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On whose high brows tall woods majestic sweep
The skies, their roots swell antic o'er the steep;
Where trickling springs from earth's dark caverns broke,
Weep through the chinks, and tinkle down the rock;
Whose rugged face the mantling ivy hides:
Around the base a murmuring rivulet glides;
On his green brink each fragrant wild-flower meets,
And wantons in a wilderness of sweets.
First, pale primroses drink the early dew;
Then modest violets show their heavenly blue;
The verdant fields, where red-crowned daisies blow,
Seem spotted with a gentle shower of snow:
These, flowered with scarlet, brilliant hues unfold;
Embroidered those with nature's richest gold.
Twining the brake, the fragrant woodbine pours
Her odorous twigs, and sweetly breathing flowers:
While pale wild-roses scatter perfumes round,
And fragrance floats along the vernal ground;
And sparkling thyme, when bruised by rustic feet,
Darts on the nostril scents more piercing sweet.
Here let me walk abroad when tempests fly,
And careless hear them rage along the sky;
Where forest trees with daring grandeur rise,
Disdain the earth, and bold invade the skies.
How wide his arms the stately ash extends;
The plane's thick head mid burning day suspends
Impenetrable shade; bees humming pour
O'er the broad balmy leaves, and suck the flower:
Green shoots the fir his spiry point on high;
And fluttering leaves on trembling aspens sigh:
With haughtier air, see the strong oak ascend,
Too proud before an angry heaven to bend :
His leaves unshaken, winter's rage defy;
He shades a field, and heaves a wood on high;
Glories in stubborn strength, when tempests roar,
And scorns to yield, save to the thunder's power.
But May with softer charms the shrub adorns ;
She spreads her snowy mantle o'er the thorns;
Decks the rough furze with flaming orange bloom,
And loads with vegetable gold the broom;
Pure nature's beauteous work. But culture joins, 530
Where yon bright glow from neighb'ring orchards shines.
Their snowy pride the plum-trees first display;
Then shakes the pear's tall head with silver gray;
The apple bids her painted blossoms rise;
Each gem soft-swelling, with the ruby vies:
With thin expanded petals smiles around,
While trees appear with damask roses crowned.
With various notes, sweet, solemn, loud, and deep,
The tuneful thrush awakes the band from sleep:
The blackbird whistles in a merrier note;
Sweet sings the goldfinch in her gawdy coat;
Familiar redbreast warbles softly clear;
The wren's shrill chattering charms the distant ear;
While doves in deeper notes express their loves,
And with their cooing fill the murmuring groves.
Love wakes the melody, their voices tunes,
Swells every note, each brightening pinion prunes.
Through all the dancing air the music floats;
The wanton breezes waft the lingering notes,
Which softly sport along the listening floods,
And waft the fragrance from the vocal woods:
Our sympathizing breasts dissolve in love,
And all the force of vernal transports prove.
When Phoebus flaming bright in cloudless skies,
Pours all his splendours on my labouring eyes,
In these sweet groves let me at ease recline,
While o'er my head the trembling branches twine,
Which wanton breezes shake in sportive play,
While shades and sunshine shift in chequered day;
Or when their heads, with tempests struggling, nod, 610
And cast the dancing shadows far abroad.
As languid on the banks I lie reclined,
Half-formed ideas melting in my mind;
The maddening cattle hurry to the wood,
Or, stung with swarming insects, seek the flood.
No pearly dews refresh the labouring ground;
Dry are the leaves, and parched the herbs around;
The tender flowers soft languish or expire,
And crackling stalks reproach the scorching fire;
The tuneful birds suppress the cheerful lay,
And to hoarse grasshoppers resign the day;
While at each opening pore, the panting earth,
Labouring with heat, breathes steaming vapours forth.
Heaven's beauteous face a dismal darkness shrouds,
And black descends a solid arch of clouds.
The flocks forsake the fields in flowery pride,
The silent birds in leafy coverts hide;
The whispering winds are hushed, and dumb the flood,
While nature faints before the frown of God.
Terrific broods the gloom o'er boding earth,
And swift the red-winged lightnings issue forth:
Hoarse thunders far through heaven's wide regions roll,
And crashing fragors burst from pole to pole:
Heaven opening, glares at once: A boundless glow
Of forked lightning floods the world below.
