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2 In yon deep bed of whispering reeds
His airy harp shall now be laid ;
May love through life the soothing-shade.
3 Then maids and youths shall linger here ;
And, while its sounds at distance swell,
To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell.
4 Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore
When Thames in summer wreaths is drest;
To bid his gentle spirit rest !
5 And oft as Ease and Health retire
To breezy lawn, or forest deep,
And ’mid the varied landscape weep.
6 But thou, who own'st that earthly bed,
Ah! what will every dirge avail !
That mourn beneath the gliding sail !
7 Yet lives there one, whose heedless eye
Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimmering near ?
And Joy desert the blooming year.
8 But thou, lorn stream, whose sullen tide
No sedge-crown'd Sisters now attend,
Whose cold turf hides the buried friend! 1. His airy harp:' the harp of Æolus, of which see a description in the · Castle of Indolence.' • Whitening spire :' Richmond Church.
9 And see, the fairy valleys fade
Dun Night has veil'd the solemn view!
Meek Nature's child, again adieu !
10 The genial meads 1 assign’d to bless
Thy life, shall mourn thy early doom;
With simple hands thy rural tomb.
11 Long, long, thy stone, and pointed clay
Shall melt the musing Briton's eyes :
In yonder grave your Druid lies !
ODE ON THE POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS OF
THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND;
CONSIDERED AS THE SUBJECT OF POETRY.
INSCRIBED TO MR JOHN HOME.
HOME, thou return’st from Thames, whose Naiads long
Have seen thee lingering with a fond delay,
'Mid those soft friends, whose hearts, some future day, Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song. 2 Go, not unmindful of that cordial youth 3
Whom, long endear’d, thou leavest by Lavant's side ; Together let us wish him lasting truth,
And joy untainted with his destined bride. 1 Genial meads :' Mr Thomson resided in the neighbourhood of Richmond some time before his death. — 3 • Tragic song :' how truly did Collins predict Home's tragic powers! — 3 Cordial youth :' a gentleman of the name of Barrow, who introduced Home to Collins.
Go! nor regardless, while these numbers boast
My short-lived bliss, forget my social name; But think, far off, how, on the southern coast,
I met thy friendship with an equal flame ! Fresh to that soil thou turn'st, where every vale Shall prompt the poet, and his song
demand : To thee thy copious subjects ne'er shall fail ;
Thou need'st but take thy pencil to thy hand,
There must thou wake perforce thy Doric quill ;
'Tis Fancy's land to which thou sett'st thy feet;
Where still, 'tis said, the fairy people meet, Beneath each birken shade, on mead or hill. There each trim lass, that skims the milky store,
To the swart tribes their creamy bowls allots ; By night they sip it round the cottage door,
While airy minstrels warble jocund notes. There, every herd, by sad experience, knows
How, wing'd with fate, their elf-shot arrows fly, When the sick ewe her summer food foregoes,
Or, stretch'd on earth, the heart-smit heifers lie. Such airy beings awe th' untutor'd swain :
Nor thou, though learn’d, his homelier thoughts neglect; Let thy sweet Muse the rural faith sustain ;
These are the themes of simple, sure effect, That add new conquests to her boundless reign,
And fill, with double force, her heart-commanding strain.
Even yet preserved, how often may'st thou hear,
Where to the pole the Boreal mountains run,
Taught by the father, to his listening son, Strange lays, whose power had charm'd a Spenser's ear.
At every pause, before thy mind possest,
Old Runic bards shall seem to rise around, With uncouth lyres, in many-colour'd vest,
Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd: Whether thou bidd'st the well-taught hind repeat
The choral dirge, that mourns some chieftain brave, When every shrieking maid her bosom beat,
And strew'd with choicest herbs his scented grave ! Or whether, sitting in the shepherd's shiel, 1
Thou hear’st some sounding tale of war’s alarms ; When at the bugle's call, with fire and steel,
The sturdy clans pour'd forth their brawny swarms, And hostile brothers met, to prove each other's arms.
'Tis thine to sing, how, framing hideous spells,
In Skye's lone isle, the gifted wizard-seer,
Lodged in the wintry cave with Fate's fell spear, Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells :
How they, whose sight such dreary dreams engross, With their own visions oft astonish'd droop,
When, o'er the watery strath, or quaggy moss, They see the gliding ghosts unbodied troop.
Or, if in sports, or on the festive green, Their destined glance some fated youth descry,
Who now, perhaps, in lusty vigour seen, And rosy health, shall soon lamented die.
For them the viewless forms of air obey;
They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
"Shepherd's shiel :' a summer hut, built in the high part of the mountains.
To monarchs dear, some hundred miles astray,
Oft have they seen Fate give the fatal blow !
The seer, in Skye, shriek'd as the blood did flow, When headless Charles warm on the scaffold lay ! As Boreas threw his young Aurora 1 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,
280 Pale, red Culloden, where these hopes were drown'd ! Illustrious William !3 Britain's guardian name!
One William saved us from a tyrant's stroke ; He, for a sceptre, gain'd heroic fame,
But thou, more glorious, Slavery's chain hast broke, To reign a private man, and bow to Freedom's yoke!
These, too, thou'lt sing! for well thy magic Muse
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 ; 90
Let not dank Will4 mislead you to the heath;
He glows, to draw you downward to your death,
His glimmering mazes cheer th' excursive sight,
Nor trust the guidance of that faithless light; " "Young Aurora :' probably the first appearance of the northern lights, which happened about the year 1715. — ? 'Second sight :' the term that is used for the divination of the Highlanders. — 3 • William : 'the Duke of Cumberland, who defeated the Pretender at the battle of Culloden.--* • Dank Will:' a gaseous meteor, called by various names, such as Will o' the Wisp, &c.