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But my spirit will travel wherever she flee,
And behold her in pomp o'er the rim of the sea-----
Her voyage pursue till her anchor be cast
In some cliff-girdled haven of beauty at last.
What lonely magnificence stretches around!
Each sight how sublime! and how awful each sound
All hush'd and serene, as a region of dreams,
The mountains repose 'mid the roar of the streams,-
Their glens of black umbrage by cataracts riven,
But calm their blue tops in the beauty of Heaven.
Here the glory of nature hath nothing to fear-
-Aye! Time the destroyer in power hath been here;
And the forest that hung on yon mountain so high,
Like a black thunder cloud on the arch of the sky,
Hath gone, like that cloud, when the tempest came by.
Deep sunk in the black moor, all worn and decay'd,
Where the floods have been raging, the limbs are display'd
Of the Pine-tree and Oak sleeping vast in the gloom,-
The kings of the forest disturb'd in their tomb.
E'en now, in the pomp of their prime, I behold
O'erhanging the desert the forests of old!
So gorgeous their verdure, so solemn their shade,
Like the heavens above them they never may fade.
The sunlight is on them-in silence they sleep-
A glimmering glow, like the breast of the deep,
When the billows scarce heave in the calmness of morn.
-Down the pass of Glen-Etive the tempest is borne,-
And the hill-side is swinging, and roars with a sound
In the heart of the forest embosom'd profound.
Till all in a moment the tumult is o'er,
And the mountain of thunder is still as the shore,
When the sea is at ebb; not a leaf nor a breath
To disturb the wild solitude, stedfast as death.
From his eyrie the eagle hath soar'd with a scream,
And I wake on the edge of the cliff from my dream;
-Where now is the light of thy far-beaming brow?
Fleet son of the wilderness! where art thou now?
-Again o'er yon crag thou return'st to my sight,
Like the horns of the moon from a cloud of the night!
Serene on thy travel-as soul in a dream—
Thou needest no bridge o'er the rush of the stream,
With thy presence the pine-grove is fill'd as with light,
And the caves, as thou passest, one moment are bright.
Through the arch of the rainbow that lies on the rock
'Mid the mist stealing up from the cataract's shock,
Thou fling'st thy bold beauty, exulting and free,
O'er a pit of grim blackness, that roars like the sea.
-His voyage is o'er !-As if struck by a spell
He motionless stands in the hush of the dell,
There softly and slowly sinks down on his breast,
In the midst of his pastime enamour'd of rest.
A stream in a clear pool that endeth its race-
A dancing ray chain'd to one sunshiny place—
A cloud by the winds to calm solitude driven-
A hurricane dead in the silence of heaven!
Fit couch of repose for a pilgrim like thee!
Magnificent prison enclosing the free!
With rock-wall encircled-with precipice crown'd-
Which, awoke by the sun, thou can'st clear at a bound.
'Mid the fern and the heather kind Nature doth keep
One bright spot of green for her favourite's sleep;
And close to that covert, as clear as the skies
When their blue depths are cloudless, a little lake lies,
Where the creature at rest can his image behold
Looking up through the radiance, as bright and as bold!
How lonesome! how wild! yet the wildness is rife
With the stir of enjoyment-the spirit of life.
The glad fish leaps up in the heart of the lake,
Whose depths, at the sullen plunge, sullenly quake!
Elate on the fern-branch the grasshopper sings,
And away in the midst of his roundelay springs :
'Mid the flowers of the heath, not more bright than himself,
The wild-bee is busy, a musical elf—
Then starts from his labour, unwearied and gay,
And circling the antlers, booms far far away.
While high up the mountains, in silence remote,
The cuckoo unseen is repeating his note,
And mellowing echo, on watch in the skies,
Like a voice from some loftier climate replies.
With wide-branching antlers a guard to his breast,
There lies the wild Creature, even stately in rest!
'Mid the grandeur of nature, compos'd and serene,
And proud in his heart of the mountainous scene,
He lifts his calm eye to the eagle and raven,
At noon sinking down on smooth wings to their haven,
As if in his soul the bold Animal smil'd
To his friends of the sky, the joint-heirs of the wild.
Yes! fierce looks thy nature, even hush'd in repose
In the depth of thy desert regardless of foes.
Thy bold antlers call on the hunter afar
With a haughty defiance to come to the war!
No outrage is war to a creature like thee!
The bugle-horn fills thy wild spirit with glee,
As thou bearest thy neck on the wings of the wind,
And the laggardly gaze-hound is toiling behind.
In the beams of thy forehead that glitter with death,---
In feet that draw power from the touch of the heath,-
In the wide ranging torrent that lends thee its roar,-
In the cliff that once trod must be trodden no more,-
Thy trust-mid the dangers that threaten thy reign!
-But what if the stag on the mountain be slain?
On the brink of the rock-lo! he standeth at bay,
Like a victor that falls at the close of the day-
While hunter and hound in their terror retreat
From the death that is spurn'd from his furious feet;
And his last cry of anger comes back from the skies,
As nature's fierce son in the wilderness dies.
High life of a hunter! he meets on the hill
The new waken'd daylight, so bright and so still;
And feels, as the clouds of the morning unroll,
The silence, the splendour, ennoble his soul.
'Tis his o'er the mountains to stalk like a ghost,
Enshrouded with mist, in which nature is lost,
Till he lifts up his eyes, and flood, valley, and height,
In one moment all swim in an ocean of light:
While the sun, like a glorious banner unfurl'd,
Seems to wave o'er a new, more magnificent world.
