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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,
Each lonely scene shall thee restore,
For thee the tear be duly shed;
And mourn'd, till Pity's self be dead.
And he, amidst his frolic play,
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 Can well recall what then it heard.
Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song. * Where is thy native simple heart,
Go, not unmindful of that cordial youtht Devote to virtue, fancy, art?
Whom, long endear'd, thou leav'st by Lavant's side; Arise, as in that elder time,
Together let us wish him lasting truth Warm, energic, chaste, sublime !
And joy untainted with his destin'd bride. Thy wonders, in that godlike age,
Go! nor regardless, while these numbers boast Fill thy recording sister's page
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, Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
I met thy friendship with an equal flame! Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Fresh to that soil thou turn'st, where every vale Than all which charms this laggard age, Shall prompt the poet, and his
song demand : E'en all at once together found
To thee thy copious subjects ne'er shall fail ; Cæcilia's mingled world of sound
Thou need'st but take thy pencil to thy hand, O, bid our vain endeavors cease,
And paint what all believe, who own thy genial land. Revive the just designs of Greece, Return in all thy simple state !
There ust thou wake perforce thy Doric quill; Confirm the tales her sons relate!
'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, These, too, thou 'lt sing! for well thy magie Mase
Where to the Pole the Boreal mountains run, Can to the topinost heaven of grandeur soar; Taught by the father, to his listening son ;
Or stoop to wail the swain that is no more! Strange lays, whose power had charm'd a Spenser's Ah, homely swains ! your homeward steps ne'er
lose ; At every pause, before thy mind possest,
Let not dank Will$ mislead you to the heath: Old Runic bards shall seem to rise around,
Dancing in mirky night, o'er fen and lake, With uncouth lyres, in many-color'd vest,
He glows, to draw you downward 10 your death, Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd: In his bewitch'd, low, marshy, willow brake! Whether thou bidd'st the well-taught hind repeat What though far off, from some dark dell espied,
The choral dirge that mourns some chieftain brave, His glimmering mazes cheer th' excursive sight, When every shrieking maid her bosom beat, Yet turn, ye wanderers, turn your steps aside,
And strew'd with choicest herbs his scented grave; Nor trust the guidance of that faithless light; Or whether, sitting in the shepherd's shiel, For watchful, lurking, 'mid th' unrustling reed,
Thou hear'st some sounding tale of war's alarms; At those mirk hours the wily monster lies, When at the bugle's call, with fire and steel, And listens oft to hear the passing steed, The sturdy clans pour'd forth their brawny And frequent round him rolls his sullen eyes, swarms,
If chance his savage wrath may some weak wretch And hostile brothers met, to prove each other's arms.
"Tis thine to sing, how, framing hideous spells,
Ah, luckless swain, o'er all unblest, indeed! In Sky's lone isle, the gifted wizard-seer,
Whom late bewilder'd in the dank, dark fen, Lodg'd in the wintry cave with Fate's fell spear,
Far from his Rocks, and smoking hamlet, then! Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells :
To that sad spot where hums the sedgy weed : How they, whose sight such dreary dreams engross, On him, enrag'd, the fiend, in angry mood, With their own vision oft astonish'd droop;
Shall never look with pily's kind concern, When, o'er the watery strath, or quaggy moss, But instant, furious, raise the whelming flood They see the gliding ghosts unbodied troop.
O'er its drown'd banks, forbidding all return! Or, if in sports, or on the festive green,
Or, if he meditate his wish'd escape, Their destin'd glance some fated youth descry,
To some dim hill that seems uprising near, Who now, perhaps, in lusty vigor seen,
To his faint eye, the grim and grisly shape, And rosy health, shall soon lamented die.
In all its terrors clad, shall wild appear. For them the viewless forms of air obey ;
Meantime the watery surge shall round him rise, Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair. Pour'd sudden forth from every swelling source! They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs ? And heartless, oft like moody madness, stare His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthly To see the phantom train their secret work prepare.
And down the waves he floats, a pale and breathless To monarchs dear, some hundred miles astray,
corse! Oft have I seen Fate give the fatal blow!
The seer, in Sky, shriek'd as the blood did flow, For him in vain his anxious wife shall wait, When headless Charles warm on the scaffold lay!
Or wander forth to meet him on his way ; As Boreas threw his young Aurora* forth,
For him in vain, at to-fall of the day, In the first year of the first George's reign,
His babes shall linger at th' unclosing gate : And battles rag'd in welkin of the North,
Ah, ne'er shall he return! Alone, if night They mouro'd in air, fell, fell Rebellion slain!
Her travell'd limbs in broken slumbers steep, And as, of late, they joy'd in Preston's fight, Saw at sad Falkirk all their hopes near crown'd!
With drooping willows drest, his mournful sprite They ravid! divining through their second-sight,t Then he, perhaps, with moist and watery hand,
Shall visit sad, perchance, her silent steep: Pale, red Culloden, where these hopes were
Shall fondly seem to press her shuddering cheek; drown'd!
And with his blue-swoln face before her stand, Illustrious William !| Britain's guardian name! One William say'd us from a tyrant's stroke ;
And, shivering cold, these piteous accents speak: He, for a sceptre, gain'd heroic fame,
Pursue, dear wife, thy daily toils, pursue,
At dawn or dusk, industrious as before ; But thou, more glorious, Slavery's chain hast
Nor e'er of me one helpless thought renew, broke, To reign a private man, and bow to Freedom's Drown'd by the Kelpie’sll wrath, nor e'er shall aid
While I lie weltering on the osier'd shore, yoke!
thee more !"
