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Come, Pity, come, by Fancy's aid,
E'en now my thoughts, relenting maid,
Thy temple's pride design;
Its southern site, its truth complete,
Shall raise a wild enthusiast heat
In all who view the shrine.
There Picture's toil shall well relate,
How Chance, or hard involving Fate,
O'er mortal bliss prevail :
The buskin'd Muse shall near her stand,
And, sighing, prompt her tender hand
With each disastrous tale.
There let me oft, retir'd by day,
In dreams of passion melt away,
Allow'd with thee to dwell:
There waste the mournful lamp of night,
Till, Virgin, thou again delight
To hear a British shell!
THOU, to whom the world unknown
With all its shadowy shapes is shown;
Who see'st appall'd th' unreal scene,
While Fancy lifts the veil between :
Ah, Fear! ah, frantic Fear!
I see, I see thee near.
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
Like thee I start, like thee disorder'd fly.
For, lo, what monsters in thy train appear
Danger, whose limbs of giant mould
What mortal eye can fixt behold?
Who stalks his round, a hideous form,
Howling amidst the midnight storm,
Or throws him on the ridgy steep
Of some loose hanging rock to sleep:
And with him thousand phantoms join'd,
Who prompt to deeds accurs'd the mind:
And those, the fiends, who, near allied,
O'er Nature's wounds and wrecks preside;
While Vengeance, in the lurid air,
Lifts her red arm, expos'd and bare;
On whom that ravening brood of Fate,
Who lap the blood of Sorrow, wait;
Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
And look not madly wild, like thee?
In earliest Greece, to thee, with partial choice The grief-full Muse address'd her infant tongue; 'The maids and matrons, on her awful voice,
Silent and pale, in wild amazement hung.
Yet he, the bard* who first invok'd thy name,
Disdain'd in Marathon its power to feel:
For not alone he nurs'd the poet's flame,
But reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot's steel.
But who is he, whom later garlands grace,
Who left awhile o'er Hybla's dews to rove, With trembling eyes thy dreary steps to trace, Where thou and furies shar'd the baleful grove?
Wrapt in thy cloudy veil th' incestuous queen,† Sigh'd the sad call her son and husband heard, When once alone it broke the silent scene,
And he the wretch of Thebes no more appear'd
O Fear! I know thee by my throbbing heart,
Thy withering power inspir'd each mournful line,
Though gentle Pity claim her mingled part,
Yet all the thunders of the scene are thine.
Thou who such weary lengths hast past, Where wilt thou rest, mad nymph, at last? Say, wilt thou shroud in haunted cell, Where gloomy Rape and Murder dwell? Or in some hollow'd seat,
'Gainst which the big waves beat,
Hear drowning seamen's cries in tempests brought: Dark power, with shuddering meek submitted thought,
Be mine, to read the visions old,
Which thy awakening bards have told.
And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
Hold each strange tale devoutly true;
Ne'er be I found, by thee o'er-aw'd,
In that thrice-hallow'd eve abroad,
When ghosts, as cottage-maids believe,
Their pebbled beds permitted leave,
And goblins haunt from fire, or fen,
Or mine, or flood, the walks of men!
O thou, whose spirit most possest
The sacred seat of Shakspeare's breast!
By all that from thy prophet broke,
In thy divine emotions spoke!
Hither again thy fury deal,
Teach me but once like him to feel:
His cypress wreath my meed decree,
And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee!
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1746. How sleep the brave, who sink to rest, By all their country's wishes blest! When Spring, with dewy fingers cold, Returns to deck their hallow'd mould, She there shall dress a sweeter sod, Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By Fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
Their Honor comes, a pilgrim grey,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay,
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there!
ON THE DEATH OF COL. CHARLES ROSS, IN THE ACTION AT FONTENOY.
Written May, 1745.
WHILE, lost to all his former mirth,
Britannia's genius bends to earth,
And mourns the fatal day:
While stain'd with blood he strives to tear Unseemly from his sea-green hair
The wreaths of cheerful May.
The thoughts which musing Pity pays,
And fond Remembrance loves to raise,
Your faithful hours attend:
Still Fancy, to herself unkind,
Awakes to grief the soften'd mind,
And points the bleeding friend.
By rapid Scheld's descending wave
His country's vows shall bless the grave,
Where'er the youth is laid:
That sacred spot the village hind
With every sweetest turf shall bind,
And Peace protect the shade.
