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under the stern schooling which con- of which is taken from the picture retact with the world affords.
presenting the temptations of St. AnIt is at this point that we get into the thony, and adapted to the situation and pith and marrow of Moir's life, which clothed in the images supplied by Scotwas one of hard work from this hour tish Puritanism. This poem was pubforward. From 1817 to 1828, he never lished in 1819, when Delta was twentyslept a night out of Musselburgh, but one, and is a performance rich in from day to day, and from night to promise. The poems just referred to, night, discharged the heavy duties of " Moods of the Mind," follow this, and, his medical practice, with a manful simultaneous with these, a series of assiduity, and a Christian kindness, Biblical sketches, comprising, "Elijah," such as form the chief elements in our " The Casting forth of Jordan," and beau ideal of a medical man. Yet, “The Vision of Zechariah." Following between the laborious morning and these were some miscellaneous pieces, evening visits, and the frequent jingling "Emma, a Tale,” in sound blank verse of the ** night-bell”-that brass-tongued setting forth how a maiden, “all. ogre of the doctor's pillow--he stole a forlorn," dreams of her lover, who has few intervals of rest for the cultivation gone to join the "holy wars in Palesof his literary powers, and now he steps tine," and how, in her dream, she has a into the bold arena of " Blackwood's vision of the battle-field, where nightMagazine," a sufficient honour in itself broods, and bird, and beastfor the most enthusiastic ambition.
Have come to gorge A manuscript magazine, projected by On the unburied dead, Rider and horse,
The lofty and the low, commingled lie, Moir, and mainly kept up by himseli,
Unbreathing; and the balmy evening gala had brought him a little fame in Mus Fitfully lifts the feathers on the crest selburgh, and, what is more, had af
Of one who slumbers with his visor up. forded him a field for practice, and em- The "one", is her absent lover, whose boldened by the success of his contribu- return she pines for; and when “ raditions to this very local serial, he sent ant morn appears," and upon the “ivy in some pieces to Maga, then plethoric wreath" the "robin sings," with sound with young blood, and pulsing with of trumpet, drum, and tramp of men life and jollity. Mr. Blackwood was a and steed, that “one," “ Young Ethelman of rare sagacity, and be appre-rid," returns, and like a faithful kniglat ciated and encouraged the new con- of those old steel-clad times tributor.
Kneels at her feet in ecstacy, The pieces contributed were often of And lifts her snowy fingers to his lips, the most opposite kind, drab colour “The Vision," " Reflections on a to-day, harlequin's spangles to-morrow, Brumal Scene," "The Silent Eve," and anon, the painted drollery of the "To Margaret," “Afar, Oh Ladye Fair, red-lipped clown, shaking you from away !" "Elegy composed on the field head to foot with laughter at his drol- of Pinkie,” “Stanzas on the Re-Interlery. “The Eve of St. Jerry," “ Thement of King Robert Bruce," “ The Ancient Waggoner," and others of the Snowy Eve," "The Wild Rose," togesame rollicking cast, were let off in ther with “Sonnets on the Chief Locali. company with sweet, tender strains, ties of Interest in Scotland," "Sir filled with plaintive melody, like touches Harold,” and “Hymn to the Night of flute music, or the cooing of ring- Wind," are the chief of these early doves. It is strange, though true, that pieces. although these various contributions We are thus particular in enumerating were sent anonymously--the touches of the early productions of Delta, in order humour being attributed by the public that the reader, curious in such matters, to Maginn--yet Mr. Blackwood scented may note how the development of genius out their identity, and saw in the queer needs time as a primary element; and song and the "plaintive pleading of not time only, but hard work, under the regret," the diverse efforts of the same impulse of a set purpose, and with exhand.
perience to cool the crude ardour of The first of his pieces to which the youthful enthusiasm. In the case of renowned A was attached, and to which Delta the growth of a mind is most he owed his popular cognomen of Delta, beautifully marked in the steady imwas “ The Covenanter's Ileather Bed," |provement of a power which lurks under a poem of considerable merit, the ideal these early effusions, showing that they
spring from a rich and virgin soil, yet They became united as brothers, and need the pruning of experience and art so great was the confidence reposed in to reduce them to symmetrical propor- Moir by Galt, that when hurried off to tions.
