Abbildungen der Seite



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,
Steadfast and rooted in the heavenly Muse,
And washed and sanctified to Poesy.

Yes-thou wert plunged, but with forgetful hand
Held, as by Thetis erst her warrior son:
And with those recreant unbaptized heels
Thou'rt flying from thy bounden minist'ries-
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 1 mystically dipt,

Such as may stop thy speed. Is thy Burns dead?
And shall he die unwept, and sink to earth
"Without the meed of one melodious tear ?"
Thy Burns, and Nature's own beloved bard,
Who to the "Illustrious of his native Land

1 Pind. Olymp. ii. 1. 150.

2 Verbatim from Burns' dedication of his Poem to the Nobility and Gentry of the Caledonian Hunt.

So properly did look for patronage."

Ghost of Mæcenas! hide thy blushing face! They snatched him from the sickle and the ploughTo gauge ale-firkins.

Oh! for shame return!

On a bleak rock, midway the Aonian mount,
There stands a lone and melancholy tree,
Whose aged branches to the midnight blast
Make solemn music: pluck its darkest bough,
Ere yet the unwholesome night-dew be exhaled,
And weeping wreath it round thy Poet's tomb.
Then in the outskirts, where pollutions grow,
Pick the rank henbane and the dusky flowers
Of night-shade, or its red and tempting fruit,
These with stopped nostril and glove-guarded hand
Knit in nice intertexture, so to twine,
The illustrious brow of Scotch Nobility.





FRIEND of the wise! and teacher of the good!
Into my heart have I received that lay
More than historic, that prophetic lay

Wherein (high theme by thee first sung aright)

Of the foundations and the building up
Of a Human Spirit thou hast dared to tell
What may be told, to the understanding mind
Revealable; and what within the mind
By vital breathings secret as the soul

Of vernal growth, oft quickens in the heart
Thoughts all too deep for words!-

Theme hard as high!

Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious fears,
(The first-born they of Reason and twin-birth)
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 streamed from thee, and thy soul received

The light reflected, as a light bestowed-
Of fancies fair, and milder hours of youth,
Hyblean murmurs of poetic thought
Industrious in its joy, in vales and glens
Native or outland, lakes and famous hills!
Or on the lonely high-road, when the stars
Were rising; or by secret mountain-streams,
The guides and the companions of thy way!

Of more than Fancy, of the Social Sense Distending wide, and man beloved as man, Where France in all her towns lay vibrating Like some becalmed bark beneath the burst

Of Heaven's immediate thunder, when no cloud Is visible, or shadow on the main.

For thou wert there, thine own brows garlanded, Amid the tremor of a realm aglow,

Amid a mighty nation jubilant,

When from the general heart of human kind
Hope sprang forth like a full-born Deity!

-Of that dear Hope afflicted and struck down,
So summoned homeward, thenceforth calm and sure
From the dread watch-tower of man's absolute self,
With light unwaning on her eyes, to look
Far on-herself a glory to behold,

The Angel of the vision! Then (last strain)
Of Duty, chosen laws controlling choice,
Action and joy!-An Orphic song indeed,
A song divine of high and passionate thoughts
To their own music chanted!

O great Bard!

Ere yet that last strain dying awed the air,
With steadfast eye I viewed thee in the choir
Of ever-enduring men. The truly great
Have all one age, and from one visible space
Shed influence! They, both in power and act,
Are permanent, and Time is not with them,
Save as it worketh for them, they in it.
Nor less a sacred roll, than those of old,
And to be placed, as they, with gradual fame
Among the archives of mankind, thy work
Makes audible a linked lay of Truth,

Of Truth profound a sweet continuous lay,
Not learnt, but native, her own natural notes !
Ah! as I listened with a heart forlorn,
The pulses of my being beat anew:

And even as life returns upon the drowned, Life's joy rekindling roused a throng of painsKeen pangs of Love, awakening as a babe Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart;

And fears self-willed, that shunned the eye of

And hope that scarce would know itself from feary
Sense of past youth, and manhood come in vain,
And genius given, and knowledge won in vain;
And all which I had culled in wood-walks wild,
And all which patient toil had reared, and all,
Commune with thee had opened out-but flowers
Strewed on my corse, and borne upon my bier,
In the same coffin, for the self-same grave!

That way no more! and ill beseems it me,
Who came a welcomer in herald's guise,
Singing of glory, and futurity,

To wander back on such unhealthful road,
Plucking the poisons of self-harm! And ill
Suc ntertwine beseems triumphal wreaths
Strewed before thy advancing!

Nor do thou,

Sage Bard! impair the memory of that hour
Of thy communion with my nobler mind

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »