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XXIII.

WRITTEN IN THE COTTAGE WHERE BURNS WAS

BORN.

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THIS mortal body of a thousand days

Now fills, O Burns, a space in thine own room,

Where thou didst dream alone on budded bays, Happy and thoughtless of thy day of doom! My pulse is warm with thine old Barley-bree,

My head is light with pledging a great soul, My eyes are wandering, and I cannot see,

Fancy is dead and drunken at its goal;
Yet can I stamp my foot upon thy floor,

Yet can I ope thy window-sash to find
The meadow thou hast tramped o'er and o'er –

Yet can I think of thee till thought is blind,
Yet can I gulp a bumper to thy name,
O smile among the shades, for this is fame!

21

XXIV.

TO THE NILE.

SOS

ON of the old moon-mountains African !
Stream of the Pyramid and Crocodile !

We call thee fruitful, and that very while
A desert fills our seeing's in ward span :
Nurse of swart nations since the world began,

Art thou so fruitful ? or dost thou beguile

Those men to honour thee, who, worn with toil, Rest them a space 'twixt Cairo and Decan? O may dark fancies err! They surely do ;

'Tis ignorance that makes a barren w Of all beyond itself. Thou dost bedew

Green rushes like our rivers, and dost taste The pleasant sun-rise. Green isles hast thou too,

And to the sea as happily dost haste.

XXV.

ON SITTING DOWN TO READ " KING LEAR

ONCE

AGAIN.

06 lute

GOLDEN-TONGUED Romance with serene

lute! Fair plumed Syren! Queen! if far away! Leave melodizing on this wintry day, Shut up thine olden volume, and be mute. Adieu ! for once again the fierce dispute,

Betwixt hell torment and impassioned clay,

Must I burn through; once more assay The bitter sweet of this Shakspearian fruit. Chief Poet! and ye clouds of Albion,

Begetters of our deep eternal theme,
When I am through the old oak forest gone,

Let me not wander in a barren dream,
But when I am consumed with the Fire,
Give me new Phænix-wings to fly at my desire.

XXVI.

R

EAD me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud
Upon the top of Nevis, blind in mist!

I look into the chasms, and a shroud Vaporous doth hide them, — just so much I wist Mankind do know of hell; I look o'erhead,

And there is sullen mist, even so much Mankind can tell of heaven; mist is spread

Before the earth, beneath me, even such, Even so vague is man's sight of himself!

Here are the craggy stones beneath my feet, Thus much I know that, a poor witless elf,

I tread on them, that all my eye doth meet Is mist and crag, not only on this height, But in the world of thought and mental might!

POSTHUMOUS POEMS.

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