Page images
PDF
EPUB

For Thou, upon a hundred streams,

By tales of love and sorrow,
Of faithful love, undaunted truth,

Hast shed the power of Yarrow;
And streams unknown, hills yet unseen,

Wherever they invite Thee,
At parent Nature's grateful call,

With gladness must requite Thee.

A gracious welcome shall be thine,

Such looks of love and honour As thy own Yarrow gave to me

When first I gazed upon ber; Beheld what I had feared to see,

Unwilling to surrender Dreams treasured up from early days,

The holy and the tender.

And what, for this frail world, were all

That mortals do or suffer,
Did no responsive harp, no pon,

Memorial tribute offer?
Yea, what were mighty Nature's self?

Her features, could they win us, Unhelped by the poetic voice

That hourly speaks within us?

Nor deem that localised Romance

Plays false with our affections ; Unsanctifies our tears-made sport

For fanciful dejections :

Ah, no! the visions of the past

Sustain the heart in feeling
Life as she is our changeful Life,

With friends and kindred dealing.

Bear witness, Ye, whose thoughts that day

In Yarrow's groves were centred ;
Who through the silent portal arch

Of mouldering Newark entered;
And clomb the winding stair that once

Too timidly was mounted
By the last Minstrel,' (not the last !)

Ere he his Tale recounted.

Flow on for ever, Yarrow Stream!

Fulfil thy pensive duty,
Well pleased that future Bards should chant

For simple hearts thy beauty;
To dream-light dear while yet unseen,

Dear to the common sunshine,
And dearer still, as now I feel,

To memory's shadowy moonshine!

II.

ON THE DEPARTURE OF SIR WALTER SCOTT FROM ABBOTSFORD,

FOR NAPLES.

A TROUBLE, not of clouds, or weeping rain,
Nor of the setting sun's pathetic light
Engendered, hangs o'er Eildon's triple height:
Spirits of Power, assembled there, complain

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

For kindred Power departing from their sight;
While Tweed, best pleased in chanting a blithe strain,
Saddens his voice again, and yet again.
Lift up your hearts, ye Mourners ! for the might
Of the whole world's good wishes with him goes ;
Blessings and prayers, in nobler retinue
Than sceptered king or laurelled conqueror knows,
Follow this wondrous Potentate. Be true,
Ye winds of ocean, and the midland sea,
Wafting your Charge to soft Parthenope!

III.

A PLACE OF BURIAL IN THE SOUTH OF SCOTLAND.

[SIMILAR places for burial are not unfrequent in Scotland. The one

that suggested this Sonnet lies on the banks of a small stream called the Wauchope that flows into the Esk near Langholme. Mickle, who, as it appears from his poem on Sir Martin, was not without genuine poetic feelings, was born and passed his boyhood, in this neighbourhood, under his father who was a minister of the Scotch Kirk. The Esk, both above and below Langholme, flows through a beautiful country, and the two streams of the Wauchope and the Ewes, which join it near that place, are such as a pastoral poet would delight in.]

Part fenced by man, part by a rugged steep
That curbs a foaming brook, a Grave-yard lies;
The hare's best couching-place for fearless sleep;
Which moonlit elves, far seen by credulous eyes,
Enter in dance. Of church, or sabbath ties,
No vestige now remains; yet thither creep
Bereft Ones, and in lowly anguish weep
Their prayers out to the wind and naked skies.

Proud tomb is none; but rudely-sculptured knights,
By humble choice of plain old times, are seen
Level with earth, among the hillocks green:
Union not sad, when sunny daybreak smites
The spangled turf, and neighbouring thickets ring
With jubilate from the choirs of spring!

IV.

ON THE SIGHT OF A MANSE IN THE SOUTH OF SCOTLAND.

[The manses in Scotland and the gardens and grounds about them

have seldom that attractive appearance which is common about our English parsonages, even when the clergyman's income falls below the average of the Scotch minister's. This is not merely owing to the one country being poor in comparison with the other, but arises rather out of the equality of their benefices, so that no one has enough to spare for decorations that might serve as an example for others; whereas, with us, the taste of the richer incumbent extends its influence more or less to the poorest. After all, in these observations the surface only of the matter is touched. I once heard a conversation in which the Roman Catholic Religion was decried on account of its abuses. You cannot deny, however,” said a lady of the party, repeating an expression used by Charles 2nd, “ that it is the religion of a gentleman.” It may be left to the Scotch themselves to determine how far this observation applies to their Kirk, while it cannot be denied, if it is wanting in that characteristic quality, the aspect of common life, so far as concerns its beauty, must suffer. Sincere christian piety may be thought not to stand in need of refinement or studied ornament; but assuredly it is ever ready to adopt them, when they fall within its notice, as means allow ; and this observation applies not only to manners, but to everything a christian (truly so in spirit) cultivates and gathers round him, however humble his social condition.]

Say, ye far-travelled clouds, far-seeing hills-
Among the happiest-looking homes of men

Scattered all Britain over, through deep glen,
On airy upland, and by forest rills,
And o'er wide plains cheered by the lark that trills
His sky-born warblings-does aught meet your ken
More fit to animate the Poet's pen,
Aught that more surely by its aspect fills
Pure minds with sinless envy, than the Abode
Of the good Priest: who, faithful through all hours
To his high charge, and truly serving God,
Has yet a heart and hand for trees and flowers,
Enjoys the walks his predecessors trod,
Nor covets lineal rights in lands and towers.

V.

COMPOSED IN ROSLIN CHAPEL, DURING A STORM.

(WE were detained by incessant rain and storm at the small inn

near Roslin Chapel, and I passed a great part of the day pacing to and fro in this beautiful structure, which, though not used for public service, is not allowed to go to ruin. Here, this Sonnet was composed. If it has at all done justice to the feeling which the place and the storm raging without inspired, I was as a prisoner. A painter delineating the interior of the chapel and its minute features under such circumstances would have, no doubt, found his time agreeably shortened. But the movements of the mind must be more free while dealing with words than with lines and colours; such at least was then and has been on many other occasions my belief, and, as it is allotted to few to follow both arts with success, I am grateful to my own calling for this and a thousand other recommendations which are denied to that of the painter.]

THE wind is now thy organist ;--a clank
(We know not whence) ministers for a bell
To mark some change of service. As the swell
Of music reached its height, and even when sank

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »