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Of wonder and of war-« Profane!
What ! leave the lofty Latian strain,
Her stately prose, her verse's charms,
To hear the clash of rusty arms;
In Fairy Land or Limbo lost,
To jostle conjuror and ghost,
Goblin and witch !”-Nay, Heber dear,
Before you touch my charter, hear.
Though Leyden aids, alas ! no more,
My cause with many-languaged lore,
This may I say :-in realms of death
Ulysses meets Alcides' wraith ;
Æneas, upon Thracia's shore,
The ghost of murdered Polydore;
For omens, we in Livy cross,
At every turn, locutus Bos.
As grave and duly speaks that ox,
As if he told the price of stocks ;
Or held, in Rome republican,
The place of common-councilman.
All nations have their omens drear,
Their legends wild of wo and fear.
To Cambria look-the peasant see,
Bethink him of Glendowerdy,
And shun“ the spirit's blasted tree."
The Highlander, whose red claymore
The battle turned on Maida's shore,
Will, on a Friday morn, look pale,
If asked to tell a fairy tale :
He fears the vengeful Elfin King,
Who leaves that day his grassy ring;
Invisible to human ken,
He walks among the sons of men.
Didst e'er, dear Heber, pass along
Beneath the towers of Franchemont,
Which, like an eagle's nest in air,
Hang o'er the stream and hamlet fair ?
Deep in their vaults, the peasants say,
A mighty treasure buried lay,
Amassed through rapine and through wrong,
By the last lord of Franchemont.
The iron chest is bolted hard,
A huntsman sits its constant guard ;
Arou.ed his neck his horn is hung,
His hanger in his belt is slung;
Before his feet his bloodhounds lie:
An 'twere not for his gloomy eye,
Whose withering glance no heart can brook,
As true a huntsman doth he look,
As bugle e'er in brake did sound,
Or ever hallooed to a hound.
To chase the fiend, and win the prize,
In that same dungeon ever tries
An aged Necromantic Priest ;
It is an hundred years at least,
Since 'twixt them first the strife begun,
And neither yet has lost or won.
And oft the Conjuror's words will make
The stubborn Demon groan and quake;
And oft the bands of iron break,
Or bursts one lock, that still amain,
Fast as 'tis opened, shuts again.
That magic strife within the tomb
May last until the day of doom,
Unless the Adept shall learn to tell
The very word that clenched the spell,
When Franch’mont locked the treasure cen.
An hundred years are past and gone,
And scarce three letters has he won.
Such general superstition may
Excuse for old Pitscottie say ;
Whose gossip history has given
My song the messenger from heaven,
That warned, in Lithgow, Scotland's King,
Nor less the infernal summoning.
But why such instances to you,
Who, in an instant, can review
Your treasured hoards of various lore,
And furnish twenty thousand more?
Hoards, not like theirs whose volumes rest
Like treasures in the Franch’mont chest;
While gripple owners still refuse
To others what they cannot use,
Give them the priest's whole century,
They shall not spell you letters three;
Their pleasure in the books the same
The magpie takes in pilfered gem.
Thy volumes, open as thy heart,
Delight, amusement, science, art,
To every ear and eye impart;
Yet who, of all who thus employ them,
Can, like the owner's self, enjoy them ?-
But, hark! I hear the distant drum :
The day of Flodden field is come.-
Adieu, dear Heber! life and health,
And store of literary wealth.