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(1) Wee bit housie-little bit of a house.
(2) Win's-winds. The final consonant is often omitted, as an' for and, o' for of, &c. (3) Big-build.
(4) Foggage-long grass. (5) Snell'-bitter.
(6) But-without. (7) Hald-abiding place, home. (8) Thole-endure. (9) Cranreuch—hoar-frost.
(10) No thy lane-not alone. (11) Gang aft a-gley-often go wrong.
The lapse of time and rivers is the same,
Both speed their journey with a restless stream :
The silent pace with which they steal away,
N alth can bribe, no prayers persuade to stay :
Alike irrevocable both when past,
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
Though each resembles each in every part,
A difference strikes, at length, the musing heart :
Streams never flow in vain; where streams abound,
How laughs the land with various plenty crowned !
But time, that should enrich the nobler mind,
Neglected, leaves a dreary waste behind. Corper.
THE MESSIA H.3
A SACRED ECLOGUE.
Ye nymphs of Solyma !4 begin the song :
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains and the sylvan sbades,
The dreams of Pindus, and the Aonian maids,
Delight no more-0 Thou? my voice inspire,
Who touched Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire ! (1) A similar thought is found in the piece entitled the “ Thames” (see p. 9), but there it is merely suggested, here it is amply developed.
(2) Nobler mind-the soil of the mind, which is far nobler and more important than that of the land.
(3) “ The idea of uniting the sacred prophecies and grand imagery of Isaiah with the mysterious visions and pomp of numbers in the Pollio of Virgil, thereby combining both sacred truth and heathen mythology, in predicting the coming of the Messiah, is one of the happiest subjects for producing emotions of sublimity that ever occurred to the mind of a poet."— Roscoe.
(4) Solyma—same as Salem, supposed to be the ancient name of Jerusalem.
(5) Sublimer-i.e. than those required by common subjects. A comparative sometimes, in English as well as in Latin, has the force of an emphatic positive; “ sublimer " therefore means, truly sublime.
(6) Mount Pindus, in Thessaly, and Aonia, a district of Bæotia, are celebrated as "baunts of the muses." This fanciful designation thus arises :—the lovely scenery of many parts of Greece suggested beautiful conceptions to the minds of the poets, who, in their turn, personited the influences which thus affected them. selves, and gave them the name of muses. Hence, the muses are said to inspire the poet--that is, to sing his song to him-while he merely wrote it down.
(7) O Thou, &c.—i. e. the classic muses of Greece are unequal to such a subject, and, therefore, do Thou, &c.
Rapt into future times, the bard begun :
A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a son!
From Jesse's 2 root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies;
The etherial Spirit o’er its leaves shall move,
on its top descend the mystic Dove.
Ye heavens !3 from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise the expected morn!
Oh, spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring :
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance :
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfume the skies !
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers ;
“ Prepare the way! a God, a God appears !”
“A God, a God!" the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim the approaching Deity:
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies !
Sink down, ye mountains ! and ye valleys, rise!
With heads declined, ye cedars, homage pay;
Be smooth, ye rocks ! ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes ! by ancient bards foretold :
Hear him, ye deaf! and all ye blind, behold ! 8 (1) The bard—i. e. Isaiah, or the poet supposed to be endowed from above with the same inspiration. (2) Isaiah xi. 1. (3) Isaiah xlv. 8.
(4) Isaiah xxv. 4. (5) Returning Justice--Astrea, the goddess of justice, according to the fable, left the earth in the iron age, being unable to endure the sinfulness of mankind; in this new golden age she will return. See also Isaiah ix. 7.
(6) Carmel's flowery top_" The good qualities of the soil of Carmel," says a modern traveller, “are apparent from the fact that many odoriferous plants and flowers, as hya jonquils, ettos, anemones, &c., grow wild upon the mountain."
(7) Isaiah xl. 3, 4. (8) Hear him, &c.—so striking an expression that it were to be wished that the next four lines had been omitted, as they only tamely repeat the same idea.
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day:
'Tis he the obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm the unfolding ear :
The dumb" shall sing, the laine his crutch forego,
And leap exulting, like the bounding roe:
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall bear,
From every face he wipes of every tear :
In adamantine chains shall death be bound,
And hell's grim tyrant feel the eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture and the purest air,
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects;
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms :
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promised father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes :
Nor fields with gleaming steel be covered o'er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchionin a ploughshare end.
Then palaces shall rise: the joyful son 6
Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sowed, shall reap
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise;
And starts amid the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.
(1) Isaiah xxxv. 5, 6.
(2) Adamantine—from the Greek ádápas (in old Greek, steel), which is from a, not, and dapaw, to tame or subdue-that which cannot be overpowered or broken, indissolubly strong. (3) Isaiah ix. 6.
(4) Isaiah ii. 4. (5) Falchion-from the Latin falx, a reaping-hook or sickle-a hooked or arched sword.
(6) Isaiah lxv. 21, 22.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush? nods.
Waste sandy valleys," once perplexed with thorn,
The spiry fir and stately box adorn;
To leafless shrubs the flowering palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall grace the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead.*
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet."
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake;
Pleased the green lustre of their scales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.
Rise, crowned with light, Imperial Salem, rise !7
Exalt thy towery head, and lift thy eyes !
See a long race thy spacious courts adorn ;'
See future sons, and daughters, yet unborn,
In crowding ranks on every side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies !
See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars thronged with prostrate kings,
And heaped with products of Sabæan" springs !
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
(1) Isaiah xxxv. 1, 7.
(2) Bulrush-The prefix bul, for bull, is augmentative-a bulrush is a large rush
“ Horse" is used in the same manner, see note 3, p. 76. It may be remarked that the Greeks employed the corresponding words, bous and in nos, in a similar way: thus the epithet Bow Tis, ox-eyed, applied by Homer to Juno and others, means, having large and beautiful eyes.
(3) Isaiah xli. 19; lv. 13. (4) Isaiah xi. 6, 7, 8. (6) Isaiah lxv. 25.
(6) Basilisk-from the Greek Baoiliokos, a little king-a serpent with a crest which was fancifully thought like a crown. Some think the spectacle. snake of India is the species intended. A glance from the basilisk's eyes was vulgarly said to be fatal.
(7) Isaiah lx. 1. (8) Towery-may either mean literally fortified with towers, or figuratively, rising like a tower; lofty.
(9) Isaiah Ix. 4.
(10) Isa'ah Ix. 3.
(11) Sabæan-Sabæa was a district of Arabia Felix, noted for its frankincense, myrrh, balsam, &c. It is supposed to be the Sheba of Scripture.