The feathery larch, the rowans
The brambles trailing their tangled hair;
And each is link’d to my waking thought
By some remembrance fancy-fraught.
Yet, lovely stream, unknown
Thou hast oozed, and flow’d, and leap’d, and run,
Ever since Time its course begun,
Without a record, without a name.
I ask’d the shepherd on the hill—
He knew thee but as a common rill;
I ask’d the farmer’s blue-eyed daughter—
She knew thee but as a running water;
I ask’d the boatman on the shore
(He was never ask’d to tell before)—
Thou wert a brook, and nothing more.
Yet, stream, so dear to me
I prize and cherish thee none the less
That thou flowest unseen, unpraised, unknown,
In the unfrequented wilderness.
Though none admire and lay to heart
How good and beautiful thou art,
Thy flow’rets bloom, thy waters run,
And the free birds chaunt thy benison.
Beauty is beauty, though unseen;
And those who love it all their days,
Find meet reward in their soul serene,
And the inner voice of prayer and praise.
* * * * *
[Illustration: Letter H.]
Having surveyed the various objects in Iona, we sailed for a spot no less interesting. Thousands have described it. Few, however, have seen it by torch or candle light, and in this respect we differ from most tourists. All description, however, of this far-famed wonder must be vain and fruitless. The shades of night were fast descending, and had settled on the still waves and the little group of islets, called the Treshnish Isles, when our vessel approached the celebrated Temple of the Sea. We had light enough to discern its symmetry and proportions; but the colour of the rock—a dark grey—and the minuter graces of the columns, were undistinguishable in the evening gloom. The great face of the rock is the most wonderful production of nature we ever beheld. It reminded us of the west front of York or Lincoln cathedral—a resemblance, perhaps, fanciful in all but the feelings they both excite—especially when the English minster is seen by moonlight. The highest point of Staffa at this view is about one hundred feet; in its centre is the great cave, called Fingal’s Cave, stretching up into the interior of the rock a distance of more than 200 feet. After admiring in mute astonishment the columnar proportions of the rock, regular as if chiselled by the hand of art, the passengers entered a small boat, and sailed under the arch. The boatmen had been brought from Iona, and they instantly set themselves to light some lanterns, and form torches of old ropes and tar, with which they completely illuminated the ocean hall, into which we were ushered.