James Hyslop

Anonymous, "Specimens of Scottish Poetry" Edinburgh Magazine NS 5 (October 1819) 355-56.


The following little poems fell lately into my hands, and as I think that they have some merit, you would do a constant reader a great obligation if you would give them a place in your Miscellany. I know them to be the production of a deserving youth, who, though born a peasant in the upland wilds of Dumfries-shire, and obliged, even in early life, to support himself by the sweat of his brow, has, by dint of perseverance, taught himself English, Latin, and French, and has also acquired a knowledge far from contemptible, even of mathematics and algebra. The author is quite a youth, and although his extreme modesty, prevents his worth from being at present known, yet to the eyes of his friends at least, he gives the promise of future distinction; nor are his morals and piety inferior to his genius.

Crawwick is a beautiful rivulet which falls into the Nith, a little above Sanquhar, and on the braes of which the author spent his boyhood in tending sheep. Spango is a mountain streamlet, which, by joining the Wanlock, on which are situated the lead mines of Wanlockhead, forms the Crawwick.

The e'enin' o' simmer on Spango was closan',
An' night on the green wuds o' Crawwick reposan',
When Annie retir'd, where the lone woodpath lay,
To hear the dark mountain stream murmur away.
'Mang the wil' dewy flowers her fitsteps war strayan';
Her ringlets war wantonly ower her cheeks playan';
An' save where the breeze war pilferan' kisses,
Her white neck was veil'd by her dark yellow tresses;
Below, the white faulds o' the cambric were swellan',
Concealing a bosom where love had his dwellan'.
Ae star twinkl'd bright in the blue silk that bound it,
An' spoke o' delight in the heaven beyond it.
As through the green woodpath I met her advancing,
The thoughts o' her heart frae her dark een were glancing,
A blush through the ringlets mine eye could discover,
For the hand that I gave was the hand o' her lover.

Now simmer flowers o' loveliest hue
Lie wallowan' on the lea,
An' leaves that lately hang sae green
Fa' yellow frae the tree.
Now Crawwick's weary russet wuds
Are joyless all and drear,
While harvest's mournfu' gales lament
The dyan' o' the year.

Where now the wee white-breastit flowers
That clad yon dewy braes,
An' where the little warblan' birds
That sang their cheefu' lays;
An' whar art thou my ain luv'd youth,
Made a' thae joys sae dear,
That led me 'mang the scentit birks
At bluman' o' the year?

Whan last the dewy primrose blew
Aneth yon fading tree,
Whase green leaves screen'd my e'enin' walk,
First Willie met wi' me,
How warmly then this bosom thrill'd
Wi' joys sae fond and dear,
Nor thocht o' lang and dowie days
In the departan' year!

How gaily blum'd luve's fragrant bed
Whar aft we twa reclin'd,
Their ringlets ower that bosom spread
That was to me sae kind;
Now unadorn'd thir locks may float
An' hide the falling tear,
He's gane wha aften priz'd their charms
In the departed year.

Then humid plaivens snawie white
War blawin' i' the breeze,
Now early winter's stormy blasts
Souch waesome through the trees:
How like the fleetan' joys o' luve
Ance to this heart sae dear,
Departed wi' the scentit flowers
That clad the bluman year!

O happy days o' youthfu' luve,
For ever fled away,
An' naething left to my young heart
But sadness now and wae.
O Willie will ye ne'er come back
To dry this falling tear,
And' bring again the joys that fled
Wi' the departed year?