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The same that oft in childhood solaced me;
Voice only fails, else how distinct they say,
"Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears

The meek intelligence of those dear eyes
(Bless'd be the art that can immortalise,
The art that baffles Time's tyrannic claim
To quench it) here shines on me still the same.
Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
O welcome guest, though unexpected here!
Who bidst me honour with an artless song,
Affectionate, a mother lost so long,1

I will obey, not willingly alone,

But gladly, as the precept were her own: And, while that face renews my filial grief, Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief, Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,



A momentary dream that thou art she.
My mother when I learnt that thou wast

dead 2

Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed? Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son, Wretch even then, life's journey just begun?

1 fifty-two years 2 He was only six when she died.

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Children not thine have trod my nursery floor;
And where the gardener Robin, day by day,
Drew me to school along the public way,
Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapped
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capped,
'Tis now become a history little known,
That once we called the pastoral house1 our



Short-lived possession! but the record fair
That memory keeps, of all thy kindness there,
Still outlives many a storm that has effaced
A thousand other themes less deeply traced.
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou mightst know me safe and warmly

Thy morning bounties ere I left my home, 60
The biscuit, or confectionary plum;

The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestowed
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and

All this, and more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughened by those cataracts and brakes
That humour interposed too often makes;
All this still legible in memory's page,
And still to be so to my latest age,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honours to thee as my numbers may;

1 the rectory


Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,

Not scorned in heaven, though little noticed

Could Time, his flight reversed, restore the

When, playing with thy vesture's tissued

The violet, the pink, and jassamine,

I pricked them into paper with a pin
(And thou wast happier than myself the while,
Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head and

Could those few pleasant days again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them

the dear delight

I would not trust my heart
Seems so to be desired, perhaps I might.
But no what here we call our life is such,
So little to be loved, and thou so much,
That I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thy unbound spirit into bonds again.

Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast (The storms all weathered and the ocean crossed)

Shoots into port at some well-havened isle, 90
Where spices breathe, and brighter seasons

There sits quiescent on the floods that show
Her beauteous form reflected clear below,
While airs impregnated with incense play
Around her, fanning light her streamers gay;
So thou, with sails how swift! hast reached
the shore,

"Where tempests never beat nor billows roar."
And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide
Of life long since has anchored by thy side.
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest, 100
Always from port withheld, always dis-

Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest tost, Sails ripped, seams opening wide, and compass lost,

And day by day some current's thwarting force

Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
Yet, oh, the thought that thou art safe, and

That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not, that I deduce my birth
From loins enthroned and rulers of the earth;
But higher far my proud pretensions rise
The son of parents passed into the skies! III
- Time unrevoked has run
And now, farewell
His wonted course, yet what I wished is


By contemplation's help, not sought in vain, I seem to have lived my childhood o'er again; To have renewed the joys that once were mine,

Without the sin of violating thine:

And, while the wings of Fancy still are free, And I can view this mimic show of thee, 119 Time has but half succeeded in his theft Thyself removed, thy power to soothe me left.

JAMES MACPHERSON (?) (1736-1796)




Whence is the stream of years? Whither do they roll along? Where have they hid, in mist, their many coloured sides?

I look unto the times of old, but they seem dim to Ossian's eyes, like reflected moonbeams on a distant lake. Here rise the red beams of war! There, silent, dwells a feeble race! They mark no years with their deeds, as slow they pass along. Dweller between the shields thou that awakest the failing soul! descend from thy wall, harp of Cona,2 with thy voices three! Come with that which kindles the past rear the forms of old, on their own dark-brown years!

U-thorno, hill of storms, I behold my race on thy side. Fingal is bending in night over Duth-maruno's tomb. Near him are the steps of his heroes, hunters of the boar. By Turthor's stream the host of Lochlin 3 is deep in shades. The wrathful kings stood on two hills they looked forward from their bossy shields. They looked forward to the stars of night, red wandering in the west. Cruthloda bends from high, like a formless meteor in clouds. He sends abroad the winds, and marks them with his signs. Starno foresaw that Morven's king was not to yield in war. He twice struck the tree in wrath. He rushed before his son. He hummed a surly song, and heard his hair in wind. Turned



1 the Battle of Loda 2 the home of Ossian 4 Norway Starno, king of Lochlin, or Norway,

and Swaran, his son and heir 5 Odin, chief god of the Norsemen 6 Fingal (of Scotland)

from one another, they stood, like two oaks, which different winds had bent; each hangs over his own loud rill, and shakes his boughs in the course of blasts.