O'er him, whose doom thy virtues grieve, Aerial forms shall sit at eve,
And bend the pensive head; And, fall'n to save his injur'd land, Imperial Honor's awful hand
Shall point his lonely bed!
The warlike dead of every age,
Who fill the fair recording page,
Shall leave their sainted rest:
And, half-reclining on his spear,
Each wondering chief by turns appear
To hail the blooming guest.
Old Edward's sons, unknown to yield,
Shall crowd from Cressy's laurel'd field,
And gaze with fix'd delight:
Again for Britain's wrongs they feel,
Again they snatch the gleamy steel,
And wish th' avenging fight.
But, lo! where, sunk in deep despair,
Her garments torn, her bosom bare,
Impatient Freedom lies!
Her matted tresses madly spread,
To every sod which wraps the dead,
She turns her joyless eyes.
Ne'er shall she leave that lowly ground,
Till notes of triumph bursting round
Proclaim her reign restor❜d:
Till William seek the sad retreat,
And, bleeding at her sacred feet,
Present the sated sword.
If, weak to soothe so soft an heart,
These pictur'd glories nought impart,
To dry thy constant tear:
If yet, in Sorrow's distant eye,
Expos'd and pale thou see'st him lie,
Wild war insulting near:
And sheds the freshening dew, and lovelier still,
The pensive pleasures sweet
Prepare thy shadowy car.
Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene,
Or find some ruin 'midst its dreary dells,
Whose walls more awful nod
By thy religious gleams.
Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut
That from the mountain's side
Views wild and swelling floods,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.
While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!
While Summer loves to sport
Beneath thy lingering light:
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,
Affrights thy shrinking train,
And rudely rends thy robes:
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,
Thy gentlest influence own,
And love thy favorite name!
WHO shall awake the Spartan fife,
And call in solemn sor nds to life,
The youths, whose locks divinely spreading,
Like vernal hyacinths in sullen hue,
At once the breath of fear and virtue shedding,
Applauding Feedom lov'd of old to view?
What new Alens, fancy-blest,
Shall sing the sword, in myrtles drest,
At Wisden's shrine awhile its flame concealing,
(What place so fit to seal a deed renown'd?).
Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing, It 'eap'd in glory forth, and dealt her prompted
O goddess, in that feeling hour,
When most its sounds would court thy ears,
Let not my shell's misguided power
E'er draw thy sad, thy mindful tears.
No, Freedom, no, I will not tell,
How Rome, before thy face,
With heaviest sound, a giant-statue, fell,
Push'd by a wild and artless race,
From off its wide ambitious base,
When Time his northern sons of spoil awoke,
And all the blended work of strength and grace With many a rude repeated stroke,
And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments broke.
Or dwell in willow'd meads more near,
With those to whom the stork is dear:
Those whom the rod of Alva bruis'd,
Whose crown a British queen refus'd!
The magic works, thou feel'st the strains,
One holier name alone remains ;
The perfect spell shall then avail,
Hail, nymph, ador'd by Britain, hail!
Beyond the measure vast of thought,
The works, the wizard Time has wrought!
The Gaul, 'tis held of antique story,
Saw Britain link'd to his now adverse strand,†
No sea between, nor cliff sublime and hoary
He pass'd with unwet feet through all our land
To the blown Baltic then, they say,
The wild waves found another way,
Where Orcas howls, his wolfish mountains rounding;
Till all the banded west at once 'gan rise,
wide wild storm e'en Nature's self confounding,
Withering her giant sons with strange uncouth
This pillar'd earth so firm and wide,
By winds and inward labors torn,
In thunders dread was push'd aside,
And down the shouldering billows borne
And soe, like gems, her laughing train,
The little isles on every side,
Mona, once hid from those who search the main, Where thousand elfin shapes abide,
And Wight, who checks the westering tide,
For thee consenting Heaven has each bestow'd, A fair attendant on her sovereign pride:
To thee this blest divorce she ow'd,
For thou hast made her vales thy lov'd, thy last abode!
Yet, e'en where'er the least appear'd,
Th' admiring world thy hand rever'd;
Still, midst the scatter'd states around,
Some remnants of her strength were found;
They saw, by what escap'd the storm,
How wondrous rose her perfect form;
How in the great, the labor'd whole,
Each mighty master pour'd his soul;
For sunny Florence, seat of Art,
Beneath her vines preserv'd a part,
Till they, whom Science lov'd to name,
(O, who could fear it!) quench'd her flame.
