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No heels to bear him from the op’ning dun;
Critics-appall'd I venture on the name, Those cut-throat bandits in the paths of fame : Bloody dissectors, worse than ten Monroes; He hacks to teach, they mangle to expose.
His heart by causeless wanton malice wrung, By blockheads' daring into madness stung; His well-worn bays, than life itself more dear, By miscreants torn, who ne'er one sprig must wear: Foil'd, bleeding, tortur'd, in the unequal strife, The hapless poet flounders on thro' life. Till fled each hope that once his bosom fir'd, And fled each muse that glorious once inspir'd, Low sunk in squalid, unprotected age, Dead, even resentment, for his injur'd page, He heeds or feels no more the ruthless critic's
So, by some hedge, the generous steed deceas'd, For half-starv'd snarling curs a dainty feast; By toil and famine wore to skin and bone, Lies senseless of each tugging bitch's son.
O dulness! portion of the truly blest! Calm shelter'd haven of eternal rest ! Thy sons ne'er madden in the fierce extremes Of fortune's polar frost, or torrid beams. If mantling high she fills the golden cup, With sober selfish ease they sip it up : Conscious the bounteous meed they well deserve, They only wonder . some folks' do not starve. The grave sage hern thus easy picks his frog, And thinks the mallard a sad worthless dog. When disappointment snaps the clue of hope, And thro' disastrous night they darkly grope, With deaf endurance sluggishly they bear, And just conclude that fools are fortune's care.' So, heavy, passive to the tempest's shocks, Strong on the sign-post stands the stupid ox.
Not so the idle muses' mad-cap train, Not such the workings of their moon-struck brain; In equanimity they never dwell, By turns in soaring 'heav'n, or vaulted hen.
I dread thee, fate, relentless and severe, With all a poet's, husband's, father's fear! Already one strong hold of hope is lost, Glencairn, the truly noble, lies in dust; (Fled, like the sun eclips'd as noon appears, And left us darkling in a world of tears :) 0! hear my ardent, grateful, selfish pray'r! Fintra, my other stay, long bless and spare ! Thro' a long life his hopes and wishes crown ; And bright in cloudless skies bis sun go down! May bliss domestic smooth his private path ; Give energy to life; and sooth his latest breath, With many a filial tear circling the bed of death!.
LAMENT FOR JAMES, EARL OF
The wind blew hollow frae the hills,
By fits the sun's departing beam Look'd on the fading yellow woods
That wav'd o'er Lugar's winding stream : Beneath a craigy steep, a bard,
Laden with years and meikle pain, In loud lament bewail'd his lord,
Whom death had all untimely ta'en.
He lean'd him to an ancient aik,
Whose trunk was mould'ring down with years ; His locks were bleached white wi' time!
His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears!
And as he tun'd his doleful sang,
To echo bore the notes alang.
• Ye scatter'd birds that faintly sing,
' The reliques of the vernal quire ! Ye woods that shed on a' the winds
• The honours of the aged year! A few short months, and glad and gay,
• Again ye'll charm the ear and e’e; ‘But nocht in all revolving time
“Can gladness bring again to me.
*I am a bending aged tree,
• That long has stood the wind and rain;
But now has come a cruel blast,
• And my last hald of earth is gane : • Nae leaf oʻmine shall greet the spring,
Nae simmer sun exalt my bloom; . But I maun lie before the storm,
• And ithers plant them in my room.
I've seen sae mony change of years,
• On earth I am a stranger grown; "I wander in the ways of men,
• Alike unknowing and unknown: Unbeard, unpitied, unreliev'd,
"I bear alane my lade o' care, * For silent, low, on beds of dust,
*Lie a' that would my sorrows share.
* And last (the sun of a' my griefs !)
• My noble master lies in clay; “The flow'r amang our barons bold,
* His country's pride, his country's stay: • In weary being now I pine,
For a' the life of life is dead, And hope has left my aged ken,
On forward wing for ever fied.
• Awake thy last sad voice, my harp!
• The voice of woe and wild despair! • Awake, resound thy latest lay,
Then sleep in silence evermair! * And thou, my last, best, only friend,
• That fillest an untimely tomb, · Accept this tribute from the bard 'Thou brought from fortune's mirkest gloom.
* In poverty's low barren vale,
*Thick mists, obscure, involv'd me round; • Though oft I turn'd the wistful eye,
Nae ray of fame was to be found: • Thou found'st me, like the morning sun
“That melts the fogs in limpid air, “The friendless bard and rustic song,
• Became alike thy fostering care.
.0! why has worth so short a date?
“While villains ripen grey with time! • Must thou, the noble, gen’rous, great,
• Fall in bold manhood's hardy prime ! • Why did I live to see that day?
• A day to me so full of woe ! "O! had I met the mortal shaft
• Which laid my benefactor low!
* The bridegroom may forget the bride
* Was made his wedded wife yestreen; “The monarch may forget the crown
• That on his head an hour has been; • The mother may forget the child
“That smiles sae sweetly on her knee ; * But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,
And a' that thou hast done for me!'