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From Yair,—which hills so closely bind,
Scarce can the Tweed his passage find,
Though much he fret, and chafe, and toil,
Till all his eddying currents boil,-
Her long descended lord is gone,
And left us by the stream alone.
And much I miss those sportive boys,
Companions of my mountain joys,
Just at the age 'twixt boy and youth,
When thought is speech, and speech is truth.
Close to my side, with what delight
They press'd to hear of Wallace wight,
When, pointing to his airy mound,
I call’d his ramparts holy ground !
Kindled their brows to hear me speak;
And I have smiled, to feel my cheek,
Despite the difference of our years,
Return again the glow of theirs.
Ah, happy boys ! such feelings pure,
They will not, cannot long endure;
Condemn'd to stem the world's rude tide,
You may not linger by the side;
For Fate shall thrust you from the shore,
And passion ply the sail and oar.
Yet cherish the remembrance still,
Of the lone mountain, and the rill ;
For trust, dear boys, the time will come,
When fiercer transport shall be dumb,
And you will think right frequently,
But, well I hope, without a sigh,
On the free hours that we have spent,
Together, on the brown hill's bent.
When, musing on companions gone,
We doubly feel ourselves alone,
Something, my friend, we yet may gain,
There is a pleasure in this pain :
It soothes the love of lonely rest,
Deep in each gentler heart impress'd.
'Tis silent amid worldly toils,
140 And stifled soon by mental broils ; But, in a bosom thus prepared, Its still small voice is often heard, Whispering a mingled sentiment, 'Twixt resignation and content.
145 Oft in my mind such thoughts awake, By lone Saint Mary's silent lake; Thou know'st it well,—nor fen, nor sedge, Pollute the pure lake's crystal edge; Abrupt and sheer, the mountains sink
150 At once upon the level brink; And just a trace of silver sand Marks where the water meets the land. Far in the mirror, bright and blue, Each hill's huge outline you may view;
155 Shaggy with heath, but lonely bare, Nor tree, nor bush, nor brake, is there, Save where, of land, yon slender line Bears thwart the lake the scatter'd pine. Yet even this nakedness has power,
160 And aids the feeling of the hour : Nor thicket, dell, nor copse you spy, Where living thing conceald might lie ; Nor point, retiring, hides a dell, Where swain, or woodman lone, might dwell; 165 There's nothing left to fancy's guess, You see that all is loneliness : And silence aids—though the steep hills Send to the lake a thousand rills ; In summer tide, so soft they weep, .
170 The sound but lulls the ear asleep ; Your horse's hoof-lread sounds too rude, So stilly is the solitude.
Nought living meets the eye or ear,
But well I ween the dead are near;
For though, in feudal strife, a foe
Hath laid Our Lady's chapel low,
Yet still, beneath the hallow'd soil,
The peasant rests him from his toil,
And, dying, bids his bones be laid,
Where erst his simple fathers pray'd.
If age had tamed the passions' strife,
And fate had cut my ties to life,
Here have I thought, 'twere sweet to dwell,
And rear again the chaplain's cell,
Like that same peaceful hermitage,
Where Milton long'd to spend his age.
'Twere sweet to mark the setting day,
On Bourhope's lonely top decay ;
And, as it faint and feeble died
On the broad lake, and mountain's side,
To say, 'Thus pleasures fade away;
Youth, talents, beauty thus decay,
And leave us dark, forlorn, and grey;'
Then gaze on Dryhope's ruin’d tower,
And think on Yarrow's faded Flower:
And when that mountain-sound I heard,
Which bids us be for storm prepared,
The distant rustling of his wings,
As up his force the Tempest brings,
'Twere sweet, ere yet his terrors rave,
To sit upon the Wizard's grave;
That Wizard Priest's, whose bones are thrust,
From company of holy dust;
On which no sunbeam ever shines-
(So superstition's creed divines) -
Thence view the lake, with sullen roar,
Heave her broad billows to the shore;
And mark the wild-swans mount the gale,
Spread wide through mist their snowy sail,
And ever stoop again, to lave
Their bosoms on the surging wave;
Then, when against the driving hail
No longer might my plaid avail,
Back to my lonely home retire,
And light my lamp, and trim my fire;
There ponder o'er some mystic lay,
Till the wild tale had all its sway,
And, in the bittern's distant shriek,
I heard unearthly voices speak,
And thought the Wizard Priest was come,
To claim again his ancient home!
And bade my busy fancy range,
To frame him fitting shape and strange,
Till from the task my brow I cleard,
And smiled to think that I had fear'd.
But chief, 'twere sweet to think such life, (Though but escape from fortune's strife,) Something most matchless good and wise, A great and grateful sacrifice;
230 And deem each hour, to musing given, A step upon the road to heaven.
Yet him, whose heart is ill at ease,
Such peaceful solitudes displease ;
He loves to drown his bosom's jar
Amid the elemental war:
And my black Palmer's choice had been
Some ruder and more savage scene,
Like that which frowns round dark Loch-skene.
There eagles scream from isle to shore ;
Down all the rocks the torrents roar;
O’er the black waves incessant driven,
Dark mists infect the summer heaven;
Through the rude barriers of the lake,
Away its hurrying waters break,
Faster and whiter dash and curl,
Till down yon dark abyss they hurl.
Rises the fog-smoke white as snow,
Thunders the viewless stream below,
Diving, as if condemn'd to lave
Some demon's subterranean cave,
Who, prison'd by enchanter's spell,
Shakes the dark rock with groan and yell.
And well that Palmer's form and mien
Had suited with the stormy scene,
Just on the edge, straining his ken
To view the bottom of the den,
Where, deep deep down, and far within,
Toils with the rocks the roaring linn ;
Then, issuing forth one foamy wave,
And wheeling round the Giant's Grave,
White as the snowy charger's tail,
Drives down the pass of Moffatdale.
Marriott, thy harp, on Isis strung, To many a Border theme has rung: Then list to me, and thou shalt know Of this mysterious Man of Woe.