Page images
PDF
EPUB

JOHN LANGHORNE.

OWEN OF CARRON,

ON
N Carron's side the primrose pale,

Why does it wear a purple hue?
Ye maidens fair of Marlivale,

Why stream your eyes with Pity's dew? 'Tis all with gentle Owen's blood

That purple grows the primrose pale ; That Pity pours the tender flood

From each fair eye in Marlivale.

The evening star sate in his eye,

The sun his golden tresses gave,
The north's pure morn her orient dye,

To him who rests in yonder grave!

Beneath no high, historic stone,

Though nobly born, is Owen laid, Stretch'd on the green wood's lap alone,

He sleeps beneath the waving shade. There many a flowery race hath sprung,

And fled before the mountain gale,
Since first his simple dirge ye sung;

Ye maidens fair of Marlivale!
Yet still, when May with fragrant feet

Hath wander'd o'er your meads of gold,
That dirge I hear so simply sweet
Far echoed from each evening fold.

II. 'Twas in the pride of William's # day,

When Scotland's honours flourish'd still, That Moray's earl, with mighty sway, Bore rule o'er many a Highland hill.

• William the Lion, king of Scotland.

And far for him their fruitful store

The fairer plains of Carron spread; In fortune rich, in offspring poor,

An only daughter crown'd his bed. Oh! write not poor-the wealth that flows

In waves of gold round India's throne, All in her shining breast that glows,

To Ellen's charms, were earth and stone, For her the youth of Scotland sigh’d,

The Frenchman gay, the Spaniard grave, And smoother Italy applied,

And many an English baron brave. In vain by foreign arts assaild,

No foreign loves her breast beguile, And England's honest valour fail'd,

Paid with a cold, but courteous smile. "Ah! woe to thee, young Nithisdale,

That o'er thy cheek those roses stray'd; Thy breath, the violet of the vale,

Thy voice, the music of the shade! 'Ah! woe to thee, that Ellen's love

Alone to thy soft tale would yield ! For soon those gentle arms shall prove

The conflict of a ruder field.'
'Twas thus a wayward sister spoke,

And cast a rueful glance behind,
As from her dim wood-glen she broke,

And mounted on the moaning wind.
She spoke and vanish'd-more unmov'd

Than Moray's rocks, when storms invest, The valiant youth by Ellen lov'd

With aught that fear, or fate suggest. For Love, methinks, hath power to raise

The soul beyond a vulgar state;
The' unconquer'd banners he displays

Control our fears, and fix our fate.

III. 'Twas when, on summer's 'softest eve,

Of clouds that wander'd west away, Twilight with gentle hand did weave

Her fairy robe of night and day. When all the mountain gales were still,

And the wave slept against the shore, And the sun, sunk beneath the hill,

Left his last smile on Lemmermore:

Led by those waking dreams of thought

That warm the young unpractis'd breast,
Her wonted bower sweet Ellen sought,
And Carron murmur'd near, and soothed her into
rest.

IV.
There is some kind and courtly sprite

That o'er the realm of Fancy reigns,
Throws sunshine on the mask of night,

And smiles at Slumber's powerless chains : 'Tis told, and I believe the tale,

At this soft hour that sprite was there, And spread with fairer flowers the vale,

And fill'd with sweeter sounds the air.

A bower he fram'd (for he could frame

What long might weary mortal wight; Swift as the lightning's rapid flame

Darts on the unsuspecting sight:) Such bower he fram'd with magic hand,

As well that wizard bard hath wove, In scenes where fair Armida's wand

Wav'd all the witcheries of love.

Yet it was wrought in simple show;

Nor Indian mines por orient shores Had lent their glories here to glow,

Or yielded here their shining stores.

All round a poplar's trembling arms

The wild-rose wound her damask flower ; The woodbine lent her spicy charms,

That loves to weave the lover's bower. The ash, that courts the mountain-air,

In all her painted blooms array'd, The wilding's blossom blushing fair,

Combin'd to form the flowery shade. With thyme that loves the brown hill's breast,

The cowslip's sweet reclining head, The violet of sky-woven vest,

Was all the fairy ground bespread. But, who is he, whose locks so fair

Adown his manly shoulders flow? Beside him lies the hunter's spear,

Beside him sleeps the warrior's bow.
He bends to Ellen-(gentle sprite,

Thy sweet seductive arts forbear)
He courts her arms with fond delight,
And instant vanishes in air.

V.
Hast thou not found at early dawn

Some soft ideas melt away,
If o'er sweet vale, or flowery lawn,

The sprite of dreams hath bid thee stray? Hast thou not some fair object seen,

And, when the fleeting form was past,
Still on thy memory found its mien,

And felt the fond idea last?
Thou hast-and oft the pictur'd view,

Seen in some vision counted vain,
Has struck thy wondering eye anew,

And brought the long-lost dream again. With warrior-bow, with hunter's spear,

With locks adown his shoulder spread, Young Nithisdale is ranging near

He's ranging near yon mountain's head.

Scarce had one pale moon pass'd away,

And fill'd her silver urn again, When in the devious chase to stray,

Afar from all his woodland train,
To Carron's banks his fate consign'd,

And, all to shun the fervid hour,
He sought some friendly shade to find,
And found the visionary bower.

VI.
Led by the golden star of Love,

Sweet Ellen took her wonted way,
And in the deep-defending grove

Sought refuge from the fervid dayOh!-Who is he whose ringlets fair

Disorder'd o'er his green vest flow, Reclin'd in rest-whose sunny hair

Half hides the fair cheek's ardent glow ? : "Tis he, that sprite's illusive guest,

(Ah me! that sprites can fate control!) That lives still imag'd on her breast,

That lives still pictur'd in her soul. As when some gentle spirit fled

From earth to breathe elysian air, And, in the train whom we call dead,

Perceives its long-lov'd partner there; Soft, sudden pleasure rushes o'er,

Resistless, o'er its airy frame,
To find its future fate restore

The object of its former flame.
So Ellen stood-less power to move

Had he, who, bound in Slumber's chain, Seem'd haply, o'er his hills to rove,

And wind his woodland chase again. She stood, but trembled-mingled fear,

And fond delight, and melting love, Sier'd all her soul; she came not near,

She came not near that fated grove.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »