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SELIM'S SOLILOQUY BEFORE THE INSURRECTION,
Selim. Now sleep and silence Brood o'er the city. The devoted centinel Now takes his lonely stand; and idly dreams Of that to-morrow he shall never see ! In this dread interval, O busy thought, From outward things descend into thyself! Search' deep my heart! bring with thee awful con
science, And firm resolve! that, in the approaching hour Of blood and horror, I may stand unmoved ; Nor fear to strike where justice calls, nor dare To strike where she forbids !-Why bear I, then, This dark, insidious dagger ?—'Tis the badge Of vile assassins; of the coward hand That dares not meet its foe.-Detested thought ! Yetmas foul lust and murder, though on thrones Triumphant, still retain their hell-born quality; So justice, groaning beneath countless wrongs, Quits not her spotless and celestial nature; But, in' the unhallowed murderer's disguise, Can sanctify this steel !
BORN 1746.-DIED 1767.
MICHAEL BRUCE was born in the parish of Kinneswood, in Kinross-shire, Scotland. His father was by trade a weaver, who out of his scanty earnings had the merit of affording his son an education at the grammar-school of Kinross, and at the university of Edinburgh. Michael was delicate from his childhood, but shewed an early disposition for study, and a turn for poetry, which was encouraged by some of his neighbours lending him a few of the most popular English poets. The humblest individuals who have befriended genius deserve to be gratefully mentioned. The first encouragers to whom Bruce shewed his poetical productions were a Mr. Arnot, a farmer on the banks of Lochleven, and one David Pearson, whose occupation is not described. In his sixteenth year he went to the university of Edinburgh, where after the usual course of attendance, he entered on the study of divinity, intending, probably, to be a preacher in the Burgher sect of dissenters, to whom his parents belonged. Between the latter sessions, which he attended at college, he taught a small school at Gairney Bridge, in the neighbourhood of his native place, and afterwards at Forest-Hill, near Allan, in Clackmannanshire. This is nearly the whole of his sad and short history. At the latter place he was seized with a deep consumption, the progress of which in his constitution had always inclined him to melancholy. Under the toils of a day and evening school, and without the comforts that might have mitigated disease, he mentions his situation to a friend in a touching but resigned manner-" I had expected,” he says, “ to be happy here, but my sanguine hopes are the reason of my disappointment.” He had cherished sanguine hopes of happiness, poor youth! in his little village-school; but he seems to have been ill encouraged by his employers, and complains that he had no company, but what was worse than solitude. “I believe," he adds, " if I had not a lively imagination I should fall into a state of stupidity or delirium." now coinposing his poem on Lochleven, in which he describes himself,
“ Amid unfertile wilds, recording thus
During the winter he quitted his school, and returning to his father's house, lingered on for a few months till he expired, in his twenty-first year. During the spring he wrote an elegy on the prospect of his own dissolution, a most interesting relic of his amiable feelings and fortitude.
FROM THE ELEGY ON SPRING.
Now spring returns: but not to me returns
The vernal joy my better years have known; Dim in my breast life's dying taper burns,
And all the joys of life with health are flown.
Starting and shiv'ring in th' inconstant wind,
Meagre and pale, the ghost of what I was, Beneath some blasted tree I lie reclin'd,
And count the silent moments as they pass :
The winged moments, whose unstaying speed
No art can stop, or in their course arrest; Whose flight shall shortly count me with the dead,
And lay me down in peace with them that rest.
Oft morning dreams presage approaching fate;
And morning dreams, as poets tell, are true. Led by pale ghosts, I enter death's dark gate,
And bid the realms of light and life adieu.
I hear the helpless wail, the shriek of woe;
I see the muddy wave, the dreary shore, The sluggish streams that slowly creep below,
Which mortals visit, and return no more.
Farewell, ye blooming fields! ye cheerful plains !
Enough for me the churchyard's lonely mound, Where melancholy with still silence reigns,
And the rank grass waves o'er the cheerless ground.
There let me wander at the close of eve,
When sleep sits dewy on the labourer's eyes ; The world and all its busy follies leave,
And talk with wisdom where my Daphnis lies.
There let me sleep forgotten in the clay,
When death shall shut these weary aching eyes, Rest in the hopes of an eternal day,
Till the long night is gone, and the last morn arise.
Now sober Industry, illustrious power!
Fair from his band, behold the village rise,