1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Hogg

Richard Ryan, in Poetry and Poets: being a Collection of the choicest Anecdotes relative to the Poets of every Age and Nation (1826) 1:240-42.



Among the great number of persons of an inferior station of life and confined education, who have, during the last half-century, distinguished themselves as poets, none, if we except his countryman Burns, has, in our opinion, inherited from Nature a more ample portion of genius than James Hogg.

With a mind so susceptible to the impressions of external objects, and surrounded by scenery calculated to awaken his feelings by the combination of the picturesque, the romantic, and the sublime, it is hardly to be wondered at that he should have expressed those feelings in poetry of no common energy and originality.

Unlike those puny productions of pastoral bards, which the injudicious flattery of admirers, incompetent to form a judgment, has so often obtruded on the public, his compositions may bear comparison with many of the happiest flights of the more cultivated geniuses of this truly poetic age.

In almost every style of verse which he has attempted, and there are few which he has left untried, he has succeeded. His Poetical Works, which are comprised in four 12mo. volumes are replete with beauties, from which we select the following.

THE MOON WAS A-WANING.
The moon was a-waning,
The tempest was over,
Fair was the maiden,
And fond was the lover:
But the snow was so deep,
That his heart it grew weary,
And he sunk down to sleep
In the moorland so dreary.

Soft was the bed
She had made for her lover,
White were the sheets,
And embroider'd the cover;
But his sheets were more white,
And his canopy grander,
And sounder he sleeps
Where the hill-foxes wander.

Alas! pretty maiden,
What sorrows attend you,
I see you sit shiv'ring,
With lights at your window;
But long may you wait
Ere your arms shall enclose him,
For still, still he lies
With a wreath on his bosom.

How painful the task
The sad tidings to tell you;
An orphan you were
Ere this misery befell you;
And far in yon wild,
Where the dead-tapers hover,
So cold, cold and wan,
Lies the corse of your lover.

Hogg is a name of which Scotland may justly be proud: his fame will survive when the memory of many who are now more highly extolled, shall be swept away by the ruthless hand of time, and succeeding generations of Scotia's children will peruse with delight the effusions of "THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD."