Page images
PDF
EPUB

When the tapers burn clear, and the goblet shines bright,
In the hall of his chief on a festival night,
I have smiled at the glance of his rapturous eye,
While the brim of the goblet laugh'd back in reply ;

Then say not the Bard has turned old.

When he sings of the valorous deeds that were done,
By his Clan or his Chief in the days that are gone,
His strains then are various - now rapid---now slow,
As he mourns for the dead or exults o'er the foe ;

Then say not the Bard has turned old.

When summer, in gaudy profusion is dress’d,
And the dew-drop hangs clear on the violet's breast,
I list with delight to his rapturous strain,
While the borrowing echo returns it again ;

Then say not the Bard has turned old.

But not summer's profusion alone can inspire
His soul in the song, or his hand on the lyre,
But rapid his numbers, and wilder they flow,
When the wintry winds rave o'er his mountains of snow;

Then say not the Bard has turned old.

The poem is in general beautifully descriptive of that native fire and those tender sensibilities which eminently belong to the poet's character, and which are apt to be awakened by every singular and striking occurrence. What appears, however, to have operated most upon the mind of our author, and suggested the hint for the present production is that light airiness of disposition which is so peculiar to some poets, and which exhibits all the energies of youthful imagination amid the growing infirmities of declining years.

I have seen him elate when the black clouds were riven,
Terrific and wild by the thunder of heaven,
And smile at the billows that angrily rave,
Incessant and deep o'er the mariner’s grave ;

Then say not the Bard has turned old.

When the eye that expresses the warmth of his heart,
Shall fail the benevolent wish to impart, –
When his blood shall be cold as the wint'ry wave,
And silent his harp as the gloom of the grave,
Then

say

that the Bard has turned old.

LXXIII.

SHE'S FAIR AND FAUSE.

She's fair and fause that causes my smart,

I lo'ed her meikle and lang ;

A superficial or fastidious critic may perhaps smile at the author for affirming that “The Bard has not turned old,” while at the same time he admits that his head is covered with the gray hairs of age. This seeming inconsistency, however, is explained sufficiently, and we think most happily, in the beginning of the second stanza, by the introduction of the simile :

Though the casket that holds the rich jewel we prize,
Attract not the gaze of inquisitive eyes,
Yet the gem that's within may be lovely and bright,
As the smiles of the morn or the stars of the night ;

Then say not the Bard has turned old.

She's broken her vow, she's broken my heart,

And I may e'en gae hang.
A coof cam in wi’ routh o' gear,
And I hae tint my dearest dear,
But woman is only warld's gear,

Sae let the bonnie lassie gang.

Whae'er ye be that woman love,

To this be never blind,
Nae ferlie 'tis tho' fickle she prove,

A woman has't by kind.
O woman, lovely woman, fair !
And angel form’s faun to thy share,
'Twad been o'er meikle to gi'en thee mair-

I mean an angel mind.

LXXIV.

I HAVE KNOWN WHAT IT WAS TO BE HAPPY

AND GAY.

AIR.-"Soldier's dream."

I have known what it was to be happy and gay,

And have cherish'd both virtue and friendship sincere, I have dream'd upon hope till my fancy gave way,

Till the dream and the dreamer were lost in despair.

I have tasted of joys unassisted by art,

And lavish'd my all with a prodigal waste ; One passion alone held the sway o'er my heart,

But the joy that it gave was too poignant to last.

I ne'er lov'd but one, and she seem'd to unite

All we dream of above, or adore upon earth ; I gaz’d on her charms with distracting delight,

And a bosom o'ercharg'd with a sense of her worth ! Let none love like me, if they value their peace,

For torture lies hid 'neath the fondness of bliss, Nor barter for ever the comforts of ease,

For the charms of a smile, or the joys of a kiss.

LXXV.

MARY, THE MAID OF MONTROSE.

AIR.-"O tell me the way for to woo."

O sweet is the calm dewy evening
When nature is wooing repair,
And sweet are the low notes o' echo

When dying away on the ear :
And lovely, thrice lovely, when o'er the blue ocean,
The broad moon arising in majesty glows ;
And I breathing over ilk tender emotion,
Wi' my lovely Mary, the maid o' Montrose.

The fopling sae fine and sae airy,
Sae fondly in love wi' himsel',
Is proud wi' ilk new female conquest

To shine at the walk and the ball.
But gie me, oh gie me, the dear calm o' nature,
By some bush or brae-side, where naebody goes,
And ae bonny lassie to lean on my bosom,
My ain lovely Mary, the maid o' Montrose.

O what is the wale o' the warld,
Gin nane o' its pleasures we prove?
And where can we prove o' its pleasures

Gin no wi' the lassie we love?
O sweet are the smiles and the dimples o’ beauty,
Where lurking the loves and the graces repose,
And sweet is the dark o' the e'e saftly rolling,
But sweeter is Mary, the maid o' Montrose.

O Mary, 'tis no for thy beauty,
Though few are sae bonny as thee;
O Mary, 'tis no for thy person,

Though handsome as woman can be:
Thy fair flowing form is the fair vernal flow'ret,
The bloom o’thy cheek is the bloom o' the rose,
But the charms o' her mind are the ties sae endearing,
That bind me to Mary, the maid o' Montrose.

« PreviousContinue »