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As Boreas threw his young Aurora* forth,
In the first year of the first George's reigta, And battles rag'd in welkin of the North,
They mouru'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'rav'd! divining, through their second sight.f
* By young Aurora, Collins undoubtedly meant the first appearance of the northern lights, which happened about the year 1715; at lcast, it is most highly probable, from this peculiar circumstance, that no ancient writer whatever has taken any notice of them, nor even any one modern, previous to the above period.
+ Second sight is the term that is used for the dis vination of the Highlanders.
Thence each betakes him to his several toil;
To dive, to tly, to ride the wintry blast,
Or rake the bottom of the watery waste.
Where'er bestow'd, or hid from searching eye,
Nor cease their labours till the dawn descry Their hated impious work, and reddens all the sky.
* Nor wilt thou leave for other bards to sing,
The ruthless spirit of the angry flood; How, at grey eve, in fell and crafty mood, O'er fen and lake he shakes his foggy wind : Or when the curfew with his sullen note,
Unchains, to roam the earth, each elfin sprite, Like some drear lamp, from out the quaggy moat,
The-fiend shines forth, to lure th' incautious wight.'?
Pale, red Culloden, where these hopes were
One William sav'd us from a tyrant's stroke;
But thou, more glorious, Slavery's chain hast broke,
These, too, thoul't sing ! for well thy magic muse
Or stoop to wail the swain that is no more !
Let not dank Willi mislead you to the heath
He glows, to draw you downward to yonr death,
His glimmering mazes cheer th' excursive sight,
Nor trust the guidance of that faithless light:
At those mirk hours the wily monster lies,
And frequent round him rolls his sullen eyes,
Ah, luckless swain, o'er all unblest, indeed!
Far from his flocks, and smoking hamlet, then !
+ The lete duke of Cumberland, who defeated the Pretender at the battle of Culloden,
I A fiery meteor, called by various names, such as Will with the Wisp, Jack with the Lantern, &c. it hovers in the air over marshy and fenny places
2 nat ht"
On him, enrag'd, the fiend, in angry mood, Shall never look with Pity's kind concern,
But instant, furious, raise the whelming flood
Or, if he meditate his wish'd escape,
To his faint eye, the grim and grisly shape,
Meantime the watery surge shall round him rise, Pour'd sudden forth from every swelling source !
What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs ? His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthful force, And down the waves he floats, a pale and breathless
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 travel'd limbs in broken slumbers steep! With drooping willows drest, his mournful sprite
Shall visit sad, perchance, her silent sleep: Then he, perhaps, with moist and watery hand,
Shall fondly seem to press her shuddering cheek, And with his blue-swoln tace before her stand,
And, shivering 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 helpless thought renew,
“ While I lie weltering on the osier'd shore, F Drown'd by the Kelpie's* wrath, nor e'er shall aid
thee more !)
* The water fiend.
Unbounded is thy range; with varied skill
To that hoar pile* which still its ruins shows :
Whose bones the delver with his spade upthrows,
The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid;
No slaves revere them, and no wars invade:
The rifted mounds their yawning cells unfold,
In pageant robes, and wreath'd with sheeny gold,
But, oh, o'er all, forget not Kilda's race,
On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting tides,
Fair Nature's daughter, Virtue, yet abides.
Then to my ear transmit some gentle song,
Their bounded walks the rugged cliffs along,
* One of the Hebrides is called the Isle of Pigmies ; where it is reported, that several miniature bones of the human species have been dug up in the ruins ofą. chapel there.
+ Icolmkill, one of the Hebrides, where near sixty of the ancient Scottish, ļrish, and Norwegian kings are interred.
With sparing temperance, at the needful time, They drain the scented spring; or, hunger-prest,
Along th’ Atlantic rock, undreading climb, And of its eggs despoil the solan's* nest.
Thus, blest in primal innocence they live, Suffic'd, and happy with that frugal fare
Which tasteful toil and hourly danger give. 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
For not alone they touch the village breast,
AY Flew to those fairy climes his fancy sheen,
I In musing hour; his wayward sisters found, And with their terrors drest the magic scene.
From them he syng, 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 pass'd.
Proceed ! nor quit the tales which, simply toil, Could once so well my answering bosom pierce;
Proceed, in forceful sounds, and colour bold, The native legends of thy land rehearse; To such adapt thy lyre, and suit thy pow'rful verse,
In scenes like these, which, darting to depart
From sober truth, are still to Nature true,
And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view, Th'heroic muse employ'd her Tasso's art!
* An aquatic bird like a goose, on the eggs of which the inhabitants of St. Kilda, another of the Hebrides, chietly subsist.