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When ev'ry shrieking maid her bosom beat,
And strewed 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 poured forth their bony swarms, And hostile brothers met to prove each other's arms.
'Tis thine to sing, how, framing hideous spells,
They see the gliding ghosts unbodied troop,
Their [ ] 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
What though, far off, from some dark dell espied,
Nor trust the guidance of that faithless light;
[This stanza, comprising 11. 70-86, was missing in the MS.]
[The first eight lines of this stanza, 11. 87-94 of the ode, were missing in the MS.]
And listens oft to hear the passing steed,
And frequent round him rolls his sullen eyes,
If chance his savage wrath may some weak wretch surprise.
Ah, luckless swain, o'er all unblest indeed!
Whom, late bewildered in the dank, dark fen, Far from his flocks and smoking hamlet then, To that sad spot [
On him, enraged, the fiend, in angry mood,
Shall never look with Pity's kind concern, But instant, furious, raise the whelming flood
O'er its drowned bank, forbidding all return: Or if he meditate his wished escape
To some dim hill that seems uprising near, To his faint eye the grim and grisly shape,
In all its terrors clad, shall wild appear; Meantime the wat'ry surge shall round him rise,
Poured sudden forth from ev'ry swelling source. What now remains but tears and hopeless sighs?
His fear-shook limbs have lost their youthly force, And down the waves he floats, a pale and breathless corse. 120
For him, in vain, his anxious wife shall wait,
Her travelled limbs in broken slumbers steep,
Shall fondly seem to press her shudd'ring cheek, And with his blue-swoln face before her stand,
And, shiv'ring 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 hapless thought renew,
While I lie welt'ring on the oziered shore, Drowned by the kelpie's wrath, nor e'er shall aid thee more!"
Unbounded is thy range. With varied style
Thy Muse may, like those feath'ry tribes which spring
In whose small vaults a pigmy-folk is found,
And culls them, wond'ring, from the hallowed ground: 145 Or thither, where, beneath the show'ry 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 sov'reign pow'r, In pageant robes and wreathed with sheeny gold, And on their twilight tombs aërial council hold.
But O, o'er all, forget not Kilda's race,
On whose bleak rocks, which brave the wasting tides,
Of those whose lives are yet sincere and plain, Their bounded walks the rugged cliffs along,
And all their prospect but the wintry main. With sparing temp'rance, at the needful time,
They drain the sainted spring; or, hunger-prest, Along th' Atlantic rock undreading climb,
And of its eggs despoil the solan's nest. Thus blest in primal innocence they live,
Sufficed and happy with that frugal fare Which tasteful toil and hourly danger give.
Hard is their shallow soil, and bleak and bare; Nor ever vernal bee was heard to murmur there!
Nor need'st thou blush that such false themes engage
For not alone they touch the village breast, But filled in elder time th' historic page.
There Shakespear's self, with ev'ry garland crowned, ]
In musing hour, his wayward Sisters found,
And with their terrors drest the magic scene;
Through the dark cave in gleamy pageant passed.
Could once so well my answ'ring bosom pierce.
The native legends of thy land rehearse;
In scenes like these, which, daring to depart
And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view,
Its gushing blood the gaping cypress poured;
And the wild blast upheaved the vanished sword! How have I sat, when piped the pensive wind,
To hear his harp, by British Fairfax strung;Prevailing poet, whose undoubting mind
Believed the magic wonders which he sung! Hence at each sound imagination glows;
Hence his warm lay with softest sweetness flows;
All hail, ye scenes that o'er my soul prevail,
The time shall come when I, perhaps, may tread
ODE ON THE SPRING
Lo, where the rosy-bosomed Hours,
The untaught harmony of spring;
Then will I dress once more the faded bow'r,
And mourn on Yarrow's banks [
To him I lose your kind protection lend,
Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
Beside some water's rushy brink