarm the severity of sterner critics than we pretend to be. We are inclined, therefore, to dismiss Mr. Monteith and his sepulchral records with that amenity of feeling which our own failings perhaps may often require, and which, if more widely disseminated and frequently observed in human intercourse, would render society more delightful, and enable us to inscribe the virtues of each other on our tombstones, with a stricter regard to truth than can usually be claimed for an epitaph. Vale.
ART. III.- Thoughts on Hunting. In a Series of familiar Letters
to a Friend. Sarum. Small 4to. 1781.
If we have not been persuaded, by the agreeable writer of this treatise, to abandon our old books and our chambers in the Middle Temple for a red coat, top boots, and leather breeches, we should certainly have felt nothing loth to have made one at the jovial dinner with which he was accustomed to wind
up the morning's occupation. Never had fox or hare the honour of being chased to death by so accomplished a hunter, from the time of Nimrod to the present day ; never was huntsman's dinner graced by such urbanity and wit; and never did the red wine of Oporto confuse the intellects of so politic a sportsman. He would bag a fox in Greek, find a hare in Latin, inspect his kennels in Italian, and direct the economy of the stable in exquisite French. His talents and his eloquence he inherited; his turn for the pursuit of foxes was entirely acquired, and could never repress the innate disposition to better things. Mr. Beckford, for that is the name of this compound of conflicting tastes, was related to the celebrated Alderman, whose name and speech are recorded in Guildhall, and, of course, was of the stock of the author of Fonthill Abbey and Caliph Vathek.. The degree of relationship we have not been able to ascertain ; we feel less anxious on that score, than he was in the pedigree of his dogs.
Till we read Mr. Beckford's book, we were not aware of the lamentable deficiency in treatises on the art of venery. That France, Germany, or Italy, should be silent on the subject, would scarcely excite our wonder. Foxes they never hunt, and hares but seldom; and in Italy there has been no hunting since the death of the Duke of Parma. “He,” says Mr. Beckford," was very fond of it, but I apprehend all hunting in that country ceased with him.” These circumstances afford some little excuse for the neglect which this necessary art has met with amongst the authors of those countries. But what shall we say for ourselves? “ Is it not strange,” exclaims our author, with irresistible force, " that in a country where the press is in one continued labour with opinions of almost every kind, from the most serious and instructive, to the most ridiculous and trifling; a country, besides, so famous for the best hounds, and the best horses to follow them, that only the practical part of hunting should be understood ?” We confess our share in this astonishment, and only wish that our ability equalled our desire, to supply so grievous an hiatus in our country's literature.
To be sure, the neglect in which the science has been suffered to remain, is not improbably accounted for by Mr. Beckford himself. He grants it may fairly be objected, “that the hunting of a pack of hounds depends on the huntsman; and that the huntsman, generally speaking”— he says nothing of the sportman—"is an illiterate fellow, who seldom can either read or write ;—this cannot well be denied.” Nothing can be more unfortunate for the advancement of venery, It is impossible that the business of a kennel should go on as it should do, unless it be conducted on fixed and accurate principles; and we fully coincide in the opinion of a great sportsman, whom our author has quoted without mention of his name, that it
is as difficult to find a perfect huntsman, as a good prime minister.
How far Mr. Beckford's essay is calculated to fill the void, and to serve as an “ Elements” of hunting, we cannot undertake to judge. For aught we are able to determine, he may, or may not, be the Euclid of the venatory art. One thing we are competent to decide,-and decide positively: Of all the elementary treatises on the objects of art and science, we know not one written with greater sprightliness of manner, or in an easier and more perspicuous style. A certain class of literary men have been accused of preferring manner to matter, and of sacrificing the interests of truth to the graces of language. If ever there were an instance, in which that preference might be justified, this is the very case. In this case, we own the impeachment; and the reader must not be surprised if he find us slurring over the didactic part of the book, for the sake of the jokes, and omitting a scientific precept to make room for a pungent story.
Now first, as to a kennel :-For a gentleman intending to start in the career of Nimrodism, a kennel is not only the first thing, but it is also the most important. When built, it is built once for all. Dogs may be changed with the changes of the sportsman's mind; but kennels are for ever. It is therefore of the last importance that the kennel, when built, should be well built, and adapted to the various circumstances which caprice or necessity may call for.
An ancient orator being asked what were the three principal parts of his art, replied, Action, action, action. Cleanliness, cleanliness, cleanliness, is the sum and substance of our author's theory of kennels. The sense of smelling, the odora canum vis, as Virgil calls it, is so exquisite in a hound, that every thing relating to his lodging must be governed by a regard to his nose. The architectural details are of less importance, if this principle be steadily kept in view. The situation is well described by Somervile; for it is actually a Nimrod's dog-kennel, and not his house, which is meant in the following lines :
“ Upon some little eminence erect,
Of the two lodging-rooms-for there should be two-the floors should be bricked and sloped on both sides to run to the centre, with a gutter left to carry off the water. Contrary to the