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From hill to dale, still more and more astray,
Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps,
Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home
Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul !
What black despair, what horror, fills his heart !
When for the dusky spot which fancy feigned,
His tufted cottage rising through the snow,
He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Far from the track and blessed abode of man;
While round him night resistless closes fast,
And every tempest howling o'er his head
Renders the savage wilderness more wild.
Then throng the busy shapes into his mind
Of covered pits unfathomably deep,
A dire descent! beyond the power of frost;
Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge
Smoothed up with snow; and what is land unknown,
What water of the still unfrozen spring,
In the loose marsh or solitary lake,
Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils.
These check his fearful steps; and down he sinks
Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
Mixed with the tender anguish nature shoots
Through the wrung bosom of the dying man,-
His wife, his children, and his friends unseen.
In vain for him the officious wife prepares
The fire fair blazing and the vestment warm :
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their sire
With tears of artless innocence. Alas!
Nor wife, nor children more shall he behold,
Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerye
The deadly winter seizes, shuts up sense,
And o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,
Lays him along the snows a stiffened corse,
Stretched out and bleaching on the northern blast.

COLLINS.

THE life of William Collins was a sad one; for it did not allow the fulfilment of its earlier promise. He was born A.D. 1721. Whilst yet at college he published his “Oriental Eclogues ;" and his lyrical poetry appeared when he was only twenty-six. But his mind gave way; and after lingering for a considerable time in a state of despondency and incapacity, he died A.D. 1756. His poems are marked by the prodigal exuberance of early genius, and also by som what of that obscurity and crudeness which belong to immaturity. He had a soaring imagination, and a fine power of harmony, as well as a high degree of subtlety and refinement; and his works, few as they are, constitute an original contribution to English poetry.

ODE TO EVENING.

If aught of oaten stop or pastoral song
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,

Like thy own brawling springs,

Thy springs, and dying gales ;
O nymph reserved, while now the bright-hair'd sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,

With brede ethereal wove,

O’erhang his wavy bed :
Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-eyed bat,
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,

Or where the beetle winds

His small but sullen horn,
As oft he rises ’midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum;

Now teach me, maid composed,

To breathe some soften'd strain,
Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale,
May not unseemly with its stillness suit,

As, musing slow, I hail

Thy genial, loved return !
For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp

The fragrant Hours, and Ælves

Who slept in buds the day,
And many a Nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge,
And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still,

The pensive pleasures sweet,
Prepare thy shadowy car.

Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene,
Or find some ruin ’midst its dreary dells,

Whose walls more awful nod
By thy religious gleams.

Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut

That from the mountain's side

Views wilds and swelling floods,
And hamlets brown and dim-discover'd spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all

Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.

While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont, And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!

While Summer loves to sport

Beneath thy lingering light :
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,

Affrights thy shrinking train,

And rudely rends thy robes :
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,

Thy gentlest influence own,
And love thy favourite name!

ODE WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1746.

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest ?
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallowed mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung ;
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there,

DIRGE IN CYMBELINE.

Sung by Guiderius and Arviragus over Fidele, supposed to be dead.

To fair Fidele’s grassy tomb

Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
Each opening sweet of earliest bloom,

And rifle all the breathing spring.
No wailing ghost shall dare appear

To vex with shrieks this quiet grove;
But shepherd lads assemble here,

And melting virgins own their love.
No withered witch shall here be seen,

No goblins lead their nightly crew;
The female fays shall haunt the green,

And dress thy grave with pearly dew.
The redbreast oft at evening hours

Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss and gathered flowers

To deck the ground where thou art laid.
When howling winds, and beating rain,

In tempests shake thy sylvan cell,
Or midst the chase on every plain,

The tender thought on thee shall dwell.
Each lonely scene shall thee restore,

For thee the tear be duly shed ;
Beloved till life can charm no more,

And mourned till pity's self be dead.

BURNS.

ROBERT BURNS, the son of a Scotch farmer, was born near the town of Ayr A.D. 1758. His father, an excellent man, took care that he should have that solid though unpretending education which was, even at that early time, open to the Scotch peasant. In his sixteenth year he had read some of the best English and Scotch poets; but it is probable that his genius received at least equal nourishment from the songs and legends of his native plains—such as his mother recited at her spinning-wheel. He worked as a common labourer; and addressed his earliest verses to a fellow-reaper in the same harvest-field—that “ Highland Mary” whose name is indelibly associated with his own. Her early death was a calamity which Lected all his subsequent years. Burns visited Edinburgh A.D. 1786, where he was received with an enthusiasm occasioned by his rare conversational powers, as well as by the admiration which his poetry had excited. That he should have so soon left a metropolis of which he was the idol, is a proof of his independence and superiority to vanity. But he was assailable elsewhere. Unhappily the convivial habits of Edinburgh had already taught him to indulge in dissipation. His tendencies to intemperance were increased by his appointment to the office of gauger, which also harmonised but ill with his occupations as a farmer;—for he had taken a farm on the banks of the Nith. He subsequently repaired to Dumfries, his farm having failed, where, unhappily, his temptations to excess were but increased. In 1796 his constitution gave way, and he died, like Byron, in his thirty-eighth year.

In poetic genius Burns has been surpassed by few in any age. Imagination, passion, intellect, pathos, sweetness,-all these gifts are in him united with a penetrating wit, a shrewd sense, and a manly strength of thought and feeling. He possessed the true lyrical inspiration; and his wide sympathies, human and poetic, gave it a true direction. His lack of classical learning probably directed his genius yet more to nature, from the touch of which it ever gained vigour; and his poetry contributed not less than that of Cowper to break down that sordid and sapless literature, based but on convention, which had sufficed to satisfy an age so cold and barren as the greater part of the eighteenth century. Burns is the most national of poets; every trait of his native land is to be found in his verse. To what height he would have reached had he added self-restraint to those moral qualities of courage, independence, and kindliness, which were eminently his, it is hard to say. His writings prove that his moral weakness in this respect received no compensating support from any reverence entertained by him for the Scotch kirk. To such weakness the public opinion of the time was but too indulgent.

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TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,

On turning one down with the plough.
Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure

Thy slender stem;
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,

Thou bonnie gem.
Alas ! it's no thy neebor sweet,
The bonnie Lark, companion meet!
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet !

Wi’ spreckled breast,
When upward-springing, blithe, to greet

The purpling east.

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