"Annir," said Starno of lakes, "was a fire that consumed of old. He poured death from his eyes along the striving fields. His joy was in the fall of men. Blood to him was a summer stream, that brings joy to the withered vales, from its own mossy rock. He came forth to the lake Luth-cormo, to meet the tall Corman-trunar, he from Urlor of streams, dweller of battle's wing.

"The chief of Urlor had come to Gormal with his dark-bosomed ships. He saw the daughter of Annir, white-armed Foina-bragal. He saw her! Nor careless rolled her eyes on the rider of stormy waves. She fled to his ship in darkness, like a moonbeam through a nightly veil. Annir pursued along the deep; he called the winds of heaven. Nor alone was the king! Starno was by his side. Like U-thorno's young eagle, I turned my eyes on my father.

"We rushed into roaring 2 Urlor. With his people came tall Corman-trunar. We fought; but the foe prevailed. In his wrath my father stood. He lopped the young trees with his sword. His eyes rolled red in his rage. I marked the soul of the king, and I retired in night. From the field I took a broken helmet; a shield that was pierced with steel; pointless was the spear in my hand. I went to find the foe.

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'On a rock sat tall Corman-trunar beside his burning oak; and near him beneath a tree, sat deep-bosomed Foina-bragal. I threw my broken shield before her. I spoke the words of peace. 'Beside his rolling sea lies Annir of many lakes. The king was pierced in battle; and Starno is to raise his tomb.3 Me, a son of Loda,' he sends to white-handed Foina, to bid her send a lock from her hair, to rest with her father in earth. And thou, king of roaring Urlor, let the battle cease, till Annir receive the shell from fiery-eyed Cruth-loda.'

"Bursting into tears, she rose, and tore a lock from her hair; a lock, which wandered in the blast, along her heaving breast. Cormantrunar gave the shell, and bade me rejoice

1 father of Starno 2 because of its many streams This was untrue. He was disguised. 5 Shells were used as drinking-cups. i.e., in Valhalla, the heaven of heroes 7 offered drink

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Burning rose the rage of the king.1 He thrice raised his gleaming spear. But, starting, he spared his son, and rushed into the night. By Turthor's stream, a cave is dark, the dwelling of Corban-cargla.2 There he laid the helmet of kings, and called the maid of Lulan; but she was distant far in Loda's resounding hall.3

Swelling in his rage, he strode to where Fingal lay alone. The king was laid on his shield, on his own secret hill.

Stern hunter of shaggy boars! no feeble maid is laid before thee. No boy on his ferny bed, by Turthor's murmuring stream. Here is spread the couch of the mighty, from which they rise to deeds of death! Hunter of shaggy boars, awaken not the terrible !

Starno came murmuring on. Fingal arose in arms. "Who art thou, son of night!" Silent he threw the spear. They mixed their gloomy strife. The shield of Starno fell, cleft in twain. He is bound to an oak. The early beam arose. It was then Fingal beheld the king. He rolled awhile his silent eyes. He thought of other days, when white-bosomed

1 Starno 2 the maid of Lulan, beloved by Starno, but in love with Swaran 3 i.e., she was dead


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He talked very contemptuously of Churchill's poetry, observing, that "it had a temporary currency, only from its audacity of abuse, and being filled with living names, and that it would sink into oblivion." tured to hint that he was not quite a fair judge, as Churchill had attacked him violently.4 Johnson: "Nay, Sir, I am a very fair judge. He did not attack me violently till he found I did not like his poetry; and his attack on me shall not prevent me from continuing to say what I think of him, from an apprehension that it may be ascribed to resentment. No, Sir, I called the fellow a blockhead at first, and I will call him a blockhead still. However, I will acknowledge that I have a better opinion of him now than I once had; for he has shown more fertility than I expected. To be sure, he is a tree that cannot produce good fruit: he only bears crabs. But, Sir, a tree that produces a great many crabs, is better than a tree which produces only a few."

