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Irish poets meet no equal, in imitating the the legendary form of this poem, they are certainly much inferior to the Scotch. The productions of Rowe, Shenstone, Goldsmith, Percy, Tickell and Bloomfield, are unrivalled in the former species; but what heroic ballad of the eighteenth century, shall be put in competition with the Hardyknute of SIR JOHN BRUCE, or what legend of gothiç imagination with the Tam O'Shanter of BURNS? To these let us add The Harp of MACNEIL, the Eve of Saint John, Glenfinlas, and the Grey Brother, by Scott, and the Mermaid of LEYDEN.
I'am acquainted with very few pieces, which can, with propriety, be brought forward, in mitigation of this decision; let us not forget, however, The Hermit of Warkworth, by PERCY, nor Maon, a Tale, by Miss BROOKE; we may mention, likewise, two or three ballads of the terrific kind, by LEWIS,
Were we allowed, indeed, to consider the translations from the Irish by Miss Brooke, as claiming to rank among modern poems,
we might refer to the two narratives in that Collection, entitled Magnus the Great and The Chase, as, in legendary composition, equal to any thing, which ancient or modern times have produced.
As the originals are, however, the offspring of the middle ages, they cannot consistently be adduced in
The Legendary Tale which immediately succeeds these observations, is an attempt to copy the manner, though not the obsolete diction of the ancient ballad, and in a subsequent part of the volume will be introduced, under the title of The Spectre, a specimen of that species which endeavours to interest, through the medium of gothic superstition.
ARTHUR AND EDITH.
Oh Richard! oh my lovely boy!
'Tis now twelve years and more, Since thy dear father left these arms,
His Wife and native shore.
To Salem's field the warrior flew,
War's wasting rage to deal,
The lightning of his steel.
But now in some lone turrets height
He sighs the live-long day,
Pursues his weary way.
And he, who in the clash of arms,
And in the battle's roar, And in the tourney's gallant strife,
The meed of valour bore,
May now, upon the blasted heath,
Of thirst and hunger die,
No, not a comfort nigh.
E'en now, perchance, on Edith's name,
The dying warrior calls, And, fainting, breathes the tender sigh,
And blessing Edith, falls.
And would that Edith's form were there,
The dear embrace to give,
And tell her love to live.
Oh might a woman's voice avail,
Then were the record mine! Oh every ear, in every age,
Should, gallant Chief, be thine!
But now, alas! on these lone banks,
I sit me down and sigh, And none but thee, my Richard, left,
Thy mother's tears to dry.
O tell me where the warrior rests,
Where droops his weary head,
Oh tell me where the mighty fought,
And where the mighty bled.
I'll thither to the battle fly,
I'll thither hie with speed,
And for his sake I'll bleed.
I'll mark the Hero by his plume,
gory field, Death on his crest, Rage on his sword,
And Terror on his shield.
Stay ye fond flatt’ring thoughts, be still,
Ye tender wishes die,
No hope on earth have I.
Come, Richard, take thy mother's hand, Red sets the
eye of day, Thro'yonder wild wood's murm’ring shades,
Lone, sad, and far we'll stray.
See’st thou, my son, yon evening star,
Thro' those moss'd branches gleam, Yon evening star to thee is bright,
And dear her modest beam.