« AnkstesnisTęsti »
Ah me! abandon'd on the lonesome plain,
As yet poor Edwin never knew your lore,
Save when against the winter's drenching rain,
And driving snow, the cottage shut the door:
Then as instructed by tradition hoar,
Her legends when the beldam 'gan impart,
Or chant the old heroic ditty o'er,
Wonder and joy ran thrilling to his heart;
Much he the tale admired, but more the tuneful art.
Various and strange was the long-winded tale;
And halls, and knights, and feats of arms, display'd;
Or merry swains, who quaff the nut-brown ale;
And sing enamour'd of the nut-brown maid;
The moonlight revel of the fairy glade;
Or hags, that suckle an infernal brood,
And ply in caves th' unutterable trade,
'Midst fiends and spectres, quench the moon in blood, Yell in the midnight storm, or ride th' infuriate flood.
But when to horror his amazement rose,
A gentler strain the bedlam would rehearse,
A tale of rural life, a tale of woes,
The orphan-babes,* and guardian uncle fierce.
O cruel! will no pang of pity pierce
That heart by lust of lucre sear'd to stone!
For sure, if aught of virtue last, or verse,
To latest times shall tender souls bemoan
Those helpless orphan-babes by thy fell arts undone.
Behold, with berries smear'd, with brambles torn,
The babes now famish'd lay them down to die,
'Midst the wild howl of darksome woods forlorn,
Folded in one another's arms they lie;
Nor friend, nor stranger, hears their dying cry :
"For from the town the man returns no more."
But thou, who Heaven's just vengeance dar'st defy,
This deed with fruitless tears shalt soon deplore,
When Death lay waste thy house, and flames consume thy
BE HUMBLE AND BE WISE.
SHALL he, whose birth, maturity, and age,
Scarce fill the circle of one summer day,
Shall the poor knat with discontent and rage
Exclaim, that nature hastens to decay,
If but a cloud obstruct the solar ray,
If but a momentary shower descend?
* See the fine old ballad called “ The Chil
Or shall frail man Heaven's dread decree gainsay,
Which bade the series of events extend
Wide through unnumber'd worlds, and ages without end?
One part, one little part, we dimly scan
Through the dark medium of life's feverish dream;
Yet dare arraign the whole stupendous plan,
If but that little part incongruous seem,
Nor is that part perhaps what mortals deem;
Oft from apparent ill our blessings rise.
O, then renounce that impious self esteem,
That aims to trace the secrets of the skies:
For thou art but of dust; be humble, and be wise.
Born 1746-Died 1767.
BRUCE's father was a weaver in Scotland, but out of his humble earnings afforded his beloved son, whose poetical talents were developed even in childhood, an education at the University of Edinburgh. After the usual classic course, the youthful poet entered on the study of Divinity; but while teaching a small school at no great distance from his native place he was seized with a deep consumption, in the midst of which he composed his poem on Lochleven. He toiled patiently onwards awhile through his day and evening school, till at length the progress of disease compelled him to resign his sanguine hopes, and return to his father's house, where he expired in his twentyfirst year.
Lochleven contains much that is beautiful in itself, and as a whole, gave promise of great poetical excellence in future. The Elegy written on the prospect of his own dissolution is deeply pathetic; "a most interesting relic of his amiable feelings and fortitude."
EXTRACT FROM LOCHLEVEN.
I KNEW an aged swain, whose hoary head
Was bent with years, the village-chronicle,
Who much had seen, and from the former times
Much had receiv'd. He, hanging o'er the hearth
In winter evenings, to the gaping swains,
And children circling round the fire, would tell
Stories of old, and tales of other times.
Of Lomond and Levina he would talk;
And how of old in Britain's evil days,
When brothers against brothers drew the sword
Of civil rage, the hostile hand of war
Ravag'd the land, gave cities to the sword,
And all the country to devouring fire.
Then these fair forests and Elysian scenes,
In one great conflagration, flam'd to heav'n.
Barren and black, by swift degrees arose
A murish fen; and hence the labouring hind,
Digging for fuel, meets the mouldering trunks,
Of oaks, and branchy antlers of the deer.
Now sober Industry, illustrious pow'r!
Hath rais'd the peaceful cottage, calm abode
Of innocence and joy: now, sweating, guides
The shining ploughshare; tames the stubborn soil;
Leads the long drain along th' unfertile marsh ;
Bids the bleak hill with vernal verdure bloom,
The haunt of flocks; and clothes the barren heath
With waving harvests, and the golden grair.
Fair from his hand behold the village rise,
In rural pride, 'mong intermingled trees!
