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When will your hapless patrons learn
To watch and ponder to discern
The freshness, the everlasting youth,1
Of admiration sprung from truth;
From beauty infinitely growing
Upon a mind with love o'erflowing—
To sound the depths of every Art
That seeks its wisdom through the heart?

Thus (where the intrusive Pile, ill-graced
With baubles of theatric taste,
O'erlooks the torrent breathing showers
On motley bands of alien flowers
In stiff confusion set or sown,
Till Nature cannot find her own,

Or keep a remnant of the sod
Which Caledonian Heroes trod)

I mused; and, thirsting for redress,
Recoiled into the wilderness.

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'FROM THE DARK CHAMBERS OF DEJECTION FREED"

Composed 1814.-Published 1815

[Composed in Edinburgh, during my Scotch tour with Mrs. Wordsworth and my sister, Miss Hutchinson, in the year 1814. Poor Gillies never rose above that course of extravagance in which he was at that time living, and which soon reduced him to poverty and all its degrading shifts, mendicity being far from the worst. I grieve whenever I think of him, for he was far from being without genius, and had a generous heart, not always to be found in men given up to profusion. He was nephew of Lord Gillies, the Scotch judge, and also of the

1 1837.

the eternal youth,

VOL. VI

1827. D

historian of Greece.

He was cousin to Miss Margaret Gillies, who painted so many portraits with success in our house.—I. F.]

Classed among the "Miscellaneous Sonnets." In 1815 the sonnet was headed To .-ED.

FROM the dark chambers of dejection freed,

Spurning the unprofitable yoke of care,

Rise, GILLIES, rise: the gales of youth shall bear
Thy genius forward like a wingèd steed.
Though bold Bellerophon (so Jove decreed

In wrath) fell headlong from the fields of air,
Yet a rich 2 guerdon waits on minds that dare,
If aught be in them of immortal seed,
And reason govern that audacious flight
Which heaven-ward they direct.

Erroneously renewing a sad vow

Then droop not thou,

In the low dell 'mid Roslin's faded grove : 3
A cheerful life is what the Muses love,

A soaring spirit is their prime delight.

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II

I am indebted to Miss Margaret Gillies-the artist referred to in the Fenwick note-for information in reference to her cousin, the subject of this sonnet. Robert Pearce Gillies was a man of unquestionable talent, but eccentric and extravagant. He inherited a considerable fortune, some £1500 a year, from his father, which he lost. He was editor of the Foreign Quarterly Review, was very intimate with De Quincey, and knew Sir Walter Scott, Wordsworth, and Quillinan well. He translated several German poems and novels, of which Scott thought highly. He was the author of Memoirs of a Literary Veteran (1851), in which (vol. ii. pp. 137-173) there is a sketch of Wordsworth, and several letters from him.

He was

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also an accomplished musician, playing the violin admirably. He lived near Hawthornden.

The expression "faded" or "fading grove," which Wordsworth applies to Roslin, may refer merely to the season of the year, viz. September.—ED.

A sonnet written by Gillies, and addressed to Wordsworth, may be quoted in this note. It was transcribed by Mrs. Wordsworth into a copy of the 4to edition of The Excursion (1814), which was presented by the Poet to his grandson.

TO THE AUTHOR OF THE EXCURSION

THOUGH feebly in my harassed mind the light
Of fancy burn, yet thy inspiring strain
WORDSWORTH! has power to lull the sense of pain,
And bring long lost illusions to my sight.

Methinks the autumnal fields,—the mist-wreaths white,-
The woods, the distant waters of the main
Their wonted hues of wild enchantment gain,
And, for a space, my cares are put to flight.
Then, how much more shall this immortal Lay
For the "free Soul" celestial sweets disclose !---
But, thine it is, oh Bard! with magic sway
To charm each meaner passion to repose ;--
To guide the faltering pilgrim on his way,

And energise the weak, and soothe the mourner's woes.

R. P. GILLIES.

IV

YARROW VISITED

SEPTEMBER, 1814

Composed 1814.-Published 1815

We

[As mentioned in my verses on the death of the Ettrick Shepherd, my first visit to Yarrow was in his company. had lodged the night before at Traquair, where Hogg had joined us, and also Dr. Anderson, the Editor of the British Poets, who was on a visit at the Manse. Dr. A. walked with

us till we came in view of the Vale of Yarrow, and, being advanced in life, he then turned back. The old man was passionately fond of poetry, though with not much of a discriminating judgment, as the Volumes he edited sufficiently shew. But I was much pleased to meet with him, and to acknowledge my obligation to his collection, which had been my brother John's companion in more than one voyage to India, and which he gave me before his departure from Grasmere, never to return. Through these Volumes I became first familiar with Chaucer, and so little money had I then to spare for books, that, in all probability, but for this same work, I should have known little of Drayton, Daniel, and other distinguished poets of the Elizabethan age, and their immediate successors, till a much later period of my life. I am glad to record this, not from any importance of its own, but, as a tribute of gratitude to this simple-hearted old man, whom I never again had the pleasure of meeting. I seldom read or think of this poem without regretting that my dear Sister was not of the party, as she would have had so much delight in recalling the time, when, travelling together in Scotland, we declined going in search of this celebrated stream, not altogether, I will frankly confess, for the reasons assigned in the poem on the occasion.-I. F.]

In 1815 and 1820 this was one of the "Poems of the Imagination." In 1827 it became one of the "Memorials of a Tour in Scotland" of 1814.

The MS. readings to this poem are taken from a copy in a letter by Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs. Clarkson, dated November 11, 1814.—ED.

1 1815.

AND is this-Yarrow ?—This the Stream

Of which my fancy cherished,

So faithfully, a waking dream ? 1

An image that hath perished!

O that some Minstrel's harp were near,
To utter notes 2 of gladness,

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And chase this silence from the air,
That fills my heart with sadness!

Yet why?—a silvery current flows
With uncontrolled meanderings;
Nor have these eyes by greener hills
Been soothed, in all my wanderings.

And, through her depths,1 Saint Mary's Lake
Is visibly delighted;

For not a feature of those hills

Is in the mirror slighted.

A blue sky bends o'er Yarrow vale,
Save where that pearly whiteness
Is round the rising sun diffused,
A tender hazy brightness;

Mild dawn of promise! that excludes
All profitless dejection;

Though not unwilling here to admit
A pensive recollection.

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The path that leads them to the grove,
The leafy grove that covers :

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And Pity sanctifies the Verse

1815.

That paints, by strength of sorrow,

With her own depths

MS. 1814.

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