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HIGHLAND SCENERY & MANNERS:
WRITTEN DURING THE AUTHOR'S RECOVERY FROM A
LONG ILLNESS, IN SPRING 1795.
IN FIVE PARTS.
Complaints of Languor and Solitude, rendered more melancholy by the
gloomy season. Return of Spring. Restored Health. Consequent joy and gratulation. Aspect of Nature on the late appearance of Spring in the Northern Climate. Disappointment and concern at the Depopulation of the neighbouring glens. Apostrophe to the Spirit of Malvina. Parallel betwixt the degenerate race succeeding the Fingalian Heroes, and the mechanical and frigid people who replace the Highlanders, driven to emigrate. Contrast betwixt that Life in which the frame is enervated by Sloth and Luxury, do the mind unhinged by visionary systems of Philosophy ;—and that wherein the Contemplation of Nature, and early habits of Piety, have produced Patience, Fortitude, and every manly Virtue :-- Exemplified in the opposite characters, and illustrated by two correspondent similes, the Swallow and the Lark. The Author solicits the attention of the Reader to a picture of deep and peculiar distress.
“ Where Winter lingering chills the lap of May."
Far to the North the howling tempest drove,
The primrose, iris, and the daisy pied,
Hid from the solar beam and living breeze, Stretch'd on the languid couch of dire disease, By turns in listless torpor stretch'd I lay, Or pin’d the agonizing hours away : “ How long must I in storms and sickness mourn? « Oh when will health on zephyrs wings return? «. “ When shall I sit npon yon green hill's brow, , “ To view fresh verdure deck the vales below? “ When shall my heart its grateful raptures bring; , “ To join the general symphony of spring ? “ No more shall selfish cares my soul employ, “ But the kind throb reverb'rate kindred joy : “ Youth's generous fervours kindle in
mind, “ And the wide wish that grasps the human kind, “ How long must I in storms and sickness mourn ? “ Oh when will health, and light, and spring return?"
Again, with balmy breath the western gale Wakes the mild verdure of the shelter'd vale, While health, and light, and spring, return once more But who, alas, can spring's delights restore?
* Seç Note 1, on Part I.
Since social joys and cheerful toils are dead,
DAUGHTER of TOSCAR! who by Lutha's streams
wake its strings again, And teach the mountain-echoes to complain : While to each dusky heath, and woody dell, The Genius of the mountains bids farewell.
Now, where the dappld fawns and bounding roes Were wont their sprightly gambols to disclose, Slow wand'ring sheep gaze round with vacant eye, While sullen rocks return their plaintive cry: Pensive and slow, I climb the mountain brow, To view each social hamlet's mutual plough *;
* See note 2. on Part I.