Sivut kuvina

of the peaceful cvettlement of

Dennsylvanial! i' of the friendly welcomé urith which the First settlers



rom Wat's


prava by Murray,


Pennsylvania, till several years after the proprietor. But the league of peace, then made with the aborigines, whether under king Tammany or Connodaghtoh, which was to last, in their figurative language, “ as long as the sun should shine, and the waters run in the rivers," was actually never interrupted by that generation, or so long as the friends of Penn retained power in the government sufficient to prevent or redress occasional grievances, it having been first infringed, by mutual injuries, after a blissful period of seventy years.



This eminent Scottish poet was born, according to Mr. Warton, about the year 1470, but in Mr. Pinkerton's opinion five years sooner. The latter gentleman, from several circumstances, has fixed upon 1465 as the most probable date, and which is perhaps nearest to the truth, though the matter cannot now be exactly ascertained. The place of Dunbar's birth is understood to have been Salton, a village near the delightful coast of the Forth in East Lothian. This is collected from what Kennedy, a contemporary, says in one of his satires; who mentions likewise his own wealth and Dunbar's poverty. If we are to credit the same author, Dunbar was of the kin of the carls of March, but of this there is no satisfactory evidence. In his youth he seems to have been a travelling noviciate of the Franciscan order, as appears by one of his poems addressed to St. Francis, wherein he recapitulates his own achievements and peregrinations with some humour.

This mode of life, however, not being agreeable to Dunbar's inclinations, he resigned it, and returned to Scotland, as is supposed about the year 1490, when he was about 25 years of age. In his “ Thistle and Rose," which was certainly written in 1503, he speaks of himself as a poet that had already made many songs, and that poera is the composition of an experienced writer, and


not of a novice in the art. It is indeed probable that his tales, The twa marryt wimen and the wido, and The Freirs of Berovic, (if the last be his), were written before his Thistle and Rose. However this may have been, Dunbar, after being the author of the Golden Targe, a poem of the most opulent description, and of many small pieces of the highest merit, died in old age, about 1530.

In his younger years our poet seems to have had great cxpectations that his abilities would have recommended bim to an ecclesiastical benefice, and in his smaller poems he frequently addresses the king to that purpose: but there is no reason to believe that he did it with success. Such is often the gratitude of princes; for the Thistle and Rose, which was occasioned by the marriage of James the fourth, king of Scotland, with Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry the seventh, king of England, deserved better treatment at the hands of the royal pair. Mr. Pinkerton has looked in vain, he says, over many calendars of charters, &c. of this period, to find Dunbar's name, but suspects that it was never written by a lawyer.

Mr. Warton, in characterizing the Scottish poets of this time, observes that the writers of thai nation have adorned the period with a degree of sentiment and spirit, a command of phraseology, and a fertility of imagination not to be found in any English poet since Chaucer and Lydgate." He might safely have added," (says Mr. Pinkerton), “not even in Chaucer or Lydgate.” Concerning Dunbar, Mr. Warton says, that the natural complexion of his genius is of the moral and delicate cast. The remark, however, Mr. Pinkerton thinks, “must not be taken too strictly. “ The Golden Targe (he adds) is moral, and so are many of his "small pieces; but humour, description, allegory, great poetical “genius, and a vast wealth of words, all unite to form the com“plexion of Dunbar's poetry.” “He unites in himself, and gene“ rally surpasses, (says the other,) the quality of the chief old “ English poets; the morals and satires of Langland, Chaucer's “ humour, poetry and knowledge of life, the allegory of Gower, " and the description of Lydgate."

As this is a very high character, Mr. Warton has endeavoured to support his sentiments, by giving an analysis of his three

principal poems. This, however excellent, we cannot here introduce, because of its length; but our readers may not be displeased with a short sketch of his first and principal poem, “ The Thistle and Rose.”

This poem opens with some fine stanzas, which are remarkable for their descriptive and picturesque beauties. May then rebukes the poet for not rising early, according to his annual custom, to celebrate the approach of Spring. For this he apologises, on account of the present ungenial and inclement season. This excuse is rejected by May, who, with a smile of majesty, commands him to arise and perform his annual homage to the flowers, the birds, and the sun; upon this they both enter a delicious garden filled with the richest colours and odours, when the Sun appears suddenly in all his glory, and is thus beautifully de. scribed:

“The pourpour sonne with tender bemis reid
“ In orient bricht as angell did appeir,
“Thorow golden skies putting up his head
“Quhois gilt tresses schone so wonder cleir
“That all the world take comfort far and neir.

Immediately the birds singing together hail the unusual appearance of the sunshine; and then Nature is introduced issuing her edict that the progress of the Spring should no longer be interrupted, and that Neptune and Eolus should cease from disturbing the waters and air. By this preparation and suspense Dunbar hath judiciously and ingeniously contrived to give dignity to the subject of the poem, to awaken curiosity, and to introduce many poetical circumstances.

Immediately Nature commands every bird, beast, and flower to appear in her presence; and, agreeable to the custom of every May morning, to acknowledge her universal sovereignty.

She sends the Roe to bring the beasts: the Swallow to collect the birds, and the Yarrow (Achillea or Millefolium) to summon the flowers, and they are all before her in an instant.

The Lion advances first, whose figure is drawn with great force and expression, and with an ingenious and happy illusion to the Scottish arms. Nature then lifts up the Lion's shining claw, and suffering him to rest on her knee, crowns him with a radi. ant diadem of precious stones, and creates him the king of beasts.

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