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Here Avon pours, who his long current leads (1)
Proud Chatelherault's tall turrets strike the sky, (')
(1) [The Avon, a beautiful tributary of the Clyde, rises on the south side of Distinetthorn hill in Ayrshire, about 800 feet above sea-level. Flowing north-east to Torfoots in Avondale parish, it is there joined by the Glengivel from the south, and two miles farther on by Drumclog burn. One and a half mile below this point it receives the little Calder from the north, and soon after Lockhart water from the south. Passing about a mile south of the town of Strathaven it receives its largest tributary, the Kype, which flows from the south, and precipitates itself near its mouth over a cascade of about 50 feet in height. From this point it flows northeast and afterwards north, through the Duke of Hamilton's grounds, and falls into the Clyde about a mile to the south-east of the town of Hamilton, after a course of about 28 miles. The parish of Avondale or Strathaven, which it divides into nearly equal parts and to which it gives its name, is celebrated for the fertility of its soil, richness of cultivation, and beauty of landscape. The strath is described by Wordsworth in one of his sonnets as "a fertile region green with wood." Hamilton of Wishaw says of Strathaven "this baronie did anciently belong to the Bairds; and thereafter came to Sinclair; and from them to the Earle of Douglas with whom it continued severall ages; and after his fatall forfaulture in anno 1455 it was given by James the Third to Andrew Stewart, whom he created Lord Avondale; and it continued with him until 1538, or thereby, when he exchanged it with Sir James Hamilton for the baronie of Ochiltree, in the Parliament 1543 (1534?). From which tyme, it continued with the successors of Sir James Hamilton untill it was acquyred by James, first of that name, Marquis of Hamilton; and continueth with his successors since."]
(2) [The chateau of Chatelherault, with its red walls, its four square towers, and its pinnacles, is understood to have been built in imitation of the citadel of Chatelherault in Poitou, about the year 1732. "It is a sumptuous pile; but contains the odd assemblage of a banquettinghouse and a dog-kennel. It stands on a rising ground near the Avon ; the banks of which river form a deep, woody dell behind it; open in many parts, and in general wider, and of larger dimensions, than these recesses are commonly found. Frequent as they are in mountainous countries, and rarely as they are marked with any striking or peculiar features, yet they are always varied and always pleasing. Their sequestered paths; the ideas of solitude which they convey; the rivulets which either sound or murmur through them; their interwoven woods, and fre quent openings, either to the country or to some little pleasing spot within themselves, form together such an assemblage of soothing ingredients that they have always a wonderful effect on the imagination. I must add, that I do not remember ever meeting with a scene of the kind that pleased me more than the wild river-views about Chatelherault."}
Mid artificial lawns extending, green,
While gay parterres enamelled spread between ;
On mountains rose, which shook with woods around.
Nor by the sages can it be defined,
Or plant, or stone, where both so well are joined.
(1) ["The scenery on some parts of the banks of the Avon," says a writer in the Gazetteer of Scotland, "after it enters the parish of Hamilton at Millhaugh bridge, is almost unsurpassed in picturesque grandeur and beauty. In many places, the rocks raise their bristling summits to the height of 300 feet above the bed of the streamlet, and are often crowned with majestic oaks."]
(2) [Hamilton palace. The germ of this magnificent structure was originally a small square tower, and the olden part of the present house was erected about the year 1591. The structure was almost entirely rebuilt or renewed more than a century afterwards. The present dukewhose architectural taste is well known-commenced a series of additions in 1822, which have entirely altered the character of the building, and though scarcely yet completed, promise to make it one of the most magnificent piles in the kingdom, and not inferior to the abode of royalty itself. The interior furnishings are worthy of its magnificent and imposing exterior, and the triumph of art is so conspicuous that it may be truly said the workmanship surpasses the material. The collection of paintings in the picture-gallery, which has been vastly increased by the present duke-is by all allowed to be the finest in North Britain; and altogether the halls of Hamilton palace, for beauty and costliness of ornament and furnishing, are unrivalled in Scotland.]
So gleamed the splendid halls in lambent flame,
And softer eyes still dart the heavenly fire.
Hold, with their consorts bright, the foremost place,
But who could hope Eliza's form to paint!
Though that the brightest that the sun surveys.
As by the moisture nurst which Clyde supplics,
From Leicester's race descends the lofty line,
Yet most the name adorns their native Clyde,
He, listening, hears in every blast of wind,
The deep-mouthed hound and thundering horse behind: He shoots the steep, and tracks the sightless road, 770 And winding mazes to his dark abode.
With aspect mean, a formidable foe,
The terrier drives him from his haunt below.
His limbs the hungry brood of ravens feed;
(1) See Note FAMILY OF HAMILTON, at end of Canto.
Not so the stately stag, of harmless force; In motion graceful, rapid in his course. Nature in vain his lofty head adorns
With formidable groves of pointed horns.
Soon as the hound's fierce clamour strikes his ear,
While strong and quick he heaves his panting sides.
Whom the loud hoop that hurtles on the breeze
Their armed heads all outward round them placed :
The cruel hounds pour round on every hand;
Nor men infest alone the open field;
Even Clyde's deep floods can no protection yield.