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As Boreas threw his young Aurora forth,
In the first year of the first George's reign, And battles raged in welkin of the North,
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 raved ! divining, through their second sight,
Pale,red Culloden, where these hopes were drown'd! Illustrious William ! Britain's guardian name!
One William saved us from a tyrant's stroke; He, for a sceptre, gain's heroic fame,
But thou, more glorious, Slavery's chain hast broke, To reign a private man, and bow to Freedom's yoke !
Can to the topmost heaven of grandeur soar;
Or stoop to wail the swain that is no more! Ah, homely swains! your homeward steps ne'er lose ;
Let not dank Will mislead you to the heath; Dancing in murky night, o'er fen and lake,
He glows, to draw you downward to your death, In his bewitch'd, low, marshy, willow brake ! What though far off, from some dark dell espied,
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 murk hours the wily monster lies, And listens oft to hear the passing steed,
And frequent round him rolls his sullen eyes, (prise. If chance his savage wrath may some weak wretch sur
Whom late bewilder'd in the dank, dark fen,
Far from his flocks, and smoking hamlet, then ! To that sad spot where hums the sedgy weed
On him, enraged, the fiend, in angry mood, 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 his faint eye, the grim and grisly shape,
Meantime the wat’ry surge shall round him rise, Pour'd sudden forth from ev'ry swelling source !
What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs ? His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthful force, And down the waves he floats, a pale and breathless corse !
Or wander forth to meet him on his way;
For him in vain at to-fall of the day,
Her travell'd limbs in broken slumbers steep!
Shall visit sad, perchance, her silent sleep: Then he, perhaps, with moist and wat'ry hand
Shall fondly seem to press her shudd'ring cheek, And with his blue-swoln face before her stand,
And, shiv’ring cold, these piteous accents speak : * Pursue, dear wife, thy daily toils, pursue,
At dawn or dusk, industrious as before ; Nor e'er of me one helpless thought renew,
While I lie welt'ring on the osier'd shore, [more ! Drown'd by the Kelpie*s* wrath, nor e'er shall aid thee
XI. Unbounded is thy range; with varied skill [spring
Thy Muse may, like those feath'ry tribes which
From their rude rocks, extend her skirting wing Round the moist marge of each cold Hebrid isle,
To that hoar pilet which still its ruin shews : 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! # The water-fiend.
+ 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 the chapel there.
Or thither, * where beneath the show'ry 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's solemn hour,
The rifted mounds their yawning cells unfold, And forth the monarchs stalk with sov 'reign pow'r,
In pageant robes, and wreath'd with sheeny gold, And on their twilight tombs aërial council hold.
On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting tides,
Fair Nature's daughter, Virtue, yet abides.
Then to my ear transmit some gentle song,
Their bounded walks the rugged cliffs along, And all their prospect but the wintry main.
With sparing temp’rance at the needful time, They drain the scented spring: or, hunger-prest,
Along th' Atlantic rock, undreading, climb, And of its eggs despoil the solan'st nest.
Thus, blest in primal innocence they live, Sufficed, 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!
XIII. Nor need'st thou blush that such false themes engage
Thy gentle mind, of fairer stores possest;
For not alone they touch the village breast, But fill'd, in elder time, th' historic page.
There, Shakspeare's self, with ev'ry 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,
* Icolmkill, one of the Hebrides, where near sixty of the ancient Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian kings are interred.
t An aquatic bird, on the eggs of which the inhabitants of St. Kilda, another of the Hebrides, chiefly subsist.
From them he sung, when, ’mid his bold design, Before the Scot, afflicted and aghast !
The shadowy kings of Banquo's fated line Through the dark cave in gleamy pageant past.
Proceed ! nor quit the tales which, simply told, Could once so well my answ'ring bosom pierce;
Proceed, in forceful sounds, and colour bold,
From sober truth, are still to Nature true,
And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view, Th'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 oftest sweetness
flows! Melting it flows, pure, murm’ring, strong and clear, And fills th' impassion's heart, and wins th' harmo
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 pastral Tay,t Or Don’si romantic springs, at distance, hail ! The time shall come, when I, perhaps, may tread
Your lowly glens, o'erbung with spreading broom; Or o'er your stretching heaths, by Fancy led; Or o'er your mountains creep in awful gloom !
* † Three rivers in Scotland.
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 pow'rs that on the plains which bore
The cordial youth, on Lothian's plains, attend !-Where'er Home dwells, on hill, or lowly moor,
To him I love your kind protection lend,
# Ben Jonson paid a visit on foot, in 1619, to the Scotch poet Drummond, at his seat of Hawthornden, wit four miles of Edinburgh.