And, lo, an humbler relic laid
In jealous Pisa's olive shade!
See small Marino joins the theme,
Though least, not last in thy esteem;
Strike, louder strike th' ennobling strings
To those, whose merchants' sons were kings;
To him, who, deck'd with pearly pride,
In Adria weds his green-hair'd bride:
Hail, port of glory, wealth, and pleasure,
Ne'er let me change this Lydian measure:
Nor e'er her former pride relate
To sad Liguria's bleeding state.
Ah, no! more pleas'd thy haunts I seek,
On wild Helvetia's mountains bleak:
(Where, when the favor'd of thy choice,
The daring archer heard thy voice;
Forth from his eyrie rous'd in dread,
The ravening eagle northward fled.)
Then too, 'tis said, an hoary pile, 'Midst the green navel of our isle,
The Dutch, amongst whom there are very severe pen. alties for those who are convicted of killing this bird. They are kept tame in almost all their towns, and par. ticularly at the Hague, of the arms of which they make a part. The common people of Holland are said to en tertain a superstitious sentiment, that if the whole species of them should become extinct, they should lose their liberties.
†This tradition is mentioned by several of our old historians. Some naturalists, too, have endeavored to sup port the probability of the fact, by arguments drawn from the correspondent disposition of the two opposite coasts. I do not remember that any poetical use has been hitherto made of it.
There is a tradition in the Isle of Man, that a mer. maid, becoming enamoured of a young man of extraordi. nary beauty, took an opportunity of meeting him one day as he walked on the shore, and opened her passion to him, but was received with a coldness, occasioned by his horror and surprise at her appearance. This, however, was so misconstrued by the sea-lady, that, in revenge for his treatment of her, she punished the whole island, by covering it with a mist, so that all who at tempted to carry on any commerce with it, either never arrived at it, but wandered up and down the sea, or were on a sudden wrecked upon its cliffs.
Thy shrine in some religious wood,
O soul-enforcing goddess, stood!
There oft the painted native's feet
Were wont thy form celestial meet:
Though now with hopeless toil we trace
Time's backward rolls, to find its place;
Whether the fiery-tressed Dane,
Or Roman's self, o'erturn'd the fane,
Or in what heaven-left age
"Twere hard for modern song to tell.
Yet still, if truth those beams infuse,
Which guide at once, and charm the Muse,
Beyond yon braided clouds that lie,
Paving the light embroider'd sky:
Amidst the bright pavilion'd plains,
The beauteous model still remains.
There happier than in islands blest,
Or bowers by Spring or Hebe drest,
The chiefs who fill our Albion's story,
In warlike weeds, retir'd in glory,
Hear their consorted Druids sing
Their triumphs to th' immortal string.
How may the poet now unfold,
What never tongue or numbers told?
How learn delighted, and amaz'd,
What hands unknown that fabric rais'd?
E'en now, before his favor'd eyes,
In Gothic pride it seems to rise!
Yet Grecia's graceful orders join,
Majestic, through the mix'd design;
The secret builder knew to choose,
Each sphere-found gem of richest hues :
Whate'er Heaven's purer mould contains,
When nearer suns emblaze its veins;
There on the walls the patriot's sight
May ever hang with fresh delight,
And, 'grav'd with some prophetic rage,
Read Albion's fame through every age.
Ye forms divine, ye laureate band,
That near her inmost altar stand!
Now soothe her, to her blissful train
Blithe Concord's social form to gain :
Concord, whose myrtle wand can steep
E'en Anger's blood-shot eyes in sleep:
Before whose breathing bosom's balm,
Rage drops his steel, and storms grow calm;
Her let our sires and matrons hoar
Welcome to Britain's ravag'd shore,
Our youths, enamour'd of the fair,
Play with the tangles of her hair,
Till, in one loud applauding sound,
The nations shout to her around,
"O, how supremely art thou blest,
Thou, lady, thou shalt rule the West!"
WHEN Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Throng'd around her magic cell,
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possest beyond the Muse's painting;
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturb'd, delighted, rais'd, refin'd;
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fir'd,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspir'd,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatch'd her instruments of sound,
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each, for madness rul'd the hour,
Would prove his own expressive power.
First Fear his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewilder'd laid, And back recoil'd, he knew not why, E'en at the sound himself had made.
Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire,
In lightnings own'd his secret stings,
In one rude clash he struck the lyre,
And swept with hurried hand the strings
With woful measures wan Despair-
Low sullen sounds his grief beguil'd,
A solemn, strange, and mingled air,
"Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.
But thou, O Hope, with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure?
Still it whisper'd promis'd pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail!
Still would her touch the strain prolong,
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, She call'd on Echo still through all the song; And where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close, And Hope enchanted smil'd, and wav'd her golden hair.
And longer had she sung-but, with a frown,
Revenge impatient rose,
He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down.
And, with a withering look,
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sound so full of woe.
And ever and anon he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat;
And though sometimes, each dreary pause between, Dejected Pity at his side
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien, While each strain'd ball of sight seem'd bursting from his head.
Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fix'd,
Sad proof of thy distressful state,
Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd,
And now it courted Love, now raving call'd on
With eyes up-rais'd, as one inspir'd,
Pale Melancholy sat retir'd,
And from her wild sequester'd seat,
In notes by distance made more sweet,
Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul:
And dashing soft from rocks around,
Bubbling runnels join'd the sound;
Through glades and glooms the mingled measurestole
Or o'er some haunted streams with fond delay,
Round an holy calm diffusing,
Love of peace, and lonely musing,
In hollow murmurs died away.
But, O, how alter'd was its sprightlier tone!
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,
Her bow across her shoulder flung,
Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew,
Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung.
The hunter's call to Faun and Dryad known;
The oak-crown'd sisters, and their chaste-ey'd
Satyrs and sylvan boys were seen,
Peeping from forth their alleys green;
Brown Exercise rejoic'd to hear,
And Sport leapt up, and seiz'd his beechen spear. Last came Joy's ecstatic trial,
He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand addrest,
But soon he saw the brisk-awakening viol,
Whose sweet entrancing voice he lov'd the best.
They would have thought, who heard the strain,
They saw in Tempé's vale her native maids,
Amidst the festal-sounding shades,
To some unwearied minstrel dancing,
While, as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings,
Love fram'd with Mirth a gay fantastic round,
Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound,
And he, amidst his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odors from his dewy wings.
O Music, sphere-descended maid,
Friend of pleasure, wisdom's aid,
Why, goddess, why to us denied,
Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre aside?
As in that lov'd Athenian bower,
You learn'd an all-commanding power,
Thy mimic soul, O nymph endear'd,
Can well recall what then it heard.
Where is thy native simple heart,
Devote to virtue, fancy, art?
Arise, as in that elder time,
Warm, energic, chaste, sublime!
Thy wonders, in that godlike age,
Fill thy recording sister's page-
"Tis said, and I believe the tale,
Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Than all which charms this laggard age,
E'en all at once together found
Cæcilia's mingled world of sound-
O, bid our vain endeavors cease,
Revive the just designs of Greece,
Return in all thy simple state!
Confirm the tales her sons relate!
The red-breast oft at evening hours
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss, and gather'd flowers,
To deck the ground where thou art laid.
When howling winds, and beating rain,
In tempests shake thy sylvan cell;
Or 'midst the chase on every plain,
The tender thought on thee shall dwell.
Each lonely scene shall thee restore,
For thee the tear be duly shed;
Belov'd, till life can charm no more;
And mourn'd, till Pity's self be dead.
THE POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS OF THE
HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND;
INSCRIBED TO MR. JOHN HOME.
HOME, thou return'st from Thames, whose Naiads
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.*
Go, not unmindful of that cordial youtht
Whom, long endear'd, thou leav'st by Lavant's side;
Together let us wish him lasting truth
And joy untainted with his destin'd bride.
Go! nor regardless, while these numbers boast
My short-liv'd 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,
And paint what all believe, who own thy genial land.
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.
SUNG BY GUIDERUS AND ARVIRAGUS OVER FIDELE, There, every herd, by sad experience, knows
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
Each opening sweet, of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing Spring.
No wailing ghost shall dare appear
To vex with shrieks this quiet grove,
But shepherd lads assemble here,
And melting virgins own their love.
No wither'd witch shall here be seen,
No goblins lead their nightly crew;
The female fays shall haunt the green,
And dress thy grave with pearly dew.
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
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
*How truly did Collins predict Home's tragic powers! † A gentleman of the name of Barrow, who introduced Home to Collins.