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TH

XXIII.

WRITTEN IN THE COTTAGE WHERE BURNS WAS BORN.

HIS mortal body of a thousand days

21

Now fills, O Burns, a space in thine own room, Where thou didst dream alone on budded bays, Happy and thoughtless of thy day of doom! My pulse is warm with thine old Barley-bree,

My head is light with pledging a great soul, My eyes are wandering, and I cannot see,

Fancy is dead and drunken at its goal;
Yet can I stamp my foot upon thy floor,

Yet can I ope thy window-sash to find
The meadow thou hast tramped o'er and o'er
Yet can I think of thee till thought is blind, -
Yet can I gulp a bumper to thy name,
O smile among the shades, for this is fame!

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XXIV.

TO THE NILE.

S

ON of the old moon-mountains African! Stream of the Pyramid and Crocodile! We call thee fruitful, and that very while A desert fills our seeing's inward span : Nurse of swart nations since the world began, Art thou so fruitful? or dost thou beguile Those men to honour thee, who, worn with toil, Rest them a space 'twixt Cairo and Decan ? O may dark fancies err! They surely do;

'Tis ignorance that makes a barren waste Of all beyond itself. Thou dost bedew

Green rushes like our rivers, and dost taste The pleasant sun-rise. Green isles hast thou too, And to the sea as happily dost haste.

XXV.

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ON SITTING DOWN TO READ "KING LEAR ONCE AGAIN.

GOLDEN-TONGUED Romance with serene

O

lute!

Fair plumed Syren! Queen! if far away!
Leave melodizing on this wintry day,
Shut up thine olden volume, and be mute.
Adieu! for once again the fierce dispute,

Betwixt hell torment and impassioned clay,
Must I burn through; once more assay
The bitter sweet of this Shakspearian fruit.
Chief Poet! and ye clouds of Albion,

Begetters of our deep eternal theme,
When I am through the old oak forest gone,
Let me not wander in a barren dream,
But when I am consumed with the Fire,
Give me new Phoenix-wings to fly at my desire.

XXVI.

R

EAD me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud Upon the top of Nevis, blind in mist! I look into the chasms, and a shroud Vaporous doth hide them, just so much I wist Mankind do know of hell; I look o'erhead,

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And there is sullen mist, even so much Mankind can tell of heaven; mist is spread

Before the earth, beneath me, even such, Even so vague is man's sight of himself!

Here are the craggy stones beneath my feet, Thus much I know that, a poor witless elf,

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I tread on them, that all my eye doth meet Is mist and crag, not only on this height, But in the world of thought and mental might!

POSTHUMOUS POEMS.

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