The Roumanians still have their lute-players; old people in Galway still remember the last of their wandering folk-bards; but the Ettrick Shepherd, a century ago, had to call upon imagination for the picture of
"Each Caledonian minstrel true,
Dressed in his plaid and bonnet blue,
With harp across his shoulders slung,
And music murmuring round his tongue."
Fearless children of nature these strolling poets were, even as the songs they sang.
"Little recked they, our bards of old,
Of autumn's showers, or winter's cold.
Sound slept they on the 'nighted hill,
Lulled by the winds, or bubbling rill,
Curtained within the winter cloud,
The heath their couch, the sky their shroud;
Yet theirs the strains that touch the heart,--