Page images
PDF
EPUB

Unbounded is thy range; with varied skill Thy Muse may, like those feathery tribes which spring Froin their rude rocks, extend her skirting wing Round the moist niarge of each cold Hebrid isle, To that hoar pile which still its ruin shows ; In whose small vaults a Pigmy-folk* is found, Whose bones the delver with his spade upthrows, And culls them, wond'ring, from the hallow'd ground! Or thither,t where, beneath the showery west, The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid: Once foes, perhaps, together now they rest, No slaves revere them, and no wars invade: Yet frequent now at midnight solemn hour, The rifted inounds their yawning cells old, And forth the monarchs stalk with sovereign power,

In pageant robes, and wreatli’d with sheeny gold, And on their twilight tombs aërial council hold.

But 0! o'er all, forget not Kilda's race, On whose bleak rocks, which brave the washing tides, Fair Nature's daughter, Virtue, yet abides ; Go, just as they, their blameless manners trace! Then to my ear transmit some gentle song Of those whose lives are yet sincere and plain ;

* One of the Hebrides is called the isle of Pigmies : it is reported that soveral 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 aucicut Scottish, Irish, and Norweg'an kings are interred.

72

Their bounded walks the rugged cliffs along,
And all their prospect, but the wintry main.
With sparing temperance, at the needful time,
They drain the sainted spring; or, hunger-prest,
Along the Atlantic rock undreading climb,
And of its eggs despoil the solan’s* nest.
Thus blest, in primal innocence they live,
Sufficed and happy with their frugal fare,
Which tasteful toil and hourly danger give :

Hard is their shallow soil, and bleak, and bare,
Nor ever vernal bee was hcard to murmur there.

Nor need'st thou blush that such false themes engage Thy gentle mind, of fairer storeš possest; For not alone they touch the village breast, But fill'd in elder time the historic page. There Shakspeare's self, which every garland crown'd, Flew to those fairy climes his fancy sheen ; In musing hour his wayward sisters found, And with their terrors drest the magic scene; From them he sung, when, 'mid his bold design, Before the Scot, afflicted and aghast, The shadowy kings of Banquo's fated line Thro' the dark cave in gleamy pageant past. Proceed; nor quit the tales which, simply told, Could once so well my answering bosom pierce;

* An aquatic bird, like a googe; on the eggs of wbich the inhabitants of St. Kilda often subsist.

Proceed, in forceful sounds and colour bold,

The native legends of thy land rehearse ;
To such adapt thy lyre, and suit thy powerful verse.

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,
The heroic Muse employ'd her Tasso's art.
How have I trembled, when, at Tancred's stroke,
Its gushing blood the gaping cypress pour'd!
When each live plant, with mortal accents spoke,
And the wild blast upheaved the vanish'd sword !
How have I sat, when piped the pensive wind,
To hear his harp by British Fairfax strung !
Prevailing poet! whose undoubting mind
Believed the magic wonders which he sung !
Hence, at each sound, imagination glows !
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 th’impassion'd heart, and wins the harmonious ear!

All hail, ye scenes, that o'er my soul prevail! Ye splendid friths and lakes, which, far away, Are by smooth Annan" fill’d, or pastoral Tay, Or Don's* romantic springs, at distance hail!

*** Three rirers in Scotland.

The time shall come, when I, perhaps, may tread
Your lowly glens, o'erhung with spreading bloom,
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;
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 hore
The cordial Youth, on Lothian's plainst attend !'
Where'er Home dwells, on hill or lowly moor,

To him I lose your kind protection lend,
And, touch'd with love like mine, preserve my absent friend!

* Ben Jonson paid a visit on foot, in 1619, to the Scotch poet, Drummond, at his seat of Hawthornden, within 4 miles of Edinburgh.

Barrow, it seems, was at Edinburgh University, which is in the county of Lothian.

These popular superstitions are enumerated with equal taste and knowledge of the subject. The information is chiefly taken from Martin's. Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, published 1703.-B.

SU LA TOMBA DI FEDELE.

[FROM G. B. MARTELLT.]

I freschi doni eterei

Di Flora e i molli odori
Fia che le ninfe spandano

E i semplici pastori,
Facil tributo ingenuo

Su questa tomba erbosa,
In cui fra l'ombre tacite

Il muto cener posa
Dell' animoso ed ilare

Garzon, Fedel nomata,
A cui di vita il tenero

Stame recise il fato.
Spettro ululante e misero,

Allor che il mondo tace,
Di questa selva inospite

Non turberà la pace :
A sozze maghe e luride

Ignota fia quest' urna ;
Nè qui traranno i demoni

La lor schiera notturna.
Ma le Sirene eteree

Faran l'avello intorno
Di rugiadose e fulgide
Arcane perle adorno:

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »