Page images
PDF
EPUB

I dedicate, with high delight,

Our creeds may differ in degree, The themes of many a winter night... But small that difference sure can be !

What other name on Yarrow's vale As flowers which vary in their dyes, Can Shepherd choose to grace his tale ? We all shall bloom in Paradise. There other living name is none

As sire who loves his children well, Heard with one feeling, one alone.

The loveliest face he cannot tell,Some heavenly charm must name endear So 'tis with us. We are the same, That all men love, and all revere !

One faith, one Father, and one aim. Even the rude boy of rustic form,

And hadst thou lived where I was bred, And robes all fluttering to the storm, Amid the scenes where martyrs bled, Whose roguish lip and graceless eye Their sufferings all to thee endear'd Inclines to mock the passer by,

By those most honour'd and revered ; Walks by the Maid with softer tread, And where the wild dark streamlet raves, And lowly bends his burly head,

Hadst wept above their lonely graves, Following with eye of milder ray

Thou wouldst have felt, I know it true, The gentle form that glides away.

As I have done, and aye must do. The little school-nymph, drawing near,

And for the same exalted cause, Says, with a sly and courteous leer,

For mankind's right, and nature's laws, As plain as eye and manner can,

The cause of liberty divine, “ Thou lov'st me_bless thee, Lady Anne!” Thy fathers bled as well as mine. Even babes catch the beloved theme,

T'hen be it thine, O noble Maid, And learn to lisp their Lady's name. On some still eve these tales to read;

The orphan's blessing rests on thee; And thou wilt read, I know full well, Happy thou art, and long shalt be!

For still thou lovest the haunted dell; 'Tis not in sorrow, nor distress,

To linger by the sainted spring, Nor Fortune's power, to make thee less. And trace the ancient fairy ring The heart, unaltered in its mood,

Where moonlight revels long were held That joys alone in doing good,

In many a lone sequester'd field, And follows in the heavenly road,

By Yarrow dens and Ettrick shaw, And steps where once an Angel trode, And the green mounds of Carterhaugh. The joys within such heart that burn,

O for one kindred heart that thought No loss can quench, nor time o’erturn! As minstrel must, and lady ought, The stars may from their orbits bend, That loves like thee the whispering wood, The mountains rock, the heavens rend, And range of mountain solitude ! The sun's last ember cool and quiver, Think how more wild the greenwood scene, But these shall glow, and glow for ever! If times were still as they have been ; Then thou, who lov’st the shepherd's home,

If fairies, at the fall of even, And cherishest his lowly dome,

Down from the eye-brow of the heaven, O list the mystic lore sublime,

Or some aërial land afar, Of fairy tales of ancient time.

Came on the beam of rising star; I learned them in the lonely glen,

Their lightsome gambols to renew, The last abodes of living men ;

From the green leaf to quaff the dew, Where never stranger came our way

Or dance with such a graceful tread, By summer night, or winter day ;

As scarce to bend the gowan's head ! Where neighbouring hind or cot was none,

Think if thou wert, some evening still, Our converse was with Heaven alone, Within thy wood of

green Bowhill — With voices through the cloud that sung, Thy native wood !--the forest's pride ! And brooding storms that round us hung. Lover or sister by thy side;

O Lady, judge, if judge you may, In converse sweet the hour to improve How stern and ample was the sway

Of things below and things above, Of themes like these, when darkness fell, Of an existence scarce begun, And gray-haired sires the tales would tell ! And note the stars rise one by one. When doors were barr'd, and eldron dame Just then, the moon and daylight blending, Plied at her task beside the flame,

To see the fairy bands descending, That through the smoke and gloom alone Wheeling and shivering as they came, On dim and umber'd faces shone

Like glimmering shreds of human frame; The bleat of mountain goat on high, Or sailing, 'mid the golden air, That from the cliff came quavering by;

In skiffs of yielding gossamer. The echoing rock, the rushing flood,

0, I would wander forth alone The cataract's swell, the moaning wood, Where human eye hath never shone, That undefined and mingled hum

Away o'er continents and isles Voice of the desert, never dumb !

A thousand and a thousand miles, All these have left within this heart

For one such eve to sit with thee, A feeling tongue can ne'er impart ;

Their strains to hear and forms to see! A wilder'd and unearthly flame,

Absent the while all fears of harm, A something that's without a name.

