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While praising, and raising
His thoughts to Heav'n on high,
As wand'ring, meand'ring,
He views the solemn sky.
Than I no lonely hermit plac'd
Where never human footstep trac'd,
Less fit to play the part;
The lucky moment to improve,
And just to stop and just to move,
With self-respecting art:
But, ah! those pleasures, loves, and joys,
Which I too keenly taste,
The Solitary can despise,
Can want, and yet be blest!
He needs not, he heeds not,
Or human love or hate,
Whilst I here must cry here,
At perfidy ingrate !
Oh! enviable, early days,
When dancing thoughtless pleasure's maze,
To care, to guilt unknown!
How ill exchang'd for riper times,
To feel the follies, or the crimes,
Of others, or my own!
Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,
Like linnets in the bush,
Ye little know the ills ye court,
When manhood is
The losses, the crosses,
That active man engage!
The fears all, the tears all,
Of dim declining age!
As I stood by yon roofless tower,
Where the wa'-flower scents the dewy air, Where the howlet mourns in her ivy bower, And tells the midnight moon her care:
The winds were laid, the air was still,
The stars they shot alang the sky;
The fox was howling on the hill,
And the distant-echoing glens reply.
The stream, adown its hazelly path,
Was rushing by the ruin'd wa's,
Hasting to join the sweeping Nith,
Whase distant roaring swells and fa's.
The cauld blue north was streaming forth
Her lights, wi' hissing eerie din ;
Athort the lift they start and shift,
Like Fortune's favours, tint as win.
By heedless chance I turn'd mine eyes,
And by the moon-beam shook to see
A stern and stalwart ghaist arise,
Attir'd as minstrels wont to be.
Had I a statue been o' stane,
His darin' look had daunted me; And on his bonnet grav'd was plain, The sacred posie-LIBERTIE!
And frae his harp sic strains did flow,
Might rous'd the slumbering dead to hear;
But ob, it was a tale of woe,
As ever met a Briton's ear!
He sang wi' joy his former day,
He weeping wall'd his latter times;
But what he said it was nae play,
I winna venture 't in my rhymes.
MILD offspring of a dark and sullen sire!
Whose modest form, so delicately fine,
Was nursed in whirling storms,
And cradled in the winds.
Thee when young Spring first question'd Winter's sway And dared the sturdy blusterer to the fight,
Thee on this bank he threw
To mark his victory.
In this low vale, the promise of the year,
Serene thou openest to the nipping gale,
Unnoticed and alone,
So virtue blooms, brought forth amid the storms
Of chill adversity, in some lone walk
Of life she rears her head,
Obscure and unobserved:
While every bleaching breeze that on her blows,
Chastens her spotless purity of breast,
And hardens her to bear
Serene the ills of life.
SONNET." GIVE ME A COTTAGE."
GIVE me a cottage on some Cambrian wild,
Where, far from cities, I may spend my days;
And, by the beauties of the scene beguiled,
May pity man's pursuits, and shun his ways,
While on the rock I mark the browsing goat,
List to the mountain-torrent's distant noise,
Or the hoarse bittern's solitary note,
I shall not want the world's delusive joys;
But with my little scrip, my book, my lyre,
Shall think my lot complete, nor covet more;
And when, with time, shall wane the vital fire,
I'll raise my pillow on the desert shore,
And lay me down to rest where the wild wave
Shall make sweet music o'er my lonely grave.
SONNET.- -"WHAT ART THOU, MIGHTY ONE."
WHAT art thou, MIGHTY ONE! and where thy seat?
Thou broodest on the calm that cheers the lands,
And thou dost bear within thine awful hands
The rolling thunders and the lightnings fleet,
Stern on thy dark-wrought car of cloud and wind,
Thou guid'st the northern storm at night's dread noon,
Or on the red wing of the fierce Monsoon,
Disturb'st the sleeping giant of the Ind.
In the drear silence of the polar span
Dost thou repose? or in the solitude
Of sultry tracts, where the lone caravan
Hears nightly howl the tiger's hungry brood? Vain thought! the confines of his throne to trace
Who glows through all the fields of boundless space.
COME, pensive sage, who lov'st to dwell
In some retired Lapponian cell,
Where, far from noise and riot rude,
Resides sequester'd Solitude.
Come, and o'er my longing soul
Throw thy dark and russet stole,
And open to my duteous eyes,
The volume of thy mysteries.
I will meet thee on the hill,
Where, with printless footsteps still,
The morning in her buskin gray.
Springs upon her eastern way:
While the frolic zephyrs stir.
Playing with the gossamer,
And, on ruder pinions borne,
Shake the dew drops from the thorn.
There, as o'er the fields we pass,
Brushing with hasty feet the grass,
We will startle from her nest
The lively lark with speckled breast,
And hear the floating clouds among,
Her gale transported matin song,
Or on the upland stile embower'd
With fragrant hawthorn snowy flower'd,
Will sauntering sit, and listen still
To the herdsman's oaten quill,
Wafted from the plain below;
Or the heifer's frequent low:
Or the milkmaid in the grove,
Singing of one who died for love.
Or when the noontide heats oppress,
We will seek the dark recess,
Where in th' embower'd translucent stream,
The cattle shun the sultry beam,
And o'er us on the marge reclin'd,
The drowsy fly her horn shall wind,
While Echo, from her ancient oak,
Shall answer to the woodman's stroke;
Or the little peasant's song,
Wandering lone the glens among,
His artless lip with berries dyed,
And feet through ragged shoes descried.
But oh! when evening's virgin queen
Sits on her fringed throne serene,
And mingling whispers rising near
Still on the still reposing ear:
While distant brooks decaying round,
Augment the mix'd dissolving sound,
And the zephyr flitting by,
Whispers mystic harmony,
We will seek the woody lane,
By the hamlet, on the plain,