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SCOTLAND

ROBERT BURNS

O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!

For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent! Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil

Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!
5 And, O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!

Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand a wall of fire around their much-loved isle.

NOTES

“Scotland” is an extract from “The Cotter's Saturday Night.”

1 Scotia. “Land of Scots” — from Scotus, Scot. A name given to Scotland.

174

SONG OF THE MYSTIC*

REV. ABRAM J. RYAN

Rev. Abram Joseph Ryan, the poet-priest, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, August 15, 1839. When he was about seven years of age, his parents moved to St. Louis, where he was placed in school. Even as a boy, he had a fine mind, and his deeply religious tendency led him to study for the priesthood. Just after his consecration as a priest, in 1861, he joined the Confederate Army, serving throughout the war either as chaplain or soldier. After the war he continued his priestly service in various Southern cities, and besides ministering to the unfortunate, founded and edited literary and religious journals, and wrote verses. He died in Louisville, Kentucky, April 22, 1886.

I walk down the Valley of Silence --

Down the dim, voiceless valley --- alone!
And I hear not the fall of a footstep

Around me, save God's and my own;
And the hush of my heart is as holy

As hovers where angels have flown!

5

Long ago was I weary of voices

Where music my heart could not win;
Long ago was I weary of noises

That fretted my soul with their din;
Long ago was I weary of places

Where I met but the human — and sin.

10

I walked in the world with the worldly;

I craved what the world never gave; *Reprinted by permission of the publishers, P. J. Kenedy & Sons, New York City,

15

And I said: "In the world each Ideal,

That shines like a star on life's wave,
Is wrecked on the shores of the Real,

And sleeps like a dream in the grave."

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20

And still did I pine for the perfect,

And still found the False with the True;
I sought ʼmid the Human for Heaven,

But caught a mere glimpse of its blue;
And I wept when the clouds of the Mortal
Veiled even that glimpse from my view.

.

25

And I toiled on, heart-tired of the Human,

And I moaned 'mid the mazes of men,
Till I knelt, long ago, at an altar

And I heard a voice call me. Since then
I walk down the Valley of Silence

That lies far beyond mortal ken.

30

Do you ask what I found in the Valley?

'Tis my trysting place with the Divine.
And I fell at the feet of the Holy,

And above me a Voice said, "Be mine."
And there arose from the depths of my spirit

An echo “My heart shall be thine.”

35

Do you ask how I live in the Valley?

I weep -- and I dream — and I pray.
But my tears are as sweet as the dew-drops

That fall on the roses in May:
And my prayer, like the perfume from censers,

Ascendeth to God night and day.

40

In the hush of the Valley of Silence

I dream all the songs that I sing;

45

And the music floats down the dim Valley,

Till each finds a word for a wing,
That to hearts, like the Dove of the Deluge,

A message of peace they may bring.

50

But far on the deep there are billows

That never shall break on the beach;
And I have heard songs in the silence

That never shall float into speech;
And I have had dreams in the Valley

Too lofty for language to reach.

55

And I have seen thoughts in the Valley –

Ah, me! how my spirit was stirred!
And they wear holy veils on their faces,

Their footsteps can scarcely be heard;
They pass through the Valley like Virgins

Too pure for the touch of a word!

60

Do you ask me the place of the Valley,

Ye hearts that are harrowed by care?
It lieth afar between mountains,

And God and His angels are there:
And one is the dark mount of Sorrow,

And one the bright mountain of Prayer.

65

HELPS FOR STUDY

What is the meaning of "mystic"?
Do you think this poem relates a personal experience of the poet?
Of what had he grown weary?
Explain “I craved what the world never gave.”
What is the “Real”?
Explain “mortal ken.”
Explain “trysting place with the Divine.”
To what does the “Dove of the Deluge” refer?

Explain “harrowed by care."

Why do you think the poet places the Valley between the two mountains which he names “Sorrow” and “Prayer”?

ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS

The Sword of Robert Lee
In Memory of My Brother
March of the Deathless Dead
The Land We Love
A Memory
The Old Year and the New Year
The Conquered Banner

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