Secure in Heaven's protecting arm ; And, Lady, thou wilt never deem To list the songs such beings sung, Religious tale offensive theme;

And hear them speak in human tongue ;

love ;

To see in beauty, perfect, pure,

With all the scene before his eyes, Of human face the miniature,

A family's and a nation's ties And smile of being free from sin,

Bonds which the Heavens alone can rend, That had not death impress'd within. With Chief, with Father, and with Friend. Oh, can it ever be forgot

No wonder that such scene refin'd What Scotland had, and now has not ! Should dwell on rude enthusiast's mind !

Such scenes, dear Lady, now no more Strange his reverse ! He little wist Are given, or fitted as before,

Poor inmate of the cloud and mist!
To eye or ear of guilty dust 3

That ever he, as friend, should claim
But when it comes, as come it must, The proudest Caledonian name.
The time when I, from earth set free,

J. H.
Shall turn the spark I fain would be ; Eltrive Lake, April 1st, 1818.
If there's a land, as grandsires tell,
Where Brownies, Elves, and Fairies dwell,
There my first visit shall be sped-
Journeyer of earth, go hide thy head !

EDITH AND NORA.
Of all thy travelling splendour shorn,
Though in thy golden chariot bore !

A Pastoral Poet's Dream.
Yon little cloud of many a hue
That wanders o'er the solar blue,
That curls, and rolls, and fleets away

She hath risen up from her morning prayer, Beyond the very springs of day,

And chained the waves of her golden hair, That do I challenge and engage

Hath kissed her sleeping sister's cheek, To be my travelling equipage,

And breathed the blessing she might not Then onward, onward, far to steer,

speak, The breeze of Heaven my charioteer ;

Lest the whisper should break the dream The soul's own energy my guide,

that smil'd

Round the snow-white brow of the sinless Eternal hope my all beside. At such a shrine who would not bow !

child. Traveller of earth, where art thou now?

Her radiant Lamb and her purpling Dove Then let me for these legends claim,

Have ta'en their food from the hand they My young, my honour'd Lady's name; That honour is reward complete,

The low deep coo and the plaintive bleat Yet I must crave, if not unmeet,

In the morning calm, how clear and sweet ! One little boon-delightful task

E'er the Sun has warmed the dawning hours, For maid to grant, or minstrel ask!

She hath watered the glow of her garden One day, thou may'st remember well,

flowers, For short the time since it befel,

And welcomed the hum of the earliest Bee When o'er thy forest-bowers of oak,

In the moist bloom working drousily ; The eddying storm in darkness broke;

Then up the flow of the rocky rill Loud sung the blast adown the dell,

She trips away to the pastoral Hill; And Yarrow lent her treble swell;

And, as she lifts her glistening eyes The mountain's form grew more sublime,

In the joy of her heart to the dewy skies,

She feels that her sainted Parents bless
Wrapt in its wreaths of rolling rime;
And Newark Cairn, in hoary shroud,

The life of their Orphan Shepherdess. Appear'd like giant o'er the cloud : 'Tis a lonely Glen ! but the happy Child The eve fell dark, and grimly scowl'd, Hath friends whom she meets in the mornLoud and more loud the tempest howl'd ;

ing-wildWithout was turmoil, waste, and din, As on she trips, her native stream, The kelpie's cry was in the linn,

Like her hath awoke from a joyful dream, But all was love and peace within !

And glides away by her twinkling feet, And aye, between, the melting strain With a face as bright and a voice as sweet. Pour'd from thy woodland harp amain, In the osier bank the Ouzel sitting, Which, mixing with the storm around, Hath heard her steps, and away is flitting Gave a wild cadence to the sound.

From stone to stone, as she glides along, That mingled scene, in every part,

Then sinks in the stream with a broken song. Hath so impress'd thy shepherd's heart, The Lapwing, fearless of his nest, With glowing feelings, kindling bright Stands looking round with his delicate crest, Some filial visions of delight,

Or a lonelike joy is in his cry, That almost border upon pain,

As he wheels and darts and glances by. And he would hear those strains again. Is the Heron asleep on the silvery sand They brought delusions not to last,

Of his little Lake Lo! his wings expand Blending the future with the past;

As a dreamy thought, and withouten dread, Dreams of fair stems, in foliage new, Cloudlike he floats o'er the Maiden's head. Of flowers that spring where others grew She looks to the birch-wood glade, and lo! Of beauty ne'er to be outdone,

There is browzing there the mountain-roe, And stars that rise when sets the sun; Who lifts up her gentle eyes, nor moves The patriarchal days of yore,

As on glides the form whom all nature loves. The mountain music heard no more, Having spent in Heaven an hour of mirth,

[ocr errors]

The Lark drops down to the dewy earth, -And thus sole-sitting on the Brae,
And as silence smooths his yearning breast From human voices far away,
In the gentle fold of his lowly nest, Even like the flowers round Edith's feet,
The Linnet takes up the hymn, unseen

Shone forth her fancies wild or sweet ;
In the yellow broom or the bracken green.

