« ForrigeFortsæt »
Some barrier with which Nature, from the birth
Of things, has fenced this fairest spot on earth.
O pleasant transit, Grasmere! to resign
Such happy fields, abodes so calm as thine;
Not like an outcast with himself at strife;
The slave of business, time, or care for life.
But moved by choice; or, if constrained in part,
Yet still with Nature's freedom at the heart;
To cull contentment upon wildest shores,
And luxuries extract from bleakest moors;
With prompt embrace all beauty to enfold,
And having rights in all that we behold.
-Then why these lingering steps? A bright adieu,
For a brief absence, proves that love is true;
Ne'er can the way be irksome or forlorn,
That winds into itself, for sweet return.
AFTER VISITING THE GRAVE OF THEIR FATHER.
The Poet's grave is in a corner of the churchyard. We looked at it with melancholy und painful reflections, repeating to each other
Is there a man whose judgment clear, etc."
Extract from the Journal of my Fellow-traveller.
MID crowded Obelisks and Urns
I sought the untimely grave of Burns; Sons of the Bard, my heart still mourns With sorrow true;
And more would grieve, but that it turns Trembling to you!
Through Twilight shades of good and ill
Ye now are panting up life 's hill,
And more than common strength and skill
Must ye display,
If ye would give the better will
Its lawful sway.
Hath Nature strung your nerves to bear Intemperance with less harm, beware! But if the Poet's wit ye share,
Like him can speed
The social hour-for tenfold care There will be need.
Even honest Men delight will take Το spare your failings for his sake, Will flatter you, and fool and rake Your steps pursue;
And of your Father's name will make A snare for you.
Far from their noisy haunts retire, And add your voices to the quire That sanctify the cottage fire
With service meet;
There seek the genius of your Sire,
Or where, mid« lonely heights and hows,>> He paid to Nature tuneful vows;
ELLEN IRWIN, OR THE BRAES OF KIRTLE.
FAIR Ellen Irwin, when she sate
Upon the Braes of Kirtle,'
Was lovely as a Grecian Maid
Adorned with wreaths of myrtle.
Young Adam Bruce beside her lay;
And there did they beguile the day
With love and gentle speeches,
Beneath the budding beeches.
From many Knights and many Squires
The Bruce had been selected;
And Gordon, fairest of them all,
By Ellen was rejected.
Sad tidings to that noble Youth!
For it may be proclaimed with truth,
If Bruce hath loved sincerely,
That Gordon loves as dearly.
But what is Gordon's beauteous face,
And what are Gordon's crosses,
To them who sit by Kirtle's Braes
Upon the verdant mosses ?
Alas that ever he was born!
The Gordon, couched behind a thorn, Sees them and their caressing; Beholds them blest and blessing.
Proud Gordon cannot bear the thoughts
That through his brain are travelling,-
And, starting up, to Bruce's heart
He launched a deadly javelin!
Fair Ellen saw it when it came,
And, stepping forth to meet the same,
Did with her body cover
The Youth, her chosen lover.
And, falling into Bruce's arms,
Thus died the beauteous Ellen,
Thus, from the heart of her True-love,
The mortal spear repelling.
The Kirtle is a River in the Southern part of Scotland, on whose
banks the events here related took place.
And Bruce, as soon as he had slain The Gordon, sailed away to Spain; And fought with rage incessant Against the Moorish Crescent.
But many days, and many months,
And many years ensuing,
This wretched Knight did vainly seek
The death that he was wooing:
So coming his last help to crave,
Heart-broken, upon Ellen's grave
His body he extended,
And there his sorrow ended.
Now ye, who willingly have heard
The tale I have been telling,
May in Kirkonnel churchyard view
The grave of lovely Ellen :
By Ellen's side the Bruce is laid;
And, for the stone upon his head,
May no rude hand deface it,
And its forlorn HIC JACET!
(AT INVERSNEYDE, 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 grey Rocks; this household Lawn;
These Trees, a veil just half withdrawn;
This 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 filled 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.
Bere scattered like a random seed,
Remote from men, Thou dost not need
The embarrassed look of shy distress,
And maidenly shamefacedness:
Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear
The freedom of a Mountaineer.
A face with gladness overspread!
Soft smiles, by human kindness bred!
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?
O 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, any thing 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 recompense.
In spots like these it is we prize
Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes:
Then, why should I be loth to stir?
I feel this place was made for her;
To give new pleasure like the past,
Continued long as life shall last.
Nor am I loth, 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!
