Images de page
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

PREFACE.

Pride and Folly are undoubtedly synonymous terms for a je ne sai quoi passion, which seizes on the minds of men, when they possess or imagine they have any small degree of superiority over any of their fel. low mortals, in literature or pecuniary affairs. The common adage has marked four degrees of persons seized with this furor, but they should have added a fifth, who has more of the mania than the five. The writer of doggerel verse, or author of any production whatever, from the Right Honourable to the Grub Street Gentlemen inhabiting the spacious eight-foot attic chamber, have quant. suff. of this folly :

And with a lord, an earl's son, up higher yet my bonnet... In offering this volume to the public, I can lay no claim to originality, as I am well aware that the subjects have shone from more eminent pens, and are in the libraries of men of taste. A compilation of this nature has long been desired by the public, who have not access to the huge volumes from whence many of these extracts are gleaned ; and from these imperfect outlines the ingenious historiographer, by throwing out the dregs, can render to the public a valuable Vade-mecum. Yet, with the imperfections, numerous as they are,

I lay it stage, open to the critical view, with every Argos' eye they can throw on the pages.

Hark! I hear the critic with stentorian notes and cerberean howl,
To intimidate, pour forth their interdictions
On all who write. Round every bazaar prowl
With eye maliciouse Coning each verse with damning maledictions,
With harpied rage they glut the acid bowl,
Then mangle and distort stanzas, lines, and interjections.
The fact is plain in introit, medium end,

Faults oft appear to those who cannot mend.
But I cannot stoop to the hackneyed slang cant phrases of begging the
candid reader to be lenient in his judgment, as the writer never tasted the
balsamic draughts from the alembic of the nursing alma mater, and like
a poor menial looking with down. cast eyes before some lordly master,
supplicating pardon-for what? some trifling faux pas, or a mere
nothing. Mankind in general are now disgusted with such mean idioms,
and condemn the whole work without farther inspection.

I dare not advance that this Volume is clear of errors, au contraire, there are many both holographic and typographic, some of which will

on the

[ocr errors]

ing to them, and many proye an honour to their country and a bless i

appear in the crrata ; but no man can be offended, if from cach three hundred lines of nonsense he can find two single lines of sense. í

In translations, and in heraldry, some errors will appear, and some from traditional reports; and even in standard works, on whom I relied, I found a deception, arising most undoubtedly from their reliance on oral relation, and ignorance of the country. One or two repetitions are in the body of the work, owing to my distance from the press, together with a few misnomers and dates, mere trifles, considering the number of authors consulted for the thread.

The man who thinks a faultless piece to see,

Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, and 'ne'er can be. In sonte few of the clergymen's lívings, and schoolmasters' salaries, perhaps sonye are rather too high, and others rather low, but these Í count no errors, as in no case have I risen above the maximum, nor sunk below the minimum ; and were the Legislature but seriously to consider the task and labour of parochial schoolmasters in training up youth in the paths of wisdom, they would look with contempt on the paltry trifle of £16 135. 4d. with school-fees and other emoluments, which often siuk under the pitiful sum of £30 sterling, while at this present æra, some of the Bishops in England revel on a living of £26,970 sterling !!! O tempora ! O mores! Yet small as the saJaries of our Caledonian doctors are, they cheerfully perform the task

rising generation.
With labour hard they earn their scanty store,

And ply the oar with Christian heart and will,
Then share their pittance cheerful with the poor ;

Smites gliw their face, they are contentéů still.

I am well aware that I will have to, encounter much vituperation, from whom? froin the cymcal critic; to whom nothing can give satisfaction-some telling that the liistorical parts are too prolix, and others that they are too abbreviate-poetry, a genuine speaking picture, is censured and condemned by a few, while others would willingly have had more.

But, in all these matters, I have followed the bent of my own inclination, and I have reaped' á fund of amusement, by deviating from the thread of the Don, and making mention of some transactions in other places during the same ycars, which I know is extremely grati fyng to many

of
my

friends.
In awe of cynics, will mán disguise liis sentiments ?
I dread them not, nor startle at their look ;
I'll never bribe with fulsome advertisements ;
I spurn them all--and here this little book
Boasts not perfection, nor futile blandishinents;
'To cozen fools, like rod in aqueous brook,
Tho' straight, yet #rooked seems--how fragile is that creature,
Yceped man, the ephemera of nature.