Some in the shades of memory
And now, as the morning-hours are glowing, Unfolding out reluctantly,
From the hillside cots the cocks are crowing, But breathing from that tender gloom
And the Shepherd's Dog is barking shrill A faint-etherial-pure perfume ;
From the mist fast rising from the hill, Some burning in their full-blown pride,
And the Shepherd's-self, with locks of gray, And by the Sun's love beautified ;
Hath blessed the Maiden on her way; None wither'd for the air is holy,
And now she sees her own dear flock Of a pure spirit's melancholy;
On a verdant mound beneath the rock, And God's own gracious eye hath smiled
All close together in beauty and love, On the sorrows of this Orphan Child;
Like the small fair clouds in heaven above, Therefore, her Parents' Grave appears
And her innocent soul at the peaceful sight Green, calm, and sunbright thro' her tears,
Is swimming o'er with a still delight. Beneath the deep'ning hush of years.
And how shall sweet Edith pass the day,

An Image of young Edith's Life,
From her home and her sister so far away,

This one still day--no noise--no strife With none to whom she may speak the Alike calm-morning-noon-and even while,

And Earth to her as pure as Heaven.
Or share the silence and the smile,

Now night comes wavering down the sky :
When the stream of thought flows calm and The clouds like ships at anchor lie,
deep,

All gathered in the glimmering air,
And the face of Joy is like that of sleep? After their pleasant voyage : there
Fear not the long, still Summer-day

One solitary bark glides on

So slow, that its haven will ne'er be won.
On downy wings hath sailed away,
And is melting unawares in Even,

But a wandering wind hath lent it motion,
Like a pure cloud in the heart of Heaven,

And the last Sail hath passed o'er the heavenNor Weariness nor Woe hath paid

ly ocean.

Are these the Hills so steeped by day,
One visit to the happy Maid
Sitting in sunshine or in shade.

In a greenness that seemed to mock decay,

And that stole from the Sun so strong and
For many a wild Tale doth she know,
Framed in these valleys long ago

light,

That it well might dare th' eclipse of night? By pensive Shepherds, unto whom

Where is the sound that filled the air The sweet breath of the heather-bloom

Around and above

and every where ? Brought inspiration, and the Sky Folding the hill-tops silently,

Soft wild pipes hushed ! and a world of And airs so spirit-like, and streams

wings

All shut with their radiant shiverings!
Aye murmuring through a world of dreams.

The wild bees now are all at rest
A hundred plaintive tunes hath she-
A hundred chants of sober glee-

In their earthen cell or their mossy nest

Save when some lated labourers come
And she hath sung them o'er and o'er,

From the far-off hills with a weary hum,
As on some solitary shore,
'Tis said the Mermaid oft doth sing

And drop down mid the flowers, till morn
Beneath some cliffs o'ershadowing,

Shall awaken to life each tiny horn.
While melteth o'er the waters clear

Dew sprinkles sleep on every flower,
A song which there is none to hear !

And each bending stalk has lost its power-
Still at the close of each wild strain

No toils have they, but in beauty blest, Hath gentle Edith lived again,

They seem to partake in Nature's rest.
O'er long-past hours while smiles and sighs Sleep calms the bosom of the Earth,
Obeyed their own loved Melodies.

And a dream just moves it in faintest mirtii.
Now rose to sight the hawthorn-glade, The slumber of the Hills and Sky
Where that old blind Musician played Hath hushed into a reverie
So blithely to the dancing ring

The soul of Edith-by degrees,
Or, in a fit of sorrowing,

With half-closed eyes she nothing sees
Sung mournful Songs of other years But the glimmer of twilight stretched afar,
That filled his own dim eyes with tears. And one

bright solitary star, And then the Sabbath seemed to rise That comes like an angel with his beams, In stillness o'er the placid skies,

To lead her on thro' the world of dreams. And from the small Kirk in the Dell She feels the soft grass beneath her head, Came the clear chime of holy Bell,

And the smell of flowers around her shed, Solemnly ceasing, when appeared

Breathing of Earth, as yet, she knows The grey-haired Man beloved and feared. Whence is the sound that past her flows, The Man of God whose eyes were filled (The flowery fount in its hillside cell...) With visions in the heavens beheld,

But a beauty there is which she cannot tell And rightfully inspired fear,

To her soul that beholds it, spread all around; Whose

yoke, like Love's, is light to bear. And she feels a rapture, oh! more profound

Thane'er by a dream was breathed, or driven Then, come with us, sweet Edith ! come Thro' a bosom, all suddenly filled with And dwell in the Lake-Fairy's home; heaven.

