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WHEN the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Counsel of her country's gods;
Sat the Druid, hoary chief !
Full of rage, and full of grief :-
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs,
All the terrors of our tongues.
In the blood that she has spilt;a
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
Tramples on a thousand states;
Hark! the Gaulis at her gates !
(1) This passage is somewhat obscure. The Druid's “ burning words " which follow seem inconsistent with the assertion that the “terrors of his tongue" were “ tied” or restrained. The meaning may perhaps be thus represented:-Princess if you find us weeping over your wrongs in private, instead of denouncing the perpetrators in public, blame us not, for our silence hitherto has arisen from the very intensity of our indignation.—Your personal appeal, however, demands that we should now give utterance to it:-Rome shall perish, &c.—This interpretation is based on the conjecture that “ ties" is used for “has hitherto tied.” Another explanation may be found in the Appendix, Note A.
(2) In the blood-that is, with the blood, as we say, to write in ink.
(3) Gaul-It does not appear that the Gauls were among the nations that swept over the Roman empire in the fifth century.-Perhaps “ Goth” should be read for
Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize;
Harmony the path to fame.
From the forests of our land,
Shall a wider world command,
“Regions Cæsar never knew,
None invincible as they."3
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
Felt them in her bosom glow;
Dying, hurled them at the foe:-
Heaven awards the vengeance due;
Shame and ruin wait for you."
THE STARTLED STAG.
The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
(1) In allusion to the love of the Italians for music. As a striking indication of the change in character above referred to, it may be mentioned that the word virtus, which among the ancient Romans meant “ active courage,” is used by the modern Romans in the softened form of virtù, to signify" a taste for the fine arts.'
(2) Progeny, &c.—the ships of England.
And deep his midnight laird had made
(1) Lair-derived from lay or lie-the place where any one (deer or other animal) is laid. Cowper (see p. 69) uses the word in the well-known lines:
“But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair." (2) Glenartney-a vale in Menteith.
(3) Beacon--from Anglo-Saxon bicn-ian, to beck or beckon, to call by signsanything so placed as to give a signal or warning. The use of the word in the above passage is highly picturesque.
(4) Benvoirlich--one of the Grampian mountains.
(5) As chief, &c.—This description is full of animation. The stag awakening at the summons of his pursuers- his proud survey of the scene-his decisive action-his escape ;-the entrance of the hunting-party---the shouts and halloos which give“ Benvoirlich's echoes no rest”-and the deep silence which succeeds --are all touched with the hand of a master.
(6) Vam-Var--a mountain in Menteith.
To many a mingled sound at once
THE GLORY OF GOD IN CREATION.3
The spacious firmament on high,
(1) Cairn-a heap of stones—here, a crag or cliff. (2) Linn--a waterfall, precipice.
(3) This beautiful poem is a paraphrase of the first four verses of the 19th Psalm, with which it should be compared.
(4) For some variations in the commencement, see Appendix, Note B.
The words firmament, sky, and heaven, may be thus distinguished :-- Firmament (from firmare, to strengthen), that which is strengthened, and therefore solid; --the arch or vault of heaven. The old astronomers believed the sky to be a sort of solid frame, in which the stars were set. Sky (from Okia, a shadow), originally a cloud or shadow; afterwards, the region of clouds-cloudland. Chaucer speaks of “not a skie” being left in all the welkin.” Heaven- that which is heaved or heaven up, comprehending all the upper regions, as opposed to the earth.
In accordance with these distinctions we may correctly speak of the spacious firmament,the blue sky—the spangled heavens, but scarcely of the firmament, with the sky and the heavens, as above.
The unwearied sun from day to day,
THE SLEEPING BABE.3
“She is not dead, but sleepeth.” Luke viii. 52.
The baby wept;
And baby slept.
(1) Tale-The idea of the Creation declaring, as if in speech, the goodness and greatness of God is preserved throughout the poem, by the use of the words “proclaim," "publish,” “ tell," "story," "tidings,” &c.
(2) What though, &c.—Bishop Horsley translates the 3rd verse of the 19th Psalm thus:
“ There is no speech, no words,
No voice of them is heard ;
Yet their sound goes throughout the earth ;” which is nearly the same rendering as Cranmer's in the Book of Common Prayer.
(3) The simple beauty of these lines well deserves attention ; particularly, the striking use made of the double meaning of the word sleep. The change in the tense from past to present, heightens the climax, which is almost sublime.