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Yet, dream and vision as thou art, I bless thee with a human heart: God shield thee to thy latest years! I neither know thee nor thy peers; And yet my eyes are filled with tears.

With earnest feeling I shall pray For thee when I am far away: For never saw I mien, or face, In which more plainly I could trace Benignity and home-bred sense Ripening in perfect innocence. Here scattered like a random seed, Remote from men, Thou dost not need The embarrassed look of shy distress, And maidenly shamefacedness: Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear The freedom of a Mountaineer. A face with gladness overspread! Sweet looks, by human kindness bred! And seemliness complete, that sways Thy courtesies, about thee plays; With'no restraint, but such as springs From quick and eager visitings

Of thoughts, that lie beyond the reach
Of thy few words of English speech:
A bondage sweetly brooked, a strife
That gives thy gestures grace and life!
So have I, not unmoved in mind,
Seen birds of tempest-loving kind,
Thus beating up against the wind.

What hand but would a garland cull
For thee who art so beautiful?
O happy pleasure! here to dwell
Beside thee in some heathy dell;
Adopt your homely ways and dress,
A Shepherd, thou a Shepherdess!
But I could frame a wish for thee
More like a grave reality
Thou art to me but as a wave
Of the wild sea: and I would have
Some claim upon thee, if I could,
Though but of common neighbourhood.
What joy to hear thee, and to see!
Thy elder Brother I would be,
Thy Father, any thing to thee!

Now thanks to Heaven! that of its grace

Hath led me to this lonely place.

Joy have I had; and going hence

I bear away my recompence.

In spots like these it is we prize

Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes:

Then, why should I be loth to stir?

I feel this place was made for her;

To give new pleasure like the past,

Continued long as life shall last.

Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart,

Sweet Highland Girl! from Thee to part;

For I, methinks, till I grow old,

As fair before me shall behold,

As I do now, the Cabin small,

The Lake, the Bay, the Waterfall;

And Thee, the Spirit of them all!

XXII.
THE SOLITARY REAPER.

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;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
So sweetly to reposing bands
Of Travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian Sands:No sweeter voice was ever heard
In spring-time 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?
Some natural 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 listened — motionless and still:
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

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