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Hector Macneill (Гектор Макнилл)


The Scottish Muse


O Welcome simply soothing treasure!
In midst o' pain my lanely pleasure!
Tutor'd by thee, and whispering leisure,
          I quit the thrang,
And, wrapt in bless'd retirement, measure
          Thy varied sang!

Kind, leil companion! without thee,
Ah welladay! what should I be!
Whan jeer'd by fools wha canna see
          My inward pain,
Aneath thy sheltering wing I flee
          And mak my mane.

There seated, smiling by my side,
For hours thegither wilt thou bide,
Chanting auld tales o' martial pride
          And luve's sweet smart!
Till glowing warm thy numbers glide
          Streight to the heart.

'Tis when wi' powerful plastic hand
Thou wav'st thy magic-working wand;
And stirring up ideas grand
          That fire the brain,
Aff whirl'st me swith to fairy land
          'Mang fancy's train.--

Sear'd by disease whan balmy rest
Flees trembling frae her downy nest;
Starting frae horror's dreams opprest,
          I see thee come
Wi' radiance mild that cheers the breast
        And lights the gloom!

Heart'ning thou com'st, wi' modest grace,
Hope, luve, and pity, in thy face,
And gliding up wi' silent pace
          My plaints to hear,
Whisper'st in turn thae soothing lays
          Saft in my ear.

'Ill fated wand'rer! doom'd to mane!
Wan sufferer! bleech'd wi' care and pain!
How chang'd alas! since vogie vain,
          Wi' spirits light,
Ye hail'd me first in untaught strain
          On Strevlin's height!

'Ah me! how stark! how blithe! how bauld
Ye brattl'd then through wind and cauld!
Reckless, by stream, by firth and fauld
          Ye held your way;
By passion rul'd; by luve enthrall'd,
          Ye pour'd the lay.

''Twas then, entranc'd in am'rous sang,
I mark'd you midst the rural thrang;
Ardent and keen, the hail day lang
          Wi' Nature tane,
Slip frae the crowd and mix amang
          Her simple train.

''Twas then I saw (alas! owre clear!)
Your future thriftless, lost career!
And while some blam'd, wi' boding fear,
          The tunefu' art,
Your moral pride and truth sincere
          Aye wan my heart.

'He ne'er can lout,' I musing said,
'To ply the fleeching, fawning trade;
Nor bend the knee, nor bow the head
          To walth or power!
But backward turn wi' scornfu' speed
          Frae flatt'ry's door.

'He'll never learn his bark to steer
'Mid passion's sudden, wild career;
Nor try at times to tack or veer
          To int'rest's gale,
But hoist the sheet, unaw'd by fear,
          Tho' storms prevail.

'Owre proud to ask ;-- owre bauld to yield!
Whar will he find a shelt'ring beild?
Whan poortith's blast drifts cross the field
          Wi' wintry cauld,
What will be wone -- poor feckless chield!
          Whan frail and auld?

'Year after year in youtheid's prime,
Wander he will, frae clime to clime,
Sanguine wi' hope on wing sublime
          Mount heigh in air!
But than -- waes me! there comes a time
          O' dool and care!

'There comes a time! -- or soon, or late,
O' serious thought and sad debate;
Whan blighted hope and adverse fate
          Owrespread their gloom,
And mirk despair, in waefu' state,
          Foresees the doom!

'-- And maun he fa'! (I sighing cried)
Wi' guardian honour by his side!
Shall fortune frown on guiltless pride
          And straits owretake him!
-- Weel! blame wha like -- whate'er betide
          I'se ne'er forsake him!

'Ardent I spake! and frae the day
Ye hail'd me smiling; youthfu' gay
On Aichil's whim-flower'd fragrant brae
          I strave to cheer ye!
Frae morn's first dawn to e'en's last ray
          I ay was near ye.

'Frae west to east -- frae isle to isle,
To India's shore and sultry soil;
'Mid tumult, battle, care, and toil,
          I following flew;
Ay smooth'd the past, and wak'd the smile
          To prospects new.

'Whan warfare ceas'd its wild uproar
To Elephanta's far-fam'd shore
I led ye ardent to explore
          Wi' panting heart,
Her idle monuments o' yore
          And sculptur'd art.

'Sweet flew the hours! (the toil your boast)
On smiling Salsett's eave-wrought coast!--
Though hope was tint -- tho' a' was cross'd
          Nae dread alarms
Ye felt -- fond fool! in wonder lost
          And nature's charms!

'Frae east to west, frae main to main,
To Carib's shores return'd again;
In sickness, trial, hardship, pain,
          Ye ken yoursell,
Drapt frae the muse's melting strain
          Peace balmy fell.

'Fell sweet! for as she warbling flew,
Hope lent her heav'ns refreshing dew;
Fair virtue close, and closer drew
          To join the lay;
While conscience bright, and brighter grew,
          And cheer'd the way!--

'Whether to east or westward borne,
(Or flush'd wi' joy, or wae-forlorn)
Ye hail'd the fragrant breath o' morn
          Frae orange flower,
Or cassia-bud, or logwood thorn,
          Or Guava bower:

'Or frae the mist-cap'd mountain blue
Inhal'd the spicy gales that flew
Rich frae Pimento's groves that grew
          In deep'ning green
Crown'd wi' their flowers o' milk white hue
          In dazzling sheen!