America before he could get his novel, But these early pieces, however im- the “ Last of the Lairds," finished, he perfect in themselves, compared with left his friend to write the concluding the latest productions of his pen, were chapters, involving, of course, the wind in the right vein, and soon became ing up-that all-important part of a exceedingly popular. Hence A, the novel-and this task was completed in shadow, of which Moir was the sub-a manner so ingenious as to furnish the stance, was soon looked for in the friends, when they met again, with a monthly issue of the Tory thunderer, source of mirth almost inexhaustible. and with young people especially, the It is often said the more a man does, contributions soon became especial fa- the more he is able to do; and it is vourites. While popularity was growing truly surprising what an amount of out of doors, Delta was slowly, but energy Delta displayed in literature at surely, gaining admission to the select this time, when we consider that at the literary circles of Edinburgh, and, same time the harassing tasks of his through Mr. Blackwood, became per- professional life were never once negsonally acquainted with several of the lected, but pursued with an increasing leading writers of the magazine, and, and increasing ardour. His medical among others, Professor Wilson. What practice extended, his friends increased Wilson thought of the young poet, on in number, and the demands on his talent his first acquaintance with him, we are became more and more frequent. From not told, but the way in which the large- the night journey in the hail or snow, or hearted wizard gains a mastery over the long watch beside the bed of some hundreds of fine youths, is thus hit off poor recipient of his medical skill and by Mr. Aird. An essay is submitted to tender heartedness, he would retire to him as professor, editor or friend, by his study and pen delicate ballads, some worthy young man. Mr. Wilson familiar epistles, essays, sonnets, and does not like it, and says so in general seraphic hymns. Into Blackwood he terms. The youth is not satisfied, and, poured all sorts of contributions, from in the tone of one rather injured, begs grave verse down to mock-heroics, imito know specific faults. The generous tations, cockney love songs, puns, paroAristarch, never dealing haughtily with dies, freaks, fantasies, and all other a young worth, instantly sits down, and sorts of queer, quizzical and funny begins by conveying, in the most fear-things; yet with no vulgarity, no wilful less terms of praise, his sense of that distortion of kindly feelings, but, ever worth; but, this done, woe be to the true to nature and humanity, and with luckloss piece of prose, or “ numerous a clever sparkle which had no gall verse." Down goes the scalpel with the in it. most minute savagery of dissection, At the close of 1824, Delta published and the whole tissues and ramifications a selection of his contributions to the of fault are laid naked and bare. The magazines, together with a few new young man is astonished; but his pieces, in a volume, entitled, “A Legend nature is of the right sort; he never of Genevieve, with other Tales and forgets the lesson; and with bands of Poems." It was a misfortune or misfilial affection stronger than hooks of take at starting to give “The Legend of steel, he is knit for life to the man who Genevieve" so much predominance in has dealt with him thus. The severe the title, for it is by no means one of service was once done to Delta; he was his best productions, and much inferior the young man to profit by it, and his to many other pieces in the book. “The acquaintanceship with the professor Hymn to the Morn” and “Hymn to “gradually ripened into a friendship, the Night Wind," are, perhaps, the finest not to be dissolved but at the grave's in the book-gems in their way, both mouth."
