The first essay, Dreamthorp, and the next one, On the Writing of Essays, sets the volume up to be a short of sublime blend between essays and autobiography grounded in a particular, almost dream-like ideal place. Summer, with it's daisies, runs up to every cottage door. With all my fancies, I can get no further than the old story of love and death. On these roads the lark in summer is continually heard; nests are plentiful in the hedges and dry ditches; and on the grassy banks, and at the feet of the bowed dikes, the blue-eyed speedwell smiles its benison on the passing wayfarer. We begin to moralise and look wise, and Beauty, who is something of a coquette, and of an exacting turn of mind, and likes attentions, gets disgusted with our wisdom or our stupidity, and goes off in a huff. It is the pace that tells in horses, men, and books. And, just think, not only Dreamthorp, but every English village she has made beautiful after one fashion or another—making vivid green the hill slope on which straggling white Welsh hamlets hang right opposite the sea; drowning in apple-blossom the red Sussex ones in the fat valley.
Juliet was several years my senior, and had a lover—was, in point of fact, actually engaged; and, in looking back, I can remember I was too much in love to feel the slightest twinge of jealousy. Death does not walk about here often, but when he does, he receives as much respect as the squire himself. The horse stops at the bridge-house for a drink, and there I like to talk a little with the men. There are our public meetings held. Before nightfall the poor peaked face of the bowed artisan will have gathered its ineffable peace, and the widow will be led away from the bedside by the tenderness of neighbours, and the cries of the orphan brood will be stilled. Not in the least unnatural! I expected the same for this, and perhaps if it would have tried to do something like this, it would have been an ambitiously crafted series. Commentaries are copyrighted, but may be used with proper attribution.
Men of letters take prosaic men out of themselves; but they are weak where the prosaic men are strong. The love of quiet, of old books, and reverence for the past, finds its place in them, and if they be dreams, the reader does not care to be awakened. Alexander Smith is amazing, and his essays are superb. He awed me by his manner and bearing. These books, tattered and torn as they are, are read with delight to-day. Search in the poems of Alexander Smith: a Scottish poet, and labelled as one of the Spasmodic School. He refuses any easy description.
As it stands, it is all over the place. The Readers Digest of Books. He is to some extent eccentric, and he indulges his eccentricity. Luckily he has some beautiful moments. As with everything else, since I began to love it I find it gradually growing beautiful.
A memorial flower grows on. But the labouring people listen attentively, till once they fall asleep, and they wake up to receive the benediction with a feeling of having done their duty. Twenty years hence they will be able to sit down at his feet, and count griefs with him, and tell him tale for tale. Floating about thus, time passes swiftly, for, before I know where I am, the kine have withdrawn from the lake to couch on the herbage, while one on a little height is lowing for the milkmaid and her pails. There is a narrowness and touchiness about her which is more frequently found in villages than in great cities.
To my mind, an empty chapel is impressive; a crowded one, comparatively a commonplace affair. The surrounding country is smooth and green, full of undulations; and pleasant country roads strike through it in every direction, bound for distant towns and villages, yet in no hurry to reach them. One of the tombs—the most perfect of all in point of preservation—I look at often, and try to conjecture what it commemorates. Although Alexander's working hours at the university left time to write, that time was largely absorbed in entertaining his many friends and relatives. An old novel has a history of its own. The shoemaker will be forgotten—I shall be forgotten; and long after, visitors will sit here and look out on the landscape and murmur the simple lines. To be actually on the spot, to look with one's own eyes upon the places in which our favorite heroes or heroines underwent the circumstances that made us love them--this may surely make up for an advantage on the side of the description in the book.
Avoid punctuation except as indicated below: Suffixes. Did that man with the idiotic laugh and the blurred utterance ever love? A flock of daws suddenly bursts out from a turret, and round and round they wheel, as if in panic. Brisbane was not a reliable witness. The gaps and chasms which occur in pathetic or perilous chapters are felt to be personal calamities. Is it to hide a blush? His mother Christina Murray Smith was of Highland extraction and, together with a Highland servant girl, first introduced him to Gaelic songs and Scottish legends. But where are my young people? Smith also published City Poems 1857 and 1861 , a. Could I have stood quietly by and seen the weak or the maimed bullied? How often have they loosed the chain of circumstance! I make a frame of my fingers, and look at my picture.
Berry agrees that the sister died in Paisley, but says that the squint resulted from a brain fever contracted later, in Glasgow, or possibly from a blow to the head when Alexander was attacked by a bullying gang. From the little height where I am now sitting, I see it beneath me. Time was when this place breathed actual benedictions, and was a home of active peace. A windmill twirling its arms all day is admirable only when there is corn to grind. I am acquainted with birds, and the building of nests—with wild-flowers, and the seasons in which they blow,—but with the big world far away, with what men and women are thinking, and doing, and saying, I am acquainted only through the Times, and the occasional magazine or review, sent by friends whom I have not looked upon for years, but by whom, it seems, I am not yet forgotten.
It matters not to relate how or when I became a denizen of Dreamthorp; it will be sufficient to say that I am not a born native, but that I came to reside in it a good while ago now. Small boys leave their games and mud-pies, and gather round in silence; they have seen me get off a hundred times, but their interest in the matter seems always new. The generous, ungrudging sun, the melancholy ruin, decked, like mad Lear, with the flowers and ivies of forgetfulness and grief, and between them, sweet and evanescent, human truth and love! The execution was noteworthy for being carried out at the place of the crime, a practice that had long been discontinued, and it attracted wide press coverage in England as well as in Scotland. That book, like Italy, is possessor of the fatal gift; but happily, in its case, every thing can be rectified ay a new edition. And so it's an odd volume. The landing-place to which my boat is tethered is ruinous, like the chapel and palace, and my embarkation causes quite a stir in the sleepy little village. This canal is a great haunt of mine of an evening.
We are great friends, I believe—evidence of which they occasionally exhibit by requesting me to disburse a trifle for drink-money. I draw my oars alongside, and let my boat float at its own will. Has not the circulating library become the sole home of the passion? Early poems were published in The Glasgow Citizen, whose proprietor and editor became a patron and friend. See, one comes gliding towards me, with superbly arched neck, to receive its customary alms! Smith's ages given in the census, marriage and death records narrow it down to possibly late 1828, 1829 or early 1830. Summer, with its daisies, runs up to every cottage door. So after a while, he becomes less and less radical as he continues.