Anne MacVicar Grant Poems >>
The Aged Bard's Wish

POPE'S ODYSSEY.
OH ! lay me by yon peaceful stream
That glides away so softly slow,
Where boughs exclude the noon-day beam,
And early violets round me blow
And thou, O sun! with friendly eye
Regard my languid limbs of age;
While on the new spring grass they lie,
Their warmth restore, their pains assuage.
Then on the pure stream's sloping side,
Wave soft thy wings thou western gale,
Clear stream, how gently dost thou glide,
To wake the flow'rets of the vale.
The primrose pale, of lovely dye,
Around my dewy bank be spread;
The daisy ope its modest eye,
And golden blooms bedeck my bed.
From lofty banks that bound my glen,
Let blossom'd branches softly bend,
While sweetly from each rocky den
The little birds their love-notes blend.
Where from yon crag, with age so grey,
The fresh stream bursts with rushing sound,
And echo bears the din away,
While ocean's distant waves resound.
Each rock and hill returns the strain
Of nature's joy that wakes around,
While sportive kids in frolic vein,
And roes in sprightly gambol bound.
The low of herds on yonder gale
Comes pleasing to my aged ear,
And sweetly rural from the dale
The bleating of their young I hear.
And near me let the hinds repose,
And dappled fawns when tir'd of play,
Beside my brook's green margin close,
Or where the dashing fountains play.
Oh! wake the chase, where I may hear
The hunter rouse th' impatient hounds;
Their voice is music to my ear,
My cheek glows youthful at the sound.
I feel youth's cheerful spirit rise,
To hear the bugle sound so shrill,
While triumph bursts in joyful cries,
Where sinks the dun deer on the hill.
Then quick I see the goats rebound,
That morn and eve my steps pursue;
Yon mountain tops their cries resound,
Which I at hopeless distance view.
I see Benard of lofty brow,
Amidst his green locks dream the roes,
A thousand hills appear below,
And on his head the clouds repose.
Above my glen I see the grove
Where first is heard the cuckoo's song;
Where deer in peaceful freedom rove,
And pines protect the harmless throng.
I see the lake where wild ducks play,
And lead about their tender young,
With water-lilies border'd gay,
Its banks with evergreens o'erhung.
The water-nymph, with bosom white,
Swims graceful on the swelling wave;
Her infant train, with new delight,
Their downy breasts incessant lave:
And when she wings her lofty flight,
Afar amidst the clouds to rise,
And when she quits my aching sight,
Commixing with the northern skies;
She goes upon the southern gale
Where vent'rous prow ne'er cut the waves,
Where never rose the flutt'ring sail,
But ocean solitary raves.
Be thou, with snowy plumage soft,
O swan! not far from my repose;
Even when I see thee soar aloft,
Thy parting strain will soothe my woes.
Tell from what distant land the wind*
Bears on its wings the sound of woe--
Sure 'tis his voice, who left behind
His Love, to trace the realm of snow.
Stream thy bright eyes, O virgin mild!
For him on LOCHLIN'S stormy coast
Who perish'd midst the tempest wild,--
To thee--to me--for ever lost!
The graceful youth, in manly bloom,
Who left my grey locks thus forlorn,
Far off to seek an early tomb,
Dost thou with social sorrow mourn?
Thy beauteous cheek, grown pale with grief,
Still leans upon thy hand of snow,
Still heaves thy bosom for the chief
Long in the narrow bed laid low.
O! be his mem'ry ever bless'd,
Bright be the clouds of his repose;
Soon shall we share the hero's rest,
Soon life, and love, and sorrow close.
Rise thou, whose soft melodious song
Pours on my heart the balm of ease;
Ye plaintive echoes come along,
And waft the notes, thou sighing breeze!
From ocean's breast, O gale, arise!
Bear on thy wings the dulcet strain,--
Bear it where high on clouds he lies,
Tell him he hears the fair complain.
Tell, ere thy strength be past, O wind,!
Where weak in helpless age I lie,
Low on my rusty shield reclin'd,
And view his fair flow'r with'ring nigh.
Lift me, O you, whose arms are young!
Lay me beneath yon broad oak's shade;
For now the noon-day sun grows strong,
Let not his rays my eyes invade.
Then wilt thou come, thou vision fair,
Oft mingled with the stars of night;
Scenes of my youth shall rise in air,
And times of manhood's active might.
Shew to my soul the lovely maid,
Beneath the oak, the forest's pride;
Her cheek let golden tresses shade,
Her lover, smiling, grace her side.
May endless joy their spirits wait,
And meteors waft th' enamour'd pair!
Bless'd be your souls, and bless'd thy fate,
Maid with the graceful locks so fair!
Leave not my soul, O dream of joy!
O turn again, once more return!
They hear me not--My darling boy!
For thee, for her, not long I mourn!
Now lay me close by yonder fall
That leaps in thunder o'er the rock;
My lyre and shell attend my call,
The spear my sires in battle shook.
And come whence ocean's waters roll,
Ye breezes mild that softly blow,
And bear away my parting soul
Where sinks the sun at evening low.
O bear me to the happy isles
Where shades of mighty heroes rest,
Who, sunk in sleep, forget their toils,
Or wake the music of the bless'd.
Blind OSSIAN'S misty halls unfold:
Your eyes no more the bard shall view:
Let me my harp and shell behold,--
And now, dear harp and shell, adieu!