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 every thing 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 lonely Spot
Of Travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian Sands:
Such thrilling voice was never heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
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 matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrrow, 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 when I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
ADDRESS TO KILCHURN CASTLE UPON LOCH AWE.
From the top of the hill a most impressive scene opened upon cer 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 Witer,mists rested upon the mountain side, with spots of sunshine; there was a mild desolation in the low-grounds, a 10lemn grandeur in the mountains, and the Castle was wild, yet stately-not dismantled of Turrets-nor the walls broken down, though obviously a ruin.s-Extract from the Journal of my Companion.
CHILD of loud-throated War! the mountain 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,
No soul to dream of. What art Thou, from care
Cast off-abandoned by thy rugged Sire,
Nor by soft Peace adopted; though, in place
And in dimension, such that thou might'st seem
But a mere footstool to yon sovereign Lord,
Huge Cruachan, (a thing that meaner Hills
Might crush, nor know that it had suffered harm;)
Yet he, not loth, in favour of thy claims
To reverence suspends his own; submitting
All that the God of Nature hath conferred,
All that he has in common with the Stars,
To the memorial majesty of Time
Impersonated in thy calm decay!
Take, then, thy seat, Vicegerent unreproved'
Now, while a farewell gleam of evening light
Is fondly lingering on thy shattered front,
Do thou, in turn, be paramount; and rule
Over the pomp and beauty of a scene
Whose mountains, torrents, lake, and woods, unite
To pay thee homage; and with these are joined,
In willing admiration and respect,
Two Hearts, which in thy presence might be called
Youthful as Spring. Shade of departed Power,
Skeleton of unfleshed humanity,
The Chronicle were welcome that should call
Into the compass of distinct regard
The toils and struggles of thy infancy!
You foaming flood seems motionless as Ice;
Its dizzy turbulence eludes the eye,
Frozen by distance; so, majestic Pile,
To the perception of this Age, appear
Thy fierce beginnings, softened and subdued
And quicted in character; the strife,
The pride, the fury uncontrollable,
Lost on the aerial heights of the Crusades!
<<The Creatures see of flood and field, And those that travel on the wind! With them no strife can last; they live In peace, and peace of mind.
<<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.
« A lesson that is quickly learned,
A signal this which all can see!
Thus nothing here provokes the Strong
To wanton cruelty.
DEGENERATE Douglas! oh, the unworthy Lord!
Whom mere despite of heart could so far please,
And love of havoc (for with such disease
Fame taxes him) that he could send forth word
To level with the dust a noble horde,
A brotherhood of venerable Trees,
Leaving an ancient Dome, and Towers like these,
Beggared and outraged!-Many hearts deplored
The fate of those old Trees; and oft with pain
The Traveller, at this day, will stop and Gaze
On wrongs, which Nature scarcely seems to heed:
For sheltered places, bosoms, nooks, and bays,
And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed,
And the green silent pastures, yet remain.
[See the various Poems the Scene of which is laid upon the Banks of the Yarrow; in particular, the exquisite ballad of Hamilten, be ginning
Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny bonny Bride,
Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome Marrow!-]
FROM Stirling Castle we had seen
mazy Forth unravelled;
Had trod the banks of Clyde, and Tay,
And with the Tweed had travelled;
And when we came to Clovenford,
Then said my « winsome Marrow,»
« Whate'er betide, we 'll turn aside,
And see the Braes of Yarrow.>>
<< Let Yarrow Folk, frae Selkirk Town,
Who have been buying, selling,
Go back to Yarrow, 't is their own;
Each Maiden to her Dwelling!
On Yarrow's banks let herons feed,
Hares couch, and rabbits burrow!
But we will downwards with the Tweed,
Nor turn aside to Yarrow.
«There's Galla Water, Leader Haughs, Both lying right before us;
And Dryborough, where with chiming Tweed
The Lintwhites sing in chorus;
There's pleasant Tiviot-dale, a land
Made blithe with plough and harrow :
Why throw away a needful day
To go in search of Yarrow?
<< What's Yarrow but a River bare,
That glides the dark hills under?
There are a thousand such elsewhere
As worthy of your wonder.»>
-Strange words they seemed of slight and scorn,
My True-love sighed for sorrow;
And looked me in the face, to think
I thus could speak of Yarrow !
«Oh! green,» said I, «< are Yarrow's Holms,
And sweet is Yarrow flowing!
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock, '
But we will leave it growing.
O'er hilly path, and open Strath,
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
Float double, swan and shadow !
We will not see them; will not go,
To-day, nor yet to-morrow;
Enough if in our hearts we know
There's such a place as Yarrow.
See Hamilton's Ballad, as above.