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WILLIAM LISLE BOWLES
Evening! as slow thy placid shades descend,
Veiling with gentlest hush the landscape still,
The lonely battlement, the farthest hill
From the broad blaze of day, where pleasure flaunts,
Retiring, wander to the ringdove's haunts
Presenting fairy vales, where the tired mind
On these white cliffs, that calm above the flood
Uprear their shadowing heads, and at their feet
Hear not the surge that has for ages beat,
And o'er the distant billows the still eve
Sailed slow, has thought of all his heart must leave To-morrow; of the friends he loved most dear; Of social scenes, from which he wept to part!
Oh! if, like me, he knew how fruitless all
The thoughts that would full fain the past recall, Soon would he quell the risings of his heart, And brave the wild winds and unhearing tide The world his country, and his God his guide.
O Mary, at thy window be;
It is the wished, the trysted hour! Those smiles and glances let me see
That make the miser's treasure poor! How blythely wad I bide the stoure,
A weary slave frae sun to sun, Could I the rich reward secure,
The lovely Mary Morison.
Yestreen, when to the trembling string.
The dance gaed thro' the lighted ha', To thee my fancy took its wing;
I sat, but neither heard nor saw: Tho' this was fair, and that was braw,
And yon the toast of a the town, I sighed, and said amang them a',
‘Ye are na Mary Morison.'
O Mary, canst thou wreck his peace
Wha for thy sake wad gladly die? Or canst thou break that heart of his
Whase only faut is loving thee? If love for love thou wilt na gie,
At least be pity to me shown! A thought ungentle canna be
The thought o' Mary Morison.
THE HOLY FAIR
Upon a simmer Sunday morn,
When Nature's face is fair,
An' snuff the caller air.
The rising sun, owre Galston muirs,
Wi' glorious light was glintin;
Fu' sweet that day.
As lightsomely I glowered abroad,
scene sae gay,
Cam skelpin up the way.
But ane wi' lyart lining;
Fu' gay that day.
The twa appeared like sisters twin,
In feature, form, an' claes;
An' sour as onie slaes :
As light as onie lambie,
Fu' kind that day.
Wi' bonnet aff, quoth I, 'Sweet lass,
I think ye seem to ken me;
But yet I canna name ye.'
An' taks me by the han’s,
A screed some day.
‘My name is Fun—your cronie dear,
The nearest friend ye hae; An' this is Superstition here,
An' that's Hypocrisy.
I'm gaun to Mauchline Holy Fair,
To spend an hour in daffin:
At them this day.'
Quoth I, 'Wi' a' my heart, I'll do 't:
I'll get my Sunday's sark on, An' meet you on the holy spot;
Faith, we'se hae fine remarkin!
An' soon I made me ready;
In droves that day.
Here farmers gash, in ridin graith,
Gaed hoddin by their cotters; There swankies young, in braw braid-claith,
Are springin owre the gutters.
In silks an' scarlets glitter;
Fu' crump that day.
When by the plate we set our nose,
Weel heaped up wi' ha'pence,
An' we maun draw our tippence.
On every side they're gath'rin, Some carrying dails, some chairs an' stools, An' some are busy bleth’rin
Right loud that day.
Here stands a shed to fend the showers,
An' screen our countra gentry,
Are blinkin' at the entry.
Here sits a raw of tittlin' jads,
Wi' heavin breasts an' bare neck; An' there a batch o'wabster lads, Blackguarding frae Kilmarnock,
For fun this day.
Here some are thinkin on their sins,
An' some upo' their claes;
Anither sighs and prays;
Wi' screwed-up grace-proud faces;
To chairs that day.
O happy is that man an' blest
(Nae wonder that it pride him!) Whase ain dear lass, that he likes best,
Comes clinkin down beside him! Wi' arm reposed on the chair-back,
He sweetly does compose him; Which, by degrees, slips round her neck, An's loof upon her bosom,
Unkend that day.
Now a' the congregation o'er
Is silent expectation;
Wi' tidings o' damnation.
’Mang sons o' God present him,
Wi' fright that day.
Hear how he clears the points o' faith
Wi' rattlin an wi' thumpin! Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath,
He's stampin an’ he's jumpin!