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Away ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses !
In you let the minions of luxury rove;
Restore me the rocks where the snow-flake reposes,
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love.
Yet Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains,
Round their white summits though elements war, Though cataracts foam, 'stead of smooth flowing fountains,
I sigh for the valley of dark Loch-na-Garr.
Ah, there my young footsteps in infancy wandered !
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid;
On chieftains long perished my memory pondered,
As daily I strode through the pine-covered glade. I sought not my home till the day's dying glory
Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star; For fancy was cheered by traditional story,
Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch-na-Garr. “ Shades of the dead ! have I not heard your voices
Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?" Surely the soul of the hero rejoices,
And rides on the wind o'er his own Highland vale?
Round Loch-na-Garr, while the stormy mist gathers,
Winter presides in his cold icy car ;
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers-
They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch-na-Garr.
Ill-starred, though brave, did no visions foreboding
Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause ?"
Ah! were you destined to die at Culloden?
Victory crowned not your fall with applause:
Still were you happy, in death's earthy slumber
You rest with your clan in the caves of Braemar;
The pibroch resounds to the piper's loud number
Your deeds on the echoes of dark Loch-na-Garr.
Years have rolled on, Loch-na-Garr, since I left you;
Years must elapse ere I tread you again;
Nature of verdure and flowers has bereft you,
Yet still are you dearer than Albion's plain.
England ! thy beauties are tame and domestic
To one who has roved o'er the mountains afar;
Oh for the crags that are wild and majestic,
The steep frowning glories of dark Loch-na-Garr! -Hours of Idleness.
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean :
This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold
Converse with nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled.
But ’midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all that flattered, followed, sought, and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!
- Childe Harold.
He who hath bent him o'er the dead,
Ere the first day of death is filed,
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress,
Before decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,
And marked the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there-
The fixed, yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek-
And, but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now,
And but for that chill, changeless brow,
Where cold obstruction's apathy
Appals the gazing mourner's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon;
Yes, but for these, and these alone,
Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the tyrant's power;
So fair, so calm, so softly sealed,
The first, last look by death revealed!
Such is the aspect of this shore:
'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more!
So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
We start, for soul is wanting there.
Hers is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite with parting breath;
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb-
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of feeling past away!
Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth,
Which gleams, but warms no more its cherished
Clime of the unforgotten brave!
Whose land from plain to mountain cave
Was freedom's home or glory's grave!
Shrine of the mighty ! can it be,
That this is all remains of thee?'
Approach, thou craven crouching slave:
Say, is not this Thermopylæ?
These waters blue that round you lave,
Oh servile offspring of the free-
Pronounce what sea, what shore is this!
The gulf, the rock of Salamis !
These scenes, their story not unknown,
Arise, and make again your own;
Snatch from the ashes of your sires
The embers of their former fires;
And he who in the strife expires,
Will add to theirs a name of fear,
That tyranny shall quake to hear,
And leave his sons a hope, a fame,
They too will rather die than shame:
For freedom's battle once begun,
Bequeathed by bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft, is ever won.
Bear witness, Greece, thy living page,
Attest it many a deathless age!
While kings, in dusty darkness hid,
Have left a nameless pyramid;
Thy heroes, though the general doom
Hath swept the column from their tomb,
A mightier monument command-
The mountains of their native land !
There points thy Muse to stranger's eye
The graves of those that cannot die !
"Twere long to tell, and sad to trace,
Each step from splendour to disgrace;
Enough—no foreign foe could quell
Thy soul, till from itself it fell;
Yes! self-abasement paved the way
To villain-bonds and despot sway. -The Giaour.
WHEN friendship or love our sympathies move,
When truth in a glance should appear,
The lips may beguile with a dimple or smile,
But the test of affection 's a tear,
Too oft is a smile but the hypocrite's wile,
To mask detestation or fear;
Give me the soft sigh, whilst the soul-telling eye
Is dimmed for a time with a tear.
Mild charity's glow, to us mortals below,
Shows the soul from barbarity clear;
Compassion will melt where this virtue is felt,
And its dew is diffused in a tear.
The man doomed to sail with the blast of the gale,
Through billows Atlantic to steer ;
As he bends o'er the wave which may soon be his grave,
The green sparkles bright with a tear.
The soldier braves death for a fanciful wreath
In glory's romantic career;
But he raises the foe when in battle laid low,
And bathes every wound with a tear.
If with high-bounding pride he return to his bride,
Renouncing the gore-crimsoned spear,
All his toils are repaid, when, embracing the maid,
From her eyelid he kisses the tear.
Sweet scene of my youth! seat of friendship and truth!
Where love chased each fast-fleeting year,
Loath to leave thee, I mourned, for a last look I turned,
But thy spire was scarce seen through a tear.
Ye friends of my heart! ere from you I depart,
This hope to my breast is most near-
If again we shall meet in this rural retreat,
May we meet, as we part, with a tear!
When my soul wings her flight to the regions of night,
And my corse shall recline on its bier,
As ye pass by the tomb where my ashes consume,
Oh moisten their dust with a tear!
May no marble bestow the splendour of wo,
Which the children of vanity rear!
No fiction of fame shall blazon my name,
All I ask, all I wish, is a tear! —Hours of Idleness.
I WOULD I WERE A CARELESS CHILD.
I WOULD I were a careless child,
Still dwelling in my Highland cave,
Or roaming through the dusky wild,
Or bounding o'er the dark blue wave;
The cumbrous pomp of Saxon pride
Accords not with the free-born soul,
Which love's the mountain's craggy side,
And seeks the rocks where billows roll.
Fortune! take back these cultured lands,
Take back this name of splendid sound !
I hate the touch of servile hands,
I hate the slaves that cringe around.
Place me along the rocks I love,
Which sound to ocean's wildest roar;
I ask but this—again to rove
Through scenes my youth hath known before.