Tell how storms deform the skies,
Whence the waves subside and rise,
Trace the comet's blazing tail,
Weigh the planets in a scale;
Bend, great God, before Thy shrine,
The bournless macrocosms Thine.


RANT, Anne MacVicar, a Scottish poet; born

at Glasgow, February 21, 1755; died at Edin

burgh, November 7, 1838. She is commonly styled “Mrs. Grant of Laggan," to distinguish her from “Mrs. Grant of Carron,” the author of the song Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch. Her father was an officer in a Highland regiment, and early in his daughter's childhood was stationed at Claverack, N. Y., where he was joined by his family. The child learned to speak Dutch, was taught to read by her mother, and to write by a sergeant in her father's company. In 1762 Mrs. Schuyler became interested in her, and took the child into her household, where she remained for several years. Her father resigned his position in the army, and settled in Vermont, but broken health led him to return to Scotland when his daughter was about thirteen years old. In 1779 she married the Rev. James Grant, and removed to the parish of Laggan, in Inverness-shire. In order to be of assistance to her husband, she applied herself to the study of Gaelic, in which she could soon converse fluently. In 1801 she was left a widow with eight children, and with insufficient means for their maintenance. To aid in the support of her children she collected and published a number of poems which she had written without thought of publication. The volume The Highlander and other Poems appeared in 1803, and met with a success that encouraged Mrs. Grant to continue literary work. She also undertook the education of several young girls of good family. In 1806 she published Letters from the Mountains, and the Memoirs of an American Lady, Mrs. Margarita Schuyler, in 1808. Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders appeared in 1810. Eighteen Hundred and Thirteen, a volume of verses, in 1814, and Popular Warnings for the Sons and Daughters of Industry, in 1815. She afterward made numerous translations from the Gaelic, for one of which she received, in 1824, the gold medal of the Highland Society. A sketch of her life, begun by her when she was seventy years old, was completed and published, together with a collection of her letters, by her son, in 1844. In 1827 she was awarded a pension by the British Government. The Memoirs of an American Lady is an entertaining picture of life in the New World. The author's warm admiration of royalty led her in her final chapters to indulge in sad forebodings for the future of the country which freed itself from the rule of kings.


Flower of the waste! the heath-fowl shuns

For thee the brake and tangled wood –
To thy protecting shade she runs,

Thy tender buds supply her food;
Her young forsake her downy plumes
To rest upon thy opening blooms.

Flower of the desert though thou art !

The deer that range the mountain free,
The graceful doe, the stately hart,

Their food and shelter seek from thee;
The bee thy earliest blossom greets,
And draws from thee her choicest sweets.

Gen of the heath! whose modest bloom

Sheds beauty o'er the lonely moor, Though thou dispense no rich perfume,

Nor yet with splendid tints allure, Both valor's crest and beauty's power Oft hast thou decked, a favorite flower.

Flower of the wild! whose purple glow

Adorns the dusky mountain's side,
Not the gay hues of Iris' bow,

Nor garden's artful varied pride,
With all its wealth of sweets, could cheer,
Like thee, the hardy mountaineer.

Flower of his heart! thy fragrance mild

Of peace and freedom seems to breathe;
To pluck thy blossoms in the wild,

And deck his bonnet with the wreath,
Where dwelt of old his rustic sires,
Is all his simple wish requires.

Flower of his dear-loved native land !

Alas, when distant, far more dear! When he from some cold foreign strand,

Looks homeward through the blinding tear, How must his aching heart deplore, That home and thee he sees no more!


Where yonder ridgy mountains bound the scene
The narrow opening glens that intervene
Still shelter in some lowly nook obscure,
One poorer than the rest — where all are poor;
Some widowed matron, hopeless of relief,
Who to her secret breast confines her grief
Dejected sighs the wintry night away,

And lonely muses all the summer day:
Her gallant sons, who, smit with honor's charms,
Pursued the phantom Fame through war's alarms,
Return no more; stretched on Hindostan's plain,
Or sunk beneath the unfathomable main;
In vain her eyes the watery waste explore
For heroes fated to return no more!
Let others bless the morning's reddening beam,
Foe to her peace

it breaks the illusive dream
That, in their prime of manly bloom confessed,
Restored the long-lost warriors to her breast;
And as they strove, with smiles of filial love,
Their widowed parents anguish to remove,
Through her small casement broke the intrusive day,
And chased the pleasing images away!
No time can e'er her banished joys restore,
For ah! a heart once broken heals no more.
The dewy beams that gleam from pity's eye,
The "still small voice" of sacred sympathy,
In vain the mourner's sorrows would beguile,
Or steal from weary woe one languid smile:
Yet what they can they do — the scanty store,
So often opened for the wandering poor,
To her each cottager complacent deals,
While the kind glance the melting heart reveals;
And still, when the evening streaks the west with gold,
The milky tribute from the lowing fold
With cheerful haste officious children bring,
And every smiling flower that decks the Spring.
Ah! little know the fond attentive train,
That spring and Aowerets smile for her in vain;
Yet hence they learn to reverence modest woe,
And of their little all a part bestow.
Let those to wealth and proud distinction born,
With the cold glance of insolence and scorn
Regard the suppliant wretch, and harshly grieve
The bleeding heart their bounty would relieve:
Far different these; while from a bounteous heart
With the poor sufferer they divide a part,
Humbly they own that all they have is given,

A boon precarious, from indulgent Heaven:
And the next blighted crop or frosty spring,
Themselves to equal indigence may bring!

- The Highlander.


It was in the first place, laid down as a principle, that when evil spirits were permitted to assume any visible form to disturb or dismay any individual, such permission was in consequence of some sin committed, or some duty neglected by the person so visited: sometimes want of submission, but oftenest of all want of faith, as they style it: that is, want of confidence in the divine prot'ection and aid, which the Highlanders account a dreadful sin. Undue confidence - what they call emphatically tempting Providence – is another sin punishable with this species of dereliction. They believe, for instance, that a spirit is never seen by more than one person at a time: that these shadowy visitors are permitted to roam in the darkness, to awake terror, or to announce fate to those who do not sufficiently respect the order that obtains in this particular, either to stay in at night, or take some other person along with them for a protection. If they are commanded by any one whom they are bound to obey, to go out at night, they are less liable to these visitations. At all times, if they mark the approach of the apparition, and adjure it in the name of the Trinity to retire, it can do them no hurt. But then, these spectres sometimes approach so suddenly, that they are seized with breathless terror, which prevents articulation. Or the spirit appearing in some familiar form, is mistaken for a living person till it is too late to recede.

In the stillness of noon, or in a solitary place, at the instant one is speaking of them, the dead are sometimes seen in the day-time, passing transiently, or standing before one. But this is merely a momentary glimpse that continues only while the eye can be kept fixed on the vision, which disappears the moment the eyelid falls. Superstitions of the Highlanders.

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