for lyrical sweetness and felicity of Soon afterwards a friendship of a sin- | thought. The book did not sell, such cere and lasting sort sprang up between books never do: in ninety-nine cases out Delta and Mr. Galt, the novelist, who of every hundred they are either sent came to live at Eskgrove, in the imme- after dark to some friendly cheesemonger diate neighbourhood of Musselburgh. who is so burnt up with a passion for
juvenile productions as to consume a principle--the whole amalgam, with po whole edition himself, or else thrust in violent contrasts, with no gross exag. twos and threes upon reluctant friends gerations, beautifully blent down into and acquaintances, the majority of whom verisimilitude, presenting to us a unique deem it a sufficient service to accept the hero, at once ludicrous and loveable. volumes and consequently never pay And how admirably in keeping with the for them. These luckily were not Delta's central autobiographer are the characresources, and in the course of time anters and scenes which revolve around edition was soll, though the work never his needle. Totally different is the paid, a circumstance the more to be whole delineation from the broad, strong, expected inasmuch as that he continued national characteristic, rough and ready, singing monthly in Blackwood, and of hit off by Burns; but yet equally true all such productions the public has an to nature, and thoroughly Scottish." eccentric inkling to have them fresh and Temperate in living, cheerful in temfresh, the productions of the past having per, and ever watchful of his moral and little value until they can be reproduced religious responsibilities, Delta pursues under the shadow of a name which has his course of healing the bodies of the by continuous outpourings, acquired sick and cheering the minds of the extensive popularity.
healthy, with few events to turn him In 1827, Delta enlarged his circle of aside from his steady course till March, friends and became acquainted with 1829, when he threw himself into the Thomas Aird, the strong-minded north-thick of the extreme Protestant moveerner, and also with Dr. Macnish, ment against Catholic emancipation. the well-known author of the “Anatomy In this he was not merely a zealous of Drunkenness," the “ Philosophy of protestant, he was a confirmed bigot, Sleep," and other works; and, perhaps, blinded by prejudice to the reasonable still better known by his literary nom- pleadings of the Romanists in favour of de-guerre, “ The Modern Pythagorean." religious liberty. To this school he adMacnish's talent and sagacity and hered to the last, a fact the more to be shrewdness, combined with the man- regretted because his religious sentiliest simplicity and warm-heartedness, ments, apart from sectarian consideraand the tags of oddity and fringes of tions, were exalted in spirit, and practiwhimsicality which hung all about the cal in aim, and characterized by that native movement of his mind, in the earnestness and devotion which the regions of the quaint and queer, made Protestant faith in cultivated minds so him a perfect delight to Delta ; and they pre-eminently encourages. loved one another like brothers. An Among the miscellaneous entries in improved edition of “ The Anatomy of his journals and correspondence is one Drunkenness" was dedicated to Moir, dated June 23rd, 1828, which bears on
In 1824, Delta commenced a tale in his history in an interesting manner. Blackwood, the title of which, “ Mansie | He says, in a letter to Macnish, “I am Wauch,” needs only to be mentioned to not aware that I am much given up to bring a shower of refreshing memories superstitious feelings; but it is not a over the majority of our readers. This little curious that, when I awoke last soon became so popular in Scotland new-year's morning, it was strongly imthat clubs were formed where “Mansie" | pressed upon my heart that this was to was read aloud to the eager ears of the be the most eventful year of my life cannie Scots, exploding with boisterous in what shape, of course, I could not delaughter. The tale was completed in cipher; but either for joy or woe." His 1827, and reprinted in a volume with new year's dream was fulfilled, for he some additions, in 1828, and is now a fell in love that year, and that is, next standard classic of humour, and among to conversion, the greatest event which the very best of its kind. “Mansie can befall any man in the course of big Wauch" is a bold delineation of Scot-life-time. On the 8th of June, 1829, tish manners, filled up with scenes and Dr. Moir was married at Carham church, characters truly national, yet of a class Northumberland, to Miss Catherine E. almost wholly untouched by either Bell, of Leith. It was a marriage of Scott or Burns. “What an excellent hearts as of hands; and besides faith compound of conceit, cowardice, gos- and affection, Delta found in his wife sipping, silliness, pawkishness, candour, that essential element in the domestic kindly affections, and good Christian happiness of a man of letters, a sympathy with his literary habits, tastes every papist the civil rights of a citizen. and ambition.
