Yet I heartily wish that the task of tracing the evanescent manners of his own country had employed the pen of the only man in Scotland who could have done it justice—of him so eminently distinguished in elegant literature, and whose sketches of Colonel Caustic and Umphraville are perfectly blended with the finer traits of national character. I should in that case have had more pleasure as a reader than I shall ever feel in the pride of a successful author, should these sheets confer upon me that envied distinction. And, as I have inverted the usual arrangement, placing these remarks at the end of the work to which they refer, I will venture on a second violation of form, by closing the whole with a Dedication—
These volumes being respectfully inscribed to our Scottish Addison, Henry MACKENZIE, by an unknown admirer of his genius.
The clan of Mac-Farlane, occupying the fastnesses of the western side of Loch Lomond, were great depredators on the Low Country, and as their excursions were made usually by night, the moon was proverbially called their lantern. Their celebrated pibroch of Hoggil nam Bo, which is the name of their gathering tune, intimates similar practices, the sense being:—
We are bound to drive
All by hollows, hirsts, and hillocks,
Through the sleet, and through the rain.
When the moon is beaming low
On frozen lake and hills of snow,
Bold and heartily we go;
And all for little gain.
Note 2, p. 22
This noble ruin is dear to my recollection, from associations which have been long and painfully broken. It holds a commanding station on the banks of the river Teith, and has been one of the largest castles in Scotland. Murdoch, Duke of Albany, the founder of this stately pile, was beheaded on the Castle-hill of Stirling, from which he might see the towers of Doune, the monument of his fallen greatness.
In 1745-46, as stated in the text, a garrison on the part of the Chevalier was put into the castle, then less ruinous than at present. It was commanded by Mr. Stewart of Balloch, as governor for Prince Charles; he was a man of property near Callander. This castle became at that time the actual scene of a romantic escape made by John Home, the author of Douglas, and some other prisoners, who, having been taken at the battle of Falkirk, were confined there by the insurgents. The poet, who had in his own mind a large stock of that romantic and enthusiastic spirit of adventure which he has described as animating the youthful hero of his drama, devised and undertook the perilous enterprise of escaping from his prison.