Изображения страниц

Such thrilling voice was never heard In spring-time from the cuckoo-bird, Breaking the silence of the seas Among the farthest Hebrides.

STEPPING WESTWARD. (While my fellow-traveller and I were walking

by the side of Loch Katrine, one fine evening after sunset, in our road to a hut where, in the course of our tour, we had been hospitably entertained some weeks before, we met, in one of the loneliest parts of that solitary region, iwo well-dressed women, one of whom said to us, by way of greeting, “ What! you are stepping westward ?") " What! you are stepping westward ?"Twould be a wildish destiny,

("Yea." If we, who thus together roam In a strange land, and far from home, Were in this place the guests of chance : Yet who would stop, or fear to advance, Though home or shelter he had none, With such a sky to lead him on?

Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago :
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar maiter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again !

Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending ;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending :-
I listened-motionless and still ;
And as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

The dewy ground was dark and cold ;
Behind, all gloomy to behold;
And stepping westward seemed to be
A kind of heavenly destiny ;
I liked the greeting : 'twas a sound
Of something without place or bound;
And seemed to give me spiritual right
To travel through that region bright.

The voice was soft, and she who spake
Was walking by her native lake;
The salutation had to me
The very sound of courtesy :
Its power was felt; and while my eye
Was fixed upon the glowing sky,
The echo of the voice inwrought
A human sweetness with the thought
Of travelling through the world that lay
Before me in my endless way.


UPON LOCH AWE. “From the top of the hill a most impressive

scene opened upon our view,-a ruined castle on an island at some distance from the shore, backed by a cove of the mountain Cruachan, down which came a foaming stream. The castle occupied every foot of the island that was visible to us, appearing to rise out of the water,-mists rested upon the mountain side, with spots of sunshine , there was a mild desolation in the low-grounds, a solemn grandeur in the mountains, and the castle was wild, yet stately--not dismantled of turrets -nor the walls broken down, though obviously a ruin."-Extract from the Journal of

my Companion. Child of loud-throated war! the moun

tain stream Roars in thy hearing ; but thy hour of rest Is come, and thou art silent in thy age : Save when the winds sweep by and sounds

are caught Ambiguous, neither wholly thine nor theirs. Oh! there is life that breathes not : powers

there are That touch each other to the quick in modes Which the gross world no sense hath to perceive,

(care No soul to dream of. What art thou, from Cast off-abandoned by thy rugged sire, Nor by soft peace adopted ; though, in place And in dimension, such that thou mightst

THE SOLITARY REAPER. BEHOLD her, single in the field, Yon solitary Highland lass! Reaping and singing by herself; Stop here, or gently pass ! Alone she cuts, and binds the grain, And sings a melancholy strain ; Dh, listen ! for the vale profound Is overflowing with the sound. No nightingale did ever chant More welcome notes to weary bands Of travellers in some shady haunt, Among Arabian sands :



But a mere rootstool to yon sovereign lord, Heaven gave Rob Roy a dauntiess heart
Hugh Cruachan, (a thing that meaner hills And wondrous length and strength of arm:
Might crush, nor know that it had suffered Nor craved he more to quell his foes,
harm :)

Or keep his friends from harm.
Yet he, not loth, in favour of thy claims
To reverence suspends his own; submitting Yet was Rob Roy as wise as brave;
All that the God of nature hath conferred, Forgive me if the phrase be strong:-
All that he has in common with the stars, A poet worthy of Rob Roy
To the memorial majesty of time

Must scorn a timid song.
Impersonated in thy calm decay !

