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At length young Allan join'd the bride,
Yet Oscar's bark is seldom slow.>>
Would aught to her impede his way? «Oh! search, ye chiefs! oh, search around! Allan, with these through Alva fly, Till Oscar, till my son is found,
Haste, haste, nor dare attempt reply.»
All is confusion-through the vale The name of Oscar hoarsely rings, It rises on the murmuring gale,
Till night expands her dusky wings.
It breaks the stillness of the night,
But Oscar comes not o'er the plain. Three days, three sleepless nights, the chief For Oscar search'd each mountain cave; Then hope is lost in boundless grief,
His locks in grey torn ringlets wave. Oscar! my Son!-Thou God of heaven! Restore the prop of sinking age; Or, if that hope no more is given,
Yield his assassin to my rage.
«Yes, on some desert rocky shore, My Oscar's whiten'd bones must lie; Then, grant, thou God! I ask no more, With him his frantic sire may die. «Yet, he may live-away despair; Be calm, my soul! he yet may live; Tarraign my fate, my voice forbear; O God my impious prayer forgive. « What, if he live for me no more, I sink forgotten in the dust, The hope of Alva's age is o'er;
Alas! can pangs like these be just?»> Thus did the hapless parent mourn,
Till Time, who soothes severest woe, Had bade serenity return,
And made the tear-drop cease to flow. For still some latent hope survived,
That Oscar might once more appear; His hope now droop'd, and now revived, Till Time had told a tedious year. Days roll'd along, the orb of light Again had run his destined race; No Oscar bless'd his father's sight, And sorrow left a fainter trace.
For youthful Allan still remain'd,
And, now, his father's only joy: And Mora's heart was quickly gain'd,
For beauty crown'd the fair-hair'd boy.
She thought that Oscar low was laid,
Had claim'd his faithless bosom's care.
And Angus said, if one year more
What smiles the lover's cheeks adorn!
Throng through the gate of Alva's hall; The sounds of mirth re-echo loud, And all their former joy recal.
But who is he, whose darken'd brow Glooms in the midst of general mirth! Before his eye's far fiercer glow
The blue flames curdle o'er the hearth.
Dark is the robe which wraps his form,
But light and trackless is his tread.
'T is noon of night, the pledge goes round, The bridegroom's health is deeply quaft; With shouts the vaulted roofs resound,
And all combine to hail the draught. Sudden the stranger chief arose,
And all the clamorous crowd are hush'd; And Angus' cheek with wonder glows,
And Mora's tender bosom blush'd.
«Old man!» he cried, « this pledge is done,' Thou saw'st 't was duly drunk by me, It hail'd the nuptials of thy son;
Now will I claim a pledge from thee.
« While all around is mirth and joy,
« Alas!» the hapless sire replied,
The big tear starting as he spoke; « When Oscar left my hall, or died,
This aged heart was almost broke.
«Thrice has the earth revolved her course, Since Oscar's form has blest my sight; And Allan is my last resource,
Since martial Oscar's death or flight.»
«'T is well,» replied the stranger stern, And fiercely flash'd his rolling eye;
<< Thy Oscar's fate I fain would learn; Perhaps the hero did not die.
«Perchance if those whom most he loved, Would call, thy Oscar might return;
Perchance the chief has only roved, For him thy Beltane' yet may burn. « Fill high the bowl, the table round,
We will not claim the pledge by stealth, With wine let every cup be crown'd, Pledge me departed Oscar's health.» With all my soul,»> old Angus said, And fill'd his goblet to the brim; << Here's to my boy! alive or dead, I ne'er shall find a son like him.»>
‹ Bravely, old man, this health has sped,
Was turn'd at once to ghastly hue;
Thrice did he raise the goblet high,
And thrice his lips refused to taste;
« And is it thus a brother hails
A brother's fond remembrance here?
What might we not expect from fear?»>
Roused by the sneer, he raised the bowl;
« Would Oscar now could share our mirth!»>
He said, and dash'd the cup to earth.
The stranger's gone, amidst the crew
But his breast was bare, with the red wounds there,
And thrice he smiled, with his eye so wild,
On Angus, bending low the knee;
And thrice he frown'd on a Chief on the ground,
Whom shivering crowds with horror see.
