Then wild as cloud, or stream, or gale,
Flow on, flow unconfined, my tale.
Need I to thee, dear Erskine, tell,
I love the license all too well,
In sound now lowly, and now strong,
To raise the desultory song.
Oft, when mid such capricious chime,
Some transient fit of loftier rhyme,
To thy kind judgment seemed excuse
For many an error of the muse;
Oft hast thou said, “If still misspent,
Thine hours to poetry are lent;
Go, and to tame thy wandering course,
Quaff from the fountain at the source;
Approach those masters, o'er whose tomb,
Immortal laurels ever bloom:
Instructive of the feebler bard,
Still from the grave their voice is heard;
From them, and from the paths they showed,
Choose honoured guide and practised road;
Nor ramble on through break and maze,
With harpers rude of barbarous days.
“Or deem'st thou not our later time,
Yields topic meet for classic rhyme?
Hast thou no elegiac verse
For Brunswick's venerable hearse,
What! not a line, a tear, a sigh,
When valour bleeds for liberty?
Oh, hero of that glorious time,
When with unrivalled light sublimer–