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W H O HAD DECLA RED HIS INTENTION OF WRITING NO MORE POETRY.
DEAR Charles! whilst yet thou wert a babe I ween
That Genius plunged thee in that wizard fount
Hight Castalie; and (sureties of thy faith)
That Pity and Simplicity stood by,
And promised for thee, that thou shouldst renounce
The world's low cares and lying vanities,
Steadfast and rooted in the heavenly Muse,
And washed and sanctified to Poesy.
Yes—thou wert plunged, but with forgetful hand
Held, as by Thetis erst her warrior Son:
And with those recreant unbaptized Heels
Thou'rt flying from thy bounden Ministeries—
So sore it seems and burthensome a task
To weave unwithering flowers . But take thou heed:
For thou art vulnerable, wild-eyed Boy,
And I have arrows "mystically dipped,
Such as may stop thy speed. Is thy Burns dead?
And shall he die unwept, and sink to Earth
“Without the meed of one melodious tear?”
Thy Burns, and Nature's own beloved Bard,
Who to the “ Illustrious + of his native Land
“So properly did look for Patronage.”
Ghost of Maecenas! hide thy blushing face 1
They snatched him from the Sickle and the Plough—
To gauge Ale-Firkins.
Oh! for shame return
On a bleak Rock, midway the Aonian mount,
There stands a lone and melancholy tree,
Whose aged branches to the midnight blast
Make solemn music: pluck its darkest bough,
Ere yet the unwholesome Night-dew be exhaled,
And weeping wreath it round thy Poet's Tomb.
Then in the outskirts, where pollutions grow,
Pick the rank henbane and the dusky flowers
Of night-shade, or its red and tempting fruit.
These with stopped nostril and glove-guarded hand Knit in nice intertexture, so to twine
The Illustrious Brow of Scotch Nobility. 1796.
COMPOSED ON THE NIGHT AFTER HIS RECITATION OF A POEM ON THE GROWTH OF AN INDIVIDUAL MIND.
FRIEND of the Wise ! and Teacher of the Good!
Into my heart have I received that Lay
More than historic, that prophetic Lay
Wherein (high theme by thee first sung aright)
Of the foundations and the building up
Of the Human Spirit, thou hast dared to tell
What may be told, to the understanding mind
Revealable; and what within the mind
By vital Breathings, like the secret soul
Of vernal growth, oft quickens in the Heart
Thoughts all too deep for words!—
Theme hard as high! Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious fears
(The first-born they of Reason and twin-birth)
Of tides obedient to external force,
And currents self-determined, as might seem,
Or by some inner Power; of moments awful,
Now in thy inner life, and now abroad,
When Power streamed from thee, and thy soul received
The light reflected, as a light bestowed—
Of Fancies fair, and milder hours of youth,
Hyblean murmurs of Poetic Thought
Industrious in its Joy, in Wales and Glens
Native or outland, Lakes and famous Hills!
Or on the lonely High-road, when the Stars
Were rising; or by secret Mountain-streams,
The Guides and the Companions of thy way!
Of more than Fancy, of the Social Sense
Distending wide, and Man beloved as Man,
Where France in all her Towns lay vibrating
Even as a Bark becalmed beneath the Burst
Of Heaven's immediate Thunder, when no cloud
Is visible, or shadow on the Main.
For thou wert there, thine own brows garlanded,
Amid the tremor of a realm aglow,
Amid a mighty nation jubilant,
When from the general Heart of Human kind
Hope sprang forth like a full-born Deity