| In May, 1831, he appeared before the Moir and Macnish were now linked public in a new light, as the author of hand in hand in literary projects and Outlines of the Ancient History of labours. Magazines, Reviews and An- Medicine," a work, as he himself tells nuals were flooded by them with spark- us, undertaken at the suggestion of his ling or graceful contributions: and the friend Galt. The work, as it stands, is two fagged on, strong in heart and only a history of the medical science of health, and stronger still in hope. For the ancients; the projected volumes, the Edinburgh Literary Gazette, Delta bringing down the history to the prehad performed so many services that a sent time, were never written. presentation of plate was determined The year 1832 brought the cholera to on by the proprietors, and in July, 1829, Musselburgh. This town was the first he became the joyful possessor of this point of its attack in Scotland, and in note of admiration. .
| the month of January, it broke out with In April, 1830, Dr. Bowring being in mortal virulence. Moir was one of the Edinburgh, paid Moir a visit as a first to go forth in this season of danger brother poet. On the 6th of the same and trial; and with unflinching coumonth he became a father, and accepted rage and sleepless zeal he faced the new cheerfully from Mrs. Moir the presen- foe with the armaments of his medical tation of a daughter; and about the skill. And here we meet with one of same time sat for his bust to Mr. the most pleasing evidences of the Ritchie, the sculptor, then a young man strength and soundness of his character, full of promise. In 1830, he edited in that, while he gave so much of his “ Weeds and Wild Flowers," a collection attention to the culture of letters, he of the posthumous papers of Alexander never sacrificed the interests of his proBalfour, who had long been a friend of fession; but, on the contrary, attained Delta's, and of whom he wrote a life, to a perfection of skill in this, as simuland prefixed it to the volume, which was taneously with it, he attained such published for the benefit of Mr. Bal- high perfection in the accomplishment four's family.
of verse.” Day after day is the adage Identified as he was with the conser-repeated and applied to secular things, vative party, both by his avowed prin- that “a man cannot serve two masters;" ciples of church and state, and by his and it is an established rule to doubt literary connections, it is somewhat the medical capabilities of a literary pleasing to find Delta breaking through physician. Moir, however, was one of prescriptive rule, under the impulse of the few literary physicians who never a strong conviction, and, in 1831, be suffered under the smart of this article coming a zealous advocate of the Re- of the popular faith; for, so far from form Bill. In a letter to Macnish, he neglecting his vocation, in order to culthus explains himself—"You have be- tivate his hobby, he never ceased to imcome a Reformer, have you? Well, so prove his knowledge and extend his so have I; and not only that, but secre-practice of medicine, so as to merit the tary to the Reform committee, in which large confidence which was always recapacity I have had correspondence posed in him. As far as serving two with Jeffrey and Lord Rosebery. We masters, then, it depends very much on were last night brilliantly illuminated, the capabilities of the man, a point and all went off as smack and smooth which biography would never be slow as a Quaker Meeting. It is absurd to in proving. deny the necessity of reform, when a Moir was medical secretary of the House of Commons could pass a detest- Board of Health, at Musselburgh, and able Catholic Bill, against the consti- hence, the extra pressure of a cholera tution of the country, and the petitions season fell doubly on him; and to anof nineteen-twentieths of its inhabi- swer collectively the numerous inquiries tants; it was quite time that an end from all parts of the country, as to the should be put to such a delusive mock- prevention and treatment of the malady, ery of representation." Here the key he hurriedly threw together his “ Pracnote is catholicism, which it is plain tical Observations on Malignant Choenough he not merely hated as a thing lera,” which flew through the country of error, but opposed with a spirit of like wildfire, and came to a second ediintolerance which would have denied to tion in a few days. To follow this, he
sent forth his “ Proofs of the Contagion Blackwood was still more rapidly hasof Malignant Cholera," a masterly pro- tening away from the circle of earthly duction, in which the doctrine of con- friendships. Mr. Blackwood died in tagion was established in a manner at the autumn of 1834, and Delta was aponce clear and philosophical.
