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From the Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto VI.
BREATHES there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he hath turned,
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living shall forfeit fair renown,
And doubly dying shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung.
O Caledonia! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Still as I view each well-known scene,
Think what is now and what hath been,
Seems as to me, of all bereft,
Sole friends thy woods and streams are left;
And thus I love them better still,
Even in extremity of ill.
By Yarrow's streams still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way;
Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,
Although it chill my wither'd cheek;
Still lay my head by Teviot stone,
Though there, forgotten and alone,
The bard may draw his parting groan.
Born A.D. 1777, died A.D. 1845.
ALL worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,
The sun himself must die,
Before this mortal shall assume
I saw a vision in my sleep,
That gave my spirit strength to sweep
Adown the gulf of Time!
I saw the last of human mould
That shall Creation's death behold,
As Adam saw her prime!
The sun's eye had a sickly glare,
The earth with age was wan,
The skeletons of nations were
Around that lonely man!
Some had expired in fight,-the brands1
Still rusted in their bony hands
In plague and famine some!
Earth's cities had no sound or tread;
And ships were drifting with the dead
To shores where all was dumb!
Yet prophet-like that lone one stood,
With dauntless words and high,
That shook the sere2 leaves from the wood,
As if a storm passed by,
Saying, We are twins in death, proud Sun,
Thy face is cold, thy race is run,
'Tis mercy bids thee go;
For thou ten thousand thousand years
Hast seen the tide of human tears,
That shall no longer flow.
What though beneath thee man put forth
His pomp, his pride, his skill;
And arts that made fire, flood, and earth
The vassals of his will;
Yet mourn I not thy parted sway,
Thou dim discrowned king of day,
For all those trophied arts
And triumphs that beneath thee sprang,
Healed not a passion or a pang
Entailed on human hearts.
Go,-let oblivion's curtain fall
Upon the stage of men,
Nor with thy rising beams recall
Life's tragedy again.
Its piteous pageants bring not back,
Nor waken flesh upon the rack
Of pain anew to writhe;
Stretched in disease's shapes abhorred,
Or mown in battle by the sword,
Like grass beneath the scythe.
E'en I am weary in yon skies
To watch thy fading fire;
Test of all sumless agonies,
Behold not me expire.
My lips that speak thy dirge of death,-
Their rounded gasp and gurgling breath
To see thou shalt not boast;
The eclipse of Nature spreads thy pall,
The majesty of Darkness shall
Receive my parting ghost!
The spirit shall return to Him
That gave its heavenly spark;
Yet think not, Sun, it shall be dim
When thou thyself art dark!
No! it shall live again, and shine
In bliss unknown to beams of thine;
By Him recalled to breath,
Who captive led captivity,
Who robbed the grave of victory,
And took the sting from Death!
Go, Sun, while mercy holds me up
On Nature's awful waste,
To drink this last and bitter cup
Of grief that man shall taste;
Go, tell the night that hides thy face,
Thou sawest the last of Adam's race
On earth's sepulchral clod;
The darkening universe defy
To quench his immortality,
Or shake his trust in God!
TRIUMPHANT arch, that fill'st the sky
When storms prepare to part,
I ask not proud Philosophy
To teach me what thou art.
Still seem as to my childhood's sight,
A midway station given,
From happy spirits to alight
Betwixt the earth and heaven.
Can all that Optics teach unfold
Thy form to please me so,
As when I dreamt of gems and gold
Hid in thy radiant bow?
When Science from Creation's face
Enchantment's veil withdraws,
What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws!
And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,
But words of the Most High,
Have told why first thy robe of beams
Was woven in the sky.
When o'er the green undeluged earth
Heaven's covenant thou didst shine,
How came the world's grey fathers forth
To watch thy sacred sign!
And when its yellow lustre smiled
O'er mountains yet untrod,
Each mother held aloft her child
To bless the bow of God.
Methinks thy jubilee to keep,
The first-made anthem rang
On earth delivered from the deep,
And the first poet sang.
Nor ever shall the Muse's eye
Unraptured greet thy beam;
Theme of primeval prophecy,
Be still the poet's theme!
The earth to thee her incense yields,
The lark thy welcome sings,
When glittering in the freshened fields,
The snowy mushroom springs.
How glorious is thy girdle cast
O'er mountain, tower, and town,
Or mirrored in the ocean vast,
A thousand fathoms down!
As fresh in yon horizon dark,
As young thy beauties seem,
As when the eagle from the ark
First sported in thy beam.
For, faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds thy span,
Nor lets the type grow pale with age,
That first spoke peace to man.
The Mariners of England.
YE Mariners of England,
That guard our native seas;
Whose flag has braved a thousand years
The battle and the breeze!
Your glorious standard launch again,
To match another foe;
And sweep through the deep,
While the stormy tempests blow;
While the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy tempests blow.