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Sometimes the wooden gentry you behold
In purple issue and the blaze of gold;
As bent on motive of some great appeal,
Or high concernment of the commonweal;
In decent rank the matron troop advance,
The gorgeous chieftain, and the glittering lance.
So, ere the stars just loose their silver wain,
Glide forth the pageant sprites and fairy train,
In festive mazes tread their narrow round,
And touch with noiseless feet the frequent ground,
Aurora dawns, nor any trace is seen
But a sweet herbage, and a fresher green.
Yet clougs will rise, and mar this fairer light, For wars are known, fell wars and horrid fight. The savage band are up in arms ; fierce blows Deform their seat, and break their soft repose. So faithless as the smiles of pleasure are ! So close the heel of joy is rubbed by care ! Now swords, now tubes with fetid sulphur prest, And gleam of iron, and lances in the rest, And dreadful clash ensue: the bars within Strain to the pressure and the hideous din ; . While the touched nitre, with distracting sound, Spatters its fires and erring hisses round. Heaped is the floor with slain ; strewed round the stage Host lies on host, dire fruit of civil rage.
Thus'sad Tithonus changed his mighty trunk,
In deathless waste thus ever dwindling shrunk,
Till all the hero in a cricket slunk.
But now the lineage of this pigmy band, Their latent life, and the directing hand, I shall unfold. The workman shapes his wood Till, to the human mould, he has subdued . His oak-born progeny ; with strappings meet Arms to the shoulders binds, to the legs, feet ; Limb suits to limb, and joint to joint inserts : Then fits smalt blocks, through which his hand exerts The easy weights. Thus, dexterous he employs The secret motion, and affords the voice. And now complete, each little puppet shews His lines of deep-trenched thought, and chisselled brows. They leap, they swing, act all their volant airs, And utter sounds compressed, and words 'not theirs.
Thou mountain stream, whose early torrent-couree
Hath many a drear and distant region seen, Windest thy downward way with slacken'd force,
As with the journey thou had'st wearied been;
And all enamour!d of these margins green,
Delight'st to wander with a sportive tide,
Seeming with refluent current still to glide
Around the hazel banks that o'er thee lean :-
Like thee, sweet stream, my wearied soul would roam
(Forgetful of life's dark and troublous hour)
Through scenes where Fancy frames her fairy bower,
And Love, enchanted, rears his cottage-home;
But time and tide wait notand I, like thee,
Must go where tempests rage, and wrecks bestrew the sea.
How sweet, my friend, at this lone hour, to scale,
These moonlight mountain cliffs, and view below..
The dark lake sleeping in the silver glow ico
With all its shadowy isles ; to list alone
The dying winds that sigh around the steep,
And summer rills adown the rocks that creep
With a dull, tinkling, melancholy wail ;- .
How solemnly, while hush'd the fitful gale,
Falls on the ear that deep and nameless tone,
From the dim bosom of the wilderness ;-
Made of all mingling sounds,—so like the moan
Of child that murmurs through its dream of bliss :-
Thus look’d the infant world ere yet the groan
Of human guilt or grief disturbed its happiness!
THEY call'd us brother bards !—The same blue streams
Witness'd our youthful sports ;our tears have sprung
Together, when those ancient tales were sung,
That tinged our fancy's first and sweetest dreams; H i
Two simple boys bewitch'd with magic themes
And still, as riper years and judgment came,
On mutual couch we plann'd our mutual schemes,
Our tastes, our friendships, and our faith the same:-
But not the same gur task !--Thy loftier lyre,
Which, with the tide of feeling, swells or falls, I
Shall charm tumultuous camps and courtly halls, and
And rouse the warrior's arm and patriot's ire
While I shall chant my little madrigals
To happy circles round the cottage fire. ,
THEY are gone, the bright visions for ever are past,
The forests are drear and the skies overcast;
The enchantments of autumn are vanished, and now
The snow mists have covered the grey mountain's brow.
There were hours of enchantment, when heavenly light,
Mid the tempests of life shall ne'er fade from my sight;
Whose influence by memory cherished shall bloom,
And the dark hour of midnight with transport illume.
3. There were forms of enchantment that floated around Mid the golden-hued groves on the leaf-covered ground Those forms will revive in the dark winter day, And enliven with magical beauty my way.
There was music divine, when the redbreast at morn
His wild notes renewed on his leaf.dropping thorn ;
There was fragrance most soothing that filled the calm air,
From the dark wreaths of foliage that lay here and there.
There was joy most enchanting, when morning awoke
Through the vapours of frost, that dissolved into smoke
When the horn of the hunter re-echoed afar,
And the purple rays rested on Loch Vennachar- . .
But a weight on my breast, and a fire in my brain,
The high-soaring raptures of fancy restrain.
They are gone ! But they flourish in memory still,
The joys of the wild-wood and heath.covered hill.
When the sky is black above, and the billows white below,
And between the foaming swells we are lab'ring to and fro;
When waves they roar beneath us, and thunders roll o'er head,
O think ye not, ye landsmen ! it is a scene of dread?
But dreadful though it be, yet it cannot us appal,
For we feel Affection pours her prayers, and mercy hears them all.
When the ship is on her beams, and the masts are all a wreck,
And, to 'scape the angry surge, we are lash'd upon the deck,
When night is closing fast, and no sign of succour near,
O think ye not, ye landsmen ! it is a scene of fear?
But fearful though it be, yet it cannot us appal,
For we trust Affection pours her prayer, and mercy hears them all.
But see, the morn approaching, a vessel heaves in sight,
The waves are sinking once again, the breezes they are light,
She sees our waving signal, and swiftly beareth down,
The red cross is her flag, and her country is our own;
With pleasure then, ye landsmen! our dangers we recall,
For we know Affection pour'd her prayers, and mercy hear them all!
TO THE MEMORY OF DR JOHN LEYDEN.
WHERE sleep the brave on Java's strand,
Thy ardent spirit, Leyden! filed,
And fame with cypress shades the land
Where genius fell and valour bled,
When triumph's tale is westward borñe;
On Border hills no joy shall gleam ;
And thy loved Tiviot long shall mour#
The youthful Poet of her stream.