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He stepped between-" Nay, Douglas, nay,
"Ah! little traitress! none must know
Pledge of my faith, Fitz-James's ring-
Full well the conscious maiden guessed,
Have shared his cheer, and proved his brand;--
The suit that stained her glowing cheek.
Nay, then, my pledge has lost its force,
And stubborn justice holds her course.
• William of Worcester, who wrote about the middle of the fifteenth century, calls Stirling Castle, Snowdoun.
Malcolm, come forth!"-And, at the word,
Harp of the North, farewell! The hills grow dark,
And the wild breeze, thy wilder minstrelsy;
With distant echo from the fold and lea, And herd-boy's evening pipe, and hum of housing bee.
Yet, once again, farewell, thou Minstrel Harp!
May idly cavil at an idle lay.
Much have I owed thy strains on life's long way,
And bitterer was the grief devoured alone.
Hark! as my lingering footsteps slow retire,
Some Spirit of the Air has waked thy string! "Tis now a Seraph bold, with touch of fire,
'Tis now the brush of Fairy's frolic wing. Receding now, the dying numbers ring
Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell, And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring
A wandering witch-note of the distant spellAnd now, 'tis silent all!-Enchantress, fare thee well!
VISION OF DON RODERICK.
"Quid dignum memorare tuis, Hispania, terris,
JOHN WHITMORE, ESQ.
TO THE COMMITTEE OF SUBSCRIBERS FOR RELIEF OF THE PORTUGUESE SUFFERERS,
IN WHICH HE PRESIDES,
COMPOSED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE FUND UNDER THEIR MANAGEMENT, IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED BY
PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION, 1811.
THE following Poem is founded upon a Spanish Tradition, particularly detailed in the Notes; but bearing, in general, that Don Roderick, the last Gothic King of Spain, when the Invasion of the Moors was impending, had the temerity to descend into an ancient vault near Toledo, the opening of which had been denounced as fatal to the Spanish monarchy. The legend adds, that his rash curiosity was mortified by an emblematical representation of those Saracens who, in the year 714, defeated him in battle, and reduced Spain under their dominion. I have presumed to prolong the Vision of the Revolutions of Spain down to the present eventful crisis of the Peninsula; and to divide it, by a supposed change of scene, into THREE PERIODS. The FIRST of these represents the Invasion of the Moors, the Defeat and Death of Roderick, and closes with the peaceful occupation of the country by the Victors. The SECOND PERIOD embraces the state of the Peninsula, when the conquests of the Spaniards and Portuguese in the East and West Indies had raised to the highest pitch the renown of their arms; sullied, however, by superstition and cruelty. An allusion to the inhumanities of the Inquisition terminates this picture. The LAST PART of the Poem opens with the state of Spain previous to the unparalleled treachery of BUONAPARTE; gives a sketch of the usurpation attempted upon that unsuspicious and friendly kingdom, and terminates with the arrival of the British succours. It may be farther proper to mention, that the object of the Poem is less to commemorate or detail particular incidents, than to exhibit a general and impressive picture of the several periods brought upon the stage.
I am too sensible of the respect due to the Public, especially by one who has already experienced more than ordinary indulgence, to offer any apology for the inferiority of the poetry to the subject it is chiefly designed to commemorate. Yet I think it proper to mention, that, while I was hastily executing a work, written for a temporary purpose, and on passing events, the task was most cruelly interrupted by the successive deaths of Lord President BLAIR,a and Lord Viscount MELVILLE.b In those distinguished characters, I had not only to regret persons whose lives were most important to Scotland, but also whose notice and patronage honoured my entrance upon active life; and I may add, with melancholy pride, who permitted my more advanced age to claim no common share in their friendship. Under such interruptions, the following verses, which my best and happiest efforts must have left far unworthy of their theme, have, I am myself sensible, an appearance of negligence and incoherence, which, in other circumstances, I might have been able to remove.
EDINBURGH, June 24th, 1811.
a Robert Blair, Lord President of the Court of Session. He was the son of the Rev. R. Blair, author of "The Grave." He died at Edinburgh, May 28, 1811.-Ann. Reg. 1811.
b Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville. He died at Edinburgh, May 27, 1811. Ann. Reg. 1811. In the Edinburgh Annual Register for 181 Blair is stated to have died May 20, and Lord Melville May 29; and this appears to be the correct account.