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Delighted hovering o'er the spot obscure,
Where useful toils are mix'd with pleasures pure ;
While his fond eyes explore the low retreat,
He feels his glowing heart tumultuous beat ;
And views with more delight his humble shed,
Than all the scenes where pomp and pleasure tread.
Will you, ye proud and gay, attend a while,
To homely truths rehears’d in homely stile ;
And hear a rustic muse those truths impart,
From the full sources of the swelling heart?
No strains of measur'd harmony shall here
With meretricious tinkle soothe your ear ;
Nor art ambitious snatch exotic flow’rs,
From eastern groves, or soft Italia's bow'rs;
Be mine to raise, without disguise or art,
The British song, and touch the British heart.
To scenes of heartfelt sorrow turn your eye,
Unlock the sacred source of sympathy;
Nor let to Afric's wilds Compassion roam,
While modest Anguish weeps unseen at home.
ARGUMENT. Character of the Mountaineers, with a sketch of the leading causes
which produced and still preserve that peculiar Character, in which a manly Simplicity is blended with a degree of Sentiment, and Gentleness of Manners, seldom to be found in the lower class of any other coun.. try ; and which seems so intimately connected with their language and manner of life, that they generally lose it, when incorporated with any other class of people. Rural occupations described as carried on by different members of the same family. The domestic Groupe asse mbled in the Evening, rehearse to each other the Toils, Adventures, Visions, and Contemplations of the Day. Enthusiastic
feeling excited by the simple pathos of artless narrative or unstudied compositioncontrasted with the apathy common among those in whom much in. tercourse with the world bas blunted the finer feelings ;-illustrat. ed by a comparison. Evening Worship. Early rising. Devout Aspirations. Respect paid to an old peasant, who generally presides by tacit consent in every bamlet, and holds his power by the double right of superior wisdom and experience, and is called by way of pre-eminence, n' Dunadh, or the Man. A younger per. son in the same little circle generally admired by the rest for some talent, such as Humour, Musical Powers, or a Faculty of Rbyming, do. No hamlet without some Widow, who is in a great measure supported, and saved from the disgrace of a mendicant life, by the little society; she is usually childless, for the Highlanders, eminent for filial piety, always strive to support their aged parents.
“ Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
“ Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
“ Mote free from peril than the envious court ?
“ And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
" Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
* Sermons in stones, and good in every thing."
Come, then, explore with me each winding glen,
Far from the noisy haunts of busy men ;
Let us with stedfast eye attentive trace
The local habits of the Celtic race ;
Renown'd even in those old heroic times,
That live in Ossian's songs, and Runic rhymes ;
When ardent Valour callid his children forth,
And Glory lighten'd through the beaming North :
Whose hardy sons that twilight age adorn,
Like the quick splendours of the Boreal morn,
Filled with amazė and awe the world's dread kings,
And bade their eagles stoop with flagging wings.
Come, trace with curious search what secret cause
Each native's heart with strong attraction draws,
Though wealth in happier lands her stores unlock,
To cling with fervour to his native rock :
Why lonely mountains, dark with russet heath,
And rushing streams, and narrow vales beneath ;
With more delight his wand'ring eye detain,
Than Forth's rich banks, or Lothian's fertile plain :
The many-colour'd herd, his wealth and pride,
Like deer, through wastes extended, wand'ring wide ;
And sportive goats, a bold aspiring flock,
High on the ridge of yon aerial rock;
More self-importance to his mind impart,
And fill with warmer joys his simple heart,
Than all the flocks the southern shepherd pens,
Or the fat herds that graze the Lincoln fens.
Dear to his heart, those rocks that oft have rung
With legends which the Celtic muse has sung ;
While all the attentive hamlets round admire
The deeds gigantic of their common sire :
The honest pride those noble deeds impart,
With kind contagion flies from heart to heart.
And while they hang delighted on the sound,
The ties of kindred love are doubly bound;
And lisping children, youths, and grandsires grey,
Enamour'd dwell on the exalting lay:
The long-descended strains their sons inspire,
To wake new raptures from the melting lyre,
Bid every sympathetic bosom glow
With modest triumph, or with virtuous woe ;
With fine emotions rudest spirits move,
And teach at once to wonder and to love :
While glowing tenderness and thought refin'd,
Exalt the spirit of the lowly hind.
In other lands, where abject peasants toil,
To gain rich products from the cultur'd soil ;
Where grovelling interest draws each sordid plan,
And all things feel improvement’s aid but man;
To plod in dull mechanic sort their lot,
And vegetate upon the self-same spot :
Thro' the dull year's unvarying circle round,
The self-same fields their cares and projects bound.
No common toils have they, nor liberal views,
Alternate ease, nor “ rapture for the muse;"
No leisure intervals to soothe their care,
Save the gross pastimes of a village-fair:
Extinct in these the spirit fierce and bold
That blaz'd thro' all the Scottish ranks of old ;
Extinct the vital spark of energy,
That bids the soul claim kindred with the sky.
Far to the North, where Scotia's Alps arise, And shroud their white heads in the misty skies