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From Stirling Castle we had seen
The mazy Forth unravellid;
Had trod the banks of Clyde, and Tay,
And with the Tweed had travellid;
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, 'tis their own-
Each maiden to her dwelling!
On Yarrow's banks let herons feed,
Hares couch, and rabbits burrow:
But we will downward 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 Teviotdale, 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 seem'd, of slight and scorn;
My truelove sigh'd for sorrow;
And look'd 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 through;
But, though so near, we will not turn
Into the dale of Yarrow.
“Let beeyes and homebred kine partake
The sweets of Burnmill 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.
• Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown !
It must, or we shall rue it :
We have a vision of our own
Ah! why should we undo it ?
The treasured dreams of times long past,
We'll keep them, winsome Marrow!
For when we're there, although 'tis fair,
'Twill be another Yarrow!
“If Care with freezing years should come,
And wandering seem but folly ;
Should we be loath to stir from home,
And yet be melancholy ;
Should life be dull, and spirits low,
"Twill sooth us in our sorrow,
That earth has something yet to show,
The bonny holms of Yarrow!"
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;
Oh 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 :
Such thrilling voice was never heard
In springtime 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?
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 listen'd, motionless and still ;
And when I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
A POET'S EPITAPH. ART thon a statesman, in the van Of public business train'd and bred ? First learn to love one living man, Then mayst thou think upon the dead. A lawyer art thou ? draw not nigh: Go, carry to some fitter place The keenness of that practised eye, The hardness of that sallow face. Art thou a man of purple cheer? A rosy man, right plump to see? Approach; yet, doctor, not too near: This grave no cushion is for thee. Or art thou one of gallant pride, A soldier, and no man of chaff? Welcome! but lay thy sword aside, And lean upon a peasant's staff. Physician art thou? One, all eyes, Philosopher! a fingering slave, One that would peep and botanize Upon his mother's grave ? Wrapp'd closely in thy sensual fleece, Oh, turn aside, and take, I pray, That he below may rest in peace, That abject thing, thy soul, away! A moralist perchance appears; Led, Heaven knows how! to this poor sod: And he has neither eyes nor ears ; Himself his world and his own God; One to whose smooth-rubb'd soul can cling Nor form nor feeling, great nor small ; A reasoning, self-sufficing thing, An intellectual all-in-all!
Shụt close the door; press down the latch ;
Sleep in thy intellectual crust;
Nor lose ten tickings of thy watch
Near this unprofitable dust.
But who is he, with modest looks,
And clad in homely russet brown?
He murmurs near the running brooks
A music sweeter than their own.
He is retired as noontide dew,
Or fountain in a noonday grove;
And you must love him, ere to you
He will seem worthy of your love.
* The outward shows of sky and earth,
Of hill and valley, he has view'd;
And impulses of deeper birth
Have come to him in solitude.
In common things that round us lie,
Some random truths he can impart;
The harvest of a quiet eye,
That broods and sleeps on his own heart,
But he is weak; both man and boy
Hath been an idler in the land ;
Contented if he might enjoy
The things which others understand.
Come hither in thy hour of strength;
Come, weak as is a breaking wave !
Here stretch thy body at full length,
Or build thy house upon
I was thy neighboyr once, thou rugged pile!
weeks I dwelt in sight of thee : I saw thee every day: and all the while Thy form was sleeping on a glassy sea.