Above whose aged tops the joyful swains,
At even-tide, descending from the hill,
With eye enamour'd, mark the many wreaths
Of pillar'd smoke, high-curling to the clouds.
The streets resound with Labour's various voice,
Who whistles at his work. Gay on the green,
Young blooming boys, and girls with golden hair,
Trip nimble-footed, wanton in their play,
The village hope. All in a reverend row,
Their gray-haired grandsires, sitting in the sun,
Before the gate, and, leaning on the staff,
The well-remembered stories of their youth
Recount, and shake their aged locks with joy.
How fair a prospect rises to the eye,
Where Beauty vies in all her vernal forms,
Forever pleasant, and forever new!
Swells the exulting thought, expands the soul,
Drowning each ruder care: a blooming train
Of bright ideas rushes on the mind.
Imagination rouses at the scene;
And backward, through the gloom of ages past,
Beholds Arcadia, like a rural queen,
Encircled with her swains and rosy nymphs,
The mazy dance conducting on the green.
Nor yield to old Arcadia's blissful vales
Thine, gentle Leven! Green on either hand
Thy meadows spread, unbroken of the plough,
With beauty all their own. Thy fields rejoice
With all the riches of the golden year.
Fat on the plain, and mountain's sunny side,
Large droves of oxen, and the fleecy flocks,
Feed undisturb'd; and fill the echoing air
With music, grateful to the master's ear.
The traveller stops, and gazes round and round
O'er all the scenes, that animate his heart
With mirth and music. Even the mendicant,
Bowbent with age, that on the old gray stone,
Sole sitting, suns him in the public way,
Feels his heart leap, and to himself he sings.
FROM AN ELEGY WRITTEN IN SPRING.
THUS have I walk'd along the dewy lawn;
My frequent foot the blooming wild hath worn;
Before the lark I've sung the beauteous dawn,
And gather'd health from all the gales of morn.
And, even when Winter chill'd the aged year,
I wander'd lonely o'er the hoary plain:
Though frosty Boreas warn'd me to forbear,
Boreas, with all his tempests, warn'd in vain.
Then, sleep, my nights, and quiet bless'd my days;
I fear'd no loss, my mind was all my store;
No anxious wishes e'er disturb'd my ease;
Heav'n gave content and health-I ask'd no more.
Now, Spring returns; but not to me returns
The vernal joy my better years have known;
Dim in my breast life's dying taper burns,
And all the joys of life with health are flown.
Starting and shivering in th' inconstant wind,
Meagre and pale, the ghost of what I was,
Beneath some blasted tree I lie reclin'd,
And count the silent moments as they pass:
The winged moments, whose unstaying speed
No art can stop, or in their course arrest;
Whose flight shall shortly count me with the dead,
And lay me down in peace with them that rest.
Oft morning-dreams presage approaching fate;
And morning-dreams, as poets tell, are true:
Led by pale ghosts, I enter Death's dark gate,
And bid the realms of light and life adieu.
I hear the helpless wail, the shriek of woe;
I see the muddy wave, the dreary shore,
The sluggish streams that slowly creep below,
Which mortals visit, and return no more.
Farewell, ye blooming fields! ye cheerful plains!
Enough for me the church-yard's lonely mound,
Where melancholy with still silence reigns,
And the rank grass waves o'er the cheerless ground.
There let me wander at the shut of eve,
When sleep sits dewy on the labourer's eyes;
The world and all its busy follies leave,
And talk with Wisdom where my Daphnis lies.
There let me sleep forgotten in the clay,
When death shall shut these weary aching eyes!
Rest in the hopes of an eternal day,
Till the long night is gone, and the last morn arise.
Born 1748-Died 1788.
LOGAN was a native of Scotland, and was educated for the church at the University of Edinburgh. His sermons, published under the care of Dr Robertson, possess much excellence. His poetry is distinguished for its chaste and simple style, and contains some natural and pleasing touches of description. His Ode to the Cuckoo must always be admired. It obtained, when published, a testimony to its excellence which the highest genius might be proud to acknowledge. "Burke was so much pleased with it, that when he came to Edinburgh he made himself acquainted with its author." The moral tendency of his poems is pure, and in his hymns, elevated to devotion.
ODE TO THE CUCKOO.
HAIL, beauteous stranger of the grove!
Thou messenger of spring!
Now Heaven repairs thy rural seat,
And woods thy welcome sing,
What time the daisy decks the green,
Thy certain voice we hear;
Hast thou a star to guide thy path,
Or mark the rolling year?