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religion under the serious and affecting aspects it must so frequently take. *--I. F.]

The poems of this series were collected under their common title in the edition of 1827.-ED.

I

SUGGESTED BY A BEAUTIFUL RUIN UPON ONE OF THE ISLANDS

1

OF LOCH LOMOND, A PLACE CHOSEN FOR THE RETREAT
OF A SOLITARY INDIVIDUAL,1 FROM WHOM THIS HABITA-
TION ACQUIRED THE NAME OF

THE BROWNIE'S CELL

Composed 1814.-Published 1820

I

To barren heath, bleak moor, and quaking fen,2
Or depth of3 labyrinthine glen ;

Or into trackless forest set

With trees, whose lofty umbrage met;
World-wearied Men withdrew of yore;

(Penance their trust, and prayer their store ;)
And in the wilderness were bound

To such apartments as they found;

Or with a new ambition raised;
That God might suitably be praised.

1 1820.

individual, a sketch of whose character is given
in the Poem,

2 1837.

To barren heath, and quaking fen,

To

3 1820.

{swampyheath, and quaking fen,

MS.

1820.

MS.

Dark moor and

MS.

* Compare Wordsworth's Letter to a Friend of Burns (passim).—ED.

5

ΙΟ

II

High lodged the Warrior,1 like a bird of prey;
Or where broad waters round him lay:
But this wild Ruin is no ghost

Of his devices-buried, lost!
Within this little lonely isle

There stood a consecrated Pile;

Where tapers burned, and mass was sung,
For them whose timid Spirits clung

To mortal succour, though the tomb
Had fixed, for ever fixed, their doom!

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20

III

Upon 2 those servants of another world

3

When madding Power 3 her bolts had hurled,
Their habitation shook ;—it fell,
And perished, save one narrow cell;
Whither, at length, a Wretch retired
Who neither grovelled nor aspired:
He, struggling in the net of pride,
The future scorned, the past defied;
Still tempering, from the unguilty forge
Of vain conceit, an iron scourge !

IV

Proud Remnant was he of a fearless Race,4
Who stood and flourished face to face

1 Italics were first used in 1827.

2 1820.

When on

3 1820.

Distempered Power.

4 1820.

Last of an else extinguished Highland clan,
Last glimmering spark, was this rude man ;
Sole remnant of a haughty race,

VOL. VI

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C

With their perennial hills ;—but Crime,
Hastening the stern decrees of Time,
Brought low a Power, which from its home
Burst, when repose grew wearisome;
And, taking impulse from the sword,
And, mocking its own plighted word,
Had found, in ravage widely dealt,
Its warfare's bourn, its travel's belt !1

V

All, all were dispossessed, save him whose smile
Shot lightning through this lonely Isle !
No right had he but what he made
To this small 2 spot, his leafy shade ;
But the ground lay within that ring
To which he only dared to cling;
Renouncing here,3 as worse than dead,
The craven few who bowed the head
Beneath the change; who heard a claim
How loud! yet lived in peace with shame.

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To spurn confinement and repose,

Brought low a Power, which, when it chose

Made devastation widely dealt,

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VI

From year to year 1 this shaggy Mortal went
(So seemed it) down a strange descent:
Till they, who saw his outward frame,
Fixed on him an unhallowed name;
Him, free from all malicious taint,
And guiding, like the Patmos Saint,
A pen unwearied- -to indite,

In his lone Isle,2 the dreams of night;
Impassioned dreams, that strove to span
The faded glories of his Clan !

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60

VII

Suns that through blood their western harbour sought, And stars that in their courses fought;

Towers rent, winds combating with woods,

Lands deluged by unbridled floods;

And beast and bird that from the spell
Of sleep took import terrible ;-
These types mysterious (if the show
Of battle and the routed foe

Had failed) would furnish an array
Of matter for the dawning day!

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VIII

How disappeared He?—ask the newt and toad,
Inheritors of his abode;

The otter crouching undisturbed,

In her dank cleft ;-but be thou curbed,

O froward Fancy! 'mid a scene

Of aspect winning and serene;

For those offensive creatures shun

The inquisition of the sun!

And in this region flowers delight,
And all is lovely to the sight.

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IX

Spring finds not here a melancholy breast,
When she applies her annual test
To dead and living; when her breath
Quickens, as now, the withered heath ;—
Nor flaunting1 Summer-when he throws
His soul into the briar-rose;
Or calls the lily from her sleep
Prolonged beneath the bordering deep;
Nor Autumn, when the viewless wren
Is warbling near the BROWNIE'S Den.

X

*

Wild Relique! beauteous as the chosen spot
In Nysa's isle, the embellished grot;
Whither, by care of Libyan Jove,
(High Servant of paternal Love)
Young Bacchus was conveyed—to lie

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95

1

1820.

Nor wanton

MS.

* Diodorus mentions this tradition (see his History, book iii. chap. 4), that the infant Bacchus was carried by Ammon, the Libyan Jupiter, to a cave on an island near Mount Nysa, from fear of Rhea, and that he was handed over to the care and the tuition of Nysa, the daughter of Aristæus. From this mountain the young Bacchus was supposed to have derived his name, Dionysus.-ED.

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