Say, then, that he was wise as brave;
Take, then, thy seat, vicegerent unreproved! | As wise in thought as bold in deed :
Now, while a farewell gleam of evening light For in the principles of things
Is fondly lingering on thy shattered front, He sought his moral creed.
Do thou, in turn, be paramount ; and rule
Over the pomp and beauty of a scene Said generous Rob." What reed of books?
Whose mountains, torrents, lake, and Burn all the statutes and their shelves :
woods, unite

[joined, They stir us up against our kind; To pay thee homage ; and with these are

And worse, against ourselves.
In willing admiration and respect,
Two hearts, which in thy presence might “We have a passion, make a law,
be called

(power, Too false to guide us or control ! Youthful as spring. Shade of departed And for the law itself we fight Skeleton of unfleshed humanity,


In bitterness of soul.
The chronicle were welcome that should
Into the compass of distinct regard

And, puzzled, blinded thus, we lose
The toils and struggles of thy infancy ! Distinctions that are plain and few :
Yon foaming food seems motionless as ice; These find I graven on my heart :
Its dizzy turbulence eludes the eye,

That tells me what to do.
Frozen by distance: so, majestic pile,
To the perception of this age, appear

The creatures see of flood and field,
Thy fierce beginnings, softened and subdued And those that travel on the wind !
And quieted in character ; the strife, With them no strife can last : they live
The pride, the fury uncontrollable,

In peace, and peace of mind.
Lost on the aérial heights of the Crusades !*

For why?-because the good old rule
Sufficeth them, the simple plan,

That they should take who have the power,

And they should keep who can. The history of Rob Roy is sufficiently known ;

"A lesson that is quickly learned, his

grave is near the head of Loch Katrine, in A signal this which all can see ! one of those small pinfold-like burial-grounds Thus nothing here provokes the strong of neglected and desolate appearance, which To wanton cruelty. the traveller meets with in the Highlands of Scotland.

All freakishness of mind is checked ; A FAMOUS man is Robin Hood,

He tamed, who foolishly aspires : The English ballad-singer's joy!

While to the measure of his might And Scotland has a thief as good,

Each fashions his desires. An outlaw of as daring mood;

· All kinds, and creatures, stand and fall She has her brave Rub Roy ! Then clear the weeds from off his grave,

By strength of prowess or of wit :

'Tis God's appointment who must sway And let us chant a passing stave

And who is to submit. In honour of that hero brave !

"Since, then, the rule of righi is plain, • The tradition is that the castle was built by

And longest life is but a day ; a lady during the absence of her lord in Pales. To have my ends, maintain my rights, tinc.

I'll take the shortest way.

[ocr errors]

And thus among these rocks he lived, And, had it been thy lot to live
Through summer heat and winter snow : With us who now behold the light,
The eagle, he was lord above,

Thou wouldst have nobly stirred thyself, And Rob was lord below.

And battled for the right. So was it-would, at least, have been

For thou wert still the poor man's stay, But through untowardness of fate :

The poor man's heart, the poor man's For polity was then too strong ;

hand; He came an age too late.

And all the oppressed, who wanted strength,

Had thine at their command.
Or shall we say an age too soon?
For, were the bold man living now, Bear witness many a pensive sigh
How might he flourish in his pride,
With buds on every bough!

Of thoughtful herdsman when he strays

Alone upon Loch Veol's heights,
Then rents and factors, rights of chase,

And by Loch Lomond's braes !
Sheriffs, and lairds and their domains,
Would all have seemed but paltry things.

And, far and near, through vale and hill,

Are faces that attest the same; Not worth a moment's pains.

The proud heart flashing through the eyes, Rob Roy had never lingered here,

At sound of Rob Roy's name.
To these few meagre vales confined ;
But thought how wide the world, the times
How fairly to his mind !

COMPOSED AT CASTLE. And to his sword he would have said, DEGENERATE Douglas ! oh, the unworthy “Do thou my sovereign will enact

lord !

(please, From land to land through half the earth! Whom mere despite of heart could so far Judge thou of law and fact !

And love of havoc (for with such disease

Fame taxes him) that he could send forth "Tis fit that we should do our part ;

word, Becoming, that mankind should learn To level with the dust a noble horde, That we are not to be surpassed

A brotherhood of venerable trees, In fatherly concern.

