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DIRGE IN CYMBELINE.
SUNG BY GUIDERUS AND ARVIRAGUS OVER FIDELE, SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD.
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
No wailing ghost shall dare appear
To vex with shrieks this quiet grove,
And melting virgins own their love.
No wither'd witch shall here be seen,
No goblins lead their nightly crew;
The red-breast oft at evening hours
When howling winds, and beating rain,
Each lonely scene shall thee restore,
POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS OF THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND;
THE SUBJECT OF POETRY.
INSCRIBED TO MR. JOHN HOME.
HOME, thou return'st from Thames, whose Naiads long
Have seen thee lingering with a fond delay, [day Mid those soft friends, whose hearts some future Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song, Go, not unmindful of that cordial youth + [side; Whom, long endear'd, thou leav'st by Lavant's Together let us wish him lasting truth
And joy untainted with his destin'd bride. Go! nor regardless, while these numbers boast
My short-liv'd bliss, forget my social name; But think, far off, how, on the Southern coast, I met thy friendship with an equal flame! Fresh to that soil thou turn'st, where every vale
Shall prompt the poet, and his song demand: To thee thy copious subjects ne'er shall fail;
Thou need'st but take thy pencil to thy hand, And paint what all believe, who own thy genial land.
How truly did Collins predict Home's tragic powers!
A gentleman of the name of Barrow, who introduced Home to Collins.
There must thou wake perforce thy Doric quill;
To the swart tribes, their creamy bowls alots;
While airy minstrels warble jocund notes. There, every herd, by sad experience, knows
How, wing'd with fate, their elf-shot arrows fly, When the sick ewe her summer food forgoes,
Or, stretch'd on earth, the heart-smit heifers lie. Such airy beings awe th' untutor'd swain:
Nor thou, tho' learn'd, his homelier thoughts neglect;
Let thy sweet Muse the rural faith sustain;
These are the themes of simple, sure effect, That add new conquests to her boundless reign, And fill with double force her heart-coinmanding strain.
E'en yet preserv'd, how often mayst thou hear, Where to the Pole the Boreal mountains run, Taught by the father, to his listening son; Strange lays, whose power had charm'd a Spenser's
At every pause, before thy mind possest,
Old Runic bards shall seem to rise around, With uncouth lyres, in many-colour'd vest,
Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd: Whether thou bidd'st the well-taught hind repeat
The choral dirge that mourns some chieftain brave,
When every shrieking maid her bosom beat,
And strew'd with choicest herbs his scented grave; Or, whether sitting in the shepherd's shiel,
Thou hear'st some sounding tale of war's alarms; When at the bugle's call, with fire and steel,
The sturdy clans pour'd forth their brawny
And hostile brothers met, to prove each other's arms.
'T is thine to sing, how, framing hideous spells,
With their own vision oft astonish'd droop;
They see the gliding ghosts unbodied troop. Or, if in sports, or on the festive green,
Their destin'd glance some fated youth descry, Who now, perhaps, in lusty vigour seen,
And rosy health, shall soon lamented die. For them the viewless forms of air obey;
Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair. They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
And heartless, oft like moody madness, stare To see the phantom train their secret work prepare.
To monarchs dear, some hundred miles astray,
The seer, in Sky, shriek'd as the blood did flow, When headless Charles warm on the scaffold lay!
As Boreas threw his young Aurora* forth,
They mourn'd in air, fell, fell Rebellion slain! And as, of late, they joy'd in Preston's fight,
Saw at sad Falkirk all their hopes near crown'd! They rav'd! divining thro' their second sight †, Pale, red Culloden, where these hopes were drown'd!
Britain's guardian name! One William sav'd us from a tyrant's stroke; He, for a sceptre, gain'd heroic fame,
But thou, more glorious, Slavery's chain hast broke,
To reign a private man, and bow to Freedom's yoke!
These, too, thou 'lt sing! for well thy magic Muse
* By young Aurora, Collins undoubtedly meant the first appearance of the northern lights, which happened about the year 1715; at least, it is most highly probable, from this peculiar circumstance, that no ancient writer whatever has taken any notice of them, nor even any one modern, previous to the above period.
+ Second sight is the term that is used for the divination of the Highlanders.
The late Duke of Cumberland, who defeated the Pretender at the battle of Culloden.