“The Bothie of Toper-na-fuosich” will not, it is to be feared, be extensively read; its length combined with the metre in which it is written, or indeed a first hasty glance at the contents, does not allure the majority even of poetical readers; but it will not be left or forgotten by such as fairly enter upon it. This is a poem essentially thought and studied, if not while in the act of writing, at least as the result of a condition of mind; and the author owes it to the appreciations of all into whose hands it shall come, and who are willing to judge for themselves, to call it, should a second edition appear, by its true name;—not a trifle, but a work.
That public attention should have been so little engaged by this poem is a fact in one respect somewhat remarkable, as contrasting with the notice which the “Ambarvalia” has received. Nevertheless, independently of the greater importance of “the Bothie” in length and development, it must, we think, be admitted to be written on sounder and more matured principles of taste,—the style being sufficiently characterized and distinctive without special prominence, whereas not a few of the poems in the other volume are examples rather of style than of thought, and might be held in recollection on account of the former quality alone.
Her First Season
He gazed her over, from her eyebrows down
Even to her feet: he gazed so with the good
Undoubting faith of fools, much as who should
Accost God for a comrade. In the brown
Of all her curls he seemed to think the town
Would make an acquisition; but her hood
Was not the newest fashion, and his brood
Of lady-friends might scarce approve her gown.
If I did smile, ’twas faintly; for my cheeks
Burned, thinking she’d be shown up to be sold,
And cried about, in the thick jostling run
Of the loud world, till all the weary weeks
Should bring her back to herself and to the old
Familiar face of nature and the sun.
A Sketch From Nature
The air blows pure, for twenty miles,
Over this vast countrie:
Over hill and wood and vale, it goeth,
Over steeple, and stack, and tree:
And there’s not a bird on the wind but knoweth
How sweet these meadows be.
The swallows are flying beside the wood,
And the corbies are hoarsely crying;
And the sun at the end of the earth hath stood,
And, thorough the hedge and over the road,
On the grassy slope is lying:
And the sheep are taking their supper-food
While yet the rays are dying.
Sleepy shadows are filling the furrows,
And giant-long shadows the trees are making;
And velvet soft are the woodland tufts,
And misty-gray the low-down crofts;
But the aspens there have gold-green tops,
And the gold-green tops are shaking:
The spires are white in the sun’s last light;—
And yet a moment ere he drops,
Gazes the sun on the golden slopes.