Leaving an ancient dome, and towers like

these, "Of old things all are over old,

Beggared and outraged !-Many hearts Of good things none are good enough :- deplored We'll show that we can help to frame The fate of those old trees; and oft with A world of other stuff.



The traveller, at this day, will stop and "I, too, will have my kings that take

On wrongs, which nature scarcely seems to From me the sign of life and death :

heed : Kingdoms shall shift about, like clouds, For sheltered places, bosoms, nooks, and Obedient to my breath."



And the pure mountains, and the gentle And, if the word had been fulfilled,

And the green silent pastures, yet remain. As might have been, then, thought of joy! France would have had her present boast; And we our own Rob Roy !

YARROW UNVISITED. Oh! say not so ; compare them not ; I would not wrong thee, champion brave ! (See the various poems the scene of which is

laid upon the banks of the Yarrow; in par. Would wrong thee nowhere ; least of all

ticular, the exquisite ballad of Hamilton, beHere standing by thy grave.

ginning For thou, although with some wild thoughts,

"Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny bonny bride,

Busk Wild chieftain of a savage clan !

busk ye,

ye, my winsume marrow !") Hadst this to boast of; thou didst love FROM Stirling Castle we had seen The liberty of man.

The mazy Forth unravelled ;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Had trod the banks of Clyde, and Tay, The treasured dreams of times Icng past,
And with the Tweed had travelled ; We'll keep them, winsome marrow !
And when we came to Clovenford, For when we're there, although tis 'sair,
Then said my winsome marrow,

'Twill be another Yarrow !
Whate'er betide, we'll turn aside,
And see the Braes of Yarrow."

“If care, with freezing years should come,

And wandering seem but folly. —
“Let Yarrow folk, frae Selkirk town, Should we be loth to stir from home,
Who have been buying, selling,

And yet be melancholy;
Go back to Yarrow, 'tis their own ;

Should life be dull, and spirits low,
Each maiden to her dwelling !

'Twill soothe us in our sorrow,
On Yarrow's banks let herons feed, That earth has something yet to show,
Hares couch, and rabbits burrcw!

The bonny holms of Yarrow !"
But we will downwards with the Tweed,
Nor turn aside to Yarrow.

There's Gala Water, Leader Haughs, IN THE PASS OF KILLICRANKIE,
Both lying right before us ;

And Dryburgh, where with chiming Tweed

The lintwhites sing in chorus ;
There's pleasant Teviotdale, a land Sıx thousand veterans practised in war's
Made blithe with plough, and harrow :

Why throw away a needsul day

Tried men at Killicrankie were arrayed To go in search of Yarrow?

Against an equal host that wore the plaid,

Shepherds and herdsmen.-Like a whirl“What's Yarrow but a river bare,

wind came

{flame; That glides the dark hills under ?

The Highlanders, the slaughter spread like There are a thousand such elsewhere

And Garry, thundering down his mountain
As worthy of your wonder."

Strange words they seemed of slight and was stopped, and could not breathe
My true love sighed for sorrow : (scorn : beneath the load
And looked me in the face, to think Of the dead bodies.—'Twas a day of shame
I thus could speak of Yarrow !

For them whom precept and the pedantry

Of cold mechanic battle do enslave.
"Oh! green,” said I, "are Yarrow's Oh, for a single hour of that Dundee,
And sweet is Yarrow flowing ! [holms, Who on that day the word of onset gave !
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock, * Like conquest would the men of England
But we will leave it growing.

see ;
O'er hilly path, and open strath,

And her foes find a like inglorious grave.
We'll wander Scotland thorough ;
But, though so near, we will not turn
Into the dale of Yarrow.

Let beeves and home-bred kine partake

The sweets of Burn-mill meadow ;
The swan on still St. Mary's Lake

(At Jedburgh, my companion and I went into Float double, swan and shadow !

private lodgings for a few days : and the fol.

lowing verses called forth by the We will not see them ; will not go,

character and domestic situation of our hosTo-day, nor yet to-morrow ;

tess.) Enough if in our hearts we know

Age! twine thy brows with fresh spring There's such a place as Yarrow.

" Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown !

And call a train of laughing hours ;
It must, or we shall rue it:

And bid them dance and bid them sing :
We have a vision of our own;

And thou, too, mingle in the ring !
Ah! why should we undo it?

Take to thy heart a new delight;
If not, make merry in despite

That there is one who scorns thy power :* See Hamilton's ballad, as above. But dance ! for under Jedburgh tower,


The more I looked, I wondered more-
And, while I scanned them o'er and o'er,
A moment gave me to espy
A trouble in her strong black eye ;
A remnant of uneasy light,
A flash of something over bright!
Nor long this mysiery did detain
My thoughts ; she told in pensive strain
That she had borne a heavy yoke,
Been stricken by a twofold stroke;
Ill health of body ; and had pined
Beneath worse ailments of the mind.

So be it !--but let praise ascend
To Him who is our Lord and friend !
Who from disease and suffering
Hath called for thee a second sprirg ;
Repaid thee for that sore distress
By no untimely joyousness ;
Which makes of thine a blissful state:
And cheers thy melancholy mate!

A matron dwells, who though she bears
Our mortal complement of years,
Lives in the light of youthful glee,
And she will dance and sing with thee.

Nay! start not at that figure- there!
Him who is rooted to his chair !
Look at him-look again ! for he
Hath long been of thy family.
With legs that move not, if they can,
And useless arms, a trunk of man,
He sits, and with a vacant eye ;
A sight to make a stranger sigh !
Deal, drooping, that is now his doom :
His world is in this single room ;
Is this a place for mirthful cheer?
Can merrymaking enter here?

The joyous woman is the mate
Of him in that forlorn estate !
He breathes a subterraneous damp;
But bright as vesper shines her lamp ;
He is as mute as Jedburgh tower ;
She jocund as it was of yore,
With all its bravery on ; in times
When all alive with merry chimes,
Upon a sun-bright morn of May,
It roused the vale to holiday.

I praise thee, matron ! and thy due
Is praise ; heroic praise, and true
With admiration I behold
Thy gladness unsubdued and bold :
Thy looks, thy gestures, all present
The picture of a life well spent :
This do I see ; and something more ;
A strength unthought of heretofore !
Delighted am I for thy sake ;
And yet a higher joy partake.
Our human nature throws away
Its second twilight, and looks gay ;
A land of promise and of pride
Unfolding, wide as life is wide.

Ah ! see her helpless charge ! inclosed
Within himself as seems, composed ;
To fear of loss, and hope of gain,
The strife of happiness and pain,
Utterly dead ! yet in the guise
Or little iníants, when their eyes
Begin to follow to and fro
The persons that before them go,
He tracks her motions, quick or slow.
Her bunyant spirit can prevail
Where common cheerfulness would fail ;
She strikes upon him with the heat
Of July suns : he feels it sweet ;
An animal delight, though dim!
Tis all that now remains for him !

Fly, some kind spirit, fly to Grasmere-dale, Say that we come, and come by this day's light ;

[height: Glad tidings !--spread them over field and But chiefly let one cottage hear the tale ; There let a mystery of joy prevail, The happy kitten bound with frolic might, And Rover whine, as at a second sight Of near-approaching good that shall not

fail; And from that infant's face let joy appear ; Yea, let our Mary s one companion child, That hath her six weeks' solitude beguiled With intimations manifold and dear, While we have wandered over wood and

wild, Smile on his mother now with bolder cheer.




Now we are tired of boisterous joy, Have romped enough, my little boy ! Jane hangs her head upon my breast, And you shall bring your stool and rest ;

This corner is your own. There ! take your seat, and let me see That you can listen quietly ; And, as I promised, I will tell Thai strange adventure which befel

A poor blind Highland boy.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »