Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

442

THE SIX BARDS.

Ullin, a Charril, a Raono !
Guith a dh'aom o-shean,
Cluinim siobh an dorchadas Shelma

Agus mosglibhse anam nan dan ! In these specimens, the cadence and length of the line are exactly suited and adapted to the sense ; for which the reason is sufficiently obvious. Verse alone can sustain a regular cadence distinct from the sense; but where there is no regular return of numbers, the sense and cadence, as in every prose composition, must always coincide. But it is not difficult to determine, whether these expressions, “ It is dark ;" “ Lumon of the streams;" “ Ullin, Carril, and Ryno,” are translations of such fantastic lines, as “ S'dolloir so ;" “ Lumon na sruth ;" “ Ullin, a Charril, a Raono;" or whether the latter are not short clauses of sentences literally translated from the English original, and printed like verse.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

1

1

D E A TH.:

A POEM.

Come melancholy, soul-o'erwhelming power!
Woe's sable child! sweet meditation come ;
Come, pensive gaited, from thy hermit cell,
Brood wide o'er life, and all its transient joys,
The noisy follies, and corroding strifes :
Shut the pleas'd ear from harmony and song;
And from the heart ensnaring voice of fame.

* The two first poems, entitled DEATH, and the HUNTER, are printed from a manuscript in Macpherson's hand-writing, discovered in the Highlands many years ago, and most liberally communicated to me by the Rev. Mr Anderson, minister of Kingussie. They are published, not on account of their poetical merit, but as Macpherson's first rude essays in English poetry, and as historical evidence that he was a heroic poet from his earlier years. The manuscript is evidently the first rough draught of his compositions ; and contains memorandums concerning his school and house-keeping at Ruthven, in Badenoch, with a few dates, from which the Hunter appears to have been written towards the end of the year 1756. The poem upon Death is an earlier and worse composition ; but they are both marked with the same extravagance of sentiment and diction that prevails in Ossian ;

They come, they come ! I seem through fields to rove,
Sacred to woe, where Sorrow, sable shade!
Looks pensive to the uncomfortable ground.

10
On the soft breezes die the doleful notes,
And swell the soul with doleful harmony.
O life ! how many are thy sons ? how few
Pursue the paths of happiness, though here
The goddess reigns acceptable to all ?

15 Enraptured in the solemn maze of thought, My soul is all attention; Fancy reigns, And spreads before

my

view the flower-like race Of mortals ; folly, pride, and luxury, Enwrap them round, till Death, impartial, shall

20 Deal the sure stroke, and seize the gasping prey.

High from an iron car, the gloomy king
Outstretches o'er the world his hagard eye.
His jaws, wide parting, open to the fill
Of sad oblivion--sable mantled shade!
At the dark chink the undistinguish'd throng
Enter, of maids, gay youths, and tottering age.
In gloomy pomp, array'd before their king,
Fear, grisly Terror, shivering Dismay,
And cloud-envelop'd Horror, gloomy stand.

30
When far before, by sable Fate empowered,
With wanton glee, and fool-insnaring grace,
A soft deluding fair disarms the strong,
And throws the brave into the jaws of death.

25

with the same imagery, and even with the same machinery, under another name. The progressive improvement of Macpherson's poetry may be tra

ced from his poem upon Death, a juvenile imitation of Blair's Grave, to his more finished productions, the Night-piece and the Cave; of which last, we may observe with Dr Blair, that " whatever genius conld produce that poem, must be judged fully equal to any performance contained in Mr Macpherson’s Ossian.” Appendix to Blair's Dissertation.

« ZurückWeiter »