And happier none can be in heaven, Oh! comeye from heaven ye blessed Things, Than we in those green vallies, given So silent with your silvery wings

By Nature's kind beneficence Folded in moonlight glimmerings?

To us, who live in innocence; — They have dropt like two soft gleams of And on our gentle missions go, light,

Up to the human world of woe,
Those gracious forms, on the verdant height For a dream as happy as ourselves ;

To make by our music mortal Elves
Where Edith in her slumber lies,
With calm face meeting the calm skies,

All flitting back e'er the morn arise,
Like one whose earthly course is o'er,

To our own untroubled Paradise. And sleepeth to awake no more !

O waft me there, e'er my dream is gone, Gazing upon the Child they stand,

For dreams have a wild world all their own! Till one with small soft silent hand

And never was vision like to this Lifts from that brow the golden hair O waft me away e'er I wake from bliss ! “ Was ever mortal face so fair ?

But where is my little sister? Where God gives to us the sleeping maid !” The child whom her mother with dying And scarcely are the kind words said,

prayer Than Edith's lovely neck is wreathed Put into my bosom, and bade us be With arms as soft as zephyrs breathed True to each other, as on the sea O'er sleeping lilies,--and slowly raised Two loving birds, whom a wave may diThe still form of the child, amazed

vide, To see those visages divine,

But who float back soon to each other's side! And eyes so filled with pity, shine

Bring Nora here, and we two will take On her, a simple Shepherdess,

Our journey with you deep down the Lake, An orphan in the wilderness !

And let its waters for ever close “ 0, happy child! who livest in mirth O'er the upper world of human woes, And joy of thine own on this sinful Earth,

For young though we be, and have known Whose heart, like a lonely stream, keeps Yet we start at the shadows of mortal life ;

no strife, singing, Or, like a holy bell, is ringing

And many a tear have we two shed So sweetly in the silent wild

In each others' arms, on an orphan bed, Wilt thou come with us, thou happy child,

So let Nora to my heart be given, And live in a land where woe and pain

And with you will we fly, and trust in Are heard but as a far-off strain

Heaven.” Of mournful music, where the breath A sound of parting wings is heard, Of Life is murmuring not of Death ; As when at night some wandering bird And Happiness alone doth weep,

Flits by us, absent from its nest And nought but Bliss doth break our sleep. Beyond the hour of the Songster's rest. Wilt thou come with us to the Land of For, the younger Fairy away hath flown, Dreams?"

And hath Nora found in her sleep alone, -A kiss as soft as moonlight seems Hath raised her up between her wings, To fall on Edith's brow and cheek And lulled her with gentlest murmurings, As that voice no more is heard to speak; And borne her over plain and steep And bright before her half-closed eyes With soft swift glide that breaks not sleep, Stand up these Shapes from Paradise, And laid her down as still as death Breathing sweet fear into her heart ! By Edith's side on the balmy heath, She trembleth lest their beauty part, And all e'er twice ten waves have broke Cloudlike, e'er she be full awake,

On the Lake's smooth sand, or the aged And leave her weeping for their sake,

oak An orphan Shepherdess again,

Hath ceased to shiver it's leaves so red Left all by herself in that lonely glen! Beneath the breeze that just touched it's ~ Fear not, sweet Edith! to come along

head. tho' the voice of the Fairy's Song The heath-flowers all are shining bright, Sound strange to thy soul thus murmuring And every star has its own soft light,

And all the quiet clouds are there
Fear not, for thou hast nought to fear! And the same sweet sound is in the air,
Oft hast thou heard our voice before, From stream and echo mingling well
Hymnlike pass by thy cottage door In the silence of the glimmering dell,
When thou and thy sister were at prayers,-

But no more is seen the radiant fold
Oft hast thou heard it in wild low airs, Of Fairy-wings bedropt with gold,
Circling thy couch on the heathery hill, Nor those sweet human faces! They
And when all the stars in heaven were still, Have melted like the dew away,
As their images in the lake below,

And Edith and Nora never more
That was our voice that seemed to flow, Shall be sitting seen on the earthly shore !
Like softest waters thro' the night,

For they drift away with peaceful motion, The music breathed from our delight.

