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Several other appearances of spirits might be pointed out as among the most sublime passages of Ossian's poetry. The circumstances of them are considerably diversified ; and the scenery always suited to the occasion.
“ Oscar slowly ascends the hill. The meteors of night set on the heath before him. A distant torrent faintly roars. Unfrequent blasts rush through aged oaks. The half-enlightened moon sinks dim and red behind her hill. Feeble voices are heard on the heath. Oscar drew his sword.”
Nothing can prepare the fancy more happily for the awful scene that is to follow. “ Trenmor came from his hill, at the voices of his mighty son. A cloud, like the steed of the stranger, supported his airy limbs. His robe is of the mist of Lano, that brings death to the people. His sword is a green mēteor, half-extinguished. His face is without form, and dark. He sighed thrice' over the hero: And thrice, the winds of the night roared around. Many were his words to Oscar. He slowly vanished, like a mist that melts on the
hill." To appearances of this kind, we can find no parallel among the Greek or Roman poets. They bring to mind that noble description in the book of Job: “In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes
- There was silence, and I heard a voice-Shall mortal man be more just than God ?"*
The Dungeon.-LYRICAL BALLADS.
* Job iv. 13-17.
And stagnate and corrupt; till, changed to poison,
With other ministrations thou, O Nature ! Healest thy wandering and distempered child. Thou pourest on him thy soft influences, Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets, Thy melodies of woods, and winds and waters, Till he relent, and can no more endure To be a jarring and discordant thing, Amid this general dance and minstrelsy; But, bursting into tears wins back his way; His angry spirit healed and humanized By the benignant touch of love and beauty.
To the Rosemary.-H. K. WHITE.
SWEET scented flower! who'rt wont to bloom
Come funeral flower! who lov'st to dwell
Come, press my lips and lie with me
A Sabbath in Scotland.-Persecution of the Scottish Covenan
Nor yet less pleasing at the heavenly throne,
* Pron. faw'-kns.
Stretched on the sward, he reads of Jesse's son,
Thus reading, hymning, all alone, unseen,
O blissful days!
They stood prepared to die, a people doomed To death ;-old men, and youth, and simple maids, With them each day was holy ; but that morn On which the angel said, See where the Lord Was laid, joyous arose ; to die that day Was bliss. Long ere the dawn, by devious ways, O'er hills, through woods, o'er dreary wastes, they sought The upland moors, where rivers, there but brooks, Dispart to different seas.
Fast by such brooks A little glen is sometimes scooped, a plat With green sward
and flowers that stranger seem. Amid the heathery wild, that all around Fatigues the eye: in solitudes like these Thy persecuted children, Scotia, foiled A tyrants and a bigot's bloody laws: There, leaning on his spear (one of the array, Whose gleam, in former days, had scathed the rose On England's banner, and had powerless struck The infatuate monarch and his wavering host) The lyarti veteran heard the word of God By Çameron thundered, or by Renwick poured In gentle stream; then rose the song, the loud Acclaim of praise; the wheeling plover ceased * Her plaint; the solitary place was glad;
* Pron. time. † Pron. meekle-much. Mounted, belonging to the cavalry.
And on the distant cairns the watcher's ear*
But years more gloomy followed; and no more
The Baptism.-Wilson. It is a pleasant and impressive time, when at the close of divine service, in some small country church, there take place the gentle stir and preparation for a baptism. A sudden air of cheerfulness spreads over the whole congregation; the more solemn expression of all countenances fades away; and it is at once felt, that a rite is about to be performed, which, although of a sacred and awful kind, is yet connected with a thousand delightful associations of purity, beauty, and innocence. Then there is an eager bending of smiling faces over the humble gallerįes—an unconscious rising up in affectionate curiosity-and a slight murmuring sound in which is no violation of the Sabbath sanctity of God's house, when in the middle passage of the church the party of women is seen, mātrons and maids, who bear in their bosoms, or in their arms, the helpless beings about to be made members of the Christian communion.
* Sentinels were placed on the surrounding hills, to give warning of the apa proach of the military.