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Ashestiel, Ettricke Forest.

Like April morning clouds, that pass,
With varying shadow, o'er the grass,
And imitate, on field and furrow,
Life's chequered scene of joy and sorrow;
Like streamlet of the mountain north,
Now in a torrent racing forth,
Now winding slow its silver train,
And almost slumbering on the plain;
Like breezes of the autumn day,
Whose voice inconstant dies away,
And ever swells again as fast,
When the ear deems its murmurpast;
Thus various my romantic theme
Flits, winds, or sinks, a morning dream.
Yet pleased, our eye pursues the trace
Of light and shade's inconstant race;
Pleased, views the rivulet afar,
Weaving its maze irregular;
And pleased, we listen as the breeze
Heaves its wild sigh through autumn trees;

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–

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