1810 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hector Macneill

J. M'D., "Verses addressed to H. Macniel, Esq. Author of Will and Jean, &c." Scots Magazine 72 (August 1810) 610.



Greatest, sweetest, chastest bard,
That ever set the breast on fire,
Since the prince o' Scotia's bards
Yielded to thy hand his lyre.

Death wha' nipt his flow'r sae early,
Scotia's high-form'd hopes has blawn;
Faded lies the gem, which fairly
Filled each promise o' its dawn.

Cruel, cruel, ruthless spirit,
(He deserv'd a better fate),
Deaf to pity, deaf to merit,
Deaf to all that's good and great.

Were not trouble, stern misfortune,
Poverty, and wild despair,
Ever with his feelings sportin'?
Ever blasting prospects fair?

Yet you, like a coward, meanly
Fill'd the phalanx of his foes:
Clos'd the eye which ever keenly
Pitied ev'ry brother's woes.

How his muse (his country's glory)
Swells the laugh, or prompts the sigh;
Cheers the lucid eye of sorrow,
Makes the jocund bosom cry.

True to nature, true to feeling,
What his fancy can controul?
Magic o'er the senses stealing,
Charms and melts by turns the soul.

Wha can pay his mem'ry's duties?
Wha describe his talents rare?
Read your hearts, that taste his beauties;
Read your hearts — you'll find it there.

Thee, Macniel, his great successor,
Thee, his country eyes with pride;
Lang may'st thou be spar'd to bless her,
Lang may'st thou Pegasus ride.

Often Scotia melts in pity
To thy harper's tender strain;
Much commends his plaintive ditty,
Much commends thy "Will and Jean."

A' her hopes on thee reclining,
Ne'er let sorrow fill her e'e,
Never let her cry, repining,
Has he left his harp to thee!
Roslin, 10th Aug. 1810.