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Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
Teach us, sprite, or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine :
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Or triumphal chaunt,
Matched with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt, —
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain ?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain ?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?
With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be;
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee :
Thou lovest; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.
Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream ?
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not ;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear ;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground !
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
When maidens such as Hester die,
Their place ye may not well supply,
Though ye among a thousand try,
With vain endeavour.
A month or more hath she been dead,
Yet cannot I by force be led
To think upon the wormy bed,
And her together.
A springy motion in her gait,
A rising step, did indicate
Of pride and joy no common rate,
That flushed her spirit.
I know not by what name beside
I shall it call:- if ’t was not pride,
It was a joy to that allied,
She did inherit.
Her parents held the Quaker rule,
Which doth the human feeling cool,
But she was trained in Nature's school,
Nature had blest her.
A waking eye, a prying mind,
A heart that stirs, is hard to bind,
A hawk's keen sight ye cannot blind,
Ye could not Hester.
My sprightly neighbour! gone before
To that unknown and silent shore,
Shall we not meet, as heretofore,
Some summer morning,
When from thy cheerful eyes a ray
Hath struck a bliss upon the day,
A bliss that would not go away,
A sweet fore-warning ?
When the sheep are in the fauld, when the cows come hame,
When a’ the weary warld to quiet rest are gane;
The woes of my heart fa' in showers frae my ee,
Unkenned by my gudeman, who soundly sleeps by me.
Young Jamie looed me weel, and sought me for his bride,
But saving ae crown piece, he 'd naething else beside.
To make the crown a pound, my Jamie gaed to sea;
And the crown and the pound, O they were baith for me!
Before he had been gane a twelvemonth and a day,
My father brak his arm, our cow was stown away;
My mother she fell sick — my Jamie was at sea--
And Auld Robin Gray, oh! he came a-courting me.
My father cou'dna work— my mother cou'dna spin ;
I toiled day and night, but their bread I cou'dna win;
Auld Rob maintained them baith, and wi' tears in his ee,
Said, “ Jenny, oh! for their sakes, will you marry me?”
My heart it said na, and I looked for Jamie back;
But hard blew the winds, and his ship was a wrack :
His ship it was a wrack! Why didna Jamie dee?
Or wherefore am I spared to cry out, Woe is me!
My father argued sair — my mother didna speak,
But she looked in my face till my heart was like to break;
They gied him my hand, but my heart was in the sea ;
And so Auld Robin Gray, he was gudeman to me.
I hadna been his wife, a week but only four,
When mournfu' as I sat on the stane at my door,
I saw my Jamie's ghaist-I cou'dna think it be,
Till he said, “I'm come hame, my love, to marry thee!"
O sair, sair did we greet, and mickle say
Ae kiss we took, nae mair-I bad him gang awa.
I wish that I were dead, but I'm no like to dee;
For 0, I am but young to cry out, Woe is me!
gang like a ghaist, and I carena much to spin ;
I darena think o' Jamie, for that wad be a sin.
But I will do my best a gude wife aye to be,
For Auld Robin Gray, oh! he is sae kind to me.