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But Thou, who own'st that earthy bed,
Ah! what will every dirge avail ? Or tears, which Love and Pity shed,
That mourn beneath the gliding sail ?
Yet lives there one, whose heedless eye
Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimm’ring near? With him, sweet bard, may Fancy die,
And Joy desert the blooming year.
No sedge-crown'd Sisters now attend,
Whose cold turf hides the buried friend!
And see, the fairy valleys fade,
Dun Night has veil'd the solemn view ! Yet once again, dear parted shade,
Meek Nature's Child, again adieu !
The genial meads assign'd to bless
Thy life, shall mourn thy early doom ; Their hinds, and shepherd-girls shall dress
With simple hands thy rural tomb.
Long, long, thy stone, and pointed clay
Shall melt the musing Briton's eyes,
In yonder grave your Druid lies !
DIRGE IN CYMBELINE,
SUNG BY GUIDERUS AND ARVIRAGUS OVER FIDELE,
SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD.
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring Each op'ning 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! The red-breast oft at ev'ning hours
Shall kindly lend his little aid; With hoary moss, and gather'd flow'rs,
To deck the ground where thou art laid, When howling winds, and beating rain,
In tempests shake the sylvan cell; Or 'midst the chace on ev'ry 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.
AN ODE ON THE POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS
OF THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND,
CONSIDERED AS THE SUBJECT OF POETRY.
H-thou return'st from Thames, whose Naiads
long Have seen thee ling'ring, 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 youth,
Whom, long endear'd, thou leav'st by Lavant's 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, whose ev'ry vale Shall prompt the poet, and his song
demand : To thee thy copious subjects ne'er shall fail ;
Thou need'st but take the 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.
ODE ON POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS 67
There each trim lass that skims the milky store
To the swart tribes their creamy bowl 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
Ev'n yet preserv'd, how often may'st thou hear,
Where to the pole the Boreal mountains run, Taught by the father to his list’ning son
Strange lays, whose power had charm'd a SPENCER’s
At ev'ry pause, before thy mind possest,
Old Runic bards shall seem to rise around, With uncouth lyres, in many-coloured vest,
Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd: Whether thou bid'at the well-taught hind repeat * The choral dirge that mourns some chieftain
brave, When ev'ry shrieking maid her bosom beat, And strew'd 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,
* First written, relate.
The sturdy clans pour'd 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 wizzard seer, Lodged in the wintry cave with
Or in the depth * of Uist's dark forests dwells : How they, whose sight such dreary dreams engross,
With their own visions oft astonishid † 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 I, 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.
[25 lines lost.]
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 9 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. * First written, gloom. + First written, afflicted. 1 First written, mark. & First written, sad.