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Before me begging did she stand, Pouring out sorrows like a sea; Grief after grief: — on English Land Such woes I knew could never be; And yet a boon I gave her; for the Creature Was beautiful to see; "a Weed of glorious feature!'
I left her, and pursued my way; And soon before me did espy A pair of little Boys at play, Chasing a crimson butterfly; The Taller followed with his hat in hand, Wreathed round with yellow flowers, the gayest of the land.
The Other wore a rimless crown, With leaves of laurel stuck about: And they both followed up and down, Each whooping with a merry shout: In their fraternal features I could trace Unquestionable lines of that wild Suppliant's face.
They bolted on me thus, and lo! Each ready with a plaintive whine; Said I, "Not half an hour ago Your Mother has had alms of mine." "That cannot be," one answered, " She is dead." "Nay but I gave her pence, and she will buy you bread."
"She has been dead, Sir, many a day." "Sweet Boys, you're telling me a lie; It was your Mother, as I say —" And in the twinkling of an eye, "Come, come!" cried one; and, without more ado, Off to some other play they both together flew.
YARROW UNVISITED. 1803.
(See the various Poems the Scene of which is laid upon the Banks of the Yarrow; in particular, the exquisite Ballad of Hamilton, beginning
"Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny, bonny Bride,
From Stirling Castle we had seen
"Let Yarrow Folk, frae Selkirk Town,
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 Tiviot-dale, 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 seemed of slight and scorn;
My True-love sighed for sorrow;
And looked 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 thorough;
But, though so near, we will not turn
Into the Dale of Yarrow.
Let Beeves and home-bred Kine partake
Be Yarrow Stream unseen, unknown!
* See Hamilton's Ballad, as above.