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"If Care with freezing years should come, "And wandering seem but folly, "Should we be loth to stir from home, "And yet be melancholy;
"Should life be dull, and spirits low, ""T will soothe us in our sorrow, "That earth has something yet to show, "The bonny Holms of Yarrow !"
IN THE PASS OF KILLICRANKY.
AN INVASION BEING EXPECTED, OCTOBER 1803.
Six thousand Veterans practised in War's game,
Tried Men, at Killicranky were arrayed
Against an equal Host that wore the Plaid,
Like a whirlwind came
Shepherds and Herdsmen.
The Highlanders, the slaughter spread like flame;
And Garry, thundering down his mountain road,
Was stopped, and could not breathe beneath the load
Of the dead bodies.-'T was a day of shame
For them whom precept and the pedantry
Of cold mechanic battle do enslave.
O for a single hour of that Dundee,
Who on that day the word of onset gave! Like conquest would the Men of England see; And her Foes find a like inglorious Grave.
THE MATRON OF JEDBOROUGH, AND HER HUSBAND.
At Jedborough, my companion and I went into private Lodgings for a few days; and the following Verses were called forth by the character and domestic situation of our Hostess.
AGE! twine thy brows with fresh spring flowers,
And call a train of laughing Hours;
And bid them dance, and bid them sing;
And thou, too, mingle in the Ring!
Take to thy heart a new delight;
If not, make merry in despite,
That there is One who scorns thy power
But dance for under Jedborough Tower,
A Matron dwells, who though she bears
Our mortal complement of years,
Lives in the light of youthful glee,
And she will dance and sing with thee.
Nay! start not at that Figure-there!
Him who is rooted to his chair!
Look at him-look again! for He
Hath long been of thy Family.
With legs that move not, if they can,
And useless arms, a Trunk of Man,
He sits, and with a vacant eye;
A Sight to make a stranger sigh! Deaf, drooping, that is now his doom: His world is in this single room:
Is this a place for mirthful cheer? Can merry-making enter here?
The joyous Woman is the Mate
Of him in that forlorn estate!
He breathes a subterraneous damp;
But bright as Vesper shines her lamp:
He is as mute as Jedborough Tower;
She jocund as it was of yore,
With all its bravery on; in times
When all alive with merry chimes,
Upon a sun-bright morn of May,
It roused the Vale to Holiday.
I praise thee, Matron! and thy due
Is praise, heroic praise, and true!
With admiration I behold
Thy gladness unsubdued and bold:
Thy looks, thy gestures, all present
The picture of a life well spent:
This do I see; and something more;
A strength unthought of heretofore!
Delighted am I for thy sake;
And yet a higher joy partake.
Our Human-nature throws away
Its second Twilight, and looks gay;
A land of promise and of pride
Unfolding, wide as life is wide.
Ah! see her helpless Charge! enclosed
Within himself as seems, composed;
To fear of loss, and hope of gain,
The strife of happiness and pain,
Utterly dead! yet in the guise
Of little Infants, when their eyes
Begin to follow to and fro
The persons that before them go,
He tracks her motions, quick or slow.
Her buoyant Spirit can prevail
Where common cheerfulness would fail;
She strikes upon him with the heat
Of July Suns; he feels it sweet;
An animal delight though dim!
"Tis all that now remains for him!
The more I looked I wondered more—
And, while I scanned them o'er and o'er,
A moment gave me to espy
A trouble in her strong black eye;
A remnant of uneasy light,
A flash of something over-bright!
Nor long this mystery did detain
My thoughts-she told in pensive strain
That, she had borne a heavy yoke,
Been stricken by a twofold stroke;
All vanished; -'t was a heartfelt cross
To him, a heavy, bitter loss,
As he had ever known.
But hark! a gratulating voice,
With which the very hills rejoice:
"Tis from the crowd, who tremblingly
Had watched the event, and now can sce
That he is safe at last.
And then, when he was brought to land,
Full sure they were a happy band,
Which, gathering round, did on the banks
Of that great water give God thanks,
And welcomed the poor Child.
And in the general joy of heart
The blind Boy's little Dog took part;
He leapt about, and oft did kiss
His master's hands in sign of bliss,
With sound like lamentation.
But most of all, his Mother dear,
She who had fainted with her fear,
Rejoiced when waking she espies
The Child; when she can trust her eyes,
And touches the blind Boy.
She led him home, and wept amain,
When he was in the house again:
Tears flowed in torrents from her eyes:
She kissed him-how could she chastise?
She was too happy far.
Thus, after he had fondly braved
The perilous Deep, the Boy was saved;
And, though his fancies had been wild,
Yet he was pleased and reconciled
To live in peace on shore.
And in the lonely Highland Dell
Still do they keep the Turtle Shell;
And long the Story will repeat
Of the blind Boy's adventurous feat,
And how he was preserved.*
* It is recorded in Dampier's Voyages, that a boy, the Son of s Captain of a Man-of-War, seated himself in a Turtle Shell, and floated in it from the shore to his Father's ship, which lay at anchor at the distance of half a mile. In deference to the opinion of a Friend, I have substituted such a shell for the less elegant Vessel in which my Blind Voyager did actually entrust himself to the dangerous current of Loch Leven, as was related to me bv an eye-witness.
MEMORIALS OF A TOUR IN SCOTLAND, 1814.
Suggested by a beautiful Ruin upon one of the Islands of Loch Lomond, a place chosen for the retreat of a solitary individual,
from whom this habitation acquired the name of
To barren heath, and quaking fen,
Or depth of labyrinthine glen;
Or into trackless forest set
With trees, whose lofty umbrage met;
World-wearied men withdrew of yore,
(Penance their trust, and Prayer their store;)
And in the wilderness were bound
To such apartments as they found;
Or with a new ambition raised;
That God might suitably be praised.
High lodged the Warrior, like a bird of prey;
Or where broad waters round him lay:
But this wild Ruin is no ghost
Of his devices-buried, lost!
Within this little lonely Isle
There stood a consecrated Pile;
Where tapers burned, and mass was sung,
For them whose timid Spirits clung
To mortal succour, though the tomb
Had fixed, for ever fixed, their doom!
All, all were dispossessed, save him whose smile Shot lightning through this lonely Isle !