Unbounded is thy range; with varied skill * By young Aurora, Collins undoubtedly meant the
Thy Muse may, like those feathery tribes which first appearance of the northern lights, which happened about the year 1715; at least, it is most highly probable,
spring from this peculiar circumstance, that no ancient writer
From their rude rocks, extend her skirting wing whatever has taken any notice of them, nor even any Round the moist marge of each cold Hebrid isle, one modern, previous to the above period.
† Second-sight is the term that is used for the divination $ A fiery meteor, called by various names, such as Will of the Highlanders.
with the Wisp, Jack with the Lantern, &c. It hovers in 1 The late Duke of Cumberland, who defeated the Pre- the air over marshy and fenny places. onder at the battle of Culloden.
| The water-fiend.
SUPERSTITIONS OF THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND. 509 To that hoar pile* which still its ruin shows : How have I sat, when pip'd the pensive wind,
In whose small vaults a Pigmy-folk is found, To hear his harp by British Fairfax strung! Whose bones the delver with his spade upthrows, Prevailing poet! whose undoubting mind And culls them, wond'ring, from the hallow'd Believ'd the magic wonders which he sung! ground!
Hence, at each sound, imagination glows ! Or thither,t where beneath the show'ry west Hence, at each picture, vivid life starts here!
The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid : Hence his warm lay with softest sweetness flows! Once foes, perhaps, together now they rest,
Melting it flows, pure, murmuring, strong, and No slaves revere them, and no wars invade:
clear, Yet frequent now, at midnight solemn hour, And fills the impassion'd heart, and wins th' har. The rifted mounds their yawning cells unfold,
monious ear! And forth the monarchs stalk with sovereign power,
In pageant robes, and wreath'd with sheeny gold, All hail, ye scenes that o'er my soul prevail! And on their twilight tombs aërial council hold. Ye splendid friths and lakes, which, far away,
Are by smooth Anan fill'd, or past'ral Tay, But, oh, o'er all, forget not Kilda's race,
Or Don's* romantic springs, at distance, hail! On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting The time shall come, when I, perhaps, may tread tides,
Your lowly glenst o’erhung with spreading broom; Fair Nature's daughter, Virtue, yet abides. Or o'er your stretching heaths, by Fancy led ; Go! just, as they, their blameless manners trace! Or o'er your mountains creep, in awful gloom! Then to my ear transmit some gentle song, Then will I dress once more the faded bower,
Of those whose lives are yet sincere and plain, Where Jonson sat in Drummond's classic shade ; Their bounded walks the rugged cliffs along, Or crop, from Tivioidale, each lyric flower,
And all their prospect but the wintry main. And mourn, on Yarrow's banks, where Willy's With sparing temperance at the needful time
laid! They drain the scented spring; or, hunger-prest, Meantime, ye powers, that on the plains which bore Along th’ Atlantic rock, undreading, climb,
The cordial youth, on Lothian's plains attend ! And of its eggs despoil the solan’si nest. Where'er Home dwells, on hill or lowly moor, Thus blest in primal innocence they live,
To him I lose, your kind protection lend, Suffic'd and happy with that frugal fare And, touch'd with love like mine, preserve my Which tasteful toil and hourly danger give.
absent friend! 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. gage
ODE Thy gentle mind, of fairer stores possest;
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,
Thames, near Richmond. In musing hour; his wayward sisters found,
And with their terrors dress'd the magic scene. In yonder grave a Druid lies, From them he sung, when, 'mid his bold design,
Where slowly winds the stealing wave : Before the Scot, afflicted, and aghast !
The year's best sweets shall duteous rise, The shadowy kings of Banquo's fated line
To deck its poet's sylvan grave.
In yon deep bed of whispering reeds
His airy harp || shall now be laid, Proceed, in forceful sounds, and color bold,
That he, whose heart in sorrow bleeds, The native legends of thy land rehearse ;
May love through life the soothing shade. To such adapt thy lyre, and suit thy powerful verse. In scenes like these, which, daring to depart
Then maids and youths shall linger bere, From sober truth, are still to Nature true,
And, while its sounds at distance swell, And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view, Shall sadly seem in Pity's ear Th' heroic Muse employ'd her Tasso's art.
To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell. How have I trembled, when, at Tancred's stroke, Its gushing blood the gaping cypress pour'd!
Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore When each live plant with mortal accents spoke,
When Thames in summer wreaths is drest, And the wild blast upheav'd the vanish'd sword! And oft suspend the dashing oar
To bid his gentle spirit rest! * 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 * Three rivers in Scotland.
| Valleys. there.
1 Ben Jonson paid a visit on foot, in 1619, to the Scotch † Icolmkill, one of the Hebrides, where near sixty of the poet, Drummond, at his seat of Hawthornden, within ancient Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian kings are in. four miles of Edinburgh. terred.
& Barrow, it seems, was at the Edinburgh University, | An aquatic bird like a goose, on the eggs of which the which is in the county of Lothian. inhabitants of St. Kilda, another of the Hebrides, chiefly The harp of Æolus, of which see a description in the subsist.
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.
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.
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!
* 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,