…another bard started from his seat, and with a violent bound dashed into the middle of the circle. He seemed to labour with all the inspiration of poetry, and to be agitated by some mighty thoughts. For some time he spoke not; and meanwhile my friend took occasion to inform me, that this bard had published some odes which were supposed to be very fine, but they were too sublime for vulgar comprehension. He had also written an elegy to an ass, which was more level to its subject, but it was on the ode he prided himself. He had formerly, he said, been of Cambridge, but enlisted as a private of dragoons: he had often been known to harangue his comrades on themes of liberty, and had endeavoured to inspire them with the free spirit of the citizens of the ancient republics, to which he was enthusiastically devoted. His learning, which was various and classical, had astonished his officers, and on his real circumstances and quality being in consequence discovered, he had quitted the service. He still however, dreams of nothing but liberty, continued my friend, and talks of nothing but freedom. Not long ago, he read lectures on poetry at a fashionable institution, but, whether—At that instant the bard, without announcing his subject, which, however, it was afterwards agreed to entitle ‘The Breeches’, burst forth with the utmost vehemence into the following short ode. Breeches an Ode On some high mountain’s rugged top sublime, Where mortal tyrant never trod, Through all the rounds of time, Free as the unpolluted clod Fain would I sit bare breech’d! most fitly so, That the free wind might blow. It’s welcome rude, changing the native hue Of those unclothed parts from red to blue, And every rainbow tint and dye, Making sweet variety. I love such honest freedom, better far Than the false sunshine of the court, or smile Of fickle beauty earn’d by slavish suit, Keeping the free thought mute, In bondage vile As slaves of Turkey are. Breeches are masks, which none would wear, If all were honest, all were fair! Naked truth needs no disguise, Falsehood then in breeches lies, Therefore I love them not; But him most honest hold, who’s most a sans culotte. When thus bare-breech’d on high, Upon the mountain’s top ’mid purer air, Thinking sublimer thoughts I lie, Ask you, what I do there? Why, I would say, and I would sing Whate’er to sing or say I list, Till that ‘the winds in wonder whist’ Listen’d to my minstrelsing. And when ended was my strain,— I’d walk down again! 1 71I was no less delighted with this inimitable production itself than with the effect it seemed to have on those to whom it was immediately addressed. The countenances of the female part of the groupe were lit up with a wonderful expression of intelligence and animation: and so powerfully did it seem to work on the minstrel brotherhood, that from some preparatory motions, I began to suspect that a general denudation was about to take place; but this inclination was repressed by the ladies. It was some time before the violent sensations excited by the Breeches Ode had subsided, so that I had sufficient time to complete my copy of this also, before another bard arose.