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T

HEN rise those crags, that mountain tower,

Which charmed my fancy's wakening hour : Though no broad river swept along, To claim, perchance, heroic song; Though sighed no groves in summer gale, To prompt of love a softer tale ; Though scarce a puny streamlet's speed Claimed homage from a shepherd's reed,

Smailholm Tower.

Yet was poetic impulse given,
By the green hill and clear blue heaven.
It was a barren scene, and wild,
Where naked cliffs were rudely piled ;
But ever and anon between
Lay velvet tufts of loveliest green ;
And well the lonely infant knew
Recesses where the wallflower grew,
And honeysuckle loved to crawl
Up the low crag and ruined wall.
I deemed such nooks the sweetest shade
The sun in all his round surveyed ;
And still I thought that shattered tower
The mightiest work of human power ;
And marvelled as the aged hind
With some strange tale bewitched my mind
Of forayers, who, with headlong force,
Down from that strength had spurited their horse,
Their southern rapine to renew,
Far in the distant Cheviots blue,
And, home returning, filled the hall
With revel, wassel-rout, and brawl.
Methought that still with tramp and clang
The gateway's broken arches rang ;
Methought grim features, seamed with scars,
Glared through the windows' rusty bars.
And ever, by the winter hearth,
Old tales I heard of woe or mirth,

Smailholm Tower.

Of lovers' sleights, of ladies' charms,
Of witches' spells, of warriors' arms;
Of patriot battles, won of old
By Wallace wight and Bruce the bold ;
Of later fields of feud and fight,
When, pouring from their Highland height,
The Scottish clans, in headlong sway,
Had swept the scarlet ranks away.
While stretched at length upon the floor,
Again I fought each combat o'er,
Pebbles and shells, in order laid,
The mimic ranks of war displayed ;
And onward still the Scottish Lion bore,
And still the scattered Southron fled before.

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