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So was it—would, at least, have been,
But through untowardness of fate:
For polity was then too strong;
He came an age too late.
Or shall we say an age too soon?
For, were the bold man living now,
How might he flourish in his pride,
With buds on every bough!
Then rents and factors, rights of chase, Sheriffs, and lairds and their domains, Would all have seemed but paltry things,
Not worth a moment's pains. Rob Roy had never lingered here, To these few meagre vales confined; But thought how wide the world, the times
How fairly to his mind!
And to his sword he would have said,
"Do thou my sovereign will enact
From land to land through half the earth!
Judge thou of law and fact!
"'Tis fit that we should do our part;
Becoming, that mankind should learn
That we are not to be surpassed
In fatherly concern.
"Of old things all are over old,
Of good things none are good enough:
We '11 show that we can help to frame
A world of other stuff.
"I, too, will have my kings that take
From me the sign of life and death:
Kingdoms shall shift about, like clouds,
Obedient to my breath."
And, if the word had been fulfilled,
As might have been, then, thought of joy!
France would have had her present boast;
And we our own Rob Roy 1
Oh, say not so! compare them not;
I would not wrong thee, champion brave!
Would wrong thee nowhere; least of all
Here standing by thy grave.
For thou, although with some wild thoughts,
Wild chieftain of a savage clan!
Hadst this to boast of; thou didst love
The libertv of man.
And, had it been thy lot to live
With us who now behold the light,
Thou wouldst have nobly stirred thyself.
And battled for the right.
For thou wert still the poor man's stay,
The poor man's heart, the poor man's hand;
And all the oppressed, who wanted strength,
Had thine at their command.
Bear witness many a pensive sigh
Of thoughtful herdsman when he strays
Alone upon Loch Veol's heights,
And by Loch Lomond's braes!
And, far and near, through vale and hill,
Are faces that attest the same;
The proud heart flashing through the eyes,
At sound of Rob Roy's name.
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS,
LANDING AT THE MOUTH OF THE DERWENT,
Dear to the Loves, and to the Graces vowed,
The Queen drew back the wimple that she wore:
And to the throng how touchingly she bowed
That hailed her landing on the Cumbrian shore;
Bright as a star (that, from a sombre cloud
Of pine-tree foliage poised in air, forth darts,
When a soft summer gale at evening parts
The gloom that did its loveliness enshroud)
She smiled; but Time, the old Saturnian Seer,
Sighed on the wing as her foot pressed the strand,
With step prelusive to a long array
Of woes and degradations hand in hand,
Weeping captivity and shuddering fear,
Stilled by the ensanguined block of Fotheringay.
COMPOSED AT CASTLE.
Degenerate Douglas! oh, the unworthy lord!
Whom mere despite of heart could so far please,
And love of havoc (for with such disease
Fame taxes him) that he could send forth word,
To level with the dust a noble horde,
A brotherhood of venerable trees,
Leaving an ancient dome, and towers like these.
Beggared and outraged! Many hearts deplored
The fate of those old trees; and oft with pain
The traveller, at this day, will stop and gaze
On wrongs which Nature scarcely seems to heed:
For sheltered places, bosoms, nooks, and bays,
And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed,
And the green silent pastures, yet remain*
IN THE PASS OF KILLIECRANKIE,
AN INVASION BEING EXPECTED, 1803.
Six thousand veterans practised in war's game,
Tried men, at Killiecrankie were arrayed
Against an equal host that wore the plaid,
Shepherds and herdsmen. Like a whirlwind came
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. 'Twas a day of shame
For them whom precept and the pedantry
Of cold mechanic battle do enslave.
Oh, 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 JEDBURGH AND HER
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 I
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 Jedburgh tower,
A matron dwells, who though she bears
Our mortal complement of years,
.1ives in the light of youthful glee,
1 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 merrymaking 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 Jedburgh 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 1 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;