Caged in old woods, whose reverend echoes wake
When the hern screams along the distant lake,
Her little heart oft flutters to be free,
Oft sighs to turn the unrelenting key.
In vain! the nurse that rusted relic wears,
Nor mov’d by gold—nor to be mov’d by tears;
And terraced walls their black reflection throw
On the green-mantled moat that sleeps below.
As thro’ the hedge-row shade the violet steals,
And the sweet air its modest leaf reveals;
Her softer charms, but by their influence known,
Surprise all hearts, and mould them to her own.
Blue was the loch, [Footnote 1] the clouds were gone,
Ben-Lomond in his glory shone,
When, Luss, I left thee; when the breeze
Bore me from thy silver sands,
Thy kirk-yard wall among the trees,
Where, grey with age, the dial stands;
That dial so well-known to me!
—Tho’ many a shadow it had shed,
Beloved Sister, since with thee
The legend on the stone was read.
The fairy-isles fled far away;
That with its woods and uplands green,
Where shepherd-huts are dimly seen,
And songs are heard at close of day;
That too, the deer’s wild covert, fled,
And that, the Asylum of the Dead:
While, as the boat went merrily,
Much of ROB ROY [Footnote 2] the boat-man told;
His arm that fell below his knee,
His cattle-ford and mountain-hold.
Tarbet, [Footnote 3] thy shore I climb’d at last,
And, thy shady region pass’d,
Upon another shore I stood,
And look’d upon another flood; [Footnote 4]
Great Ocean’s self! (’Tis He, who fills
That vast and awful depth of hills;)
Where many an elf was playing round,
Who treads unshod his classic ground;
And speaks, his native rocks among,
As FINGAL spoke, and OSSIAN sung.
Night fell; and dark and darker grew
That narrow sea, that narrow sky,
As o’er the glimmering waves we flew.
The sea-bird rustling, wailing by.
And now the grampus, half descried,
Black and huge above the tide;
The cliffs and promontories there,
Front to front, and broad and bare,
Each beyond each, with giant-feet
Advancing as in haste to meet;
The shatter’d fortress, whence the Dane
Blew his shrill blast, nor rush’d in vain,
Tyrant of the drear domain;
All into midnight-shadow sweep—
When day springs upward from the deep! [Footnote 5]
Kindling the waters in its flight,
The prow wakes splendour; and the oar,
That rose and fell unseen before,
Flashes in a sea of light!
Glad sign, and sure! for now we hail
Thy flowers, Glenfinart, in the gale;
And bright indeed the path should be,
That leads to Friendship and to Thee!
Oh blest retreat, and sacred too!