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Fears, sighs, and wishes of th’ enamour'd breast,
And pains that please, are mixt in every part.
With rosy hand the spicy fruit she brought,
From Paphian hills, and fair Cytherea's isle ;
The kiss ambrosial, and the yielding smile.
Ambiguous looks, that scorn and yet relent,
Denials mild, and firm unalter'd truth;
And meeting ardours, and exulting youth.
Sleep, wayward God! hath sworn, while these remain,
With flattering dreams to dry his nightly tear,
With fairy songs shall sooth his pensive ear.
If, bound by vows to Friendship's gentle side,
And fond of soul, thou hop'st an equal grace,
0; much entreated leave this fatal place!
Sweet Peace, who long hath shunn'd my plaintive
And grief with raven note usurp the night.
ON THE POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS OF THE
HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND;
Considered as the subject of Poetry.
INSCRIBED TO MR. JOHN HOME.
HOME, thou return'st from Thames, whose Naiads
long Have seen thee lingering with a fond delay, Mid those soft friends, whose hearts, some future
Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song.*
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 thon turn'st, where every vale Shall prompt the Poet, and his song
demand : To thee. thy copious subjects ne'er shall fail;
Thou need'st but take thy pencil to thy hand, And paint what all believe, who own thy genial land.
How truly did Collins prédict Home's tragic powers !
+ A gentleman of the name of Barrow, who intro. duced Ilome to Collins.
Tliëre, must thou wake perforce thy Doric quill;
"Tis Fancy's land to which thou sett'st thy feet;
To the swart tribes their creamy bowls allots;
While airy minstrels warble jocund notes.
Or, stretch'd on earth, the heart-smit heifers lie,
These are the themes of simple, sure effect,
Taught by the father, to his listening son,
Old Runic bards shall seem to rise around,
Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd:
The choral dirge, that mourns some chieftain brave, When every shrieking maid her bosom beat,
And strew'd with choicest herbs his scented grave! Or whether, sitting in the shepherd's shiel,*
* A summer hut, built in the high part of the mountains, to tend their flocks in the warm season, when the pasture is fine.
and, ial land.
Thou hear'st some sounding tale of war's alarms; When at the bugle's call, with fire and steel,
The sturdy clans pour'd forth their brawny swarins, 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 wizard-seer,
Lodg'd in the wintry cave with Fate's fell spear, Or in the depth of Vist's dark forest dwells:
How they, whose sight such dreary dreams engross, With their own vision oft astonish'd 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 destin'd 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 ;
They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
To monarchs dear,* some hundred miles astray,
Oft have they seen Fate give the fatal blow!
* The fifth stanza, and the half of the sixth, in Dr. Carlyle's copy, printed in the first volume of the “ Transactions" of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, being deficient, have been supplied by Mr. Mackenzie; whose lines are here annexed, for the purpose
of comparison, and to do justice to the elegant author of the Man of Feeling : “Or on some bellying rock that shades the deep,
They view the lurid signs that cross the sky,
Where in the west, the brooding tempests lie; And hear the first, faint, rustling pennons sweep.
The seer, in Sky, shriek'd as the blood did flow,
Or in the arched cave, where deep and dark
The broad, unbroken billows heave and swell,
The lab’ring moon; or list the nightly yell
The seer's entranced eye can well survey,
And points the wretched bark its destin'd prey.
O'er the dire whirlpool, that, in ocean's waste,
The falling breeze within its reach hath plac'd
Or, if on land the fiend exerts his sway, [haste.
When witched darkness shuts the eye of day,
Or, if the drifted snow perplex the way,
And leads him floundering on and quite astray."
* Shortly after these lines by Mr. Mackenzie had
In some deep glen remote from human sight,
Fantastic shapes and direful shadows throng;
While in the goblin round they troop along.