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ELEGANT EXTRACTS.

PART V.

Odes.

ON THE POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS

OF THE

HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND:

CONSIDERED AS THE SUBJECT OF POETRY.

Inscribed to Mr. John Home. HOME! thou return’st from Thames, whose naiads

long Have seen thee lingering with a fond delay, Mid those soft friends whose hearts, some fu

ture day, Shall melt, perhaps, to hear thy tragic song. Go, not unmindful of that cordial youth *

Whom, long endear'd, thou leavest by Lavant's Together let us wish him lasting truth [side;

And joy untainted, with his destined bride. * A gentleman of the name of Barrow, who introduced

Home to Collins.

VOL. III.

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Go! nor regardless, while these numbers boast

My shortlived bliss, forget my social name; But think, far off, how, on the southern coast,

I met thy friendship with an equal flame! Fresh to that soil thou turn'st, where every vale

Shall prompt the poet, and his song demand : To thee thy copious subjects ne'er shall fail ;

Thou need'st but take thy pencil to thy hand, And paint what all believe who own thy genial

land. There must thou wake perforce thy Doric quill;

'Tis Fancy's land to which thou sett’st thy feet;

Where still, 'tis said, the fairy people meet, Beneath each birken shade, on mead or hill. There each trim lass, that skims the milky store,

To the swart tribes their creamy bowls allots ; By night they sip it round the cottage door,

While airy minstrels warble jocund notes. There every herd, by sad experience, knows

How, wing'd with Fate, their elf-shot ar When the sick ewe her summer food foregoes,

Or, stretch'd on earth, the heart-smit heifers lie. Such airy beings awe the' untutor'd swain: Nor thou, though learn'd, his homelier thoughts

neglect; Let thy sweet Muse the rural faith sustain;

These are the themes of simple sure effect, That add new conquests to her boundless reign, And fill, with double force, her heart-commanding

strain. E'en yet preserved, how often mayst thou hear,

Where to the pole the Boreal mountains run,

Taught by the father, to his listening son, (ear. Strange lays, whose power had charm'da Spenser's

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At every pause, before thy mind possess'd,

Old Runic bards shall seem to rise around,
With uncouth lyres, in many-colour'd vest,

Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd:
Whether thou bidd'st the well taught hind repeat
The choral dirge that mourns some chieftain

brave,
When every shrieking maid her bosom beat,
And strew'd with choicest herbs his scented

grave!
Or whether, sitting in the shepherd's shiel*,

Thou hear'st some sounding tale of war’s alarms;
When at the bugle's call, with fire and steel,
The sturdy clans pour'd forth their brawny
swarms,

[arms. And hostile brothers met, to prove each other's 'Tis thine to sing how, framing hideous spells,

In Sky's lone isle, the gifted wizard-seer,

Lodged in the wintry cave with Fate's fell spear,
Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells:
How they, whose sight such dreary dreams

engross,
With their own visions oft astonish'd droop,

When, o'er the watery strath or quaggy moss,
They see the gliding ghosts' unbodied troop:

Or, if in sports, or on the festive green,
Their destined glancé some fated youth descry,

Who now, perhaps, in lusty vigour seen,
And rosy health, shall soon lamented die.

For them the viewless forms of air obey;
Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair :

They know what spirit brews the stormful day, • A summer bat, built in the high part of the mountains, to lend their flocks in the warm season, when the pasture is fine.

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And artless, oft like moody madness, stare
To see the phantom train their secret work prepare.
To monarchs dear, some hundred miles astray,

Oft have they seen Fate give the fatal blow!

The seer, in Sky, shriek'd as the blood did flow, When headless Charles warm on the scaffold lay! As Boreas threw his young Aurora * forth,

In the first year of the first George's reign, And battles raged in welkin of the North,

They mourn’d in air, fell, fell rebellion slain! And as, of late, they joy'd in Preston's fight,

Saw, at sad Falkirk, all their hopes near crown'd! They raved! divining, through their second sightt, Pale, red Culloden, where these hopes were

drown'd! Illustrious William £! Britain's guardian name!

One William saved us from a tyrant's stroke: He, for a sceptre, gain’d heroic fame, [broke,

But thou, more glorious, Slavery's chain hast To reign a private man, and bow to Freedom's yoke!

These, too, thou'lt sing! for well thy magic Muse

Can to the topmost heaven of grandeur soar;

Or stoop to wail the swain that is no more! Ah, homely swains ! your homeward steps ne'er

lose:

* By young Aurora Collins undoubtedly meant the first appearance of the northern lights, which happened about the year 1715; at least, it is most highly probable, from this pecaliar circumstance, that no ancient writer whatever has taken any notice of them, nor even any one modern, previous to the above period.

1 Second sight is the term that is used for the divination of the Highlanders.

# The late Duke of Cumberland, who defeated the Pretender at the battle of Çulloden.

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