The bolts loud roll, from pole to pole,
The thunders through the welkin ring;
And the gleaming Form, through the mist of the storm,
Cold was the feast, the revel ceased;
Oblivion prest old Angus' breast,
But Oscar's breast is cold as clay,
With him in dark Glentanar's vale.
Or who, no mortal wight can tell ; But no one doubts the Form of Flame, For Alva's sons knew Oscar well. Ambition nerved young Allan's hand,
Exulting demons wing'd his dart, While Envy waved her burning brand, And pour'd her venom round his heart. Swift is the shaft from Allan's bow:
Whose streaming life-blood stains his side? Dark Oscar's sable crest is low,
The dart has drunk his vital tide.
And Mora's eye could Allan move,
She bade his wounded pride rebel: Alas! that eyes, which beam'd with love, Should urge the soul to deeds of Hell.
Lo! sec'st thou not a lonely tomb,
Which rises o'er a warrior dead!
Which held his clan's great ashes, stood;
For they were stain'd with kindred blood. What minstrel grey, what hoary bard,
Shall Allan's deeds on harp-strings raise? The song is glory's chief reward,
But who can strike a murderer's praise?
Unstrung, untouch'd, the harp must stand,
His harp in shuddering chords would break.
A brother's death-groan echoes there.
TO THE DUKE OF D.
In looking over my papers, to select a few additional Poems for the second edition, I found the following lines, which I had totally forgotten, composed in the summer of 1805, a short time previous to my departure from H. They were addressed to a young school-fellow of high rank, who had been my frequent companion in some rambles through the neighbouring country; however be never saw the lines, and most probably never will. As, on a reperusal. I found them not worse than some other pieces in the collection, I have now published them, for the first time, after a slight revision.
D-R-T! whose early steps with mine have stray'd,
Whom, still, affection taught me to defend,
And made me less a tyrant than a friend;
At every public school, the junior boys are completely subservient to the upper forms, till they attain a seat in the higher classes. From this state of probation, very properly, no rank is exempt; but after a certain period, they command, in turn, those who succeed.
Thee, on whose head a few short years will shower The gift of riches, and the pride of power; Even now a name illustrious is thine own, Renown'd in rank, not far beneath the throne. Yet, D-r-t, let not this seduce thy soul, To shun fair science, or evade control; Though passive tutors,' fearful to dispraise The titled child, whose future breath may raise, View ducal errors with indulgent eyes, And wink at faults they tremble to chastise. When youthful parasites, who bend the knee To wealth, their golden idol,—not to thee! And, even in simple boyhood's opening dawn, Some slaves are found to flatter and to fawn: When these declare that pomp aloue should wait On one by birth predestined to be great; That books were only meant for drudging fools; That gallant spirits scorn the common rules;>> Believe them not,—they point the path to shame, And seek to blast the honours of thy name: Turn to the few, in Ida's early throng, Whose souls disdain not to condemn the wrong; Or if, amidst the comrades of thy youth, None dare to raise the sterner voice of truth, Ask thine own heart! 't will bid thee, boy, forbear, For well I know that virtue lingers there.
Yes! I have mark'd thee many a passing day,
Tis not enough, with other Sons of power, To gleam the lambent meteor of an hour, To swell some peerage page in feeble pride, With long-drawn names, that grace no page beside; Then share with titled crowds the common lot, In life just gazed at, in the grave forgot; While nought divides thee from the vulgar dead, Except the dull cold stone that hides thy head, The mouldering scutcheon, or the herald's roll, That well emblazon'd, but neglected scroll, Where Lords, unhonour'd, in the tomb may find One spot to leave a worthless name behind:There sleep, unnoticed as the gloomy vaults That veil their dust, their follies, and their faults; A race with old armorial lists o'erspread, la records destined never to be read. Fain would I view thee, with prophetic eyes, Exalted more among the good and wise; A glorious and a long career pursue, As first in Rank, the first in Talent too; Spurn every vice, each little meanness shun, Not Fortune's minion, but her noblest son.
'Allow me to disclaim any personal allusions, even the most distant: I merely mention, generally, what is too often the weakseas of preceptors.