Like birds into the heart of ocean,

With us,

near

Some silent spot secure from storms Breathing forever thro' the calm
Who float on with their soft-plumed forms A gentle breath of honeyed balm ;
Whiter than the white sea-foam,

Nor ever happy Fairy grieves
Still dancing on from home to home; O'er the yellow fall of the Forest leaves,
Fair Creatures ! in their lonely glee Nor mourns to hear the rustling dry
Happier than Stars in Heaven or Sea. Of their faded pride in the frosty sky,

For all is young and deathless there, Long years are past—and every stone All things unlike--but all things fairOf the Orphans' cot is with moss o’ergrown, Nor is that saddest beauty known And wild-stalks beautiful and tall

That lies in the thoughts of pleasure flownHang o'er the little garden-wall,

Nor doth joy ever need to borrow And the clear well within the rock

A charm to its soul from the smiles of sorrow. Lies with its smiling calm unbroke By dipping pitcher! There the Hives ! Nor are the upper world and skies But no faint feeble hum survives

Withheld, when they list, from these Orphan's Dead is that Cottage once so sweet,

eyesShrouded as in a winding-sheet

The shadow of green trees on earth Nor even the sobbing of the air

Falls on the Lake and the small bird's Mourns o'er the life that once was there!

mirth

Doth often through the silence ring O happy ye ! who have flown afar

In sweet, shrill, merry jargoningFrom the sword of those ruthless men of war, So that the Orphans almost think That, for many a year, have bathed in blood They are lying again on the broomy brink Scotland's green glens of solitude !

Of their native Dee-and scarcely know Orphans were ye--but your lips were calm If the change hath been to bliss or woe, When together ye sang the evening psalm ; As, mid that music wild, they seem Nor sound of terror on the breeze,

To start back to life from a fairy dream. E’er startled you up from your humble knees, So all that most beautiful is above When on the dewy daisied sod,

Sends down to their rest its soul of love In heaven ye worshipp'd your Father's God, Nor have they in their bliss forgot After the simple way approved

The walls, roof, and door, of their native By men whom God and Angels loved.

cot Dark-dark days come-when holy prayers Nor the bed in which their Parents died, Are sinful held, and snow-white hairs And they themselves slept side by side ! By ruffian hands are torn and strewed, They know that Heaven hath brought them Even where the Old Man bows to God !

here, Sabbath is heavy to the soul,

To shield them from the clouds of fear; When no kirk-bell is heard to toll,

And therefore on their sinless breasts Struck dumb as ice-no bridal show When they go to sleep the Bible rests, Shines cheerful thro' these days of woe The Bible that they read of old, Now are the blest baptismal rites

Beside their lambs in the mountain-fold,
Done by lone streams, in moonless nights Unseen but by one gracious eye,
Now every lover loves in dread

That blest their infant piety!
Sleep flies from cradle and from bed-
The silent meal in fear is blest

On what doth the wondering shepherd gaze,

As o'er Loch-Ken the moonlight plays, In fear the mother gives her breast To the infant, whose dim eyes can trace

And in the Planet's silvery glow, A trouble in her smiling face.

Far shines the smooth sand, white as snow ? The little girl her hair has braided,

In Heaven or Lake there is no breeze, Over a brow by terror shaded ;

Yet a glimmering Sail that Shepherd sees, And virgins, in youth's lovely years,

Swanlike steer on its stately way

Into the little Crescent bay ;
Who fear not death, have far worse fears
Wailing is heard o'er all the land,

Now jocundly its fair gleam rearing,
For, by day and night, a bloody hand

And now in darkness disappearing,

Till mid the water-lilies riding A bloody sword doth widely wave,

It hangs, and to the green shore gliding And peace is none,—but in the grave.

Two lovely Creatures silently
But Edith and Nora lead happy hours Sit down beneath the star-light sky,
In the Queen Lake-Fairy's palace-bowers, And look around, in deep delight,
Nor troubles from the world of ill

On all the sweet still smiles of night.
E’er reach that kingdom calm and still, As they sit in beauty on the shore,
A dream-like kingdom sunk below,

The Shepherd feels he has seen before
The fatal reach of waking woe!

The quiet of their heavenly eyes : There, radiant water-drops are shed, 'Tis the Orphans come back from Paradise, Like strings of pearl round each Orphan's Edith and Nora ! They now return, head,

When this woe-worn Land hath ceased to Glistening with many a lovely ray, Yet, all so light, that they melt away, We thought them dead, but at Heaven's Unfelt by the locks they beautify

command, The flowers that bloom there never die, For years have they lived in Fairy Land,

mourn.

« PreviousContinue »