Dryburgh Abbey.

If the old abbey ruins of Dryburgh, and the many interesting spots in the neighbourhood for miles around, were places especially dear to Scott, how much more must they now be to us, since he has invested them with all the sweet, and lofty, and solemn recollections connected with his own life, and death, and burial among them. Not a pile of old grey wall, not a crag, or wimpling burn, but has its own peculiar association with the great poet. In one part we behold

———-those crags, that mountain tower,

Which charm’d his fancy’s wakening hour,

where, in the poet’s childhood,

———-was poetic impulse given

By the green hill and clear blue heaven,

and where he sat whilst the old shepherd knitted stockings, and discoursed most eloquent music, to Scott’s ears, of tales and ballads of the border, which lay all about them, so that the shepherd could point out the very scenes of which he spake; “and thus,” as Washington Irving observes, “before Scott could walk, he was made familiar with the scenes of his future stories; they were all seen as through a magic medium, and took that tinge of romance which they ever after retained in his imagination. From the height of Sandy Knows he may be said to have had the first look out upon the promised land of his future glory.” Then in another part, not far distant, we have Abbotsford itself, that romance in stone and lime; whilst about midway between these scenes of his earliest and latest days lies Dryburgh, secluded among trees, with the broken gables rising upwards from among and above them. (Fig. 717.) And it is impossible to overlook the singularly appropriate and harmonious conclusion to the poet’s life, which his burial here suggests. The ripple of the favourite river that soothed his dying ear murmurs by his grave; the “misty magnificence” of his own native and beloved skies hangs eternally over him; its bleak winds whistle and howl through the picturesque Gothic ruins which form his last earthly dwelling-place; sounds that he ever delighted to revel in, objects that of all others he looked on with the most unfading interest and reverence. Years before his death, he had looked forward to Dryburgh as his place of burial, though the idea was not always suggested to him in a very agreeable manner. Dryburgh, originally a house of Premonstratensian canons, founded in the reign of David I., came in 1786, by purchase, into the hands of the Earl of Buchan, who was proud of the sepulchral relics it contained of Scott’s ancestors, and accustomed to boast of the honour he should one day have of adding the minstrel himself to the number—an allusion not at all relished by the object of it. And if ever there was a nation of mourners, it was when that day at last came. “The court-yard and all the precincts of Abbotsford,” says Mr. Lockhart, Scott’s son-in-law and biographer, “were crowded with uncovered spectators as the procession was arranged; and as it advanced through Dornick and Melrose, and the adjacent villages, the whole population appeared at their doors in like manner, almost all in black. The train of carriages extended, I understand, over more than a mile, the yeomanry followed in great numbers on horseback, and it was late in the day ere we reached Dryburgh. Some accident, it was observed, had caused the hearse to halt for several minutes on the summit of the hill at Bemerside, exactly where a prospect of remarkable richness opens, and where Sir Walter had always been accustomed to rein up his horse. The day was dark and lowering, and the wind high. The wide enclosure at the Abbey of Dryburgh was thronged with old and young; and when the coffin was taken from the hearse, and again laid on the shoulders of the afflicted serving-men, one deep sob burst from a thousand lips. Mr. Archdeacon Williams read the Burial Service of the Church of England; and thus, about half past five o’clock in the evening of Wednesday, the 26th September, 1832, the remains of Sir Walter Scott were laid by the side of his wife in the sepulchre of his ancestors, ‘In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.’ ”