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- The dews of summer night did fall,
The moon, sweet regent of the sky,
Silvered the walls of Cumnor Hall
And many an oak that grew thereby.
- Cumnor Hall (1784), st. 1. Compare: "Jove, thou regent of the skies", Alexander Pope, The Odyssey, book ii, line 42; "Now Cynthia, named fair regent of the night", John Gay, Trivia, book iii; "And hail their queen, fair regent of the night", Charles Darwin, The Botanic Garden, part i, canto ii, line 90.
- This ballad was the inspiration for Walter Scott's Kenilworth.
- But are ye sure the news is true—
And are ye sure he's weel?
Is this a time to think o' wark?—
Ye jades, fling by your wheel!
- The Mariner's Wife (1769), st. 1
- For there's nae luck about the house,
There's nae luck at a';
There's little pleasure in the house
When our gudeman's awa'.
- The Mariner's Wife (1769)
- His very foot has music in't
As he comes up the stairs.
- The Mariner's Wife (1769), st. 5
- And will I see his face again!
And will I hear him speak!
- The Mariner's Wife (1769), st. 5
- The present moment is our ain,
The neist we never saw!
- The Mariner's Wife (1769), st. 6
The Lusiads (1776)Edit
- The Lusiad Or, The Discovery of India: an Epic Poem, Mickle's translation of Camoes's The Lusiads (1572).
- Arms and the Heroes, who from Lisbon's shore,
Thro' Seas where sail was never spread before,
Beyond where Ceylon lifts her spicy breast,
And waves her woods above the watery waste,
With prowess more than human forc'd their way
To the fair kingdoms of the rising day:
What wars they wag'd, what seas, what dangers past,
What glorious empire crown'd their toils at last,
Vent'rous I sing, on soaring pinions borne,
And all my country's wars the song adorn.
What Kings, what Heroes of my native land
Thunder'd on Asia's and on Afric's strand:
Illustrious shades, who levell'd in the dust
The idol temples and the shrines of lust;
And where, erewhile, foul demons were rever'd,
To Holy Faith unnumber'd altars rear'd:
Illustrious names, with deathless laurels crown'd,
While time rolls on in every clime renown'd!
Let Fame with wonder name the Greek no more,
What lands he saw, what toils at sea he bore;
No more the Trojan's wandering voyage boast,
What storms he brav'd on many a per'lous coast:
No more let Rome exult in Trajan's name,
Nor Eastern conquests Ammon's pride proclaim;
A nobler hero's deeds demand my lays
Than e'er adorn'd the song of ancient days;
Illustrious GAMA, whom the waves obey'd,
And whose dread sword the fate of empire sway'd.
- Book I, opening lines.
- The moon, full orb'd, forsakes her watery cave,
And lifts her lovely head above the wave.
The snowy splendours of her modest ray
Stream o'er the glistening waves, and quivering play:
Around her, glittering on the heaven's arched brow,
Unnumber'd stars, enclosed in azure, glow,
Thick as the dew-drops of the April dawn,
Or May-flowers crowding o'er the daisy-lawn:
The canvas whitens in the silvery beam,
And with a mild pale red the pendants gleam:
The masts' tall shadows tremble o'er the deep;
The peaceful winds a holy silence keep;
The watchman's carol, echo'd from the prows,
Alone, at times, awakes the still repose.
- Book I.
- O piteous lot of man's uncertain state!
What woes on Life's unhappy journey wait!
When joyful Hope would grasp its fond desire,
The long-sought transports in the grasp expire.
By sea what treacherous calms, what rushing storms,
And death attendant in a thousand forms!
By land what strife, what plots of secret guile,
How many a wound from many a treacherous smile!
O where shall man escape his numerous foes,
And rest his weary head in safe repose!
- Book I, closing lines.
- Ah! fraudful malice! how shall wisdom's care
Escape the poison of thy gilded snare!
- Book II.
- The beauteous queen to heaven now darts away;
In vain the weeping nymphs implore her stay:
Behind her now the morning star she leaves,
And the sixth heaven her lovely form receives.
Her radiant eyes such living splendors cast,
The sparkling stars were brighten'd as she past,
... Adown her neck, more white than virgin snow,
Of softest hue the golden tresses flow;
Her heaving breasts of purer, softer white,
Than snow hills glistening in the moon's pale light,
Except where covered by the sash, were bare,
And love, unseen, smil'd soft, and panted there.
Nor less the zone the god's fond zeal employs,
The zone awakes the flames of secret joys.
As ivy tendrils, round her limbs divine
Their spreading arms the young desires entwine:
Below her waist, and quivering on the gale,
Of thinnest texture flows the silken veil:
(Ah! where the lucid curtain dimly shows,
With doubled fires the roving fancy glows!)
The hand of modesty the foldings threw,
Nor all conceal'd, nor all was given to view.
- Book II; of Venus.
Almada Hill (1781)Edit
- O'er Tago's banks where'er I roll mine eyes,
The gallant deeds of ancient days arise;
The scenes the Lusian Muses fond display'd
Before me oft, as oft at eve I stray'd
By Isis' hallowed stream. Oft now the strand
Where Gama march'd his death-devoted band,
While Lisboa awed with horror saw him spread
The daring sails that first to India led;
And oft Almada's castled steep inspires
The pensive Muse's visionary fires;
Almada Hill to English Memory dear,
While shades of English heroes wander here!
To ancient English valour sacred still
Remains, and ever shall, Almada Hill;
The hill and lawns to English valour given,
What time the Arab Moors from Spain were driven,
Before the banners of the Cross subdued,
When Lisboa's towers were bathed in Moorish blood
By Gloster's lance.—Romantic days that yield
Of gallant deeds a wide luxuriant field,
Dear to the Muse that loves the fairy plains.
Where ancient honour wild and ardent reigns.
Quotes about MickleEdit
- [There's nae luck about the house] is positively the finest love ballad in that style in the Scottish or perhaps any other language.
- Robert Burns, in The Works of Robert Burns (1831), p. 213.
- I am glad, Sir, it has fallen into your hands.
- I have had occasion lately to look into Mickle's translation of the Lusiad. It is easily and gracefully versified, but properly speaking is not a translation, but a very free paraphrase, or rifacimento of the original. I have been amazed to find what long passages of his own the writer has interpolated into the work. He does not even follow the division into stanzas, but recasts the whole into English couplets. This, to me, is a fatal error.
- Mickle, with a vein of great facility, united a power of verbal melody which might have been envied by bards of much greater renown.
- Walter Scott, Historical Ballads (1807), p. 69.
- Mr. Mickle's translation [Lusiad] promises well to stand in competition with any made in the English language. His characters are well preserved and strongly marked; his speeches have great force and spirit, his descriptions are masterly and sublime; his verse is written in a nervous and lofty diction, and in a fine harmony of numbers.
- D. Z., "An Essay on Translation" in Gentleman's Magazine (August 1771).