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Man, formed by heaven to bless each living kind,
Their bounteous lord and guardian god designed,
Degenerate now, pursues relentless strife,
And robs for sport his subjects' harmless life,
By purifying frosts, when streams run clear,
The amorous salmons to the fords repair;
Unerring instinct moves their longing mind,
By wondrous ways to propagate their kind.
Not the red firebrand blazing o'er their head,
Can force the lovers from their watery bed;
So fierce love rages in their gelid blood,
The unheeded trident gores them in the flood.
Deep, deep they bury in a sandy bed
Their countless ova and prolific seed;
Which unobserved, long lurk beneath the tide,
Till Sol arrays the year in vernal pride;
Then all the sand, (a true, though wondrous thing!)
Begins to move as in a bubbling spring.
Swarming with life, the weltering bottom heaves,
And glittering swarms crowd the encumbered waves;
Broad shoals on shoals in youthful prime are rolled;
Their azure armour shines with studs of gold;
Bedropt with purple hues, and scarlet bright,
They shoot amidst the floods, a glorious sight,
Where these high walls round wide enclosures run,
Forbid the winter, and invite the sun,
Wild strays the race of bisons, white as snow,
Hills, dales and woods re-echo when they low.
No houses lodge them, and no milk they yield,
Save to their calves; nor turn the furrowed field:
At pleasure through the spacious pastures stray;
No keeper know, nor any guide obey;
Nor round the dairy with swelled udders stand,
Or, lowing, court the milkmaid's rosy hand.
But, mightiest of his race, the bull is bred ;
High o'er the rest he rears his armed head,
The monarch of the drove, his sullen roar,
Shakes Clyde with all his rocks from shore to shore.
The murdered sounds in billowy surges come,
Deep, dismal as the death-denouncing drum,
When some dark traitor, mid an armed throng,
His bier the sable sledge, is dragged along,
Not prouder looked the Thunderer when he bore
The fair Europa from the Tyrian shore:
The beauteous females that his nod obey,
Match the famed heifers of the god of day. (1)
Where Bothwell's bridge connects the margins steep,
And Clyde below runs silent, strong, and deep';
The hardy peasant, by oppression driven
To battle, deemed his cause the cause of Heaven :
Unskilled in arms, with useless courage stood,
While gentle Monmouth grieved to shed his blood.
But fierce Dundee, inflamed with deadly hate,
In vengeance for the great Montrose's fate,
Let loose the sword, and to the hero's shade,
A barbarous hecatomb of victims paid.
(1) [In the glades and openings between the olden oak trees behind the romantic castle of Cadzow, nearly 80 of the ancient British breed of white cows are browsing. Their bodies are purely white, with the exception of the ears, muzzles, and hoofs, which are black; and they are perfectly safe and docile, excepting when they have young to which they manifest a more than usual affection.]-The following description of the Scottish bison occurs in Bellenden's Boece: "In this wod (Calidon) wes sum tyme quhit bullis, with crisp and curland mane, like fiers lionis; and thoucht they seemed meik and tame in the remanent figure of thair bodyis, yai wer mair wyld than ony uther bestis; and had sic hatrent aganis ye societie and cumpany of men, that thai come nevir in the woddis nor lesuris quhair thay fand ony feit or haynd thairof; and mony dayis efter thay eit nocht of the herbis that wer twichit or handillit be men. Thir bullis wer sa wyld that thai wer nevir tane but slycht and crafty labour, and sa impacient, that efter thair taking thay deit for importable doloure. Als sone as ony man invadit thir bullis, thay ruschit with so terrible preis on hym that thay dang hym to the eird, takand na feir of houndis, scharp lancis, nor uther maist penitrive wapinnis."
Clyde's shining silver with their blood was stained;
His paradise with corpses red profaned; (1)
Which, when from Bothwell's lofty banks we view,
Shines with the leaves of spring, and blossoms new.
On every side, along the winding stream,
The eye meets one continued roseate gleam,
From orchards flaming with a lovely glow;
Scarce Eden could present a fairer show.
When Phoebus in the east, ascending bright,
Unlocks the treasuries of celestial light,
The vales and plains a golden deluge fills,
Which brightens all the stream, and gilds the hills.
Clear shine the fields, in flowing splendours drowned;
The waving radiance boundless rolls around;
A shining sea, from Tinto's cloudy brow
To northern mountains of perennial snow.
How instantaneous flies the rapid sight
Through all the wide, the boundless fields of light!
This glance just strikes the verdant turf we tread; 890
The next flies o'er the distant mountain's head.
Remote in space the twinkling star is seen,
Though twice ten thousand systems intervene.
The tufted grass lines Bothwell's ancient hall;
The fox peeps cautious from the creviced wall;
Where once proud Murray, Clydesdale's ancient lord,
A mimic sovereign, held the festal board;
(1) This account of the different tempers displayed by Monmouth and Dundee in the battle of Bothwell-bridge, accords exactly with both history and tradition; and is confirmed in the graphic account of it given by Sir Walter Scott in his Old Mortality. [The aspect of the bridge and scenery in the immediate vicinity has been entirely changed within these few years. Formerly the bridge, about 120 feet in length, rose with an acclivity of about 20 feet, and was only 12 feet in breadth, fortified with a gateway near the south-east or Hamilton end. The gateway and gate have been long removed; and in 1826, 22 feet were added to the original breadth of the bridge, by a supplemental building on the upper side, while the hollow on the south bank was filled up.]
But dark oblivion has erased the name
Of many a hero from the lists of fame.
When ebbed their noble blood, a damsel fair
Consigned their power to Douglas the austere ;
Who bade the Gothic temple rise sublime,
Still fresh and youthful from the wrecks of time.
And here thy noble dust, loved Forfar! lies,
Whose graceful figure charmed admiring eyes:
But rushing to the field, too early brave!
To crush rebellion, and the land to save,
Fell, mourned by all. His monument here shows
His pious mother's unremitting woes.
On the high bank, where verdant groves arise,
And wave their leafy honours near the skies,
Descends a torrent of his heroes proud,
With courage bold, and conduct sage endued:
Maxwell, of military art approved,
By Ferdinand, the dread of France, beloved.
From German plains, crowned with immortal fame,
The graceful warrior in his glory came:
And Stewart his victorious laurels bore
From Louisburgh and Cuba's sultry shore:
For, when the Moro tumbled on the plain,
And strong Havannah saw her champion slain,
The form of Stewart ruddy Victory took,
And trembling Spain to her foundation shook.
Each his descent from ancient heroes brings;
From Lennox one; one from Carlaverock springs.
As Calder rolls his melancholy flood,
Deep sunk between his banks, and dim with mud;
"Learn, learn," he cries, "ye honoured, rich, and great,
How vain youth, beauty, honour, or estate,
Since all combined in vain, alas! to save
Lovely Hamilla from an early grave.
Could all a mother's tenderness or grief,
Or virtue's power, have brought the fair relief,
Long had she lived, and blest the human kind,
With beauty, wisdom, goodness, all combined.
Now lonely, midst her wide improven plains,
And far-stretched groves, her fair Rosehall complains."
Forbear, replies the majesty of Clyde,
Still does not sweet Woodhall adorn thy side?
Whose noble architecture charms the eye,
And with my proudest palaces may vie;
Where Campbell rules, chief of a warlike horde,
While Ila's clans revere their giant lord.