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Or, if he meditate his wished escape,
To some dim hill, that seems uprising near,
To his faint eye the grim and grisly shape, In all its terrors clad, shall wild appear.
Meantime the watery surge shall round him rise, Poured sudden forth from every swelling source.
What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs? His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthly force, And down the waves he floats, a pale and breathless corse.
For him in vain his anxious wife shall wait,
His babes shall linger at the unclosing gate.
Ah, ne'er shall he return! Alone, if night Her travelled 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,
And with his blue-swoln face before her stand,
Nor e'er of me one helpless thought renew,
Drown'd by the kelpie's wrath, nor e'er shall aid thee more!'
Unbounded is thy range; with varied style
Thy muse may, like those feathery tribes which spring
To that hoar pile', which still its ruin shows:
Whose bones the delver with his spade upthrows, And culls them, wondering, from the hallowed ground!
1 The chapel of St. Flannan.
Or thither, where, beneath the showery west, The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid; Once foes, perhaps, together now they rest, No slaves revere them, and no wars invade :
Yet frequent now, at midnight's solemn hour, The rifted mounds their yawning cells unfold,
And forth the monarchs stalk with sovereign power, In pageant robes, and wreathed with sheeny gold, And on their twilight tombs aerial council hold.
But, O! o'er all, forget not Kilda's race,
On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting tides, Fair nature's daughter, virtue, yet abides. Go, just, as they, their blameless manners trace! Then to my ear transmit some gentle song, Of those whose lives are yet sincere and plain,
Their bounded walks the rugged cliffs along,
With sparing temperance, at the needful time,
Thus blest in primal innocence, they live,
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
There Shakespeare's self, with every garland crowned, [Flew to those fairy climes his fancy sheen,}
In musing hour, his wayward sisters found, And with their terrors drest the magic scene.
2 Inserted from the later editions.
From them he sung, when 'mid his bold design, Before the Scot afflicted and aghast,
The shadowy kings of Banquo's fated line
In scenes like these, which, daring to depart
How have I trembled, when, at Tancred's stroke,
When each live plant with mortal accents spoke, And the wild blast upheaved the vanished sword!
How have I sat, when piped the pensive wind, To hear his harp by British Fairfax strung;
Prevailing poet! whose undoubting mind Believed the magic wonders which he sung!
Hence, at each sound, imagination glows; [Hence, at each picture, vivid life starts here1!]
Hence his warm lay with softest sweetness flows; Melting it flows, pure, numerous, strong, and clear, And fills the impassioned heart, and wins the harmonious ear!
All hail, ye scenes that o'er my soul prevail!
Ye [spacious] friths and lakes, which, far away,
The time shall come when I, perhaps, may tread
Then will I dress once more the faded bower,
Where'er he dwell, on hill, or lowly moor,
To him I lose, your kind protection lend,
And, touched with love like mine, preserve my absent friend:
DIRGE IN CYMBELINE
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
No wailing ghost shall dare appear
To vex with shrieks this quiet grove;
And melting virgins own their love.
No withered witch shall here be seen;
The redbreast oft, at evening hours,
Inserted from the later editions.