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The groaning trees untimely shed their locks, And shooting-meteors caught the startled eye.
The paly moon rose in the livid east,
And 'mong the cliffs disclosed a stately form, In weeds of wo that frantic beat her breast, And mixed her wailings with the raving storm.
Wild to my heart the filial pulses glow,
'Twas Caledonia's trophied shield I viewed: Her form majestic drooped in pensive wo, The lightning of her eye in tears imbued.
Reversed that spear, redoubtable in war,
Reclined that banner, erst in fields unfurled, That like a deathful meteor gleamed afar,
And braved the mighty monarchs of the world.
My patriot son fills an untimely grave!"
With accents wild and lifted arms she cried:
"Low lies the hand that oft was stretched to
Low lies the heart that swelled with honest pride.
"A weeping country joins a widow's tear;
The helpless poor mix with the orphan's cry; The drooping arts surround their patron's bier; And grateful science heaves the heartfelt sigh!
"I saw my sons resume their ancient fire;
"My patriot falls but shall he lie unsung, While empty greatness saves a worthless name? No: every Muse shall join her tuneful tongue, And future ages hear his growing fame.
"And I will join a mother's tender cares, Through future times to make his virtue last; That distant years may boast of other Blairs!".. She said, and vanished with the sweeping blast.
TO MISS FERRIER,1
ENCLOSING THE ELEGY ON SIR J. H. BLAIR.
NAE heathen name shall I prefix
Frae Pindus or Parnassus;
Auld Reekie dings them a' to sticks,
Jove's tunefu' dochters three times three
1 Author of The Inheritance, etc.
But, gien the body half an e'e,
Last day my mind was in a bog,
Do what I dought to set her free,
Ye turned a neuk I saw your e'e —
The mournfu' sang I here enclose
And [wish and] pray in rhyme sincere,
WRITTEN WITH A PENCIL OVER THE CHIMNEY-PIECE, IN
ADMIRING Nature in her wildest grace,
1 The original manuscript of this piece is in the possession of Miss Grace Aiken, Ayr.
My savage journey, curious, I pursue,
The outstretching lake, imbosomed 'mong the hills,
The eye with wonder and amazement fills;
Poetic ardours in my bosom swell,
Lone wandering by the hermit's mossy cell:
Here Poesy might wake her Heaven-taught lyre, And look through nature with creative fire; Here to the wrongs of Fate half reconciled, Misfortune's lightened steps might wander wild; And Disappointment, in these lonely bounds, Find balm to soothe her bitter, rankling wounds : Here heart-struck Grief might heavenward stretch
And injured Worth forget and pardon man.
THE BIRKS OF ABERFELDY.
TUNE-The Birks of Abergeldy.
The beautiful falls of Moness, at Aberfeldy, excited the poet to verse; but on this occasion it came in a lyric form, for he remembered a simple old ditty, called the Birks of Abergeldy, referring to a place in Aberdeenshire, and struck by the nearly identical name of this spot, his thoughts fell into harmony with the tune possessing his mind.
BONNY lassie, will ye go,
To the birks of Aberfeldy ?
Now simmer blinks on flowery braes,
And o'er the crystal streamlet plays;
The little birdies blithely sing,
While o'er their heads the hazels hing, hang
Or lightly flit on wanton wing
In the birks of Aberfeldy.