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WRITTEN ON A BIRTH DAY.
ALAS the years! how swift they roll,
Arrived at last at twenty-two,
What honours rise upon my brow?
What have I done to raise my name,
Or posted up to fame in news?
1 Arrived at last at twenty-two.] Macpherson, in 1760, was just twenty-two when, on the publication of the Fragments, he resolved" to send to future times his fame:" a phrase peculiarly his own, which he had not previously employed in the Fragments.
SENT TO A YOUNG LADY,
SOME TRANSLATIONS FROM THE ERSE.
BEHOLD, fair maid, what Nature could inspire,
But little of the rock was in their mind;
They felt the call of nature in their heart.] The same conceit is repeated in Oithona: "My heart is not of that rock; nor my soul careless as that sea." Vol. I. p. 525. The preceding short poem, "The Monument," is indisputably Macpherson's. See Vol. I. p. 196.
To meet his generous flame the maid would fly,
And blooming widows beat their breasts of snow.
At once the fav'rite of the world and thine,
Enjoys unrivalled all that heaven of charms,
Death, late descend !-Avoid him, hostile arms!
Let growing pleasures crown each rising year,
When Time itself shall bid that beauty fly,
And lightning arm no more that lovely eye;
May the bright legacy successive fall,
And thy loved sons and daughters share it all;
Thy sons be every virgin's secret care,
The last, like thee, set all the world on fire.
WRITTEN IN THE HIGHLANDS.
THE wind is up, the field is bare;
Some hermit lead me to his cell,
With blessed Content has chose to dwell.
Behold! it opens to my sight,
Dark in the rock; beside the flood;
Dry fern around obstructs the light;
Reflected in the lake I see
The downward mountains and the skies,
The flying bird, the waving tree,
The goats that on the hills arise.
The grey-cloaked herd drives on the cow;
A freckled pointer scours the brow;
A musing shepherd stands beneath.
Where Contemplation, lonely fair.] In Macpherson's poem of Death,
Come Contemplation, then, my lonely fair!
2 The description of the Cave has been so repeatedly introduced into Ossian, I. 174. II. 234. that it is almost unnecessary to authenticate the poem any farther.