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WRITTEN IN BURNS' COTTAGE.
HIS mortal body of a thousand days Now fills, O Burns, a space in thine own room,
Where thou didst dream alone on budded bays,
Happy and thoughtless of thy day of doom!
LD MEG she was a gipsy,
And lived upon the moors:
Her bed it was the brown heath turf,
Her apples were swart blackberries,
Her currants, pods o' broom;
Her wine was dew of the wild white rose,
Her brothers were the craggy hills
Her sisters larchen trees;
Alone with her great family
She lived as she did please.
No breakfast had she many a morn,
No dinner many a noon,
And, 'stead of supper, she would stare
But every morn, of woodbine fresh
And, every night, the dark glen yew
And gave them to the cottagers
Old Meg was brave as Margaret Queen,
An old red blanket cloak she wore,
God rest her aged bones somewhere!
SONNET ON AILSA ROCK.
EARKEN, thou craggy ocean-pyramid, Give answer by thy voice-the seafowls' screams!
When were thy shoulders mantled in
When from the sun was thy broad forehead hid?
Thee heave to airy sleep from fathom dreams--
Thou answer'st not; for thou art dead asleep.
The last in air, the former in the deep!
First with the whales, last with the eagle-skies! Drown'd wast thou till an earthquake made thee steep,
Another cannot wake thy giant-size !
WALKING IN SCOTLAND.
HERE is a charm in footing slow across a silent plain,
Where patriot battle had been fought, where glory had the gain;
There is a pleasure on the heath, where Druids old have been,
Where mantles grey have rustled by, and swept the nettled green;
There is a joy in every spot made known in times
New to the feet although each tale a hundred times be told;
There is a deeper joy than all, more solemn in the heart.
More parching to the tongue than all, of more divine a smart,
When weary steps forget themselves upon a pleasant turf,
Upon hot sand, or flinty road, or sea-shore iron
Toward the castle or the cot, where long ago was
One who was great through mortal days, and died of fame unshorn.
Light heather-bells may tremble then,-but they are far away;
Wood-lark may sing from sandy fern,—the Sun may hear his lay;
Runnels may kiss the grass on shelves and shallows clear,
But their low voices are not heard, tho' come on travels drear;
Blood-red the sun may set behind black mountain
Blue tides may sluice and drench their time in caves and weedy creeks,
Eagles may seem to sleep wing-wide upon the air, Ring-doves may fly convulsed across to some high cedared lair,—
But the forgotten eye is still fast lidded to the ground,
As palmer's that with weariness mid-desert shrine hath found.
At such a time the soul's a child, in childhood is the brain,
Forgotten is the worldly heart,-alone it beats in vain!
Aye, if a madman could have leave to pass a healthful day,
To tell his forehead's swoon and faint, when first began decay,
He might make tremble many a one, whose spirit had gone forth
To find a Bard's low cradle-place about the silent north!
Scanty the hour, and few the steps, beyond the bourn of care!
Beyond the sweet and bitter world,-beyond it unaware'
Scanty the hour, and few the steps,-because a longer stay
Would bar return and make a man forget his mortal way!
O horrible! to lose the sight of well-remember'd face,
Of Brother's eyes, of Sister's brow,-constant to every place,
Filling the air as on we move with portraiture intense,
More warm than those heroic tints that pain a painter's sense,
When shapes of old come striding by, and visages
Locks shining black, hair scanty grey, and passions manifold!
No, no, that horror cannot be! for at the cable's
Man feels the gentle anchor pull, and gladdens in its strength :
One hour, half idiot, he stands by mossy waterfall,
But in the very next he reads his soul's memorial; He reads it on the mountain's height, where chance he may sit down,
Upon rough marble diadem, that hill's eternal
Yet be his anchor e'er so fast, room is there for
That man may never lose his mind in mountains black and bare;
That he may stray, league after league, sɔme great birthplace to find,
And keep his vision clear from speck, his inward sight unblind.