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To see the cluster'd cottages around,
Where tranquil peace and rural joy were found;
Where gentle manners, piety sincere,
The sympathies of love and friendship dear ;"
Fancy and music blest each humble cot,
Each heart endearing to the native spot;
While at the frugal meal the blue smokes rise *
Like grateful incense to the fav’ring skies;
For, here the beauties of one smiling day,
Whole months of low’ring gloom and storms repay.
While spring with soft hand scatters fragrance round,
Devotion, gratitude, and joy abound;
And more delight expands th' untutor'd heart,
Than pomp or luxury could e'er impart.
In vain my eyes the length’ning vale explore, From hillocks green the blue smokes rise no more : “No more at evening hour the hamlets round,” The voice of joy and melody resound ; No more the maids with plaintive ditties old, And warbl'd love-tales soothe the musky fold ; Or guardian-spirits hovering round in air, Attend the village-patriarch's simple pray'r, Where breathes the native soul devoid of art, The genuine language of the grateful heart : No more the pibroch wakes the martial strain, No more the clan's proud standard waves amaing
No more in pensive mood the gifted seer,
Beholds the joyous nuptial train appear ;
Or sees the funeral pomp approaching slow,
Or hears thro' the still air, the shrieks of future woe:
No more the bard, whom native genius fires,
(Celestial flame, that heaven-ward still aspires),
Bids patriot valour in full glory blaze,
Or consecrates departed worth with praise.
Thus brave MONTROSE was sung, and great ARGYLE:
The gentle Chieftain of the misty isle,
Snatch'd in the bloom of opening worth away,
Thus lives—the theme of many a plaintive lay *;
Which still his honour'd memory shall prolong ;
Marcellus lives in Virgil's song.
Say, banish'd masters of the tuneful art,
Who sway with latent pow'r the willing heart,
Where are you now ? across the Atlantic's roar,
sad eyes your native hills explore ? Or homeward do
your aching view,
Where restless waves each other still pursue ?
Where angry billows meet with frowning skies,
Till fancy's self recoils, and vision dies :
Or bending o'er the prow, your mournful strain,
Mix with the murmurs of the boundless main,
Where sinking surges equal cadence keep,
While misty showers around you seem to weep :
Or wakes the harp the well-known notes of woe,
That wont along the funeral path to flow,
That, while our vanish'd comforts we deplore,
Repeats emphatic, “ They return no more *."
Go, hapless bards, and sing in other lands
Your country's praise to charm her exil'd bands;
And soothe each drooping mind with thoughts of home,
While hopeless, through the pathless wilds they roam,
But wherefore exild? while afar they rove,
Still glow their filial breasts with patriot love ;
The thoughts of home still aching at their heart,
While distance only aggravates the smart.
Did not their hard hands earn with patient toil
Their scanty pittance from the rugged soil ?
And did not blameless morals add a grace
To simple manners, in the untaught race?
Uncouth and wild these manners may appear,
And even these virtues savage and austere,
To those vain tribes, who indolently gay,
Know but to dream and trifle life away ;
Who on soft luxury's velvet lap reclin'd,
Shrink from each bold exertion of the mind
Whose unbrac'd languid frame dissolv'd in ease,
Recoils and shivers at th' autumnal breeze.
When winter rides terrific on the blast,
They shrink to covert till the storm be past ;
* See note 5, on Part I.
Nay, when soft April's wat'ry smile appears,
The gale that from the primrose shakes the tears,
Too rudely breathes for them-altho' its power
Wounds not the texture of the silken flower :
Born in the sun's enlivening beams to play,
Like sportive insects of a summer day,
Say, how should they fatigue and danger brave,
Or climb the rocky steep, or mount the wint'ry wave ?
“ These tasks befit the rugged sons of toil,” Cries speculative Pride with scornful smile, “ While they in ignorance and darkness grope, “ And labour on, and talk of faith and hope ; " Far nobler labours aid us to extol, “ The task of minds, the labour of the soul. “ To trace French novelists with steady gaze, “ Thro' sentiment's inexplicable maze ; “ Whose evanescent meaning caught meanwhile, “ Shall add new graces to enrich our stile; " New systems of philosophy, be shown, “ With happier art in language all our own ; “ New modes, new governments,' new laws, new light,
superstition's train to flight; “ And revelation's trembling, dubious ray, “ No more its faint, uncertain beams display ; “ But knowledge flash with such resplendent blaze, “ That maddening crowds grow giddy while they gaze.
“ Such are our triumphs, while at ease reclin'd,
“ With active force the comprehensive mind
- Breaks custom's chains and prejudice's ties,
“ And wide in sportive curves unbounded flies."
Thus have I seen in some long shining day,
The Swallow kind their sportive gambols play ;
They roam'd excursive through the boundless air,
Sporting with wanton wing, now here, now there ;
And twittering on with inharmonious mirth,
Each surface skimm’d, yet scorn’d to touch the earth :
Nor heav'n-ward strove on wing sublime to rise,
But chac'd with eager haste the summer flies ;
Till the chill blasts of the first wint'ry day
To darkness drove the flutterers and their
prey. Such be your fate-ye silken sons of ease, Whom hardships terrify, and trifles please. Be mine to watch the blush of early dawn, And thoughtful muse along the dewy lawn, Where the sweet Lark, with cheerful ardour springs, Shakes the cold night-drops from her russet wings; With music's raptures cheers the vaulted sky, And wakens all the feather'd minstrelsy ; Then stooping to her feather'd nest again, With grateful joy renews the charming strain.
Thus from his native glen, when forc'd to roam, Some Alpine peasant, joyous hails his home;