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Stood for his country's glory fast,
With more than mortal powers endow'd,
Though his could drain the ocean dry,
Rest, ardent Spirits ! till the cries Of dying nature bid you rise ; Not even your Britain's groans can pierce The leaden silence of your hearse ; Then, 0, how impotent and vain This grateful tributary strain ! Though not unmark'd from northern clime, Ye heard the Border Minstrel's rhyme : His Gothic harp has o'er you rung; The Bard you deign’d to praise, your deathless
names has sung.
Stay yet, illusion, stay a while, My wilder'd fancy still beguile! From this high theme how can I part, Ere half unloaded is my heart ! For all the tears e'er sorrow drew, And all the raptures fancy knew, And all the keener rush of blood, That throbs through bard in bard-like mood, Were here a tribute mean and low, Though all their mingled streams could flowWoe, wonder, and sensation high, In one spring-tide of ecstasy !-It will not be—it may not lastThe vision of enchantment's past : Like frostwork in the morning ray, The fancied fabric melts away;' Each Gothic arch, memorial-stone, And long, dim, lofty aisle, are gone; And, lingering last, deception dear, The choir's high sounds die on my ear. Now slow return the lonely down, The silent pastures bleak and brown, The farm begirt with copsewood wild, The gambols of each frolic child, Mixing their shrill cries with the tone Of Tweed's dark waters rushing on.
1 If but a beam of soler reason play,
Rogers' Pleasures of Memory
Prompt on unequal tasks to run, Thus nature disciplines her son : Meeter, she says, for me to stray, And waste the solitary day, In plucking from yon fen the reed, And watch it floating down the Tweed; Or idly list the shrilling lay, With which the milkmaid cheers her way, Marking its cadence rise and fail, As from the field, beneath her pail, She trips it down the uneven dale : Meeter for me, by yonder cairn, The ancient shepherd's tale to learn ; Though oft he stop in rustic fear, Lest his old legends tire the ear Of one, who in his simple mind, May boast of book-learned taste refined.
But thou, my friend, can'st fitly tell,
Despising spells and demons' force,
The mightiest chiefs of British song
* See Appendix, Note A.
% See Appendix, Note B. 3 Dryden's melancholy account of his projected Epic Poem, blasted by the selfish and sordid parsimony of his patrons, is contained in an “ Essay on Satire,” addressed to the Earl of Dorset, and prefixed to the Translation of Juvenal. After mentioning a plan of supplying machinery from the guardian angels of kingdoms, mentioned in the Book of Daniel, he adds,
“ Thus, my Lord, I have, as briefly as I could, given your lordship, and by you the world, a rude draught of what I have been long labouring in my imagination, and what I had intended to have put in practice; (though far unable for the attempt of such a pocm ;) and to have left the stage, to which my genius never much inclined me, for a work which would have taken up my life in the performance of it. This, too, I had intended chiefly for the honour of my native country, to which a poet is particularly obliged. Of two subjects, both relating to it, I was doubtful whether I should choose that of King Arthur conquering the Saxons, which, being farther distant in time, gives the greater scope to my invention; or that of Edward the Black Prince,