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The red-breast oft at evening hours
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
To deck the ground where thou art laid.
When howling winds, and beating rain,
In tempests shake thy sylvan cell;
The tender thought on thee shall dwell.
The hunter's call to Faun and Dryad known;
Peeping from forth their alleys green;
And Sport leapt up, and seiz'd his beechen spear.
First to the lively pipe his hand addrest,
They would have thought, who heard the strain,
Amidst the festal-sounding shades,
While, as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings,
And he, amidst his frolic play,
Each lonely scene shall thee restore,
For thee the tear be duly shed;
And mourn'd, till Pity's self be dead.
THE POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS OF THE
HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND;
O Music, sphere-descended maid,
THE SUBJECT OF POETRY.
INSCRIBED TO MR. JOHN HOME.
HOME, thou return'st from Thames, whose Naiads As in that lov'd Athenian bower,
Jong You learn’d an all-commanding power,
Have seen thee lingering with a fond delay, Thy mimic soul, O nymph endear'd,
Mid those soft friends, whose hearts some future day
Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song. *
Go, not unmindful of that cordial youtht
Whom, long endear'd, thou leav'st by Lavant's side;
Together let us wish him lasting truth
And joy untainted with his destin'd bride.
Go! nor regardless, while these numbers boast
My short-liv'd bliss, forget my social name; 'Tis said, and I believe the tale,
But think, far off, how, on the Southern coast,
I met thy friendship with an equal flame!
Fresh to that soil thou turn'st, where every vale
song demand : E'en all at once together found
To thee thy copious subjects ne'er shall fail ;
Thou need'st but take thy pencil to thy hand,
And paint what all believe, who own thy genial land.
There ust thou wake perforce thy Doric quill;
'Tis Fancy's land to which thou sett'st thy feet;
Where still, 'tis said, the fairy people meet, Beneath each birken shade, on mead or hill. There each trim lass, that skims the milky store
To the swart tribes, their creamy bowls allots; DIRGE IN CYMBELINE,
By night they sip it round the cottage-door,
While airy minstrels warble jocund notes. SUNG BY GUIDERUS AND ARVIRAGUS OVER FIDELE, There, every herd, by sad experience, knows
How, wing'd with fate, their elf-shot arrows fly, SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD.
When the sick ewe her summer food foregoes,
Or, stretch'd on earth, the heart-smit heifers lie.
Nor thou, though learn'd, his homelier thoughts
Let thy sweet Muse the rural faith sustain ;
These are the themes of simple, sure effect,
And fill with double force her heart-commanding And melting virgins own their love.
No wither'd witch shall here be seen,
No goblins lead their nightly crew ;
And dress thy grave with pearly dew.
* How truly did Collins predict Home's tragic powers!
† A gentleman of the name of Barrow, who introduced Home to Collins.
E'en yet preserv'd, how often may'st thou hear,
At every pause, before thy mind possest,
Old Runic bards shall seem to rise around, With uncouth lyres, in many-color'd vest,
Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd: Whether thou bidd'st the well-taught hind repeat The choral dirge that mourns some chieftain brave, When every shrieking maid her bosom beat,
And strew'd with choicest herbs his scented grave; Or whether, sitting in the shepherd's shiel,
Thou hear'st some sounding tale of war's alarms; When at the bugle's call, with fire and steel,
The sturdy clans pour'd forth their brawny
And hostile brothers met, to prove each other's arms. 'Tis thine to sing, how, framing hideous spells,
In Sky's lone isle, the gifted wizard-seer, Lodg'd in the wintry cave with Fate's fell spear, Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells: How they, whose sight such dreary dreams engross, With their own vision oft astonish'd droop; When, o'er the watery strath, or quaggy moss,
They see the gliding ghosts unbodied troop. Or, if in sports, or on the festive green,
Their destin'd glance some fated youth descry, Who now, perhaps, in lusty vigor seen,
And rosy health, shall soon lamented die. For them the viewless forms of air obey;
Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair. They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
And heartless, oft like moody madness, stare To see the phantom train their secret work prepare.
To monarchs dear, some hundred miles astray,
In the first year of the first George's reign,
They mourn'd in air, fell, fell Rebellion slain! And as, of late, they joy'd in Preston's fight,
Saw at sad Falkirk all their hopes near crown'd! They rav'd! divining through their second-sight, Pale, red Culloden, where these hopes were drown'd!
Illustrious William! Britain's guardian name!
These, too, thou 'lt sing! for well thy magic Muse
Let not dank Wills mislead you to the heath:
Dancing in mirky night, o'er fen and lake,
In his bewitch'd, low, marshy, willow brake!
