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The notes, in prelude, ROSLIN! to a blank
Though Christian rites be wanting! From what bank Came those live herbs? by what hand were they sown Where dew falls not, where rain-drops seem unknown? Yet in the Temple they a friendly niche
Share with their sculptured fellows, that, green-grown, Copy their beauty more and more, and preach, Though mute, of all things blending into one.
[As recorded in my sister's Journal, I had first seen the Trosachs in her and Coleridge's company. The sentiment that runs through this Sonnet was natural to the season in which I again saw this beautiful spot; but this and some other sonnets that follow were coloured by the remembrance of my recent visit to Sir Walter Scott, and the melancholy errand on which he was going.]
THERE's not a nook within this solemn Pass,
Taught by his summer spent, his autumn gone,
Rocks, rivers, and smooth lakes more clear than glass
(October's workmanship to rival May)
THE pibroch's note, discountenanced or mute;
Of quaint apparel for a half-spoilt boy;
Then may we ask, though pleased that thought should range
Among the conquests of civility,
Survives imagination-to the change
Superior? Help to virtue does she give?
If not, O Mortals, better cease to live!
COMPOSED IN THE GLEN OF LOCH ETIVE.
["THAT make the Patriot spirit." It was mortifying to have frequent occasions to observe the bitter hatred of the lower orders of the Highlanders to their superiors; love of country seemed to have passed into its opposite. Emigration was the only relief looked to with hope.]
"THIS Land of Rainbows spanning glens whose walls,
COMPOSED AT DUNOLLIE CASTLE IN THE BAY OF OBAN.
["THE last I saw was on the wing," off the promontory of Fairhead, county of Antrim. I mention this because, though my tour in Ireland with Mr. Marshall and his son was made many years ago, this allusion to the eagle is the only image supplied by it to the poetry I have since written. We travelled through that country in October, and to the shortness of the days and the speed with which we travelled (in a carriage and four) may be ascribed this want of notices, in my verse, of a country so interesting. The deficiency I am somewhat ashamed of, and it is the more remarkable as contrasted with my Scotch and Continental tours, of which are to be found in these volumes so many memorials.]
DISHONOURED Rock and Ruin! that, by law
IN THE SOUND OF MULL
[TOURING late in the season in Scotland is an uncertain speculation. We were detained a week by rain at Bunaw on Loch Etive in a vain hope that the weather would clear up and allow me to show my daughter the beauties of Glencoe. Two days we were at the isle of Mull, on a visit to Major Campbell; but it rained incessantly, and we were obliged to give up our intention of going to Staffa. The rain pursued us to Tyndrum, where the Eleventh Sonnet was composed in a storm.]
TRADITION, be thou mute! Oblivion, throw
On rock and ruin darkening as we go,-
Could gentleness be scorned by those fierce Men,
Yon towering Peaks, Shepherds of Etive Glen*?'
* In Gaelic, Buachaill Bite.