ページの画像
PDF
ePub

MARMION.

Introduction to Canto fourth.

TO

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 viewed,
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 marked, like all below,
With chequered shades of joy and woe;

Though thou o'er realms and seas hast ranged,
Marked cities lost, and empires changed,
While here, at home, my narrower ken
Somewhat of manners saw, and men;
Though varying wishes, hopes, and fears,
Fevered 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 Ettricke 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, 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-flower lay, Viewed the light clouds with vacant look, Or slumbered o'er his tattered book,

« 前へ次へ »