Page:Historical characteristics of the Celtic race.djvu/29

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 Lowland, your sports are low; as is your seat;
  The Highland games and minds are high and great"

The same note is struck here as in—

 "England, thy beauties are tame and domestic,
  To one who has roamed o'er the mountains afar."

So that it is as it were only re-echoed from Byron's Lochnagar. In keeping, therefore, with the character of the scenery is the bearing and demeanour of the people. Among his bleak, but majestic, hills, the Celt can still say—Ged tha mi bochd, tha mi uasal, buidheachad do Dhia—"Though I am poor, I am respectable, God be thanked." And travellers among them who have seen all Europe, place the Highlander and the Irishman high in natural politeness. John Wesley, who knew both sides of the Atlantic, says he found as real courtesy in the Irish cabins as could be found at St James's or the Louvre; and Campbell, in his Tales of the West Highlands, has the following, and much more than we can quote, to the same purport:

"There are few peasants that I think so highly of, none that I like so well. Scotch Highlanders have faults in plenty, but they have the bravery of Nature's own gentlemen, the delicate natural tact which discovers, and the good taste which avoids, all that would hurt or offend a guest."

No doubt the enemy will say, "All very easy this politeness of yours in those who lounge about and are inactive; we Saxons have not time to consider the feelings, much less the prejudices, of our neighbours around us; in the race and chase of modern life, it is not possible to maintain the suavity and feel the courtesy which you exhibit. Festina lente is your motto, which may be translated—'Go on, but take plenty of time'; that is an antiquated maxim for us Saxons in this Darwinian Free Trade iron age of the world."

And herein lies our fear for the future of this and other virtues in the Celtic race, that in this high-pressure age, when under competitive friction everything of the tender, much also of the ideal, is to vanish, we shall have no time to feel, much less to study, anything like politeness. Leisure is essential to refinement, and where the leisure is to be found in the rising generation, when the motto of men who are taken as leaders is "Sacrifice, relentless sacrifice, and no mercy,"—that seems more difficult to discern every day.