"Tis his-by the mouth of some cavern his seat-
The lightening of heaven to hold at his feet,
While the thunder below him, that growls from the cloud,
To him comes on echo more awfully loud.
When the clear depth of noon-tide, with glittering motion,
O'erflows the lone glens-an aerial ocean-
When the earth and the heavens, in union profound,
Lie blended in beauty that knows not a sound-
As his eyes in the sunshiny solitude close
Neath a rock of the desert in dreaming repose,
He sees, in his slumbers, such visions of old
As his wild Gaelic songs to his infancy told;
O'er the mountains a thousand plum'd hunters are borne,
And he starts from his dream at the blast of the horn.
Yes! child of the desert! fit quarry wert thou
For the hunter that came with a crown on his brow,-
By princes attended with arrow and spear,
In their white-tented camp, for the warfare of deer,
In splendour the tents on the green summit stood,
And brightly they shone from the glade in the wood,
And, silently built by a magical spell,
The pyramid rose in the depth of the dell.
All mute was the palace of Lochy that day,
When the king and his nobles-a gallant array-
To Gleno or Glen-Etive came forth in their pride,
And a hundred fierce stags in their solitude died.
Not lonely and single they passed o'er the height-
But thousands swept by in their hurricane-flight;
And bow'd to the dust in their trampling tread
Was the plumage on many a warrior's head.
"Fall down on your faces!—the herd is at hand!"
-And onwards they came like the sea o'er the sand;
Like the snow from the mountain when loosen'd by rain,
And rolling along with a crash to the plain;
Like a thunder-split oak-tree, that falls in one shock
With his hundred wide arms from the top of the rock;
Like the voice of the sky, when the black cloud is near,
So sudden, so loud, came the tempest of Deer.
Wild mirth of the desert! fit pastime for kings!
Which still the rude bard in his solitude sings.
Oh reign of magnificence! vanish'd for ever!
Like music dried up in the bed of a river,
Whose course hath been chang'd! yet my soul can survey
The clear cloudless morn of that glorious day.
Yes! the wide silent forest is loud as of yore,
And the far-ebbed grandeur rolls back to the shore.
I wake from my trance!-lo! the Sun is declining !
And the Black-mount afar in his lustre is shining.
One soft golden gleam ere the twilight prevail !
Then down let me sink to the cot in the dale,
Where sings the fair maid to the viol so sweet,
Or the floor is alive to her white twinkling feet.
Down, down like a bird to the depth of the dell !
-Vanish'd Creature! I bid thy far image farewell!
THE INCONVENIENCES RESULTING FROM
BY CHARLES LAMB.
"To the Editor of the Reflector."
SIR, I AM one of those unhappy persons whose misfortunes, it seems, do not entitle them to the benefit of pure pity. All that is bestowed upon me of that kindest alleviator of human miseries, comes dashed with a
double portion of contempt. My griefs have nothing in them that is felt as sacred by the bystanders. Yet is my affliction in truth of the deepest grain. The heaviest task that was ever given to mortal patience to sustain. Time, that wears out all other sorrows, can never modify or soften mine. Here they must continue to gnaw, as long
as that fatal mark
Why was I ever born? Why was innocence in my person suffered to be branded with a stain which was appointed only for the blackest guilt? What bad I done, or my parents, that a disgrace of mine should involve a whole posterity in infamy? I am almost tempted to believe, that, in some pre-existent state, crimes to which this sublunary life of mine hath been as much a stranger as the babe that is newly born into it, have drawn down upon me this vengeance, so disproportionate to my actions on this globe.
My brain sickens, and my bosom labours to be delivered of the weight that presses upon it, yet my conscious pen shrinks from the avowal. But out it must
O, Mr Reflector! guess at the wretch's misery who now writes this to you, when, with tears and burning blushes, he is obliged to confess, that he has been-HANGED
Methinks I hear an involuntary exclamation burst from you, as your imagination presents to you fearful images of your correspondent unknown, hanged!
Fear not, Mr Editor. No disembodied spirit has the honour of addressing you. I am flesh and blood, an unfortunate system of bones, muscles, sinews, arteries, like yourself.
Then I presume you mean to be pleasant. That expression of yours, Mr Correspondent, must he taken somehow in a metaphorical sense.
In the plainest sense, without trope or figure. Yes, Mr. Editor, this neck of mine has felt the fatal noose, these hands have tremblingly held up the corroborative prayer-book, these lips have sucked the moisture of the last consolatory orange,-this tongue has chaunted the doleful cantata which no performer was ever called upon to repeat,—this face has had the veiling night-cap drawn over it.
But for no crime of mine. Far be it from me to arraign the justice of my country, which, though tardy, did at length recognise my innocence. It is not for me to reflect upon the judge or jury, now that eleven years have elapsed since the erroneous sentence was pronounced. Men will always be fallible, and perhaps circumstances did appear at the time a little strong
Suffice it to say, that after hanging four minutes, (as the spectators were pleased to compute it, a man that is being strangled, I know from experience, has altogether a different measure of time from his friends who are breathing leisurely about him, I suppose the minutes lengthen as time approaches eternity, in the same manner as the miles get longer as you travel northward), after hanging four minutes, according to the best calculation of the bystanders, a reprive came, and I was cut
Really, I am ashamed of deforming your pages with these technical phrases, if I knew how to express my meaning shorter.