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For when thy folding-star arising shows
The fragrant hours, and elves
And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with
sedge, And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still,
The pensive pleasures sweet
Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene,
Whose walls more awful nod
Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
That from the mountain's side,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires,
Thy dewy fingers draw
While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he
While Summer loves to sport
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Affrights thy shrinking train,
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Thy gentlest influence own,
ODE 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
day, Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song. Go, not unmindful of that cordial youth'
Whom, long endear'd, thou leav'st by Lavant's
Together let us wish him lasting truth,
And joy untainted with his destin'd bride.
1 A gentleman of the name of Barrow, who introduced Home to Collins.
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 thou 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
There, must thou wake perforce thy Doric quill;
"Tis fancy's land to which thou sett'st thy feet;
Where still, 'tis said, the fairy people meet, Beneath each birken shade, on mead or hill. There, each trim lass, that skims the milky store,
To the swart tribes their creamy bowls allots; By night they sip it round the cottage door,
While airy minstrels warble jocund notes. There, every herd, by sad experience, knows
How, wing'd with fate, their elf-shot arrows fly, When the sick ewe her summer food foregoes,
Or, stretch'd on earth, the heart-smit lieifers lie. Such airy beings awe th' untutor'd swain : Nor thou, though learn'd, his homelier thoughts
neglect; Let thy sweet Muse the rural faith sustain ;
These are the themes of simple, sure effect, That add new conquests to her boundless reign, And fill, with double force, her heart-command
Ev'n yet preserv'd, how often may'st thou hear,
Where to the pole the Boreal mountains run,
Taught by the father to his listening son; Strange lays, whose power had charm’d a Spenser's
At every pause, before thy mind possest,
Old Runic bards shall seem to rise around, With uncouth lyres, in many-colour'd vest,
Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd: Whether thou bid'st the well-taught hind repeat
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',
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
swarms, 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,
spear, Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells : How they, whose sight such dreary dreams en
gross, With their own vision oft astonish'd droop,
1 A summer hut, built in the high part of the mountains, to tend their flocks in the warm season, when the pasture is fine.
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; Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair.
They know what spirit brews the stormful day, And heartless, oft like moody madness, stare To see the phantom train their secret work pre
To monarchs dear', some hundred miles astray,
Oft have they seen fate give the fatal blow !
The seer, in Sky, shriekʼd as the blood did flow, When headless Charles warm on the scaffold lay! As Boreas threw his young Aurora forth,
In the first year of the first George's reign, And battles rag'd in welkin of the North,
They mourn'd in air, fell, fell rebellion slain! And as, of late, they joy'd in Preston's fight,
Saw at sad Falkirk all their hopes near crown'd!
1 SUPPLEMENTAL LINES BY MR. MACKENZIE.
“ 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. Or in the arched cave, where, deep and dark, The broad unbroken billows heave and swell,