ページの画像
PDF
ePub

то

JAMES SKENE, Esq.

Ashestiel, Ettricke Forest. An ancient Minstrel sagely said, “ Where is the life which late we led ?" That motley clown in Arden wood, Whom humorous Jaques with envy view'd, Not even that clown could amplify, On this trite text, so long as I. Eleven years we now may tell, Since we have known each other well; Since, riding side by side, our hand First drew the voluntary brand; .

And sure, through many a varied scene,
Unkindness never came between.
Away these winged years have flown,
To join the mass of ages gone;
And though deep mark'd, like all below,
With chequer'd shades of joy and woe;
Though thou o'er realms and seas hast rang'd,
Mark'd cities lost, and empires chang'd,
While here, at home, my narrower ken
Somewhat of manner saw, and men ;
Though varying wishes, hopes, and fears,
Fever'd the progress of these years,
Yet now, days, weeks, and months, but seem
The recollection of a dream,
So still we glide down to the sea
Of fathomless eternity.

Even now it scarcely seems a day,
Since first I tuned this idle lay ;
A task so often thrown aside,
When leisure graver cares denied,

That now, November's dreary gale,
Whose voice inspired my opening tale,
That same November gale once more
Whirls the dry leaves on Yarrow shore.
Their vex'd boughs streaming to the sky,
Once more our naked birches sigh,
And Blackhouse heights, and Ettrick Pen,
Have don'd their wintry shrouds again;
And mountain dark, and flooded mead,
Bid us forsake the banks of Tweed.
Earlier than wont along the sky;
Mix'd with the rack, the snow-mists Ay;
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, outstretch'd the livelong day,
At ease among the heath-flowers lay,
View'd the light clouds with vacant look,
Or slumber'd o'er his tatter'd book,

Or idly busied him to guide
His angle o'er the lessen’d tide ;-
At midnight now, the snowy plain
Finds sterner labour for the swain.

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,

« 前へ次へ »