Socii cratera coronant.

IT was the afternoon; and the sports were all but over.
Long had the stone been put, tree cast, and thrown the hammer;
Up the perpendicular hill, Sir Hector so called it,
Eight stout shepherds and gillies had run, two wondrous quickly;
Run too the course on the level had been; the leaping was over:
Last in the show of dress, a novelty recently added,
Noble ladies their prizes adjudged for costume that was perfect,
Turning the clansmen about, who stood with upraised elbows;
Bowing their eye—glassed brows, and fingering kilt and sporran.
It was four of the clock, and the sports were all but over,
Therefore the Oxford party went off to adorn for the dinner.
Be it recorded in song who was first, who last, in dressing.
Hope was the first, black-tied, white-waistcoated, simple, His Honour;
For the postman made out he was son to the Earl of Ilay,
(As indeed he was, to the younger brother, the Colonel,)
Treated him therefore with special respect; doffed bonnet, and ever
Called him his Honour: his Honour he therefore was at the cottage.
Always his Honour at least, sometimes the Viscount of Ilay.
Hope was first, his Honour, and next to his Honour the Tutor.
Still more plain the Tutor, the grave man, nicknamed Adam,
White-tied, clerical, silent, with antique square-cut waistcoat
Formal, unchanged, of black cloth, but with sense and feeling beneath it;
Skilful in Ethics and Logic, in Pindar and Poets unrivalled;
Shady in Latin, said Lindsay, but topping in Plays and Aldrich.
Somewhat more splendid in dress, in a waistcoat work of a lady,
Lindsay succeeded; the lively, the cheery, cigar-loving Lindsay,
Lindsay the ready of Speech, the Piper, the Dialectician,
This was his title from Adam because of the words he invented,
Who in three weeks had created a dialect new for the party,
Master in all that was new, of whate'er was recherché and racy,
Master of newest inventions, and ready deviser of newer;

This was his title from Adam, but mostly they called him the Piper.
Lindsay succeeded, the lively, the cheery, cigar-loving Lindsay.
Hewson and Hobbes were down at the matutine bathing; of course too
Arthur Audley, the bather par excellence, glory of headers,
Arthur they called him for love and for euphony; so were they bathing,
There where in mornings was custom, where over a ledge of granite
Into a granite bason descended the amber torrent.
There were they bathing and dressing; it was but a step from the cottage,
Only the road and larches and ruinous millstead between.
Hewson and Hobbes followed quick upon Adam; on them followed Arthur.
Airlie descended the last, splendescent as god of Olympus;
Blue, half-doubtfully blue, was the coat that had white silk facings,
Waistcoat blue, coral-buttoned, the white-tie finely adjusted,
Coral moreover the studs on a shirt as of crochet of women:
When for ten minutes already the fourwheel had stood at the gateway,
He, like a god, came leaving his ample Olympian chamber.
And in the fourwheel they drove to the place of the clansmen's meeting.
So in the fourwheel they came; and Donald the innkeeper showed them
Up to the barn where the dinner should be. Four tables were in it;
Two at the top and the bottom, a little upraised from the level,
These for Chairman and Croupier,[1] and gentry fit to be with them,
Two lengthways in the midst for keeper and gillie and peasant.
Here were clansmen many in kilt and bonnet assembled;
Keepers a dozen at least; the Marquis's targeted gillies;
Pipers five or six, among them the young one, the drunkard;
Many with silver brooches, and some with those brilliant crystals
Found amid granite-dust on the frosty scalp of the Cairn-Gorm;
But with snuff-boxes all, and all their boxes using.
Here too were Catholic Priest, and Established Minister standing,
One to say grace before, the other after the dinner;
Catholic Priest; for many still clung to the Ancient Worship,
And Sir Hector's father himself had built them a chapel;
So stood Priest and Minister, near to each other, but silent,
One to say grace before, the other after the dinner.
Hither anon too came the shrewd, ever-ciphering Factor,
Hither anon the Attaché, the Guardsman mute and stately,
Hither from lodge and bothie[2] in all the adjoining shootings
Members of Parliament many, forgetful of votes and blue books,
Here, amid heathery hills, upon beast and bird of the forest,

Venting the murderous spleen of the endless Railway Committee.
Hither the Marquis of Ayr, and Dalgarnish Earl and Croupier,
And at their side, amid murmurs of welcome, long-looked for, himself too
Eager, the gray, but boy-hearted Sir Hector, the Chief and the Chairman.
Then was the dinner served, and the Minister asked a blessing,
And to the viands before them with knife and with fork they beset them;
Venison, the red and the roe, with mutton; and grouse succeeding;
Such was the feast, with whiskey of course, and at top and bottom
Small decanters of Sherry, not overchoice, for the gentry.
So to the viands before them with laughter and chat they beset them.
And, when on flesh and on fowl had appetite duly been sated,
Up rose the Catholic Priest and returned God thanks for the dinner.
Then on all tables were set black bottles of well-mixed toddy,
And, with the bottles and glasses before them, they sat digesting,
Talking, enjoying, but chiefly awaiting the toasts and speeches.

