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Poem by Anne Grant

Sent to a Young Noblema

HEAR, princely youth, th' unletter'd rustic Muse,
Nor the poor widow's proffer'd gift refuse;
Though mean the gift, yet, form'd with matchless art,
That Muse its secret virtues shall impart:
When dark eclipse obscur'd the lab'ring moon,
The fleece was shorn that form'd the wondrous boon;
Spun by a Sybil of the former age,
By Nature wise, by long experience sage;
Whose eyes first open'd on the circling sun,
When Namur was by thund'ring NASSAU won.
The bone that for a distaff serv'd the dame,
Was Clessamor's , of old Fingalian fame;
The sanguine stream that dyed the crimson part,
Once warm'd a Highland Hero's generous heart:
Gaunt Death and giant Danger stood aloof,
While grim Volkyriæ, form'd the dusky woof;
As o'er their looms in vision rapt they hung,
Thus in prophetic strains the virgins sung:--
'Safe in every bloody field,
Whom with mystic art we shield,
While our zones enclasp each limb,
Danger vainly frowns on him.
Not the force of frantic Gaul
E'er can work our hero's fall,
While his free and towering mind
No ties but those of honour bind,
And mystic bands knit fast below,
Strike with terror every foe;
Throw the shuttle, strain the warp,
Fiery missive weapons sharp
Ne'er the favour'd Chief can wound,
Whose limbs our wondrous gifts have bound.'
Thus sung the Sisters, who with joy behold
You choose the path your fathers trod of old.
Go on, brave Youth, but shun the syren bowers
By Vice and Folly deck'd with tawdry flowers;
The toilsome path with stedfast ardour climb,
Where Fame's imperial dome aspires sublime;
There join the brave, the worthy, and the wise,
And the low sons of little men despise.
Fair THETIS ' son, arm'd in celestial steel,
Had still, they say, a vulnerable heel:
Thus you, protected by the Sybil's art,
Perhaps have still a vulnerable heart,
Where Beauty's eyes a deadly glance may dart.
Yet can those charmed bands your breast secure
From the slight arts that youthful minds allure,
The practis'd artifice, the purchas'd smile,
The glance ambiguous, and insidious wile.
Thrice happy they who gloriously expire,
Touch'd by the beam of pure celestial fire.
Such be thy fate,--be thou the envied prize
Of brightest virtues beam'd through brightest eyes!
Dash from thee CIRCE'S cup, and nobly own
That truth and constancy deserve alone
The blessings of the Sybil's hallow'd zone.
Thus sings the mountain Muse to you alone,
Nor must her song to vulgar eyes be shown;
Nor will she deign to pour her mystic strain
In the gross aperture of ears profane.
Observe her caution, and conceal her verse,
So shall her future lays your future deeds rehearse:
The mountain echoes, pleas'd, shall hear the sound,
Old heroes ghosts shall lean from clouds around,
To hail the blooming Chief, with early laurels, crown'd! 

Anne Grant

Anne Grant's other poems:
  1. Eighteen Hundred and Thirteen
  2. To Miss Dunbar of Boath
  3. The Nymph of the Fountain
  4. On the Death of Burns
  5. Blue Bell of Scotland

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