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WRITTEN UPON THE THAMES, NEAR RICHMOND.
Glide gently, thus for ever glide,
O Thames ! that other bards may see
As lovely visions by thy side
fair river ! come to me,
Oh glide, fair stream, for ever so !
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
Till all our minds for ever flow,
As thy deep waters now are flowing.
Vain thought! Yet be as now thou art,
That in thy waters may be seen
The image of a poet's heart,
How bright, how solemn, how serene !
Such as did once the poet bless,
Who, murm’ring here a later ditty,
Could find no refuge from distress
But in the milder grief of pity.
Now let us, as we float along,
For him suspend the dashing oar,
And pray that never child of song
May know that poet's sorrows more.
How calm-how still ! the only sound
The dripping of the oar suspended !
The evening darkness gathers round
By virtue's holiest powers attended.
I am not one who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk,-
Of friends who live within an easy walk,
Or neighbours daily, weekly, in my sight :
And for my chance acquaintance, ladies bright,
Sons, mothers, maidens withering on the stalk;
These all wear out of me, like forms with chalk
Painted on rich men's floors for one feast-night.
Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Long, barren silence, square with my desire :
To sit without emotion, hope, or aim,
In the loved presence of my cottage fire,
And listen to the flapping of the flame,
Or kettle whispering its faint undersong.
Wings have we-and as far as we can go,
We may find pleasure : wilderness and wood,
Blank ocean and mere sky, support that mood
Which, with the lofty, sanctifies the low,
Dreams, books, are each a world ; and books, we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good :
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
There find I personal themes, a plenteous store,
Matter wherein right voluble I am,
To which I listen with a ready ear,
Two shall be named, pre-eminently dear-
The gentle lady married to the Moor :
And heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb.
Nor can I not believe but that hereby
Great gains are mine ; for thus I live remote
From evil-speaking ; rancour never sought,
Comes to me not; malignant truth, or lie.
Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I
Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joyous thought :
And thus, from day to day, my little boat
Rocks in its harbour, lodging peaceably,
Blessings be with them and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares,–
The poets, who on earth have made us heirs
Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays !
Oh ! might my name be numbered among theirs,
Then gladly would I end my mortal days.
IN THE PASS OF KILLICRANKIE,
AN INVASION BEING EXPECTED, OCTOBER, 1803.
Six thousand veterans practised in War's game,
Tried men, at Killicrankie were arrayed
Against an equal host that wore the plaid,
Shepherds and herdsmen.—Like a whirlwind came
The Highlanders, the slaughter spread like flame;
And Garry, thundering down his mountain road,
Was stopped, and could not breathe beneath the load
Of the dead bodies.—'Twas a day of shame
For them whom precept and the pedantry
Of cold mechanic battle do enslave.
O for a single hour of that Dundee,
Who on that day the word of onset gave!
Like conquest would the men of England see ;
And her foes find a like inglorious grave.
CHARACTERISTIC OF A FAVOURITE DOG.
On his morning rounds the master
Goes to learn how all things fare ;
Searches pasture after pasture,
Sheep and cattle eyes with care ;
And, for silence or for talk,
He hath comrades in his walk ;
Four dogs, each pair of different breed,
Distinguished, two for scent, and two for speed.
See a hare before him started !
-Off they fly in earnest chase ;
Every dog is eager-hearted,
All the four are in the race ;
And the hare which they pursue,
Hath an instinct what to do :
Her hope is near ; no turn she makes
But, like an arrow, to the river takes.
Deep the river was, and crusted
Thinly by a one night's frost ;
But the nimble hare hath trusted
To the ice, and safely crost;
She has crost, and without heed
They are following at full speed.
When lo ! the ice, so thinly spread,
Breaks and the greyhound, Dart, is over head.