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IN THE FRITH OF CLYDE, AILSA CRAG.
DURING AN ECLIPSE OF THE SUN, JULY 17.
[The morning of the eclipse was exquisitely beautiful while we
passed the Crag as described in the Sonnet. On the deck of the steam-boat were several persons of the poor and labouring class, and I could not but be struck by their cheerful talk with each other, while not one of them seemed to notice the magnificent objects with which we were surrounded ; and even the phenomenon of the eclipse attracted but little of their attention. Was it right not to regret this? They appeared to me, however, so much alive in their own minds to their own concerns that I could not look upon it as a misfortune that they had little perception for such pleasures as cannot be cultivated without ease and leisure. Yet, if one surveys life in all its duties and relations, such ease and leisure will not be found so enviable a privilege as it may at first appear. Natural Philosophy, Painting, and Poetry, and refined taste, are no doubt great acquisitions to society ; but, among those who dedicate themselves to such pursuits, it is to be feared that few are as happy, and as consistent in the management of their lives, as the class of persons who at that time led me into this course of reflection. I do not mean by this to be understood to derogate from intellectual pursuits, for that would be monstrous : I say it in deep gratitude for this compensation to those whose cares are limited to the necessities of daily life. Among them, self-tor.
mentors, so numerous in the higher classes of society, are rare.] SINCE risen from ocean, ocean to defy, Appeared the crag of Ailsa, ne'er did morn With gleaming lights more gracefully adorn His sides, or wreathe with mist his forehead high : Now, faintly darkening with the sun's eclipse, Still is he seen, in lone sublimity, Towering above the sea and little ships; For dwarfs the tallest seem while sailing by,
Each for her haven; with her freight of Care,
ON THE FRITH OF CLYDE.
(IN A STEAM-BOAT.)
[The mountain outline on the north of this island, as seen from the
Frith of Clyde, is much the finest I have ever noticed in Scot
land or elsewhere.]
ON REVISITING DUNOLLY CASTLE.
[See former series, “Yarrow Revisited,” &c., p. 104.]
THE captive Bird was gone ;—to cliff or moor
THE DUNOLLY EAGLE.
Not to the clouds, not to the cliff, he flew;
Now, near his master's house in
view He dwells, and hears indignant tempests howl, Kennelled and chained. Ye tame domestic fowl, Beware of him! Thou, saucy cockatoo, Look to thy plumage and thy life!—The roe, Fleet as the west wind, is for him no quarry ; Balanced in ether he will never tarry, Eyeing the sea's blue depths. Poor Bird ! even so Doth man of brother man a creature make That clings to slavery for its own sad sake.
WRITTEN IN A BLANK LEAF OF MACPHERSON'S
or strayed From hope and promise, self-betrayed. were, I am sorry to say, suggested from apprehensions of the fate of my friend, H. C., the subject of the verses addressed to H. C. when six years old. The piece to Memory” arose out of similar feelings.]
OFT have I caught, upon a fitful breeze,
What need, then, of these finished Strains ?