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A Highland Boy !-why call him so ?
Because, my Darlings, ye must know,
In land where many a mountain towers,
Far higher hills than these of ours !
He from his birth had liv'd.
He ne'er had seen one earthly sight;
The sun, the day; the stars, the night;
Or tree, or butterfly, or flower,
Or fish in stream, or bird in bower,
Or woman, man, or child.
And yet he neither drooped nor pined,
Nor had a melancholy mind;
For God took pity on the Boy,
And was his friend; and gave him joy
Of which we nothing know.
His Mother, too, no doubt, above
Her other Children him did love :
For, was she here, or was she there,
She thought of him with constant care,
And more than Mother's love.
And proud she was of heart, when clad
In crimson stockings, tartan plaid,
And bonnet with a feather gay,
To Kirk he on the sabbath day
Went hand in hand with her.
A Dog, too, had he; not for need, But one to play with and to feed ; Which would have led him, if bereft Of company or friends, and left
Without a better guide.
And then the bagpipes he could blow;
And thus from house to house would go,
And all were pleas'd to hear and see;
For none made sweeter melody
Than did the poor blind Boy.
Yet he had many a restless dream;
Both when he heard the Eagles scream,
And when he heard the torrents roar,
And heard the water beat the shore
Near which their Cottage stood.
Beside a lake their Cottage stood,
Not small like ours, a peaceful flood;
But one of mighty size, and strange ;
That, rough or smooth, is full of change,
And stirring in its bed.
For to this Lake, by night and day,
The great Sea-water finds its way
Through long, long windings of the hills ;
And drinks up all the pretty rills
And rivers large and strong:
Then hurries back the road it came
Returns, on errand still the same;
This did it when the earth was new;
And this for evermore will do,
As long as earth shall last.
And, with the coming of the Tide,
Come Boats and Ships, that sweetly ride,
Between the woods and lofty rocks ;
And to the Shepherds with their Flocks
Bring tales of distant Lands.
And of those tales, whate’er they were,
The blind Boy always had his share;
Whether of mighty Towns, or Vales
With warmer suns and softer gales,
Or wonders of the Deep.
Yet more it pleased him, more it stirr’d,
When from the water-side he heard
The shouting, and the jolly cheers,
The bustle of the mariners
In stillness or in storm.
But what do his desires avail ?
For He must never handle sail;
Nor mount the mast, nor row, nor float:
In Sailor's ship or Fisher's boat
Upon the rocking waves.