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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 brake: What though far off, from some dark dell espied,
His glimmering mazes cheer the'excursive sight, Yet turn, ye wanderers, turn your steps aside,
Nor trust the guidance of that faithless light:
At those murk hours the wily monster lies,
And frequent round him rolls his sullen eyes,
Ah, luckless swain, o'er all unbless'd, indeed!
Whom late bewilder'd in the dank dark fen,
Far from his flocks and smoking hamlet, then!
On him, enraged, the fiend, in angry mood,
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 watery surge shall round him rise,
What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs ?
* A fiery meteor, called by various pames, such as Will with the Wisp, Jack with the Lantern, &c. It hovers in the air over marsby and fenny places.
His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthful force,
For him in vain his anxious wife shall wait,
Or wander forth to meet him on his way:
For him in vain at to-fall of the day,
Her travel'd limbs in broken sluinbers steep!
Shall visit sad, perchance, her silent sleep : Then he, perhaps, with moist and watery hand,
Shall fondly seem to press her shuddering cheek, And with his blue swoln face before her stand,
And shivering cold, these piteous accents speak : Pursue, dear wife, thy daily toils pursue,
At dawn or dusk, industrious as before; Nor e'er of me one helpless thought renew,
While I lie weltering on the osier'd shore, Drown’d by the Kelpie's* wrath, nor e'er shall
aid thee more!'
Unbounded is thy range; with varied skill
To that hoar pilet which still its ruins shows:
# The water fiend.
+ One of the Hebrides is called the Isle of Pigmies; where, it is reporter, that several miniature bones of the human species have been dug up in the ruins of a chapel there.
In whose small vaults a pigmy folk is found,
Whose bones the delver with his spade upthrows, And culls them, wondering, from the hallow'd
ground! Or thither *, where beneath the showery west,
The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid : Once foes, perhaps, together now they rest,
No slaves revere them, and no wars invade: Yet frequent now, at midnight's solemn hour,
The rifted mounds their yawning cells unfold, And forth the monarchs stalk with sovereign power,
In pageant robes, and wreath'd with sheeny gold, And on their twilight tombs aereal council hold.
But, oh! o'er all, forget not Kilda's race, [tides,
On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting
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.
With sparing temperance, at the needful time,
Along the Atlantic rock undreading climb,
Thus, bless'd in primal innocence they live,
Which tasteful toil and hourly danger give:
Nor ever vernal bee was heard to murmur there!
• Icolmkill, one of the Hebrides, where near sixty of the ancient Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian kings are interred.
1. An aqnatic bird like a goose, on the eggs of which the in. habitants of St. Kilda, another of the Hebrides, chiefly subsist.
Nor need'st thou blush that such false themes en
For not alone they touch the village breast,
In musing hour; his wayward sisters found, And with their terrors dress’d the magic scene.
From them he sung, when mid his bold design, Before the Scot, afflicted and aghast,
The shadowy kings of Banquo's fated line Through the dark cave in gleamy pageant pass’d.
Proceed! nor quit the tales which, simply told,
Proceed, in forceful sounds and colour bold,
From sober truth, are still to Nature true,
And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view, The' heroic Muse employ'd her Tasso's art;
How have I trembled, when, at Tancred's stroke, Its gushing blood the gaping cypress pour’d!
When each live plant with mortal accents spoke, And the wild blast upheaved the vanish'd sword !
How have I sat, when piped the pensive wind, To hear his barp by British Fairfax strung!
Prevailing poet! whose undoubting mind Believed the magic wonders which he sung;
Hence, at each sound, imagination glows! Hence, at each picture, vivid life starts here!
Hence his warm lay with softest sweetness flows !
Melting it flows, pure, mur
nurmuring, strong, and clear, And fills the’ impassion'd heart, and wins the har
All hail, ye scenes that o'er my soul prevail ;
Are by smooth Annan * fill’d, or pastoral Tay *, Or Don's * romantic springs, at distance hail ! The time shall come when I, perhaps, may tread Your lowly glens + o'erhung with spreading
broom; Or o'er your stretching heaths, by Fancy led :
Or o'er your mountains creep in awful gloom! Then will I dress once more the faded bower
Where Jonson f satin Drummond's classic shade ; Or crop, from Tiviotdale, each lyric flower, And mourn, on Yarrow's banks, where Willy's
laid ! Meantime, ye powers that on the plains which bore
The cordial youth,on Lothian's plainsę, attend !Where'er Home dwells, on hill or lowly moor,
To him I love your kind protection lend, And, touch'd with love like mine, preserve my
• Three rivers in Scotland.
+ Valleys. | Ben Jonson paid a visit on foot, in 1619, to the Scottish poet Drammond, at his seat of Hawthornden, within four miles of Edinbargh. See an account of a conversation which passed between them, in Drummond's Works, 1711.
Barrow, it seems, was at the Edinburgh University, which is in the county of Lothian.