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Towards the gentle ass he springs,
And up about his neck he climbs;
In loving words he talks to him,
He kisses, kisses face and limb,-
He kisses him a thousand times !
This Peter sees, while in the shade
He stood beside the cottage door:
And Peter Bell, the ruffian wild,
Sobs loud, he sobs even like a child,
“Oh! God, I can endure no more !"
Here ends my tale :—for in a trice Arrived a neighbour with his horse; Peter went forth with him straightway; And, with due care, ere break of day Together they brought back the corse.
And many years did this poor ass,
Whom once it was my luck to see
Cropping the shrubs of Leming Lane,
Help by his labour to maintain
The widow and her family.
And Peter Bell, who, till that night, Has been the wildest of his clan, Forsook his crimes, repressed his folly, And after ten months' melancholy, Became a good and honest man.
MOSSGIEL. “There !” said a stripling, pointing with meet pride, Towards a low roof with green trees half concealed, “Is Mossgiel farm; and that's the very field . Where Burns ploughed up the daisy.” Far and wide A plain below stretched seaward, while, descried Above sea-clouds, the Peaks of Arran rose; And, by that simple notice, the repose Of earth, sky, sea, and air, was vivified. Beneath “the random bield of clod or stone" Myriads of Daisies have shone forth in flower Near the lark's nest, and in their natural hour Have passed away, less happy than the one That by the unwilling ploughshare died to prove The tender charm of poetry and love.
OR, THE BRAES OF KIRTLE.
Fair Ellen Irwin, when she sate
Upon the braes of Kirtle,
Was lovely as a Grecian maid
Adorned with wreaths of myrtle.
Young Adam Bruce beside her lay;
And there did they beguile the day
With love and gentle speeches,
Beneath the budding beeches.
From many knights and many squires
The Bruce had been selected;
And Gordon, fairest of them all,
By Ellen was rejected.
Sad tidings to that noble youth!
For it may be proclaimed with truth,
If Bruce hath loved sincerely,
That Gordon loves as dearly,
But what is Gordon's beauteous face,
And what are Gordon's crosses,
To them who sit by Kirtle's braes
Upon the verdant mosses?
Alas that ever he was born!
The Gordon, couched behind a thorn,
Sees them and their caressing;
Beholds them blest and blessing.
Proud Gordon cannot bear the thoughts
That through his brain are travelling,-
And, starting up, to Bruce's heart
He launched a deadly javelin !
Fair Ellen saw it when it came,
And, stepping forth to meet the same,
Did with her body cover
The youth, her chosen lover.
And, falling into Bruce's arms,
Thus died the beauteous Ellen,
Thus, from the heart of her true love,
The mortal spear repelling.
And Bruce, as soon as he had slain
The Gordon, sailed away to Spain;
And fought with rage incessant
Against the Moorish crescent.
But many days, and many months,
And many years ensuing,
This wretched knight did vainly seek
The death that he was wooing :
So coming his last help to crave,
Heart-broken, upon Ellen's grave
His body he extended,
And there his sorrow ended.
Now ye, who willingly have heard
The tale I have been telling,
May in Kirkonnel churchyard view
The grave of lovely Ellen:
By Ellen's side the Bruce is laid;
And, for the stone upon its head,
May no rude hand deface it,
And its forlorn HIC JACET!
TO A HIGHLAND GIRL. Sweet Highland girl, a very shower Of beauty is thy earthly dower ! Twice seven consenting years have shed Their utmost bounty on thy head : And these gray rocks; this household lawn; These trees, a veil just half withdrawn; This fall of water, that doth make A murmur near the silent lake; This little bay, a quiet road That holds in shelter thy abode; In truth together do ye seem Like something fashioned in a dream; Such forms as from their covert peep When earthly cares are laid asleep! 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!
Soft smiles, 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?
Oh, 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!