Spare me, O mighty Remembrance! for words to the task were unequal,
Spare me, O mistress of Song! nor bid me recount minutely
All that was said and done o'er the well-mixed tempting toddy,
Bid me not show in detail, grimace and gesture painting,
How were healths proposed and drunk with all the honours,
Glasses and bonnets waving, and three-times-three thrice over,
Queen, and Prince, and Army, and Landlords all, and Keepers;
Bid me not, grammar defying, repeat from grammar-defiers
Long constructions strange and plusquam-thucydidëan,
Tell, how as sudden torrent in time of speat[3] in the mountain
Hurries six ways at once, and takes at last to the roughest,
Or as the practised rider at Astley's or Franconi's
Skilfully, boldly bestrides many steeds at once in the gallop,
Crossing from this to that, with one leg here, one yonder,
So, less skilful, but equally bold, and wild as the torrent,
All through sentences six at a time, unsuspecting of syntax,
Hurried the lively good-will and garrulous tale of Sir Hector.
Left to oblivion be it, the memory, faithful as ever,
How the noble Croupier would wind up his word with a whistle,
How the Marquis of Ayr, with quaint gesticulation,
Floundering on through game and mess-room recollections,
Gossip of neighbouring forest, praise of targeted gillies,

Anticipation of royal visit, skits at pedestrians,
Swore he would never abandon his country, nor give up deer-stalking;
How, too, more brief, and plainer in spite of Gaelic accent,
Highland peasants gave courteous answer to flattering nobles.
Two orations alone the memorial song will render;
For at the banquet's close spake thus the lively Sir Hector,
Somewhat husky with praises exuberant, often repeated,
Pleasant to him and to them, of the gallant Highland soldiers
Whom he erst led in the fight;-something-husky, but cheery, tho' weary,
Up to them rose and spoke the grey but gladsome chieftain:
Fill up your glasses once more, my friends—with all the honours,
There was a toast which I forgot, which our gallant Highland homes have
Always welcomed the stranger, I may say, delighted to see
Fine young men at my table—My friends! are you ready? the Strangers.
Gentlemen, I drink your healths,—and I wish you—with all the honours!
So he said, and the cheers ensued, and all the honours,
All our Collegians were bowed to, the Attaché detecting His Honour,
The Guardsman moving to Arthur, the Marquis sidling to Airlie,
While the little drunken Piper came across to shake hands with Lindsay.—
But, while the healths were being drunk, was much tribulation and trouble,
Nodding and beckoning across, observed of Attaché and Guardsman:
Adam wouldn't speak,—indeed it was known he couldn't;
Hewson could, and would if they wished; Philip Hewson the poet,
Hewson the radical hot, hating lords and scorning ladies,
Silent mostly, but often reviling in fire and fury
Feudal tenures, mercantile lords, competition and bishops,
Liveries, armorial bearings, amongst other things the Game-laws:
He could speak, and was asked-to by Adam, but Lindsay aloud cried
(Whiskey was hot in his brain) Confound it, no, not Hewson,
A'nt he cock-sure to bring-in his eternal political humbug?
However, so it must be, and after due pause of silence,
Waving his hand to Lindsay, and smiling queerly to Adam,
Up to them rose and spoke the poet and radical Hewson.
I am, I think, perhaps the most perfect stranger present.
I have not, as two or three of my friends, in my veins some tincture,
Some few ounces of Scottish blood; no, nothing like it.
I am therefore perhaps the fittest to answer and thank you.
So I thank you, sir, for myself and for my companions,
Heartily thank you all for this unexpected greeting,
All the more welcome as showing you do not account us intruders

Are not unwilling to see the north and south forgather.
And, surely, seldom have Scotch and English more joyously mingled;
Scarcely with warmer hearts, clearer sense of mutual manhood,
Even in tourney, and foray, and fray, and regular battle,
Where the life and the strength come out in the tug and tussle,
Scarcely, where man confronted man, and soul clasped soul,
Close as the bodies and intertwining limbs of athletic wrestlers
When for a final bout are a day's two champions mated,—
In the grand old times of bows, and bills, and claymores,
At the old Flodden-field—Bannockburn—Culloden.
—(And he paused a moment, for breath, and because of cheering,)
We are the better friends, I fancy, for that old fighting,
Better friends, inasmuch as we know each other better,
We can now shake hands without subterfuge or shuffling.
On this passage followed a great tornado of cheering,
Tables were rapped, feet stamped, a glass or two got broken:
He, ere the cheers had died wholly away, and while still there was stamping,
Added with a smile in an altered voice his sarcastic conclusion.
Yet I myself have little claim to this honour of having my health drunk,
For I am not a game-keeper, I think, nor a game-preserver.
So he said, and sat down, but his satire was not taken.
Only the Men, who were all on their legs as concerned in the thanking,
Were a trifle confused, but mostly stared without laughing;
Lindsay alone, close-facing the chair, shook his fist at the speaker.
Only a Liberal member, away at the end of the table,
Started, remembering sadly the chance of a coming election,
Only the Attaché sneered to the Guardsman, who twirled his moustachio,
Only the Marquis faced round, but not quite clear of the meaning
Joined with the joyous Sir Hector, who lustily beat on the table.
And soon after the chairman arose, and the feast was over:
Now should the barn be cleared and forthwith adorned for the dancing,
And our friends, retiring to wait for this consummation,
Were, as they stood in the doorway uncertain, debating together,
By the good chieftain so joyous invited hard-by to the castle.
But as the doorway they quitted, a thin man clad as the Saxon,
Trouser and cap and jacket of home-spun blue, hand-woven,
Singled out, and said with determined accent to Hewson,
Resting his hand on his shoulder, while each with eyes dilating
Firmly scanned each: Young man, if ye pass through the Braes o' Lochaber,
See by the loch-side ye come to the Bothie of Toper-na-fuosich.

  1. Vice-President.
  2. Hut.
  3. Flood.