In this depreciation of Churchill's poetry, I could not agree with him. It is very true that the greatest part of it is upon the topics of the day, on which account, as it brought him great fame and profit at the time, it must

1 daughter of Starno and sweetheart of Fingal, killed long before by her father for revealing to Fingal a plot against his life 2 the castle of Starno, where drink was dispensed liberally 3 Charles Churchill (1731-64), then in considerable repute as a poet 4 He satirized Johnson as credulous in his poem The Ghost.

proportionably slide out of the public attention, as other occasional objects succeed. But Churchill had extraordinary vigour both of thought and expression. His portraits of the players will ever be valuable to the true lovers of the drama; and his strong caricatures of several eminent men of his age, will not be forgotten by the curious. Let me add, that there are in his works many passages which are of a general nature; and his "Prophecy of Famine" is a poem of no ordinary merit. It is, indeed, falsely injurious to Scotland; but therefore, may be allowed a greater share of invention.

Bonnell Thornton had just published a burlesque "Ode on St. Cecilia's day,' "1 adapted to the ancient British music, viz., the saltbox, the Jew's-harp, the marrow-bones and cleaver, the hum-strum, or hurdy-gurdy, etc. Johnson praised its humour, and seemed much diverted with it. He repeated the following passage:

"In strains more exalted the salt-box shall join, And clattering and battering and clapping combine;

With a rap and a tap, while the hollow side sounds, Up and down leaps the flap, and with rattling rebounds."

On Tuesday, the 5th of July, I again visited Johnson. He told me he had looked into the poems of a pretty voluminous writer, Mr. (now Dr.) John Ogilvie, one of the Presbyterian ministers of Scotland, which had lately come out, but could find no thinking in them. Boswell: "Is there not imagination in them, Sir?" Johnson: "Why, Sir, there is in them what was imagination, but it is no more imagination in him, than sound is sound in the echo. And his diction too is not his own. We have long ago seen white-robed innocence and flower-bes pangled meads."

Talking of London, he observed, "Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that

1 It was set to music by Dr. Burney, and performed at Ranelagh in masks.

the wonderful immensity of London consists."

- I have often amused myself with thinking how different a place London is to different people. They, whose narrow minds are contracted to the consideration of some one particular pursuit, view it only through that medium. A politician thinks of it merely as the seat of government in its different departments; a grazier, as a vast market for cattle; a mercantile man, as a place where a prodigious deal of business is done upon 'Change; a dramatic enthusiast, as the grand scene of theatrical entertainments; a man of pleasure, as an assemblage of taverns, and the great emporium for ladies of easy virtue. But the intellectual man is struck with it, as comprehending the whole of human life in all its variety, the contemplation of which is inexhaustible.

On Wednesday, July 6, he was engaged to sup with me at my lodgings in Downing-street, Westminster. But on the preceding night my landlord having behaved very rudely to me and some company who were with me, I had resolved not to remain another night in his house. I was exceedingly uneasy at the awkward appearance I supposed I should make to Johnson and the other gentlemen whom I had invited, not being able to receive them at home, and being obliged to order supper at the Mitre. I went to Johnson in the morning, and talked of it as of a serious distress. He laughed, and said, "Consider, Sir, how insignificant this will appear a twelvemonth hence." Were this consideration to be applied to most.of the little vexatious incidents of life, by which our quiet is too often disturbed, it would prevent many painful sensations. I have tried it frequently with good effect. "There is nothing," continued he, "in this mighty misfortune; nay, we shall be better at the Mitre." I told him that I had been at Sir John Fielding's office, complaining of my landlord, and had been informed that though I had taken my lodgings for a year, I might, upon proof of his bad behaviour, quit them when I pleased, without being under an obligation to pay rent for any longer time than while I possessed them. The fertility of Johnson's mind could show itself even upon so small a matter as this. "Why, Sir," said he, "I suppose this must be the law, since you have been told so in Bow-street.' But if your landlord

1 police headquarters

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