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TO A FRIEND
Who had declared his intention of writing no more Poetry.
DEAR Charles! whilst yet thou wert a babe, I ween
That Genius plunged thee in that wizard fount
Hight Castalie; and (sureties of thy faith)
That Pity and Simplicity stood by,
And promised for thee, that thou shouldst renounce
The world's low cares and lying vanities,
Stedfast and rooted in the heavenly Muse,
And wash'd and sanctified to Poesy.
Yes-thou wert plunged, but with forgetful hand
Held, as by Thetis erst her warrior Son :
Thou'rt flying from thy bounden Ministeries
So sore it seems and burthensome a task
To weave unwithering flowers! But take thou heed:
For thou art vulnerable, wild-eyed Boy,
And I have arrows *mystically dipt,
Such as may stop thy speed. Is thy Burns dead?
Thy Burns, and Nature's own beloved Bard,
Ghost of Mæcenas! hide thy blushing face!
They snatch'd him from the Sickle and the PloughTo guard Ale-Firkins.
Oh! for shame return!
On a bleak Rock, midway the Aonian mount,
* Vide Pind. Olym. ii. 1. 156.
+ Verbatim from Burns's dedication of his Poem to the Nobility and Gentry of the Caledonian Hunt.
Pick the rank hensbane and the dusky flowers
Of night-shade, or its red and tempting fruit.
The Illustrious Brow of Scotch Nobility.
TO A GENTLEMAN.
Composed on the night after his recitation of a Poem on the Growth of an Individual Mind.
FRIEND of the Wise! and Teacher of the Good!
Into my heart have I received that Lay
More than historic, that prophetic Lay
Of the Human Spirit, thou hast dared to tell
Theme hard as high!
Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious fears
Of tides obedient to external force,
And currents self-determined, as might seem,
Or by some inner Power; of moments awful,
Now in thy inner life, and now abroad,
When Power stream'd from thee, and thy soul received
Of Fancies fair, and milder hours of youth,
Of more than Fancy, of the Social Sense
For thou wert there, thine own brows garlanded,
Amid the tremor of a realm aglow,
Amid a mighty nation jubilant,