Page images

Go, not unmindful of that cordial youth (a)
Whom, long endear'd, thou leav'st by Lavant's

side ;
Together let us wish him lasting truth,

And joy untainted with his destined bride. Go ! nor regardless, while these numbers boast

My short-lived bliss, forget my social name ; But think, far off, how, on the southern coast,

I met thy friendship with an equal flame! Fresh to that soil thou turn'st, where every vale

Shall prompt the poet, and his song demand : To thee thy copious subjects ne'er shall fail ;

Thou need'st but take thy pencil to thy hand, And paint what all believe, who own thy genial


There must thou wake perforce thy Doric quill;

'Tis Fancy's land to which thou turn'st thy feet ;

Where still, 'tis said, the fairy people meet, Beneath each birken shade, on mead or hill. There each trim lass, that skims the milky store

To the swart tribes, their creamy bowls allots ; By night they sip it round the cottage-door,

While airy minstrels warble jocund notes. There, every herd, by sad experience, knows

How, wing'd with fate, their elf-shot arrows fly, When the sick ewe her summer food foregoes,

Or, stretch'd on earth, the heart-smit heifers lie. Such airy beings awe th’untutor'd swain :

(a) A gentleman of the name of Barrow, who introduced Home to Collins.

Nor thou, though learn'd, his homelier thoughts

neglect ; Let thy sweet Muse the rural faith sustain ;

These are the themes of simple, sure effect, That add new conquests to her boundless reign, And fill with double force her heart-command

ing strain.

E'en yet preserved, how often mayst thou hear, Where to the pole tho Boreal mountains run,

Taught by the father to his listening son ; Strange lays, whose power had charm'd a Spenser's

ear. At every pause, before thy mind possest,

Old Runie bards shall seem to rise around, With uncouth lyres, in many-colour’d vest,

Their matted hair with boughs fantastic crown'd: Whether thou bidd'st the well-taught hind repeat The choral dirge that mournis some chieftain

brave, When every shrieking maid her bosom beat, And strew'd with choicest herbs his scented

grave; Or, whether sitting in the shepherd's shiel, (a)

Thou hear'st some sounding tale of war's alarms; When at the bugle's call, with fire and steel, The sturdy clans pour'd forth their brawny

swarms, And hostile brothers met, to prove each others'


(a) A summer hut, built in the high part of the mountains, to tend their flocks in the warm season, when the pasture is fine.

'Tis thine to sing, how, framing hideous spells,

In Sky's lone isle, the gifted wizard-seer, Lodged in the wintery cave with Fate's fell

spear, Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells : How they, whose sight such dreary dreams en

gross, With their own vision oft astonish'd droop;

When, o'er the watery strath, or quaggy moss, They see the gliding ghosts unbodied troop.

Or, if in sports, or on the festive green, Their destined glance some fated youth descry,

Who now, perhaps, in lusty vigour seen, And rosy health, shall soon lamented die.

For them the viewless forms of air obey ; Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair.

They know what spirit brews the stormful day, And heartless, oft like moody madness, stare To see the phantom-train their secret work pre


To monarchs dear, some hundred miles astray, Oft have I seen Fate give the fatal blow !

The seer, in Sky, shriek'd as the blood did flow, When headless Charles warm on the scaffold lay! As Boreas threw his young Aurora (a) forth,

In the first year of the first George's reign,

(a) By young Aurora, Collins undoubtedly meant the first appearance of the northern lights, which happened about the year 1715; at least, it is most highly probable, from this peculiar circumstance, that no ancient writer whatever has taken any notice of them, nor even any one modern, previous to the above period.

And battles raged in welkin of the North,

They mourn'd in air, fell, fell Rebellion slain ! And as, of late, they joy'd in Preston's fight,

Saw at sad Falkirk all their hopes near crown'd! They raved ! divining thro’ their second sight, (a) Pale, red Culloden, where these hopes were



BORN 1664-DIED 1721.

AKENside was the son of a butcher of Newcastle-upon

Tyne. The family were Presbyterians; and young Akenside, after leaving the grammar-school of Newcastle, was sent to Edinburgh, to qualify himself for orders in that persuasion. In prosecuting this design, he received some assistance from a fund formed by the dissenters for the education of young men intended for the ministry; but the money thus advanced was returned by Akenside, when a more extended knowledge of life, and of his own character and powers, induced him to study for another

profession. In 1741 he went to Leyden, then a favourite resort of

English and Scottish students; and, after a diligent course of regular study, obtained, in 1744, the degree of Doctor of Medicine. In the same year he returned to

(a) Second sight is the term that is used for the divination of the Highlanders.

England, and published the poem on which his fame rests—The PLEASURES OF IMAGINATION,-a noble speci. men of blank verse, and altogether a wonderful produc

tion for a youth of twenty-three. The subsequent performances of Akenside, though they were all classic and elegant, did not keep pace with the expectation raised by this splendid first appearance. It is related by Johnson, on the testimony of Dodsley, the publisher of the poem, that, when it was offered to him, the price demanded was 120 guineas,-a rather startling demand to a bookseller from a young man, whose name had never been heard of, for his first production. Dodsley submitted the poem to Pope, who advised him “ not to make a niggardly offer, for this was no every-day writer." Akenside settled in Northampton as a medical practitioner,

but found very few interruptions of his “poetic leisure" from the calls of patients. About this time he published his Odes, and removed first to Hampstead, and next to

London, whither his poetical fame had gone before him. By good fortune, which does not always attend the votaries of the muses, the unemployed physician found a friend of rare generosity-Mr Dyson, who allowed him £300 a year. This establishment enabled him to pursue his professional career with many advantages. He obtained a degree from Cambridge, and became a Fellow of the College of Physicians. He also wrote several creditable professional treatises ; and his medical knowledge and poetical talents thus aiding each other, Akenside advanced rapidly in reputation, and, beside gaining considerable private practice, was appointed physician to the

Queen. of the private character of Akenside little is known, and

that not to his advantage. His manners were pompous and cold, and he was far from being popular among his professional brethren. It is said, that he sat for the lu

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