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The lonely mountains o'er,
And the resounding shore,
From haunted spring, and dale
Edged with poplar pale, The parting Genius is with sighing sent: With flower-inwoven tresses torn, The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.
In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,
In urns, and altars round,
A drear and dying sound
Peor and Baalim
Forsake their temples dim,
And mooned Ashtaroth,
Heaven's queen and mother both, Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine; The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn, In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.*
The Bishop of Dunkeld would, probably, have rested his defence, as his encomiasts may still be inclined to do, upon the plea, that the Palace of Honour is a vision or dream; that dreams are remarkable for their wild transitions, confined within no rules of waking realities, and becoming only the more natural as they assume more mixed, multiform, and extravagant phases. this is true; but there is little in the defence which can excuse the no doubt unintentional insult offered to the feelings of a pious reader. Whilst our souls are pent in mortal clay, we may, and too often are, visited by dreams, which ought not to be written: but we can have no excuse if, when awake, we communicate these extravagant and sinful fancies to others, and insist on writing what cannot, without injury, be read.
* Milton's Ode on the Nativity,
On entering the Palace of Honour, the poet beholds Venus seated on a splendid throne, having before her a magic mirror, supported by three golden trees :
Bot straicht before Venus' visage, but let
This mirror reflects the shadowy train of past ages, the most remarkable events recorded in history float over its surface,--and the poet, of course, beholds an infinite variety of incongruous personages ; amongst the ancient warlike worthies, the supporters of the authenticity of Ossian will be pleased to discover the mighty Fingal, and Gaul the son of Morni; Great Gowmakmore, and Fyn Mac Cowl; and how
Thai suld be goddis in Ireland, as thai say. It reflects, also, the necromantic tricks of the famous Roger Bacon and other astrologers, who seen diverting themselves by many subtle grass.
points of juggling, changing a nutmeg into a monk, and a penny pie into a parish church :
The necromancy there saw I eke anone,
With many subtel point of jugglery;
Of a nutmeg they made a monk in hy';
A parish kirk out of ane penny pie: And Benytas of ane mussil made an ape, With many other subtle mow and jaip2.
What connexion these amusements of the astrologers are supposed to have with the Palace of Honour, it would be hopeless to inquire. The poet now presses on to an eminence, from which he beholds the attempts of the multitude to scale its walls, and the disasters with which they are accompanied Equity stands as warder on the battlements, denouncing vengeance against Envy, Falsehood, and Covetousness; Patience officiates as porter, and instantly admits him and his conductress. We shall give the description of the palace, and the monarch, King Honour, who inhabits it, in his own words :
The durris and the windors all were breddit 3
With burnist evir“, baith pallice and touris,
, anamalit all colouris,
And to proceed, my nymphe and I furth went
And ten stages of topaz did ascend ;
That ever on earth a wretched caitiff kend.
Micht not behald their verteous gudeliness.
Of diamontis and rubeis as I ges,
Of bernist gold couchit with precious stanis ;
He smote me doune, and brissito all my banis
And in the clois full softlie laid me down ;
Me till awak wes still that lady boun",
Bu merry, man, quoth scho, the worst is past. i looked in at a window. o various.
3 without injury. * roof.
5 boards. burnished. 7 looked. & bruised. bones.
'll wholesome. 18 that lady was busied-or intent to wake me. deadly.
It will be perceived that the description, although beautiful, is, to the general reader, more thickly sown with obscure words than the poetry of Dunbar or Henrysoun. This must plead our excuse for attempting to present it in a modern garb. In high relief of rich and massive gold,
The borders round the doors and windows shone; Each tower and turret, beauteous to behold,
Of polish'd ivory form'd-ne was there one That did not show inlaid its walls upon
Bright shapes of birds, midst sweet enamell’d flowers, And curious knots, carv'd in the snow-white bone,
With matchless cunning by the artist's powers.--So perfect and so pure were Honor’s lordly bowers. But pass we on-the nymph and I did wend
Straight to the hall--and climb'd a radiant stair, Form'd
all of topaz clear—from end to end.The gate was shut-but through a lattice there Of beryl, gazing, a transcendant glare
Broke dazzlingly on mine astonished sight.A room I saw—but oh, what tongue shall dare
To paint that chamber, so surpassing bright! Sure never such a view was given to mortal wight. From every part combin'd, roof, wall, and floor,
A flood of light most gloriously was cast; And as the stream upon mine eyes gan pour,
Blinded I stood awhile : that sight surpast Aught that in Eastern story read thou hast
of richest palace, or of gorgeous stall;
On diamond pillars, tall as any mast, Clustering, and bound with ropes of rubies all, The sapphire arches leant of that celestial hall. The very benches, forms, and footstools mean,
Were shap'd of smaragdine and precious stone, And on the carpet brilliant groups were seen
Of heroes old, whose steely corslets shone
Embost with jewels ;-near them, on a throne Sat Honor, mighty prince, with look severe,