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For thou art vulnerable, wild-eyed boy,
plough To gauge
Oh! for shame return ! On a bleak rock, midway the Aonian mount, There stands a lone and melancholy tree, Whose aged branches to the midnight blast Make solemn music: pluck its darkest bough, Ere yet the unwholesome night-dew be exhaled, And weeping wreathe it round thy Poet's tomb. Then in the outskirts, where pollutions grow, Pick the rank henbane and the dusky flowers Of nightshade, or its red and tempting fruit, These with stopped nostril and glove-guarded hand Knit in nice intertexture, so to twine, The illustrious brow of Scotch Nobility.
1796. * Pind. Olymp. ii. 1, 150.
† Verbatim from Burns's dedication of his Poem to the Nobility and Gentry of the Caledonian Hunt.
In the June of 1797, some long-expected Friends paid a visit to the author's cottage; and on the morning of their arrival, he met with an accident, which disabled him from walking during the whole time of their stay. One evening when they had left him for a few hours, he composed the following lines in the garden-bower.
WELL, they are gone, and here must I remain, This lime-tree bower my prison ! I have lost Beauties and feelings, such as would have been Most sweet to my remembrance even when age Had dimmed mine eyes to blindness! They,
meanwhile, Friends, whom I never more may meet again, On springy heath, along the hill-top edge, Wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance, To that still roaring dell, of which I told ; The roaring dell, o'erwooded, narrow, deep, And only speckled by the mid-day sun; Where its slim trunk the ash from rock to rock Flings arching like a bridge ;—that branchless
ash, Unsunned and damp, whose few poor yellow
leaves Ne'er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still,
Fanned by the water-fall! and there
friends Behold the dark green file of long lank weeds,* That all at once (a most fantastic sight !) Still nod and drip beneath the dripping edge Of the blue clay-stone.
Now, my friends emerge Beneath the wide wide Heaven and view again The many-steepled tract magnificent Of hilly fields and meadows, and the sea, With some fair bark, perhaps, whose sails light up The slip of smooth clear blue betwixt two Isles Of purple shadow! Yes! they wander on In gladness all; but thou, methinks, most glad, My gentle-hearted Charles! for thou hast pined And hungered after Nature, many a year, In the great City pent, winning thy way With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain And strange calamity! Ah! slowly sink Behind the western ridge, thou glorious sun! Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb, Ye purple heath-flowers! richlier burn, ye clouds! Live in the yellow light, ye distant groves ! And kindle, thou blue ocean So
Friend Struck with deep joy may stand, as I have stood, Silent with swimming sense ; .yea, gazing round
Of long lank weeds.] The asplenium scolopendrium, called in some countries the Adder's Tongue, in others the Hart's Tongue: but Withering gives the Adder's Tongue as the trivial name of the ophioglossum only.
On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem
A delight Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad As I myself were there! Nor in this bower, This little lime-tree bower, have I not marked Much that has soothed me. Pale beneath the
blaze Hung the transparent foliage ; and I watched Some broad and sunny leaf, and loved to see The shadow of the leaf and stem above Dappling its sunshine! And that walnut-tree Was richly tinged, and a deep radiance lay Full on the ancient ivy, which usurps Those fronting elms, and now, with blackest mass Makes their dark branches gleam a lighter hue Through the late twilight: and though now the
bat Wheels silent by, and not a swallow twitters, Yet still the solitary humble bee Sings in the bean-flower! Henceforth I shall
No plot so narrow, be but Nature there,
'Tis well to be bereft of promised good,
* Flew creeking.) Some months after I had written this line, it gave me pleasure to find that Bartram had observed the same circumstance of the Savanna Crane. " When these Birds move their wings in flight, their strokes are slow, moderate and regular; and even when at a considerable distance or high above us, we plainly hear the quill-feathers; their shafts and webs upon one another creek as the joints or working of a vessel in a tempestuous sea.”