pointed one of his executors, as much In the autumn of 1832, Delta at- at the desire of Mr. Blackwood's sons, tended the meeting of the British Asso- who entertained the highest regard for ciation at Oxford, and visited Chelten- Delta as an adviser and a guardian, as ham and London. While in London, of Mr. Blackwood himself. In 1835, he sat to Maclise, for his portrait, which another friend perisbed, and the green appeared in a full-length etching in grave closed over the heart of the Ettrick "Frazer's Magazine." While in the Shepherd. Next, William Motherwell, south, he visited Coleridge, and lost him. author of "Jeannie Morrison," and one self, as Chalmers and Carlyle did also, of the most pathetic of ballad writers in the theosophic infinitudes of the ever born, went the same night-jourIlighgate philosophy. But the chief ney, and was closely followed by another object of his visit to London was to see friend, Michael Scott, the author of his old friend Galt, who was now on “ Tom Cringle's Log," and the “Cruise the descending side of that perpetual of the Midge,” a man of extraordinary see-saw, of which the lives of literary qualities, and as subtle, if not so large men mostly consist. “When we parted, a wizard, as his immortal namesake. seven years before," says Delta, “ heThen again, on the 16th of January, was in the prime and vigour of man- 1837, died Dr. Macnish, Delta's almost hood, his eye glowing with health and brother, “ in the bloom of his fame; a his step full of elasticity. Before me man who could not be known without now sat the drooping figure of one old being beloved, and whom Scotland may before his time, crippled in his move.well be proud to number among her ments, and evidently but half-resigned gifted children.” To the memory of to this premature curtailment of his Macnish, Delta built an altar of love by mental and bodily exertions.” This is collecting his fugitive pieces, and pub. the old story of genius wasting under lishing them along with a well-written, the bleak breath of bitter disappoint- though partial, biography. ment-a story too often told, not to be, Death had thus thinned the ranks of alas! too true.
his friends, and now the destroyer came In 1833, Dr. Browne, Moir's senior to his home and hearth, and the spring partner, retired from business, and of 1838 found Delta and his wife weepMoir succeeded him in the practice, ing the loss of two of their children. with a junior partner. Under the new In the next year, another fine boy, pressure of increased duties, his literary David Macbeth Moir, was cut oil. exercises were now a little abridged." The desolation among my little ones," Still he was active in many other things said he, in a letter to his friend Aird, besides his medical practice. Municipal" has proved to me a very staggering and general political affairs he still took blow." To complete this catalogue of an active interestin; and was so genuine domestic sorrows, Mr. Galt died on the a man of business, that into whatever 11th of April, 1839, and was buried in committee he might happen to be the new churchyard of Greenock. Of elected, he was always appointed secre- this friend Delta wrote a truthful tary. Among his friends he now num-memoir, tinctured through with the bered Thomas Hood, and Mr. Ritchie, essence of his own fine friendship for the sculptor; while scores of young him, yet darkened throughout by the men in Musselburgh and Edinburgh, shadow of his heavy grief. looked to him for counsel in life, and Looking at these events, who is to sought his friendly assistance in the wonder that Delta's mind wore a tone realization of their schemes and pro- of permanent sadness, which neither the jects. Ritchie was especially indebted resources of literary study, nor strong to him for his warm-hearted services. religious faith had power in dispelling. Delta's efforts to assist him in his early It is to the expression of this feeling that career, must afford many pleasant me his “ Domestic Verses," published in mories to that now eminent sculptor. 1843, are chiefly devoted. Seldom, in
Mr. Galt was now residing in Edin- the history of literature, have the home burgh, dying by inches; while Mr. affections been so faithfully, yet so