It opes; it shuts; 'tis night and day by turns;
Still thunders deepen; ether redder burns;
Till all the struggling storms their prisons rend,
And all at once the rushing clouds descend;
The rattling leaves through all the forests sound,
The corn, opprest, lies prostrate on the ground:
Red rush the roaring torrents down the hills,
And Clyde's wide bed a foaming deluge fills;
The mound he bursts, and down the rampart bears,
Sweeps the broad village, ancient woods uptears;
And proudly lifts on high the ravaged spoil
Of the improver's art and labourer's toil;
With ruin marking all his wasteful way,
He spreads his conquest with resistless sway.
Wild desolation far and wide prevails,
And ruin floats triumphant o'er the dales.
All nature mourns, till Phoebus' cheerful ray
Dispels the darkness, and restores the day.
Then nature smiles; wide flow from every grove The fragrant gales of health, and songs of love. Earth wears a livelier green: cerulean skies Smile soft; the wood-flowers glow with brighter dyes. Their silver smoothness Clyde's fair floods resume, And groves and fields with fresher lustre bloom. On shaggy rocks exalted, wildly sweet, Ascends Craignethan's gay romantic seat; (') And Miltown, bending o'er his subject woods, () His image views in the surrounding floods. Here Roy was born, who led the sanguine way () To crimson conquest on dread Minden's day. Low Mauldslie lies, by lofty banks embraced, ( ́) By art adorned, but more by nature graced.
As some coy virgin shuns the public view, So fair Dalserf amidst her scenes withdrew; (5)
(1) [See Note CRAIGNETHAN CASTLE, at end of Canto.] (2) [Miltown, more correctly Milton-Lockhart, is a fine building in the manorial style, in the parish of Carluke, and very beautifully situated.] (3) [Major General Roy, the celebrated mathematician and antiqua. rian, born 1726.]
(4) [Mauldslie castle, the seat of the earl of Hyndford, rebuilt in 1792-3. an elegant building situated near the village of Carluke.]
(5) [Dalserf house, near the village of that name, the seat of the Hamil tons of Dalserf.]
But, peeps along the stream with aspect sly,
Where groves and fields in fair confusion lie;
Sees spacious Wishaw boast her generous lord,
And Coltness joy to view her chief restored;
Sees that sweet vale where Cambusnethan gay, (')
Receives with open arms the noontide ray;
While woody banks, with wavy verdure crowned,
Embrace the plain, and clasp the mansion round.
But proudly eminent, Dalziel ascends, (2)
And far his spacious avenues extends.
His winding walks along the flowery stream,
Inspire at once the song, and give the theme:
Where stately trees aloft their branches spread,
A verdant arch extending over head;
Between their trunks refreshing breezes play,
And fluttering leaves admit the dubious ray.
But when in wrath majestic Clyde o'erflows,
Amidst the flood green shake their trembling rows.
(1) [Wishaw house, the seat of Lord Belhaven and Stenton, situated on the river Calder. This mansion, enlarged and beautified under the direction of Mr. Gillespie Graham, is in the castellated style, the front having an extremely handsome appearance, the outline being much varied by the different heights and projections of the towers and embattled walls.-Coltness house, formerly the seat of the Stewarts of Coltness, is a very elegant and commodious building. Sir James Stewart of Coltness, born 1727 and bred to the bar, early displayed great abilities and eloquence. In the Rebellion of 1745 he was believed to have been the confidential agent of Prince Charles at the court of France. He resided there for eighteen years. In 1763 he was allowed to return to Scotland, and eight years after a formal pardon was procured for him.-Cambusnethan house, here referred to, has since been consumed by an accidental fire. A very elegant structure, representing a chaste and perfect priory in the Gothic style, has been erected on its site under the direction of Mr. Gillespie Graham. It is placed in a most romantic situation, and is an object well fitted to attract the admiration of every traveller. The orchard connected with Cambusnethan house, extending to upwards of 25 acres, is the most productive upon Clyde, and in former years, before steam navigation existed, its fruits have yielded the sum of £1,000 per annum.]
(2) [The mansion house of Dalziel is situated upon the burn or brook of that name, and in one of the most beautiful parts of the glen through which it meanders. It was built by Mr. Hamilton of Boggs in 1649, and is truly a most beautiful specimen of an old baronial residence. Hamil ton of Wishaw calls it "a great and substantial house."]