His glimmering mazes cheer th' excursive sight, Yet turn, ye wanderers, turn your steps aside,
Nor trust the guidance of that faithless light; For watchful, lurking, 'mid th' unrustling reed,
At those mirk hours the wily monster lies, And listens oft to hear the passing steed,
And frequent round him rolls his sullen eyes, If chance his savage wrath may some weak wretch surprise.
Ah, luckless swain, o'er all unblest, indeed!
Whom late bewilder'd in the dank, dark fen, Far from his flocks, and smoking hamlet, then! On him, enrag'd, the fiend, in angry mood, To that sad spot where hums the sedgy weed:
Shall never look with pity's kind concern, But instant, furious, raise the whelming flood
O'er its drown'd banks, forbidding all return! Or, if he meditate his wish'd escape,
To some dim hill that seems uprising near, To his faint eye, the grim and grisly shape,
In all its terrors clad, shall wild appear. Meantime the watery surge shall round him rise,
Pour'd sudden forth from every swelling source! What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs?
His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthly force,
And down the waves he floats, a pale and breathless corse!
And, shivering cold, these piteous accents speak:
But thou, more glorious, Slavery's chain hast To reign a private man, and bow to Freedom's yoke!
*By young Aurora, Collins undoubtedly meant the first appearance of the northern lights,, which happened about the year 1715; at least, it is most highly probable, from this peculiar circumstance, that no ancient writer whatever has taken any notice of them, nor even any one modern, previous to the above period.
+ Second-sight is the term that is used for the divination of the Highlanders.
While I lie weltering on the osier'd shore, Drown'd by the Kelpie's wrath, nor e'er shall aid thee more!"
Unbounded is thy range; with varied skill
Thy Muse may, like those feathery tribes which spring
From their rude rocks, extend her skirting wing Round the moist marge of each cold Hebrid isle,
§ A fiery meteor, called by various names, such as Will with the Wisp, Jack with the Lantern, &c. It hovers in
! The late Duke of Cumberland, who defeated the Pre- the air over marshy and fenny places. nder at the battle of Culloden.
SUPERSTITIONS OF THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND.
To that hoar pile* which still its ruin shows:
In whose small vaults a Pigmy-folk is found,
Or thither, where beneath the show'ry west
No slaves revere them, and no wars invade :
The rifted mounds their yawning cells unfold, And forth the monarchs stalk with sovereign power, In pageant robes, and wreath'd with sheeny gold, And on their twilight tombs aërial council hold.
Fair Nature's daughter, Virtue, yet abides.
Of those whose lives are yet sincere and plain,
And all their prospect but the wintry main. With sparing temperance at the needful time
All hail, ye scenes that o'er my soul prevail!
Ye splendid friths and lakes, which, far away,
But, oh, o'er all, forget not Kilda's race,
On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting The time shall come, when I, perhaps, may tread
They drain the scented spring; or, hunger-prest, Along th' Atlantic rock, undreading, climb,
And of its eggs despoil the solan's nest. Thus blest in primal innocence they live,
Suffic'd and happy with that frugal fare Which tasteful toil and hourly danger give.
Hard is their shallow soil, and bleak and bare; Nor ever vernal bee was heard to murmur there! Nor need'st thou blush that such false themes en
How have I sat, when pip'd the pensive wind,
Believ'd the magic wonders which he sung!
Hence, at each picture, vivid life starts here! Hence his warm lay with softest sweetness flows! Melting it flows, pure, murmuring, strong, and clear,
And fills the impassion'd heart, and wins th' harmonious ear!
Thy gentle mind, of fairer stores possest;
Your lowly glenst o'erhung with spreading broom; Or o'er your stretching heaths, by Fancy led;
Or o'er your mountains creep, in awful gloom! Then will I dress once more the faded bower,
Where Jonson sat in Drummond's classic shade ;t Or crop, from Tiviotdale, each lyric flower,
And mourn, on Yarrow's banks, where Willy's laid!
Meantime, ye powers, that on the plains which bore
The native legends of thy land rehearse;
In scenes like these, which, daring to depart
From sober truth, are still to Nature true,
And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view,
One of the Hebrides is called the Isle of Pigmies; where it is reported that several miniature bones of the human species have been dug up in the ruins of a chapel there.
† Icolmkill, one of the Hebrides, where near sixty of the ancient Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian kings are in terred.
An aquatic bird like a goose, on the eggs of which the inhabitants of St. Kilda, another of the Hebrides, chiefly subsist.
