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A PLACE OF BURIAL IN THE SOUTH OF SCOTLAND.
Part fenced by man, part by a ragged steep
That curbs a foaming brook, a Grave-yard lies;
The Hare's best couching-place for fearless sleep;
Which moonlit Elves, far seen by credulous eyes,
Enter in dance. Of Church, or Sabbath ties,
No vestige now remains; yet thither creep
Bereft Ones, and in lowly anguish weep
Their prayers out to the wind and naked skies.
Proud tomb is none; but rudely-sculptured knights,
By humble choice of plain old times, are seen
Level with earth, among the hillocks green :
Union not sad, when sunny daybreak smites
The spangled turf, and neighbouring thickets ring
With jubilate from the choirs of spring!
ON THE SIGHT OF A MANSE IN THE SOUTH OF
SAY, ye far-travelled clouds, far-seeing hills,
Among the happiest-looking Homes of men
Scatter'd all Britain over, through deep glen,
On airy upland, and by forest rills,
And o'er wide plains whereon the sky distils
Her lark's loved warblings; does aught meet your ken
More fit to animate the Poet's pen,
Aught that more surely by its aspect fills
Pure minds with sinless
than the Abode
Of the good Priest : who, faithful through all hours
To his high charge, and truly serving God,
Has yet a heart and hand for trees and flowers,
Enjoys the walks his Predecessors trod,
Nor covets lineal rights in lands and towers.
COMPOSED IN ROSLIN CHAPEL, DURING A STORM.
The wind is now thy organist;
a clank (We know not whence) ministers for a bell To mark some change of service. As the swell Of music reached its height, and even when sank The notes, in prelude, Roslin! to a blank Of silence, how it thrilled thy sumptuous roof, Pillars, and arches, — not in vain time-proof, Though Christian rites be wanting! From what bank Came those live herbs? by what hand were they sown Where dew falls not, where rain-drops seem
known ? Yet in the Temple they a friendly niche Share with their sculptured fellows, that, green
grown, Copy their beauty more and more, and preach, Though mute, of all things blending into one.
There's not a nook within this solemn Pass,
But were an apt confessional for One
Taught by his summer spent, his autumn gone,
That Life is but a tale of morning grass,
Withered at eve. From scenes of art that chase
That thought away, turn, and with watchful eyes
Feed it ʼmid Nature's old felicities,
Rocks, rivers, and smooth lakes more clear than glass
Untouched, unbreathed upon. Thrice happy Guest,
If from a golden perch of aspen spray
(October's workmanship to rival May)
The pensive warbler of the ruddy breast
This moral sweeten by a heaven-taught lay,
Lulling the year, with all its cares, to rest.
The Pibroch's note, discountenanced or mute ;
The Roman kilt, degraded to a toy
Of quaint apparel for a half-spoilt boy;
The target mouldering like ungathered fruit;
The smoking steam-boat eager in pursuit,
As eagerly pursued; the umbrella spread
To weather-fend the Celtic herdsman's head-
All speak of manners withering to the root,
And some old honours, too, and passions high :
Then may we ask, though pleased that thought
Among the conquests of civility,
Survives imagination — to the change
Superior ? Help to virtue does it give ?
If not, O Mortals, better cease to live!