ePub 版

Even thou who mourn’st the daisy's fate,
That fate is thine-no distant date;
Stern Ruin's ploughsharel drives elate?

Full on thy bloom,
Till, crushed beneath the furrow's weight,

Shall be thy doom!





WEE, sleekit," cowerin', timorous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie !
Thou needna start awa sae hasty,

Wi' bickering brattle !6
I wad be laith? to rin an' chase thee,

Wi' murdering pattle ! 8
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,

Which maks thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,

An' fellow mortal!
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may
What then ? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker10 in a thravell.

'S a sma' request :
I'll get a blessin' wi the lave,

And never miss't!





(1) Ruin's ploughshare-a bold figure, and strikingly in keeping with the subject. It is borrowed from Young's “ Night Thoughts” (see p. 407).

(2) Elate--triumphantly.

(3) “ The charm,” says Lord Jeffrey, “ of these fine lines will be found to consist in the simple tenderness of the delineation;" and also, it may be added, in the hearty human sympathies which are interwoven with it. The words “fellow mortal,” touch this chord with powerful effect.

(4) Sleekilsleek, sly.
(5) Beastie-little beast. The termination ie marks the diminutive.
(6) Bickering brattle-hasty run.

(7) Laithloth ; as baith, both. (8) Pattlea small spade to clean the plough. (9) Whyles--sometimes. (10) Daimen-icker-an ear of corn met with occasionally. (11) Thrave-shock of corn.

(12) Lave-leaving, the rest.

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win’so are strewin'!
An' naething now, to big: a new ane,

Ó' foggaget green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin',

Baith snell' an' keen !

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An' weary winter comin' fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past

Out-thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble !
Now thou's turned out for a'thy trouble,

But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble

And cranreucho cauld !

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, 10
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men,

Gang aft a-gley,"
An' lea’e us nought but grief and pain,

For promised joy
Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth, thee:
But, och! I backward cast my e'e

On prospects drear !
An' forward, tho'

I canna see,
I guess an' fear.


(1) Wee bit housielittle bit of a house.

(2) Win's—winds. The final consonant is often omitted as an' for and, o' for of, &c. (3) Big-build.

(4) Foggage-long grass. (5) Snellbitter.

(6) But- without. (7) Hald-abiding place, home.

(8) Thole-endure. (9) Cranreuch-hoar-frost.

(10) No thy lane-not alone. (11) Gang aft a-gley-often go wrong.

The lapse of time and rivers is the same,
Both speed their journey with a restless stream:
The silent pace with which they steal away,
No wealth can bribe, no prayers persuade to stay :
Alike irrevocable both when past,
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
Though each resembles each in every part,
A difference strikes, at length, the musing heart :
Streams never flow in vain; where streams abound,
How laughs the land with various plenty crowned !
But time, that should enrich the nobler mind,
Neglected, leaves a dreary waste behind.




YE nymphs of lyma !4 begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimeró strains belong.
The mossy fountains and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus, and the Aonian maids,
Delight no more-0 Thou? my voice inspire,
Who touched Isaiah’s hallowed lips with fire!

(1) A similar thought is found in the piece entitled the “ Thames” (see p. 9), but there it is merely suggested, here it is amply developed.

(2) Nobler mind, the soil of the mind, which is far nobler and more important than that of the land.

(3) “The idea of uniting the sacred prophecies and grand imagery of Isaiah with the mysterious visions and pomp of numbers in the Pollio of Virgil, thereby combining both sacred truth and heathen mythology, in predicting the coming of the Messiah, is one of the happiest subjects for producing emotions of sublimity that ever occurred to the mind of a poet.”Roscoe.

(4) Solyma-same as Salem, supposed to be the ancient name of Jerusalem.

(5) Sublimer-i.e. than those required by common subjects. A comparative sometimes, in English as well as in Latin, has the force of an emphatic positive; “ sublimer" therefore means, truly sublime.

(6) Mount Pindus, in Thessaly, and Aonia, a district of Bæotia, are celebrated as “ haunts of the muses." This fanciful designation thus arises :-the lovely scenery of many parts of Greece suggested beautiful conceptions to the minds of the poets, who, in their turn, personified the influences which thus affected themselves, and gave them the name of muses. Hence, the muses are said to inspire the poet-that is, to sing his song to him--while he merely wrote it down, (7) O Thou, &c.-i.e. the classic muses of Greece are unequal to such a subject,

therefore, do Thou, &c.




Rapt into future times, the bard begun :-
A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a son!
From Jesse's' root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies ;
The etherial Spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descend the mystic Dove.
Ye heavens !3 from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail ;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise the expected mor!
Oh, spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring;
With all the incense of the breathing spring :
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance :
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfume the skies !
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers ;
Prepare the


!? a God, å God appears !”
“A God, a God !” the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim the approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies !
Sink down, ye mountains ! and ye valleys, rise!
With heads declined, ye cedars, homage pay;
Be smooth, ye rocks ! ye rapid floods, give way

The Saviour comes ! by ancient bards foretold:

Hear him, ye deaf ! and all ye blind, behold ! 8

(1) The bard-i.e. Isaiah, or the poet supposed to be endowed from above with the same inspiration. (2) Isaiah xi. 1. (3) Isaiah xlv. 8.

(4) Isaiah xxv. 4. (5) Returning Justice-Astrea, the goddess of justice, according to the fable, left the earth in the iron age, being unable to endure the sinfulness of mankind; in this new golden age she will return. See also Isaiah ix. 7.

(6) Carmel's flowery top—“The good qualities of the soil of Carmel,” says a modern traveller, "are apparent from the fact that many odoriferous plants and flowers, as hyacinths, jonquils, tazettos, anemonies, &c., grow wild upon the mountain.”

(7) Isaiah xl. 3, 4 (8) Hear him, dec.so striking an expression that it were to be wished that the next four lines had been omitted, as they only tamely repeat the same idea.


the visual ray,


He from thick films shall

And on the sightless eye-ball pour the day:
'Tis he the obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm the unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting, like the bounding roe:
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear,
From every face he wipes off every tear :
In adamantine chains shall death be bound,
And hell's grim tyrant feel the eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture and the purest air,
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by niglit protects;
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms :
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promised father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes :
Nor fields with glearning steel be covered o’er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more ;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchionin a ploughshare end.
Then palaces shall rise; the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sowed, shall reap the field.
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise;
And starts amid the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.


(1) Isaiah xxxv. 5, 6. (2) Adarnantinefrom the Greek ádápas (in old Greek, steel), which is from a, not, and dauáw, to tame or subdue--that which cannot be overpowered or broken, indissolubly strong. (3) Isaiah ix. 6.

(4) Isaiah ii. 4. (5) Falchion-from the Latin falx, a reaping-hook or sickle-a hooked or arched sword.

(6) Isaiah lxv. 21, 22.

« 上一頁繼續 »