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All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians, who have no place among us; a sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material; and who, therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated, and rightly taught, these ruling and master principles, which, in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial evidence, are, in truth, everything, and all in all. Magnanimity, in politics, is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together.
WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE.
Mickle was the author of a very fine translation of the Lusiad of Camoens. He published several original works; but was more distinguished for taste and fancy than for inventive genius. The most popular of his poems is the ballad of Cumnor Hall, that suggested to Scott his romance of Kenilworth, to which he would have given the name of Cumnor Hall, had it not been for his publisher. His song of The Mariner's Wife is regarded one of almost unequalled beauty and pathos.
THE dews of summer night did fall,
Now nought was heard beneath the skies -
Save an unhappy lady's sighs,
That issued from that lonely pile.
"Leicester!" she cried, "is this thy love,
"No more thou com'st, with lover's speed, Thy once beloved bride to see; But be she alive, or be she dead,
I fear, stern earl, 's the same to thee.
"Not so the usage I received,
"I rose up with the cheerful morn,
No lark so blithe, no flower more gay; And, like the bird that haunts the thorn, So merrily sung, the live-long day.
"If that my beauty is but small, Among court ladies all despised,
Why didst thou rend it from that hall,
Where, scornful earl, it well was prized?
"And when you first to me made suit, How fair I was, you oft would say ! And, proud of conquest, plucked the fruit, Then left the blossom to decay.
"Yes, now neglected and despised,
"For know, when sickening grief doth prey, And tender love 's repaid with scorn,
The sweetest beauty will decay;
What floweret can endure the storm?
"At court, I'm told, is beauty's throne, Where every lady 's passing rare ; That eastern flowers, that shame the sun, Are not so glowing, nor so fair.
Then, earl, why didst thou leave the beds
To seek a primrose, whose pale shades
'Mong rural beauties, I was one;
Among the fields, wild-flowers are fair; Some country swain might me have won, And thought my beauty passing rare.
When some fair princess might be thine?
'Why didst thou praise my humble charms,
And, oh! then leave them to decay?
Why didst thou win me to thy arms,
Then leave me to mourn the live-long day?
"The village maidens of the plain
"The simple nymphs! they little know
"How far less blessed am I than them,
"Nor, cruel earl! can I enjoy
The humble charms of solitude;
"Last night, as sad I chanced to stray,
"And now, while happy peasants sleep,
"My spirits flag, my hopes decay;
Still that dread death-bell smites my ear;
And many a body seems to say,
Countess, prepare-thy end is near.'"
Thus sore and sad that lady grieved,
And ere the dawn of day appeared,
The death-bell thrice was heard to ring,
The mastiff howled at village door,
The oaks were shattered on the green;
Woe was the hour, for never more
That hapless countess ere was seen.
And in that manor now no more
Have spirits haunted Cumnor Hall.
The village maids, with fearful glance,
Full many a traveller has sighed,
THE MARINER'S WIFE.
BUT are ye sure the news is true?
Is this a time to think o' wark?
Ye jauds, fling by your wheel!
For there's nae luck about the house,
There 's nae luck at a',
There 's nae luck about the house,
When our gudeman 's awa'.
Is this a time to think o' wark,
When Colin 's at the door?
Rax down my cloak!
I'll to the quay,
And see him come ashore.
Rise up and make a clean fireside,
Put on the mickle pat;
Gie little Kate her cotton goun,
And Jock his Sunday's coat.