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GLEN-ALMAIN ; OR, THE NARROW GLEN.
In this still place, remote from men,
Sleeps Ossian, in the Narrow Glen;
In this still place, where murmurs on
But one meek streamlet, only one :
He sang of battles, and the breath
Of stormy war, and violent death;
And should, methinks, when all was past,
Have rightfully been laid at last
Where rocks were rudely heaped, and rent
As by a spirit turbulent ;
Where sights were rough, and sounds were wild,
And everything unreconciled ;
In some complaining, dim retreat,
For fear and melancholy meet ;
But this is calm ; there cannot be
A more entire tranquillity.
Does then the bard sleep here indeed ?
Or is it but a groundless creed ?
What matters it ?-I blame them not
Whose fancy in this only spot
Was moved ; and in this way expressed
Their notion of its perfect rest.
A convent, even a hermit's cell
Would break the silence of this dell :
It is not quiet, is not ease;
But something deeper far than these :
The separation that is here
Is of the grave : and of austere
Yet happy feelings of the dead :
And, therefore, was it rightly said
That Ossian, last of all his race,
Lies buried in this lonely place.
( At Inversnaid, upon Loch Lomond.)
Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower !
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head :
And these gray rocks; this household lawn;
These trees, a veil just half withdrawn ;
Th fall of water, that doth make
A murmur near the silent lake;
This little bay, a quiet road,
That holds in shelter thy abode ;
In truth, together do ye seem
Like something fashioned in a dream;
Such forms as from their covert peep
When earthly cares are laid asleep !
Yet dream and vision as thou art,
I bless thee with a human heart !
God shield thee to thy latest years !
I neither know thee nor thy peers ;
And yet my eyes are fill'd with tears.
With earnest feeling I shall pray
For thee when I am far away :
For never saw I mien or face,
In which more plainly I could trace
Benignity and home-bred sense
Ripening in perfect innocence.
Here, scattered like a random seed,
Remote from men, thou dost not need
The embarrassed look of shy distress,
And maidenly shamefacedness;
Thou wearest upon thy forehead clear
The freedom of a mountaineer,
A face with gladness overspread !
Sweet looks, by human kindness bred I
And seemliness complete, that sways
Thy courtesies, about thee plays;
With no restraint but such as springs
From quick and eager visitings
Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach
Of thy few words of English speech ;
A bondage sweetly brooked, a strife
That gives thy gestures grace and life !
So have I, not unmoved in mind,
Seen birds of tempest-loving kind,
Thus beating up against the wind.
What hand but would a garland cull
For thee, who art so beautiful ?
Oh, happy pleasure ! here to dwell
Beside thee in some heathy dell;
Adopt your homely ways and dress,
A shepherd, thou a shepherdess !
But I could frame a wish for thee
More like a grave reality :
Thou art to me but as a wave
Of the wild sea ; and I would have
Some claim upon thee, if I could,
Though but of common neighbourhood.
What joy to hear thee, and to see !
Thy elder brother I would be,
Thy father, anything to thee !
Now thanks to Heaven ! that of its grace
Hath led me to this lonely place.
Joy have I had ; and going hence
I bear away my recompence.
In spots like these it is we prize
Our memory, feel that she hath eyes;
Then, why should I be loath to stir ?
I feel this place was made for her ;
To give new pleasures like the past,
Continued long as life shall last.
Nor am I loath, though pleased at heart,
Sweet Highland girl ! from thee to part ;
For I, methinks, till I grow old,
As fair before me shall behold,
As I do now, the cabin small,
The lake, the bay, the waterfall ;
And thee, the spirit of them all !