Turn to the annals of a former day,-
The hour draws nigh, a few brief days will close,
Hope, that could vary like the rainbow's hue,
D-r-t! farewell! I will not ask one part
A stranger to thyself, thy weal or woe;
No more, as once, in social hours, rejoice,
To veil those feelings which, perchance, it ought;
ADRIAN'S ADDRESS TO HIS SOUL, WHEN DYING.
ANIMULA! vagula, blandula, Hospes, comesque, corporis, Quæ nunc abibis in loca? Pallidula, rigida, nudula, Nec, ut soles, dabis jocos.
An! gentle, fleeting, wavering Sprite, Friend and associate of this clay!
To what unknown region borne, Wilt thou now wing thy distant flight? No more, with wonted humour gay, But pallid, cheerless, and forlorn.
TRANSLATION FROM CATULLUS.
" AD LESBIAM.»
EQUAL to Jove that youth must be,
OF THE EPITAPH ON VIRGIL AND TIBULLUS.
HE who, sublime, in Epic numbers roll'd,
Fit comrades in Elysian regions move.
The hand of Death is said to be unjust, or unequal, as Virgil was considerably older than Tibullus at his decease.
TRANSLATION FROM CATULLUS.
« LUCTUS DE MORTE PASSERIS.»
YE Cupids, droop each little head,
But lightly o'er her bosom moved :
Tuned to her ear his grateful strain.
Who sighs, alas! but sighs in vain.
IMITATED FROM CATULLUS.
OH! might I kiss those eyes of fire,
TRANSLATIONS FROM ANACREON.
TO HIS LYRE.
I WISH to tune my quivering lyre,
With glowing strings, the epic strain To Jove's great son I raise again; Alcides and his glorious deeds, Beneath whose arm the Hydra bleeds: All, all in vain, my wayward lyre Wakes silver notes of soft desire. Adieu! ye chiefs renown'd in arms! Adieu! the clang of war's alarms. To other deeds my soul is strung, And sweeter notes shall now be sung; My harp shall all its powers reveal, To tell the tale my heart must feel; Love, love alone my lyre shall claim, In songs of bliss, and sighs of flame.
Twas now the hour, when Night had driven Her car half round you sable heaven; Bootes, only, seemed to roll His Arctic charge around the Pole; While mortals, lost in gentle sleep, Forgot to smile, or ceased to weep; At this lone hour, the Paphian boy, Descending from the realms of joy, Quick to my gate directs his course, And knocks with all his little force: My visions fled, alarm'd I rose;
e What stranger breaks my blest repose?»> Alas!» replies the wily child,
In faltering accents, sweetly mild, « A hapless infant here I Far from my dear maternal home; Oh! shield me from the wintry blast, The mighty storm is pouring fast; No prowling robber lingers here, A wandering baby who can fear ?>> I heard his seeming artless tale, I heard his sighs upon the gale; My breast was never pity's foe, But felt for all the baby's woe; I drew the bar, and by the light, Young Love, the infant, met my sight; His bow across his shoulders flung, And thence his fatal quiver hung (Ah! little did I think the dart Would rankle soon within my heart); With care I tend my weary guest, His little fingers chill my breast; His glossy curls, his azure wing, Which droop with nightly showers, I wring: His shivering limbs the embers warm, And now, reviving from the storm, Scarce had he felt his wonted glow, Than swift he seized his slender bow: << I fain would know, my gentle host,» He cried, if this its strength has lost; I fear, relax'd with midnight dews, The strings their former aid refuse:>> With poison tipt, his arrow flies, Deep in my tortured heart it lies: Then loud the joyous urchin laugh'd,
My bow can still impel the shaft;
Tis firmly fix'd, thy sighs reveal it;
Say, courteous host, canst thou not feel it?»>
FRAGMENTS OF SCHOOL EXERCISES.
FROM THE PROMETHEUS VINCTUS OF ESCHYLUS.
GREAT Jove! to whose Almighty throne
'Gainst him who rules the sky and azure main.
How different now thy joyless fate,
The blushing beauty by thy side,
THE EPISODE OF NISUS AND EURYALUS.
And sought a foreign home, a distant grave;
No lovelier mien adorn'd the ranks of Troy,
'T was his, with beauty, valour's gift to share,
<< What god,» exclaim'd the first, « instils this fire? Or, in itself a god, what great desire?
My labouring soul, with anxious thought oppress'd,