Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/133

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


DUNCAN MACINTYRE. 503


and strange. It is an affecting illustration, however, of the pleasure which un- ambitious minds may derive from humble sources, that the poet wrote upon this oc- casion a self-gratulatory ode, in which he expresses quite as bounding a transport at his accession to a salary of sixpence a day, as Napoleon could have done at the addition of a kingdom to his dominions. We have thought this poem so extra- ordinary a curiosity in its way, as to make a translation of it, with which we have been furnished by an obliging friend, the example to be presented in this place of the style of Macintyre, so far as the unavoidable formality and tameness of a literal English version can exemplify the exquisite graces of the Gaelic bard.

TRANSLATION OF VERSES TO HIS MUSKET

BY DUNCAN MACINTYRE.

Many a turn of fortune may happen to a man, He may fall in love with one he may not get I devoted twenty years to the first I fancied, But she forsook me and I was left alone.

I came to Edinburgh to seek a sweetheart : Said captain Campbell in the town guard, That he knew a widow in a secret place, And would endeavour to put her in my way ;

He did, as he was wont, fulfill his promise ;

He gave her to me by the hand, and her portion with her.

Whoever may ask her name or surname,

They call her Janet," and George was her grandsire.

She is quiet and affable, without gloom or vexing look, And as high in rank as any lady in the land ; She is the means of my support since she joined me Great is the cause of grief to him who has not got her.

I have forsaken Nic-Coshum, 7 tho' she still lives,

And allowed the crested stags to wander where they please ;

I have chosen a young wife, which I do not repent ;

I am not without wealth since I espoused the fair one.

I pass my word that she is most excellent,

And that 1 never discovered any hidden fault in her;

She is stately, fine, straight, and sound,

Without defect or blemish, twist or bend.

When needy folks are pinched for money, George's daughter will not let my pocket be empty ; She keeps me in drink in the alehouses, And pays every stoup that I call for.

She does every turn as I bid her,

She tells me no lie nor false story;

She keeps my family as well as 1 could wish,

Though I do no labour nor dirty work.

I worked laboriously though I amassed no wealth, I vowed that I would disdain to be a menial ; I have ceased to toil since I have remarked That the idle man endures longest.

It is my loving wife who will not deceive me ; She is able always to earn my bread, I shall have-no lack of clothes or linen, And worldly cares now give me no concern.

8 A byeword for a regimental firelock, but never applied to any other gun. 7 A favourite fowling piece to which he composed another song.