Page images

And now two longsome years are past

In luxury of lonely pain-
The lovely mourner, found at last,

To Moray's halls is borne again.
Yet has she left one object dear,

That wears Love's sunny eye of joy-
Is Nithisdale reviving here?

Or is it but a shepherd's boy?
By Carron's side, a shepherd's boy,

He binds his vale-flowers with the reed;
He wears Love's sunny eye of joy,
And birth he little seems to heed.

But ah! no more his infant-sleep

Closes beneath a mother's smile,
Who, only when it clos’d, would weep,

And yield to tender woe the while. No more, with fond attention dear,

She seeks the unspoken wish to find; No more shall she, with pleasure's tear, See the soul waxing into mind.

Does Nature bear a tyrant's breast?

Is she the friend of stern control?
Wears she the despot's purple vest?

Or fetters she the free-born soul? Where, worst of tyrants, is thy claim

In chains thy children's breasts to bind ? Gav'st thou the Promethean flame?

The incommunicable mind?

Thy offspring are great Nature's,-free,

And of her fair dominion heirs : Each privilege she gives to thee ;

Know, that each privilege is theirs. They have thy feature, wear thine eye,

Perhaps some feelings of thy heart; And wilt thou their lov'd hearts deny

To act their fair, their proper part ?

The lord of Lothian's fertile vale,

Ill-fated Ellen, claims thy hand ;
Thou know'st not that thy Nithisdale

Was low laid by his ruffian-band : And Moray, with unfather'd eyes,

Fix'd on fair Lothian's fertile dale, Attends his human sacrifice,

Without the Grecian painter's veil. O married Love! thy bard shall own,

Where two congenial souls unite, Thy golden chain inlaid with down,

Thy lamp with Heaven's own splendour bright. But if no radiant star of love,

O Hymen ! smile on thy fair rite,
Thy chain a wretched weight shall prove,

Thy lamp a sad sepulchral light.


And now has Time's slow wandering wing

Borne many a year unmark'd with speed
Where is the boy by Carron's spring,

Who bound his vale-flowers with the reed?

Ah me! those Aowers he binds no more ;

No early charm returns again ; The parent, Nature, keeps in store

Her best joys for her little train. No longer heed the sun-beam bright

That plays on Carron's breast he can; Reason has lent her quivering light,

And shown the chequer'd field of man.


As the first human heir of earth

With pensive eye himself survey'd, And, all unconscious of his birth,

Sat thoughtful oft in Eden's shade ; In pensive thought so Owen stray'd

Wild Carron's lonely woods among, And once, within their greenest glade,

He fondly fram'd this simple song:

Why is this crook adorn'd with gold?
Why am I tales of ladies told ?
Why does no labour me employ,
If I am but a shepherd's boy?
“A silken vest like mine so green
In shepherd's hut I have not seen-
Why should I in such vesture joy,
If I am but a shepherd's boy?
• I know it is no shepherd's art
His written meaning to impart-
They teach me, sure, an idle toy,
If I am but a shepherd's boy.

• This bracelet bright that binds my arm-
It could not come from shepherd's farm ;
It only would that arm annoy,
If I were but a shepherd's boy.
. And, O thou silent picture fair!
That lov'st to smile upon me there,
O say, and fill my heart with joy,
That I am not a shepherd's boy.'

Ah, lovely youth! thy tender lay

May not thy gentle life prolong :
See'st thou yon nightingale a prey ?

The fierce bawk hovering o'er his song? His little heart is large with love :

He sweetly hails his evening-star, And fate's more pointed arrows move, Insidious, from his



The shepherdess, whose kindly care

Had watch'd o'er Owen's infant breath,
Must now their silent mansions share,

Wbom Time leads calmly down to death : “O tell me, parent if thou art,

What is this lovely picture dear? Why wounds its mournful eye my heart,

Why flows from mine the unbidden tear?' "Ah! youth! to leave thee loth am I,

Though I be not thy parent dear; And would'st thou wish or ere I die,

The story of thy birth to hear?

* But it will make thee much bewail,

And it will make thy fair eye swellShe said, and told the woesome tale,

As sooth as shepherdess might tell.

XXIV. The heart that, sorrow doom'd to share,

Has worn the frequent seal of woe, Its sad impressions learns to bear,

And finds, full oft, its ruin slow : But when that seal is first imprest,

When the young heart its pain shall try, From the soft, yielding, trembling breast,

Oft seems the startled soul to fly. Yet fled not Owen's—wild amaze

In paleness cloth'd, and lifted hands, And horror's dread, unmeaning gaze,

Mark the poor statue, as it stands. The simple guardian of his life

Look'd wistful for the tear to glide ; But, when she saw his tearless strife,

Silent, she lent him one,--and died.


“No, I am not a shepherd's boy,'

(Awaking from his dream, he said) • Ah! where is now the promis’d joy

of this ?-for ever, ever fled! “O picture dear!—for her lov'd sake

How fondly could my heart bewail ! My friendly shepherdess, O wake,

And tell me more of this sad tale.

« PreviousContinue »