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E'en yet preserved, how often may'st thou hear,
Strange lays, whose power had charm'd a Spenser's ear
At ev'ry pause, before thy mind possest,
With uncouth lyres, in many-colour'd vest,
Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crownM:
Whether thou bidd'st the well-taught hind repeat
When ev'ry shrieking maid her bosom beat,
And strew'd with choicest herbs his scented gravej
Or whether, sitting in the shepherd's shiel,*
Thou hear'st some sounding tale of war's alarms;
When at the bugle's call, with fire and steel,
The sturdy clans pour'd forth their brawny swarms, And hostile brothers met to prove each others' arms,
'Tis thine, to sing, how, framing hideous spells,
Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells:
How they, whose sight such dreary dreams engross,
With their own visions oft astonish'd droop'd,
They see the gliding ghosts' unbodied troop;
Their destined glance some fated youth descry,
And rosy health, shall soon lamented die.
• A Hummer hut, built in the hich part of the mountains, to tef»4 tb«ir (locks in the warm Beaton, when the pasture is fine*
For them the viewless forms of air obey, Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair:
They know what spirit brews the stormful day, And heartless, oft like moody madness, stare To see the phantom train their secret work prepare.
'Or on some bel.ying rock that shades the deep,
'They view the lurid signs that cross the sky,
'Where, in the west, the brooding tempests He: 'And hear their first, faint, rustling pennons sweep. 'Or in the arched cave, where deep and dark
'The broad, unbroken billows heave and swell, 'In horrid musings wrapt, they sit to mark
'The lab'ring moon; or list the nightly yell 'Of that dread spirit, whose gigantic form
'The seer's entranced eye can well survey, 'Through the dim air who guides the driving storm,
'And points the wretched bark its destined prey. 'Or him who hovers on his flagging wing
'O'er the dire whirlpool, that, in ocean's waste, 'Draws instant down whate'er devoted thing
'The failing breeze within its reach hath placed—
* The distant seaman hears, and flies with trembling
* Or, if on land the fiend exerts his sway,
* Silent he broods o'er quicksand, bog, or fen,
'Far from the shelt'ricg roof and haunts of men,
* When witched darkness shuts the eye of day,
* And shrouds each star that wont to cheer the night; 'Or, if the drifted snow perplex the way,
'With treaeh'rous gleam he lures the fated wight,
* And leads him flound'ring on and quite astray.'
Oft have they seen Fate give the fatal Wow!
The Seer, in Sky, shriek'd as the hlood did flow, When headless Charles warm on the scaffold lay! As Boreas threw her young Aurora forth,
In the first year of the first George's reign, And battles raged in welkin of the North,
They mourn'd in air, fell, fell rebellion slain! And as, of late, they joy'd in Preston's fight,
Saw, at sad Falkirk, all their hopes near crown'd I They raved! divining, through their second sigbt,
Pale, red Culloden, where these hopes were drown'd! Illustrious William! Britain's guardian name!
One William saved us from a Tyrant's stroke; He, for a sceptre, gain'd heroic fame,
But thou, more glorious, Slavery's chain hast broke. To reign a private man, and bow to Freedom's yoke I
These, too, thou'lt sing! for well thy magic muse
Can to the topmost heaven of grandeur soarj
Or stoop to wall the swain that is no more! Ah, homely swains! your homeward steps ne'er losei
Let not dank Will mislead you to the heath; Dancing in murky night, o'er fen and lake,
He glows, to draw you downward to your death, In his bewitch'd, low, marshy, willow bra^e! What though far off, from some dark dell espied,
H*is glimmering mazes cheer th' excursive sight, Yet turn, ye wanderers, turn your steps aside,
Nor trust the guidance of that faithlessjight; For watchful, lurking, mid th' unrustling reed,
At those murk hours the wily monster lies, And listens oft to hear the passing steed,
And frequent round him rolls his sullen eyes, [prise* If chance his savage wrath may some weak wretch sat
But instant, furious, raise the whelming flood
Or, if he meditate his wish'd escape,
To his faint eye, the grim and grisly shape,
Meantime the wat'ry surge shall round him rise, Pour'd sudden forth from ev'ry swelling source!
What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs? His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthful force, And down the waves he floats, a pale and breathless corse!
Her travell'd limbs in broken slumbers steep J
Shall visit sad, perchance, her silent sleep: Then he, perhaps, with moist and wat'ry hand
Shall fondly seem to press her shudd'ving cheek, And with his blue swoln face before her stand,
And, shiv'ring cold, these piteous accents speak:
While I lie welt/ring on the osier'd shore, [more! Drown'd by the Kelpie's* wrath, nor e'er shall aid thee
Unbounded is thy range; with varied skill [spring
Round the moist marge of each cold Hebrid isle,
In whose small vaults a pigmy-folk is found,
Whose bones the delver with his spade upthrows,
And culls them, wond'ring, from the hallow'd ground!
Or thither,J where beneath the show'ry west,
Once foes, perhaps, together now they rest,
Yet frequent now, at midnight's solemn hour,
And forth the monarchs stalk with sov'reign pow'r,
On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting tide*
Fair Nature's daughter, Virtue, yet abides.
Then to my ear transmit some gentle song,
Their bounded walks the rugged cliffs along, And all their prospect but the wintry main.
♦ The water-fiord.
t One of the Hebrides is tailed The Isle of Pigmies, where, It to reported, that several miniature bone* of the human species havebeea dup up in the ruins of the chapel there.
I Icohnkill, one of the Hebri lea, \» here ne^r sixty of the ancient Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian kings are interred.