1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

S., "Lines on reading Rob Roy" Camden Gazette (23 May 1818).



Magician, the spell which thy wild stories give,
Must ever a charm to the bosom impart,
That long in the memory delighted shall live,
And remain deep impress'd on each Highlander's heart.

For thy tales speak of Scotland, the home of the brave,
Of the warrior stern, and fair mountain maid;
And thy picture so sweet of "Loch Lomond's" dark wave,
Is in colours so bless'd they never can fade.

And the tale of the "Outlaw" must ever awake
In its children some fond recollection of home;
Of some spot once so dear, some wild lonely lake,
And some torrent that rush'd, through its valleys in foam.

Yes! even the heather that waves on its hills,
Its moss-covered rocks, when painted so gay,
With the "bloom of the valleys," the gush of its rills,
Must be dear to each Scotsman, from home far away.

Land of the muse, where the rock and the mountain
Are mingled together in grandeur so wild;
Where the rush of the torrent and roar of the fountain
Are musick to him who is nature's own child.

Land of the bard; where sorrow's sad tale
Is dwelt on with pity, and blest with a tear,
Where the story of misery never can fail
To move with compassion the rough mountaineer.

Land of the brave! the red tide of blood
Has crimson'd thy heather in battle's dark hour,
When defending their own native mountain and flood
They children here fell 'neath the tyrant's stern power.

Thy hills, clad with pine, have oft echoed to war;
Thy heath has been stain'd with the hue of its rage;
When thy clansmen, with valor, have rush'd from afar,
The foes of their country, their homes, to engage.

And dread was the combat, and stern was the strife;
When the Gaul and the Southron in battle had met,
For the sun, that rose on them in vigor and life,
At eve o'er their cold beds of heather might set.

Then thy sons, as their own mountain-breezes, were free;
No vision of slavery e'er darkened their view,
Each warrior brave was a bulwark to thee,
And each brand that they bared was a guardian as true.

Land of the hero! thy children have felt
The tyrant's fell power and slavery's chain:
May the country where Bruce and where Wallace once dwelt,
See Liberty smile o'er her mountains again.

But thy chiefs are no more; thy warriors have gone;
And on their cold grave the wild floweret now blooms;
Nought remains of the heroes that in battle once shone,
And tradition alone can point to the tombs.

And dark are the halls where Beauty dwelt bright,
No more shall they echo the sound of her voice;
No more shall the warrior, victorious in fight,
O'er the feats of his arms with his vassals rejoice.

Deserted and lone is the lady's sweet bower,
"The tall grass now waves" where flow'rs once grew;
No more shall her lover, in moonlight's soft hour,
In her ear breathe his promise and vows to prove true.

Land of the brave, and home of the bard!
Where genius still dwells, and where Ossian sung;
Where the minstrel's wild harp so oft has been heard,
And the halls of thy chieftains with music have rung!

May freedom once more in brightness beam o'er thee,
May she rise in her light from the slumber of years;
And the veil that so long has o'ershadow'd thy glory,
Be remov'd from the face of a nation in tears.
Mount-Holly, (N. J.) April, 1818.