Another evil will appear conspicuous to some, in a few remarks on the gentlemen of the rabe and tonsure; but, (satire apart) are the clerical gentlemen so pure that they fall under no censure ?-does no superstition lurk beneath the sable robe ?

That sacred robe- dinna tear it.

In remote ages, the priest and the soldier were linked together, and mammon's altar smoked with the oblations. The Bishops had their vassals, whom they bound to assemble at their call, in remuneration for the farms they held under their episcopal landlords ; and when his Majesty gave the signal to his troops to take the field, the towering mitre was exchanged for the plummed bonnet, the episcopal robe for the military, and the crosier and stole for the sword and thus egnipped, they entered the camp in van of their corps.

The black fo’k frae Symmie that wear uş,

Wi' mony braw lang-nebbed words,
Shou'd any great danger come near us,

Their books they will niffer for stords ;
And should the mischieveous birkie

Into our dear country but come,
They'll cast a' their creeds at their a....
And row de dow follow the drum,

Wigs an' cassocks an'a',

Missals an' cassocks an'a',
They'll cleek up a rusty brown jennet,

And thunder the rascal awa'. But in process of time this enrolment was laid aside, and a more regular order was observed, the troops appeared in the field free from sacerdotal command, and honourably disciplined-and the priest appears pow more interested in this subject.

“Amant cocna recta." I have endeavoured to render this volume interesting, by occasionally throwing in select ancient ballads, anecdotes, epitaphs, and pieces of poetry, so that the mind, when thus relaxed, will return with more ani. mation to the historical chain.

In 1655, a quarto edition of the Don, a poem, said to have been written by Mr. Forbes of Brux, appeared in print, with a few historical notes, which was reprinted in 1674, with little or no alteration, and continued in that state until 1796, when the late Schoolmaster of Kemnay added a few more notes, and offered it to the world in a small duodecimo pamphlet, price 4d. which met with great encouragement, so that a second edition appeared in 1798, with more copious notes, price 6d. At the commencement of the nineteenth century, or 1814, an octavo copy made its entrance on the stage, which promised fair, from the size of the copy and price, but all was disappointment in the extreme, to find nothing more than was in the 6d. edition. Mr. Buelan of Peterhead printed, in 1819, a small copy, in a miserable condition, from the coarseness of the paper, but it was gladly received.

A Genealogy of the House of Forbes, written in 1580, by Mr. Lumsden of Tullycairn, and continued by Mr. Forbes of Leslie down to 1700, which was given to the world in a typographic garb, wherein a catalogue of the illustrious and noble House of Forbes engrosses the pages, but neither date nor anecdote adorn the work. These extracts taken from the above volumes induced me to the compilation of this volume on the History of the river Don, which being made known to some gentlemen in the country, they seemed to approve of the work, and generously contributed to the same by books and papers, for which, and in gratitude for such favours, along with my numerous list of subscribers, I return thanks, and also to those who have promised me aid, from whom I have not, as yet, received any, circumstances having prevented_but this to me has been a great disappointment.

He awis me nocht that schortly says mę nay;

But he that hechts, and causes me attend,
Syne gives me not, I may repute him ay,
Ane untrue dettor to my lyves end.

Evergreen. Sed quisque suos patimur manes. From the aid already received, the work has swelled beyond my expectation, so that a continuation or second volnme is eagerly sought for by many who cannot have access to the voluminous works from which these extracts have been taken ; and those gentlemen have adopted the saying of Pope Ganganelli (Clement XIV.) when a volume is well wrote I admire it, but if under mediocrity I speak with candour, as I am well aware that the author exerted his every power, and all men have not equal talents.

Such as it is, it is now offered to the public, and the Editor hopes that it will give satisfaction, and banish tædium with all its horrors, which is the earnest wish of, &c.

A, L.

« PrécédentContinuer »