In days that long have glided by,
Beneath keen Scotia’s weeping sky,
On many a hill of purple heath,
In many a gloomy glen beneath,
The wand’ring Lyrist once was known
To pour his harp’s entrancing tone.
Then, when the castle’s rocky form
Rose ’mid the dark surrounding storm,
The Harper had a sacred seat,
Whence he might breathe his wild notes sweet.
Oh! then, when many a twinkling star
Shone in the azure vault afar,
And mute was ev’ry mountain-bird,
Soft music from the harp was heard;
And when the morning’s blushes shed
On hill, or tow’r, their varying red,
Oh! then the harp was heard to cheer,
With earliest sound, th’ enraptur’d ear;
Then many a lady fair was known,
With snowy hand, to wake its tone;
And infant fingers press’d the string,
And back recoil’d, to hear it sing.
Sweet instrument! such was thy pow’r,
’Twas thine to gladden ev’ry hour;
The young and old then honour’d thee,
And smil’d to hear thy melody.
Alas! as Time has turn’d to dust
The temple fair, the beauteous bust,
Thou too hast mark’d his frowning brow;
No Highland echo knows thee now:
A savage has usurp’d thy place,
Once fill’d by thee with ev’ry grace;
Th’ inflated Pipe, with swinish drone,
Calls forth applauses once thine own.
When stormy show’rs from Heav’n descend,
And with their weight the lily bend,
The Sun will soon his aid bestow,
And drink the drops that laid it low.
Oh! thus, when sorrow wrings the heart,
A sigh may rise, a tear may start;
Pity shall soon the face impress
With all its looks of happiness.
ON AN AUTUMNAL LEAF.
Think not, thou pride of Summer’s softest strain!
Sweet dress of Nature, in her virgin bloom!
That thou hast flutter’d to the breeze in vain,
Or unlamented found thy native tomb.
The Muse, who sought thee in the whisp’ring
When scarce one roving breeze was on the wing,
With tones of genuine grief beholds thee fade,
And asks thy quick return in earliest Spring.
I mark’d the victim of the wintry hour,
I heard the winds breathe sad a fun’ral sigh,
When the lone warbler, from his fav’rite bow’r,
Pour’d forth his pensive song to see thee die;—
When, in his little temple, colder grown,
He saw its sides of green to yellow grow,
And mourn’d his little roof, around him blown,
Or toss’d in beauteous ruin on the snow;
And vow’d, throughout the dreary day to come,
(More sad by far than summer’s gloomiest night),
That not one note should charm the leafless gloom,
But silent Sorrow should attend thy flight.