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By shoal and rock hath steerd my venturous bark,

And landward now I drive before the gale. And now the blue and distant shore I hail,

And nearer now I see the port expand,
And now I gladly furl my weary sail,

And, as the prow light touches on the strand,
I strike my red-cross flag and bind my skiff to land.

!

Where we must land some of our passengers,

And light this weary vessell of her lode.
Here she a while may make her safe abode,

Till she repaired have her tackles spent
And wants supplide ; and then againe abroad

On the long voiage whereto she is bent:
Well may she speede, and fairely finish her intent!"

Faërie Queene, Book i. Canto 12]

HAROLD THE DAUNTLESS.

A POEM.

JN SIX CANTOS.

[1816.]

[“ Upon another occasion,” says Sir Walter, “I sent up another of these trifles, which, like schoolboys' kites, served to show how the wind of popular taste was setting. The manner was supposed to be that of a rude minstrel, or Scald, in opposition to the Bridal of Triermain,' which was designed to belong rather to the Italian school. This new fugitive piece was called • Harold the Dauntless ;' and I am still astonished at my having committed the gross error of selecting the very name which Lord Byron had made so famous. It encountered rather an odd fate. My ingenious friend, Mr. James Hogg, had published, about the same time, a work called the · Poetic Mirror,' containing imitations of the principal living poets. There was in it a very good imitation of my own style, which bore such a resemblance to • Harold the Dauntless,' that there was no discovering the original from the imitation ; and I believe that many who took the trouble of thinking upon the subject, were rather of opinion that my ingenious friend was the true, and not the fictitious Simon Pure.”—INTRODUCTION TO THE LORD OF THE ISLES. 1830.]

(6)

7

HAROLD THE DAUNTLESS.

INTRODUCTION.

THERE is a mood of mind we all have known,
On drowsy eve, or dark and low'ring day,
When the tired spirits lose their sprightly tone,
And nought can chase the lingering hours away.
Dull on our souls falls Fancy's dazzling ray,
And Wisdom holds his steadier torch in vain,
Obscured the painting seems, mistuned the lay.

Nor dare we of our listless load complain,
For who for sympathy may seek that cannot tell of

pain ? The jolly sportsman knows such drearihood, When bursts in deluge the autumnal rain, Clouding that morn which threats the heath-cock's

brood; of such, in summer's drought, the anglers plain, Who hope the soft mild southern shower in vain; But, more than all, the discontented fair, Whom father stern, and sterner aunt, restrain

From county ball or race occurring rare While all her friends around their vestments gay pre

pare. Ennui!- or, as our mothers called thee, Spleen, To thee we owe full many a rare device;

mm

Thine is the sheaf of painted cards I ween,
The rolling billiard-ball, the rattling dice,
The turning-lathe for framing gimcrack nice;
The amateur's blotch'd pallet thou mayst claim,
Retort, and air-pump, threatening frogs and mice

(Murders disguised by philosophic name,) And much of trifling grave, and much of buxom game

Then of the books, to catch thy drowsy glance
Compiled, what bard the catalogue may quote!
Plays, poems, novels, never read but once;
But not of such the tale fair Edgeworth wrote,
That bears thy name, and is thine antidote;
And not of such the strain my Thomson

sung, Delicious dreams inspiring by his note,

What time to Indolence bis harp he strung; Oh! might my lay be rank’d that happier list among !

Each hath his refuge whom thy cares assail.
For me, I love my study-fire to trim,
And con right vacantly some idle tale,
Displaying on the couch each listless limb,
Till on the drowsy page the lights grow dim,
And doubtful slumber half supplies the theme;
While antique shapes of knight and giant grim,

Damsel and dwarf, in long procession gleam,
And the Romancer's tale becomes the Reader's dream

'Tis thus' my malady I well may bear,
Albeit outstretch'd, like Pope's own Paridel,
Upon the rack of a too-easy chair ;
And find, to cheat the time, a powerful spell
In old romaunts of errantry that tell,
Or later legends of the Fairy-folk,

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