For not alone they touch the village breast, But fill'd in elder time th' historic page.
THE DEATH OF MR. THOMSON.
There, Shakspeare's self, with ev'ry garland crown'd, The scene of the following Stanzas is supposed to lie on the
Flew to those fairy climes his fancy sheen, In musing hour; his wayward sisters found,
Thames, near Richmond.
And with their terrors dress'd the magic scene.
Through the dark cave in gleamy pageant pass'd.
Could once so well my answering bosom pierce; Proceed, in forceful sounds, and color bold,
IN yonder grave a Druid lies,
Where slowly winds the stealing wave: The year's best sweets shall duteous rise, To deck its poet's sylvan grave.
In yon deep bed of whispering reeds
His airy harp shall now be laid,
May love through life the soothing shade.
Then maids and youths shall linger here,
And, while its sounds at distance swell, Shall sadly seem in Pity's ear
To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell.
Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore
*Three rivers in Scotland.
Ben Jonson paid a visit on foot, in 1619, to the Scotch poet, Drummond, at his seat of Hawthornden, within four miles of Edinburgh.
§ Barrow, it seems, was at the Edinburgh University, which is in the county of Lothian.
The harp of Eolus, of which see a description in the Castle of Indolence.
And see, the fairy valleys fade,
Dun Night has veil'd the solemn view! Yet once again, dear parted shade,
Meek Nature's child, again adieu !
The genial meadst assign'd to bless
Thy life, shall mourn thy early doom! Their hinds and shepherd-girls shall dress
With simple hands thy rural tomb.
And oft as Ease and Health retire
To breezy lawn, or forest deep, The friend shall view yon whitening spire,*
And 'mid the varied landscape weep. But thou, who own'st that earthly bed,
Ah! what will every dirge avail ? Or tears which Love and Pity shed,
That mourn beneath the gliding sail ! Yet lives there one, whose heedless eye
Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimmering near? With him, sweet bard, may Fancy die,
And Joy desert the blooming year. But thou, lorn stream, whose sullen tide
No sedge-crown'd sisters now attend, Now wast me from the green hill's side
Whose cold turf hides the buried friend!
Long, long, thy stone, and pointed clay
Shall melt the musing Briton's eyes, “O! vales, and wild woods," shall he say,
“In yonder grave your Druid lies!"
† Mr. Thomson resided in the neighborhood of Rich. mond some time before his death.
* Mr. Thomson was buried in Richmond church.
John Dyer, an agreeable poet, was the son of a His health being now in a delicate state, he was solicitor at Aberglasney, in Carmarthenshire, where advised by his friends to take orders; and he was he was born in 1700. He was brought up at West- accordingly ordained by Dr. Thomas, Bishop of minster-school, and was designed by his father for his Lincoln; and, entering into the married state, he own profession ; but being at liberty, in consequence sat down on a small living in Leicestershire. This of his father's death, to follow his own inclination, he exchanged for one in Lincolnshire ; but the senny he indulged what he took for a natural taste in country in which he was placed did not agree with painting, and entered as pupil to Mr. Richardson. his health, and he complained of the want of books After wandering for some time about South Wales and company. In 1757, he published his largest and the adjacent counties as an itinerant artist, he work, “ The Fleece," a didactic poem, in four books, appeared convinced that he should not attain 10 of which the first part is pastoral, the second meeminence in that profession. In 1727, he first made chanical, the third and fourth historical and geohimself known as a poet, by the publication of his graphical. This poem has never been very popu“Grongar Hill," descriptive of a scene afforded by lar, many of its topics not being well adapted to his native country, which became one of the most poetry; yet the opinions of critics have varied popular pieces of its class, and has been admitted concerning it. It is certain that there are many into numerous collections. Dyer then travelled to pleasing, and some grand and impressive passages Italy, still in pursuit of professional improvement; in the work; but, upon the whole, the general and if he did not acquire this in any considerable feeling is, that the length of the performance degree, he improved his poetical taste, and laid in a necessarily imposed upon it a degree of tediousstore of new images. These he displayed in a poem ness. of some length, published in 1740, which he entitled Dyer did not long survive the completion of his “ The Ruins of Rome,” that capital having been the book. He died of a gradual decline in 1758, leavprincipal object of his journeyings. Of this work ing behind him, besides the reputation of an ingeniit may be said, that it contains many passages of ous poet, the character of an honest, humane and real poetry, and that the strain of moral and politi- worthy person. cal reflection denotes a benevolent and enlightened mind.
SILENT nymph, with curious eye!
So oft I have, the evening still,
About his chequer'd sides I wind,