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If fails his heart, if his limbs fail,
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;
* The Scottish harvest-home.
His crook, his scrip, his oaten reed,
Changes not so with us, my Skene, Of human life the varying scene? 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,
And frequent falls the grateful dew,
To thee, perchance, this rambling strain
The wild unbounded hills we ranged, While oft our talk its topic changed, And desultory, as our way, Ranged unconfined from grave to gay. Even when it flagged, as oft will chance, No effort made to break its trance, We could right pleasantly pursue Our sports in social silence too; Thou gravely labouring to pourtray The blighted oak’s fantastic spray I spelling o’er, with much delight, The legend of that antique knight, Tirante by name, ycleped the White. At either's feet a trusty squire, Pandour and Camp, with eyes of fire Jealous, each other's motions viewed, And scarce suppressed their ancient feud. The laverock whistled from the cloud;
The stream was lively, but not loud;