1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hector Macneill

Richard Gall, "Verses addressed to Hector Macneill, Esq." 1799; in MacNeill, Poems (1801) 1:ix-xiv.



The daisy-flower may blaw unseen
On mountain-tap — in valley green!
The rose alone, in native sheen,
Its head may raise!
Nae musing bardie now, I ween,
To sing their praise!

Nae pensive minstrel wight we see
Gang saunt'ring o'er the claver lee!
The fireflaughts dartin' frae his ee
The wilds amang!
Wha native freaks wi' native glee
Sae sweetly sang!

His was the gift, wi' magic power,
To catch the thought in happy hour;
To busk his verse wi' ilka flower
O' fancy sweet!
An' paint the birk or brushwood bower,
Whar lovers meet!

But now he fills his silent ha'!
My sweetest minstrel's fled awa!—
Yet shall his weel-won laurels blaw
Through future days,
Till weary time in flenders a'
The warld lays!

Such was the dowie plaint o' wae
Which Scotia made by bank an' brae,
Whan Burns — (puir Burns!) was ta'en away
And laid at rest!—
(Green grow the grass! — light lie the clay
Upon his breast!)

But now she draps the waefu' tale,
And notes o' transport fill the gale;
Nae langer down the silent vale
She lanely mourns,
And to her cheek, ance lily pale,
The rose returns!

The streaks o' joy glint in her face,
Thy steps, Macneill, sweet bard! to trace;
To mark wi' nature's peerless grace
Thy blossoms blaw!
Happy to see thee fill the place
O' him awa!

How sairlie does her bosom beat
At puir misfortune's wretched state!
While tracing WILL through poortith great
And prospects drear!
And at thy JEANIE'S hapless fate
She draps a tear!

Then mark, sweet minstrel o' the day!
Thy Scotia's sons an' maidens gay;
Her deep wild glens; her mountains grey,
Wi' misty head;
And eke her ilka sunny brae
Wi' flow'rs o'erspread!

What time alane thou may'st retire,
May these thy fairy thoughts inspire,
And set thy manly soul on fire
In Scotia's praise;
And mak thee strike thy native lyre
To saftest lays!

To wake the pangs Despair maun dree,
When diven houseless o'er the lee;
To strike the strings o' Sympathie
Whan griefs combine;
To start the tear in Pity's ee—
The task be thine.
Edinburgh,
October 11, 1799.