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*. * All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians, who have no place among us; a sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material; and who, therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated, and rightly taught, these ruling and master principles, which, in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial evidence, are, in truth, everything, and all in all. Magnanimity, in politics, is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together.
WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE. 1734-1788.
Mickle was the author of a very fine translation of the Lusiad of Camoens. He published several original works; but was more distinguished for taste and fancy than for inventive genius. The most popular of his poems is the ballad of Cumnor Hall, that suggested to Scott his romance of Kenilworth, to which he would have given the name of Cumnor Hall, had it not been for his publisher. His song of The Mariner's Wife is regarded one of almost unequalled beauty and pathos.
The moon, sweet regent of the sky,
And many an oak that grew thereby.
Now nought was heard beneath the skies —
The sounds of busy life were still —
That issued from that lonely pile.
That thou so oft hast sworn to me,
Immured in shameful privity?
“No more thou com’st, with lover's speed,
Thy once beloved bride to see; But be she alive, or be she dead,
I fear, stern earl, 's the same to thee.
« Not so the usage I received,
When happy in my father's hall; No faithless husband then me grieved,
No chilling fears did me appall.
“I rose up with the cheerful mom,
No lark so blithe, no flower more gay; And, like the bird that haunts the thorn,
So merrily sung, the live-long day.
“If that my beauty is but small,
Among court ladies all despised, Why didst thou rend it from that hall,
Where, scornful earl, it well was prized ?
“And when you first to me made suit,
How fair I was, you oft would say! And, proud of conquest, plucked the fruit,
Then left the blossom to decay.
“Yes, now neglected and despised,
The rose is pale, the lily 's dead;
Is sure the cause those charms are fled.
“For know, when sickening grief doth prey,
And tender love's repaid with scorn, The sweetest beauty will decay;
What floweret can endure the storm?
“At court, I'm told, is beauty's throne,
Where every lady 's passing rare; That eastern flowers, that shame the sun,
Are not so glowing, nor so fair.
“Then, earl, why didst thou leave the beds
Where roses and where lilies vie,
“ 'Mong rural beauties, I was one;
Among the fields, wild-flowers are fair; Some country swain might me have won,
And thought my beauty passing rare.
“But, Leicester, or I much am wrong,
It is not beauty lures thy vows; Rather ambition's gilded crown
Makes thee forget thy humble spouse.
“Then, Leicester, why, again I plead
The injured surely may repine — Why didst thou wed a country maid,
When some fair princess might be thine ?
“Why didst thou praise my humble charms,
And, oh! then leave them to decay ? Why didst thou win me to thy arms,
Then leave me to mourn the live-long day?
“The village maidens of the plain
Salute me lowly as they go; Envious they mark my silken train,
Nor think a countess can have woe.
“The simple nymphs! they little know
How far more happy 's their estate, To smile for joy, than sigh for woe;
To be content, than to be great.
“How far less blessed am I than them,
Daily to pine and waste with care ! Like the poor plant, that, from its stem
Divided, feels the chilling air.
“Nor, cruel earl! can I enjoy
The humble charms of solitude; Your minions proud my peace destroy,
By sullen frowns, or pratings rude.
“Last night, as sad I chanced to stray,
The village death-bell smote my ear; They winked aside, and seemed to say,
Countess, prepare — thy end is near!'
“And now, while happy peasants sleep,
Here I sit lonely and forlorn; . No one to soothe me as I weep,
Save Philomel, on yonder thorn.
“My spirits flag, my hopes decay;.
Still that dread death-bell smites my ear; And many a body seems to say,
Countess, prepare — thy end is near.'”
Thus sore and sad that lady grieved,
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear; And many a heartfelt sigh she heaved,
And let fall many a bitter tear.
And ere the dawn of day appeared,
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear, Full many a piercing scream was heard,
And many a cry of mortal fear.
The death-bell thrice was heard to ring,
An aërial voice was heard to call, And thrice the raven flapped his wing
Around the towers of Cumnor Hall.
The mastiff howled at village door,
The oaks were shattered on the green ; Woe was the hour, for never more
That hapless countess ere was seen.
And in that manor now no more
Is cheerful feast or sprightly ball; For ever since that dreary hour
Have spirits haunted Cumnor Hall.
The village maids, with fearful glance,
Avoid the ancient moss-grown wall; Nor ever lead the merry dance.
Among the groves of Cumnor Hall.
Full many a traveller has sighed,
And pensive wept the countess' fall, As, wandering onwards, they 've espied
The haunted towers of Cumnor Hall.
THE MARINER'S WIFE.
But are ye sure the news is true ?
And are ye sure he's weel ?
There 's nae luck at a',
When our gudeman 's awa'.
Is this a time to think o' wark,
When Colin 's at the door? Rax down my cloak!- I'll to the quay,
And see him come ashore.
Rise up and make a clean fireside,
Put on the mickle pat;
And Jock his Sunday's coat.