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FOR MR. SUTHERLAND'S BENEFIT NIGHT,
WHAT needs this din about the town o' Lon'on,
A fool and knave are plants of every soil;
Is there no daring bard will rise, and tell
A drama worthy o' the name o' Bruce ;
How here, even here, he first unsheath'd the sword, 'Gainst mighty England and her guilty lord;
And after mony a bloody, deathless doing,
To draw the lovely, hapless Scottish Queen!
One Douglas lives in Home's immortal page,
As ye hae generous done, if a' the land
Would take the muses' servants by the hand;
And where ye justly can commend, commend
And aiblins when they winna stand the test,
Wink hard and say the folks hae done their best !
Ye'll soon hae poets o' the Scottish nation,
For us and for our stage should ony spier,
"Whase aught thae chiels maks a' this bustle here ?"
We're your ain bairns, e'en guide us as ye like,
To task the muse is dangerous, and this prologue was a task: Burns produced some vigorous lines, but on the whole it is not equal to many other of even his hurried compositions. The themes which he points out for the tragic muse are noble ones :-but the heroic Wallace and the beauteous Mary would require sentiment and pathos such as are rare in the modern drama. James Grahame, the author of the Sabbath, and Thomas Doubleday, of Newcastle, have composed dramas on the subject of Queen Mary, and both have produced scenes which cannot be perused without emotion. Scott, too, has thrown the charms of his genius around a life already sufficiently romantic. The words which Grahame ascribes to Mary when she looks from England towards her native land, are touching :
MARY.-O England! England! grave of murdered princes!
MARY.-NO! 'tis a mountain of sweet Annerdale.
ADELAIDE.-Ah, no! 'tis but a cloud; you know our distance.
My dear, my native land: I love that cloud,
Of happiness, and yet it filled our eyes
With tears: we heard it in the vale of Morven :
'Twas something....'Twas about the voice of Cona.
ADELAIDE. The maiden with the distaff by the stream
'Twas she that sung it.
I do remember-and after she had sung it
She tried to tell it o'er in broken Scottish.
MARY.-Let me hear it.
ADELAIDE.-I feel my heart so full that but one note,
A single note, sung even by myself
Would quite untune my voice.
MARY.-The weary rook hies home-my home's a prison,
All things are free but me. Why did I leave
Lochleven's beauteous isle? There I could range
Along the shore, or, seated on the bank,
Hope still for better days."
The muse of Schiller, too, threw a halo round her name in a foreign land. Mary's woes still await some future Shakspeare, or pathetic Otway.
TO MRS. DUNLOP.
THIS day, Time winds th' exhausted chain,
The absent lover, minor heir,
In vain assail him with their prayer;
And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray)
-That grandchild's cap will do to-morrowAnd join with me a moralizing,
This day's propitious to be wise in.