'Whether at midnoon panting laid,
Ye woo'd coy zephyr's transient aid
Under the Banyan's pillar'd shade,
          On plain or hill,
Or Plaintain green, that rustling play'd
          Across the rill:

'Or 'neath the tam'rind's shelt'ring gloom,
Drank coolness wafted in perfume,
Fresh frae the shaddack's golden bloom,
          As flutt'ring gay
Humm'd saft the bird o' peerless plume,
          Frae spray to spray!

'-- Whether at eve, wi' raptur'd breast
The shelving palm-girt beach ye prest,
And e'ed, entranc'd the purpling west
          Bepictur'd o'er,
As ocean murm'ring, gently kiss'd
          The whitening shore:

'Whether at twilight's parting day
Ye held your solemn musing way,
Whar through the gloom in myriad ray
          The fire-flies gleam;
And 'thwart the grove in harmless play
          The light'nings stream!

'Or, by the moon's bright radiance led,
Roam'd late the Guinea-verdur'd glade!
Where tower'd the giant Ceiba's shade;
          And, loftier still,
The Cabbage rears its regal head
          Owre palm-crown'd hill.

'Still following close, still whisp'ring near
The muse aye caught your list'ning ear;
'Mid tempest's rage and thunder's rair
          Aye cheering sang :--
Touch'd by her hand (unchill'd by fear)
          The Harp strings rang.

'Return'd at last frae varied clime,
Whar youth and hope lang tint their time,
Ance mair to Strevlin's height sublime
          We wing'd our way;
Ance mair attun'd the rural rhime
          On Aichil brae.

''Twas then my native strains ye lear'd,
For passion spake while fancy cheer'd;
And while wi' flaunting airs ye flar'd
          And thought to shine;
But Nature -- judging nature sneer'd
          And ca'd it -- fine!

'Stung wi' the taunt, ye back recoil'd,
Pensive ye mus'd; I mark'd and smil'd;
Daund'ring depress'd 'mang knows flower'd wild,
          My aten reed
Ye faund ae bonny morning mild
          'Tween Ayre and Tweed.

''Tween past'ral Tweed and wand'ring Ayr,
Whar unbusk'd nature blooms sae fair!
And mony a wild note saft and clear
          Sings sweet by turns,
Tun'd by my winsome Allan's ear
          And fav'rite Burns.

'Trembling wi' joy ye touch'd the reed,
Doubtfu' ye sigh'd and hang your head;
Fearfu' ye sang till some agreed
          The notes war true;
When grown mair bauld, ye gae a screed
          That pleas'd nae few.

'By Forth's green links bedeck'd wi' flowers,
By Clyde's clear stream and beechen bowers;
Heartsome and healthfu' flew the hours
          In simple sang,
While Lossit's braes and Eden's towers
          The notes prolang!

'-- Thae times are gane! -- ah! welladay!
For health has flown wi' spirits gay;
Youth too has fled! and cauld decay
          Comes creeping on:
October's sun cheers na like May
          That brightly shone!

'Yet autumn's gloom, though threat'ning bleak
Has joys, gin folk cam joys wad seek;
Friendship and worth then social cleek
          And twine thegither,
And gree and crack by ingle cheek
          Just like twin-brither.

''Tis then (youth's vain vagaries past,
That please a while, but fash at last)
Serious, our ee we backward cast
          On bygane frays,
And, marvelling, mourn the thriftless waste
          O' former days!

'Then too, wi' prudence on our side,
And moral reasoning for our guide,
Calmly we view the restless tide
          O' warldly care,
And cull, wi' academic pride,
          The flow'rs o' lare.

'And while, wi' sure and steady pace,
Coy science's secret paths we trace,
And catch fair nature's beauteous face
          In varied view,
Ardent, though auld, we join the chace,
          And pleas'd pursue.--

''Tis sae through life's short circling year,
The seasons change, and changing cheer;
Journeying we jog, unaw'd by fear:
          Hope plays her part!
Forward we look, though in the rear
          Death shakes the dart.

'Catch then the dream! nor count it vain,
Hope's dream's the sweetest balm o' pain:
Heav'n's unseen joys may yet remain,
          And yet draw near ye:
Meanwhile, ye see, I hear your mane,
          And flee to cheer ye.

Ane too's at hand, to wham ye fled 
Frae Britain's cauld, frae misery's bed;
Owre seas tempestuous shivering sped,
          To Friendship's flame;
Whar kindling warm, in sunbeams clad,
          She hails her Graham.

Wi' him (let health but favouring smile)
Ance mair ye'll greet fair Albion's isle!
In some calm nook life's cares beguile
          Atween us twa:
Feed the faint lamp wi' virtue's oil--
          Then -- slip awa!'

The flatterer ceas'd, and smil'd adieu,
Just wav'd her hand, and mild withdrew!
Cheer'd wi' the picture (fause or true)
          I check'd despair,
And frae that moment made a vow
          To -- mourn nae mair. 



Hector Macneill's other poems:
  1. My Love's in Germany
  2. On Admiral Lord Nelson's Sending in the Hour of Victory, a Flag of Truce to Stop the Further Effusion
  3. Mally Aiken, An Old Song Revived
  4. On the Death of Lieut. Gen. Sir Ralph Abercromby. Killed at the Battle of Alexandria, in Egypt, Marc
  5. Tammy's Courtship


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