|POETS — NINIAN PATERSON.||33|
Among the staunch royalists of Scotland, just previous to the
revolution, Ninian Paterson, [note] minister of
Liberton church, holds a prominent station. He styles himself
“Glasguensis,” and is supposed, with some appearance of probability, to
have been a relation of John Paterson, Bishop of Galloway,
[note] afterwards Archbishop of Glasgow, to whom he addressed several poems, in a collection,
which he published in 1678, under the title of
| “Names once known, now dubious or forgot” |
In point of language, they are superior to the general order of
tramontane Latinity, and shew frequently considerable energy both in thought and expression. At
the end of the collection, there is an English version of a Latin ode, by
| Mella absynthia non dabunt |
Uvas nec tribulus; sic mala gaudia
|34||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
| Vitæ qui sequitur brevis |
In fructum petit ex arbore non sua.
Thus translated by Paterson:
| As sure no honey from the wormwood drops, |
Nor berries on the prickled thistle grows;
So he, who, from this short life, pleasure hopes,
He seeks the fruit that this tree never knows.
During the troubles which agitated the latter years of the reign of
Charles the Second, [note]
| All my desire, great sir, is, that I may |
Live, like an atom, in the radiant ray
Of your life-giving heart and glorious light,
Whose crisping spires may make me warm and bright.
|POETS — NINIAN PATERSON.||35|
| Great sir, this poem still conceal'd have I, |
Till time hath christen'd it a prophecy;
Indulgence, now unmask'd, strives to tryst
With John of Leyden [note] against Antichrist.
This is the Trojan house, wherein there lies
Catsbie [note] and Vaulx, [note] with new conspiracies;
This the Shaftsburian-crocodile [note] his blind,
To lure the Scots rogues to English commons' minds.
The poem itself is a coarse and intemperate production. The author thus rates the king for his attachment to the unkingly virtue of “tame mercie.”
| When now my loyal subjects looked for |
Some Halcyonian days, the tempests roar;
And to our eyes, on every rising wave,
Death sits in triumph, and presents a grave:
And in the midst of our despaires and fears,
Tears drown our sighs, and sighs dry up our tears.
We are like Job's, these nineteene years perplext,
Betwixt distractions, and destructions vext:
* * * * *
* * * * *If antient sages' saws with you have credite;
To spare a vice, it is the way to spread it.
Tame mercie is the breast that suckles vice,
Till, hydra-like, her heads she multiplies.
In sparing thieves and murderers, all see
A private favour's public injurie;
Should pitie spare, and let the gangrene spread,
Until the bodie's wholly putrified?
What surgeon would do this, but he that's mad?
He's cruel to the good, who spares the bad!
|36||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
| Sat musis nugisque datum, sospendo sacratis |
Jam Libertonæ barbita muta tholis,
Musa, Vale! quendam leximen dulce labororum
Posthac nec votis solicitanda meis.
The intolerant spirit manifested by