The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 48 pages of information about The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction.

The passion of the Scots, from whatever race derived, for poetry and music, developed itself in the earliest stages of their history.  They possessed a wild imagination, a dark and gloomy mythology; they peopled the caves, the woods, the rivers, and the mountains, with spirits, elves, giants, and dragons; and are we to wonder that the Scots, a nation in whose veins the blood of all those remote races is unquestionably mingled, should, at a very remote period, have evinced an enthusiastic admiration for song and poetry; that the harper was to be found amongst the officers who composed the personal state of the sovereign, and that the country maintained a privileged race of wandering minstrels, who eagerly seized on the prevailing superstitions and romantic legends, and wove them in rude, but sometimes very expressive versification, into their stories and ballads; who were welcome guests at the gate of every feudal castle, and fondly beloved by the great body of the people.—­Tytler’s History of Scotland.

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On approaching the city about sun-rise, from the Sea of Marmora.

  A glorious form thy shining city wore,
  ’Mid cypress thickets of perennial green,
  With minaret and golden dome between,
  While thy sea softly kiss’d its grassy shore. 
  Darting across whose blue expanse was seen
  Of sculptured barques and galleys many a score;
  Whence noise was none save that of plashing oar;
  Nor word was spoke, to break the calm serene. 
  Unhear’d is whisker’d boatman’s hail or joke;
  Who, mute as Sinbad’s man of copper, rows,
  And only intermits the sturdy stroke
  When fearless gull too nigh his pinnace goes. 
  I, hardly conscious if I dream’d or woke,
  Mark’d that strange piece of action and repose.

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In the thirteenth century Berwick enjoyed a prosperity, such as threw every other Scottish port into the shade; the customs of this town, at the above date, amounted to about one-fourth of all the customs of England.

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  “Spirit of Momus! thou’rt wandering wide. 
  When I would thou wert merrily perch’d by my side,
    For I am sorely beset by the blues;
  Thou fugitive elf!  I adjure thee return,
  By Fielding’s best wig, and the ashes of Sterne,
    Appear at the call of my muse.”

  It comes, with a laugh on its rubicund face;
  Methinks, by the way, it’s in pretty good case,
    For a spirit unblest with a body;
    “On the claret bee’s-wing,” says the sprite, “I regale;
  But I’m ready for all—­from Lafitte down to ale,
    From Champagne to a tumbler of toddy.

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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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