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ce mc ore ou
That now, November's dreary gale, Whose voice inspired my opening tale, That same November gale once more Whirls the dry leaves on Yarrow's shore; Their vex'd boughs streaming to the sky, Once more our naked birches sigh; And Blackhouse heights, and Ettricke Pen, Have don'd their wintry shrouds again ; And mountain dark, and flooded mead, Bids us forsake the banks of Tweed. Earlier than wont along the sky, Mixed with the rack, the snow-mists fly: . The shepherd, who, in summer sun, Has something of our envy won, As thou with pencil, I with pen, The features traced of hill and glen; He who, outstretched, the livelong day, At ease among the heath-flowers lay; Viewed the light clouds with vacant look, Or slumbered o'er his tattered book,
Or idly busied him to guide
When red hath set the beamless sun, Through heavy vapours dank and dun; When the tired ploughman, dry and warm, . Hears, half asleep, the rising storm Hurling the hail, and sleeted rain, Against the casement's tinkling pane; The sounds that drive wild deer, and fox, To shelter in the brake and rocks, Are warnings which the shepherd ask To dismal, and to dangerous task. Oft he looks forth, and hopes, in vain, The blast may sink in mellowing rain; Till, dark above, and white below, Decided drives the flaky snow, And forth the hardy swain must go.
Long, with dejected look and whine, To leave the hearth his dogs repine ; Whistling and cheering them to aid, Around his back he wreathes the plaid: His flock he gathers, and he guides To open downs, and mountain sides, Where fiercest though the tempest blow, Least deeply lies the drift below. The blast, that whistles o'er the fells, Stiffens his locks to icicles ; Oft he looks back, while streaming far, His cottage window seems a star, Loses its feeble gleam, and then Turns patient to the blast again, And, facing to the tempest's sweep, Drives through the gloom his lagging sheep: If fails his heart, if his limbs fail, Benumbing death is in the gale; His paths, his landmarks, all unknown, Close to the hut, no more his own,
Close to the aid he sought in vain,
And licks his cheek, to break his rest.
Who envies now the shepherd's lot, His healthy fare, his rural cot, His summer couch by greenwood tree, His rustic kirn's* loud revelry, His native hill-notes, tuned on high, To Marion of the blithesome eye; His crook, his scrip, his oaten reed,
And all Arcadia's golden creed
Changes not so with us, my Skene, Of human life the varying scene
* The Scottish harvest-home,
Our youthful summer oft we see Dance by on wings of game and glee, While the dark storm reserves its rage, Against the winter of our age : As he, the ancient chief of Troy, His manhood spent in peace and joy; But Grecian fires, and loud alarms, Called ancient Priam forth to arms. Then happy those, -since each must drain His share of pleasure, share of pain, Then happy those, beloved of heaven, To whom the mingled cup is given; Whose lenient sorrows find relief, Whose joys are chastened by their grief. And such a lot, my Skene, was thine, When thou of late wert doomed to twine, Just when thy bridal hour was by,The cypress with the myrtle tie ; Just on thy bride her Sire had smiled, And blessed the union of his child, .