Slike strani

When ev'ry shrieking maid her bosom beat,

And strewed with choicest herbs his scented grave; Or whether, sitting in the shepherd's shiel,

Thou hear'st some sounding tale of war's alarms, When, at the bugle's call, with fire and steel,


The sturdy clans poured forth their bony swarms, And hostile brothers met to prove each other's arms.


'Tis thine to sing, how, framing hideous spells,

In Sky's lone isle, the gifted wizard seer,
Lodged in the wintry cave with [

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Or in the depth of Uist's dark forests, dwells;
How they whose sight such dreary dreams engross,
With their own visions oft astonished droop,

When o'er the wat'ry strath or quaggy moss

They see the gliding ghosts unbodied troop,


Or if in sports, or on the festive green,

Their [ ] 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,


Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair;

They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
And, heartless, oft like moody madness stare
To see the phantom train their secret work prepare.


[This stanza, comprising 11. 70-86, was missing in the MS.)


[The first eight lines of this stanza, 11. 87-94 of the ode, were missing in the MS.]

What though, far off, from some dark dell espied,


His glimm'ring mazes cheer th' excursive sight,

Yet turn, ye wand'rers, turn your steps aside,
Nor trust the guidance of that faithless light;
For, watchful, lurking 'mid th' unrustling reed,
At those mirk hours the wily monster lies.


And listens oft to hear the passing steed,

And frequent round him rolls his sullen eyes,

If chance his savage wrath may some weak wretch surprise.


Ah, luckless swain, o'er all unblest indeed!

Whom, late bewildered in the dank, dark fen, Far from his flocks and smoking hamlet then, To that sad spot [

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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 drowned bank, forbidding all return:
Or if he meditate his wished escape

To some dim hill that seems uprising near,
To his faint eye the grim and grisly shape,
In all its terrors clad, shall wild appear;
Meantime the wat'ry surge shall round him rise,
Poured sudden forth from ev'ry swelling source.
What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs?




His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthly force, And down the waves he floats, a pale and breathless corse. 120


For him, in vain, his anxious wife shall wait,
Or wander forth to meet him on his way;
For him, in vain, at to-fall of the day,
His babes shall linger at th' unclosing gate.
Ah, ne'er shall he return! Alone, if night

Her travelled limbs in broken slumbers steep,
With dropping willows drest his mournful sprite
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 hapless thought renew,


While I lie welt'ring on the oziered shore,

Drowned by the kelpie's wrath, nor e'er shall aid thee more!"


Unbounded is thy range. With varied style

Thy Muse may, like those feath'ry tribes which spring
From their rude rocks, extend her skirting wing
Round the moist marge of each cold Hebrid isle,
To that hoar pile which still its ruin shows;

In whose small vaults a pigmy-folk is found,
Whose bones the delver with his spade upthrows,


And culls them, wond'ring, from the hallowed ground: 145 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 wreathed with sheeny gold, And on their twilight tombs aërial council hold.


But O, o'er all, forget not Kilda's race,


On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting tides,
Fair Nature's daughter, Virtue, yet abides.

Go, just as they, their blameless manners trace!

Then to my ear transmit some gentle song

Of those whose lives are yet sincere and plain,


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 sainted spring; or, hunger-prest,

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Hard is their shallow soil, and bleak and bare; Nor ever vernal bee was heard to murmur there!



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 filled in elder time th' historic page.

There Shakespear's self, with ev'ry garland crowned,

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In musing hour, his wayward Sisters found,

And with their terrors drest the magic scene;
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 passed.
Proceed, nor quit the tales which, simply told,
Could once so well my answ'ring bosom pierce.
Proceed! in forceful sounds and colours bold,

The native legends of thy land rehearse;

To such adapt thy lyre and suit thy pow'rful verse.


In scenes like these, which, daring to depart
From sober truth, are still to nature true,
And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view,
Th' heroic Muse employed her Tasso's art:
How have I trembled, when, at Tancred's stroke,
Its gushing blood the gaping cypress poured;
When each live plant with mortal accents spoke,






And the wild blast upheaved the vanished 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;


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Hence his warm lay with softest sweetness flows;
Melting it flows, pure, num'rous, strong, and clear,

And fills th' impassioned heart, and wins th' harmonious



All hail, ye scenes that o'er my soul prevail,
Ye [ ] friths and lakes which, far away,
Are by smooth Annan filled or past'ral Tay
Or Don's romantic springs; at distance, hail!


The time shall come when I, perhaps, may tread
Your lowly glens, o'erhung with spreading broom,
Or o'er your stretching heaths by fancy led:

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Then will I dress once more the faded bow'r,
Where Jonson sat in Drummond's [
Or crop from Tiviot's dale each [

And mourn on Yarrow's banks [


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Meantime, ye Pow'rs that on the plains which bore

The cordial youth, on Lothian's plains, attend, Where'er he dwell, on hill or lowly muir,

To him I lose your kind protection lend,


And, touched with love like mine, preserve my absent friend!

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A broader, browner shade,

Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
O'er-canopies the glade,

Beside some water's rushy brink

With me the Muse shall sit, and think

(At ease reclined in rustic state)

How vain the ardour of the crowd,
How low, how little are the proud,

How indigent the great!



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