Obrázky na stránke

In their own arts outdone, their fame eclipsed,
As by the very presence of the Fiend
Who dictates and inspires illusive feats,
For knavish purposes ! The city, too,
(With shame I speak it) to her guilty bowers
Allured him, sunk so low in self-respect
As there to linger, there to eat his bread,
Hired minstrel of voluptuous blandishment;
Charming the air with skill of hand or voice,
Listen who would, be wrought upon who might,
Sincerely wretched hearts, or falsely gay.
-Such the too frequent tenour of his boast
In ears that relished the report ;-but all
Was from his Parents happily concealed ;
Who saw enough for blame and pitying love.
They also were permitted to receive
His last, repentant breath ; and closed his eyes,
No more to open on that irksome world
Where he had long existed in the state
Of a young fowl beneath one mother hatched,
Though from another sprung, different in kind :
Where he had lived, and could not cease to live,
Distracted in propensity; content
With neither element of good or ill;
And yet in both rejoicing; man unblest;
Of contradictions infinite the slave,
Till his deliverance, when Mercy made him
One with himself, and one with them that sleep.”

“ 'Tis strange," observed the Solitary, “strange It seems, and scarcely less than pitiful, , That in a land where charity provides For all that can no longer feed themselves, A man like this should choose to bring his shane To the parental door; and with his sighs Infect the air which he had freely breathed In happy infancy. He could not pine, Through lack of converse; no——he must have found Abundant exercise for thought and speech, In his dividual being, self-reviewed, Self-catechised, self-punished.—Some there are Who, drawing near their final home, and much And daily longing that the same were reached, Would rather shun than seek the fellowship Of kindred mould.—Such haply here are laid ?”

“ Yes," said the Priest, “ the Genius of our hillsWho seems, by these stupendous barriers cast Round his domain, desirous not alone To keep his own, but also to exclude All other progeny-doth sometimes lure, Even by this studied depth of privacy, The unhappy alien hoping to obtain Concealment, or seduced by wish to find, In place from outward molestation free, Helps to internal ease. Of

such Could I discourse; but as their stay was brief, So their departure only left behind


Fancies, and loose conjectures. Other trace
Survives, for worthy mention, of a pair
Who, from the pressure of their several fates,
Meeting as strangers, in a petty town
Whose blue roofs ornament a distant reach
Of this far-winding vale, remained as friends
True to their choice; and gave their bones in trust
To this loved cemetery, here to lodge
With unescutcheoned privacy interred
Far from the family vault.— A Chieftain one
By right of birth ; within whose spotless breast
The fire of ancient Caledonia burned :
He, with the foremost whose impatience hailed
The Stuart, landing to resume, by force
Of arms, the crown which bigotry had lost,
Aroused his clan; and, fighting at their head,
With his brave sword endeavoured to prevent
Culloden's fatal overthrow. Escaped
From that disastrous rout, to foreign shores
He fled; and when the lenient hand of time
Those troubles had appeased, he sought and gained,
For his obscured condition, an obscure
Retreat, within this nook of English ground.

The other, born in Britain's southern tract, Had fixed his milder loyalty, and placed His gentler sentiments of love and hate, There, where they placed them who in conscience prized The new succession, as a line of kings

Whose oath had virtue to protect the land
Against the dire assaults of papacy
And arbitrary rule. But launch thy bark
On the distempered flood of public life,
And cause for most rare triumph will be thine
If, spite of keenest eye and steadiest hand,
The stream, that bears thee forward, prove not, soon
Or late, a perilous master. He—who oft,
Beneath the battlements and stately trees
That round his mansion cast a sober gloom,
Had inoralised on this, and other truths
Of kindred import, pleased and satisfied-
Was forced to vent his wisdom with a sigh
Heaved from the heart in fortune's bitterness,
When he had crushed a plentiful estate
By ruinous contest, to obtain a seat
In Britain's senate. Fruitless was the attempt :
And while the uproar of that desperate strife
Continued yet to vibrate on his ear,
The vanquished Whig, under a borrowed name,
(For the mere sound and echo of his own
Haunted him with sensations of disgust
That he was glad to lose) slunk from the world
To the deep shade of those untravelled Wilds;
In which the Scottish Laird had long possessed
An undisturbed abode. Here, then, they met,
Two doughty champions ; flaming Jacobite
And sullen Hanoverian! You might think
That losses and vexations, less severe

Than those which they had severally sustained,
Would have inclined each to abate his zeal
For his ungrateful cause ; no,—I have heard
My reverend Father tell that, ’mid the calm
Of that small town encountering thus, they filled,
Daily, its bowling-green with harmless strife;
Plagued with uncharitable thoughts the church ;
And vexed the market-place. But in the breasts
Of these opponents gradually was wrought,
With little change of general sentiment,
Such leaning towards each other, that their days
By choice were spent in constant fellowship;
And if, at times, they fretted with the yoke,
Those very bickerings made them love it more.

A favourite boundary to their lengthened walks This Church-yard was. And, whether they had come Treading their path in sympathy and linked In social converse, or by some short space Discreetly parted to preserve the peace, One spirit seldom failed to extend its sway Over both minds, when they awhile had marked The visible quiet of this holy ground, And breathed its soothing air ;-the spirit of hope And saintly magnanimity; that-spurning The field of selfish difference and dispute, And every care which transitory things, Earth and the kingdoms of the earth, create-Doth, by a rapture of forgetfulness,

« PredošláPokračovať »