The Vision

THE SUN had clos�d the winter day,
The curless quat their roarin play,
And hunger�d maukin taen her way,
To kail-yards green,
While faithless snaws ilk step betray
Whare she has been.

The thresher�s weary flingin-tree,
The lee-lang day had tired me;
And when the day had clos�d his e�e,
Far i� the west,
Ben i� the spence, right pensivelie,
I gaed to rest.

There, lanely by the ingle-cheek,
I sat and ey�d the spewing reek,
That fill�d, wi� hoast-provoking smeek,
The auld clay biggin;
An� heard the restless rattons squeak
About the riggin.

All in this mottie, misty clime,
I backward mus�d on wasted time,
How I had spent my youthfu� prime,
An� done nae thing,
But stringing blethers up in rhyme,
For fools to sing.

Had I to guid advice but harkit,
I might, by this, hae led a market,
Or strutted in a bank and clarkit
My cash-account;
While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-sarkit.
Is a� th� amount.

I started, mutt�ring, �blockhead! coof!�
And heav�d on high my waukit loof,
To swear by a� yon starry roof,
Or some rash aith,
That I henceforth wad be rhyme-proof
Till my last breath�

When click! the string the snick did draw;
An� jee! the door gaed to the wa�;
An� by my ingle-lowe I saw,
Now bleezin bright,
A tight, outlandish hizzie, braw,
Come full in sight.

Ye need na doubt, I held my whisht;
The infant aith, half-form�d, was crusht
I glowr�d as eerie�s I�d been dusht
In some wild glen;
When sweet, like honest Worth, she blusht,
An� stepp�d ben.

Green, slender, leaf-clad holly-boughs
Were twisted, gracefu�, round her brows;
I took her for some Scottish Muse,
By that same token;
And come to stop those reckless vows,
Would soon been broken.

A �hair-brain�d, sentimental trace�
Was strongly mark�d in her face;
A wildly-witty, rustic grace
Shone full upon her;
Her eye, ev�n turn�d on empty space,
Beam�d keen with honour.

Down flow�d her robe, a tartan sheen,
Till half a leg was scrimply seen;
An� such a leg! my bonie Jean
Could only peer it;
Sae straught, sae taper, tight an� clean�
Nane else came near it.

Her mantle large, of greenish hue,
My gazing wonder chiefly drew:
Deep lights and shades, bold-mingling, threw
A lustre grand;
And seem�d, to my astonish�d view,
A well-known land.

Here, rivers in the sea were lost;
There, mountains to the skies were toss�t:
Here, tumbling billows mark�d the coast,
With surging foam;
There, distant shone Art�s lofty boast,
The lordly dome.

Here, Doon pour�d down his far-fetch�d floods;
There, well-fed Irwine stately thuds:
Auld hermit Ayr staw thro� his woods,
On to the shore;
And many a lesser torrent scuds,
With seeming roar.

Low, in a sandy valley spread,
An ancient borough rear�d her head;
Still, as in Scottish story read,
She boasts a race
To ev�ry nobler virtue bred,
And polish�d grace. 2

By stately tow�r, or palace fair,
Or ruins pendent in the air,
Bold stems of heroes, here and there,
I could discern;
Some seem�d to muse, some seem�d to dare,
With feature stern.

My heart did glowing transport feel,
To see a race heroic 3 wheel,
And brandish round the deep-dyed steel,
In sturdy blows;
While, back-recoiling, seem�d to reel
Their Suthron foes.

His Country�s Saviour, 4 mark him well!
Bold Richardton�s heroic swell,; 5
The chief, on Sark who glorious fell, 6
In high command;
And he whom ruthless fates expel
His native land.

There, where a sceptr�d Pictish shade
Stalk�d round his ashes lowly laid, 7
I mark�d a martial race, pourtray�d
In colours strong:
Bold, soldier-featur�d, undismay�d,
They strode along.

Thro� many a wild, romantic grove, 8
Near many a hermit-fancied cove
(Fit haunts for friendship or for love,
In musing mood),
An aged Judge, I saw him rove,
Dispensing good.

With deep-struck, reverential awe,
The learned Sire and Son I saw: 9
To Nature�s God, and Nature�s law,
They gave their lore;
This, all its source and end to draw,
That, to adore.

Brydon�s brave ward 10 I well could spy,
Beneath old Scotia�s smiling eye:
Who call�d on Fame, low standing by,
To hand him on,
Where many a patriot-name on high,
And hero shone.

DUAN SECONDWith musing-deep, astonish�d stare,
I view�d the heavenly-seeming Fair;
A whispering throb did witness bear
Of kindred sweet,
When with an elder sister�s air
She did me greet.

�All hail! my own inspired bard!
In me thy native Muse regard;
Nor longer mourn thy fate is hard,
Thus poorly low;
I come to give thee such reward,
As we bestow!

�Know, the great genius of this land
Has many a light aerial band,
Who, all beneath his high command,
Harmoniously,
As arts or arms they understand,
Their labours ply.

�They Scotia�s race among them share:
Some fire the soldier on to dare;
Some rouse the patriot up to bare
Corruption�s heart:
Some teach the bard�a darling care�
The tuneful art.

��Mong swelling floods of reeking gore,
They, ardent, kindling spirits pour;
Or, �mid the venal senate�s roar,
They, sightless, stand,
To mend the honest patriot-lore,
And grace the hand.

�And when the bard, or hoary sage,
Charm or instruct the future age,
They bind the wild poetric rage
In energy,
Or point the inconclusive page
Full on the eye.

�Hence, Fullarton, the brave and young;
Hence, Dempster�s zeal-inspired tongue;
Hence, sweet, harmonious Beattie sung
His �Minstrel lays�;
Or tore, with noble ardour stung,
The sceptic�s bays.

�To lower orders are assign�d
The humbler ranks of human-kind,
The rustic bard, the lab�ring hind,
The artisan;
All choose, as various they�re inclin�d,
The various man.

�When yellow waves the heavy grain,
The threat�ning storm some strongly rein;
Some teach to meliorate the plain
With tillage-skill;
And some instruct the shepherd-train,
Blythe o�er the hill.

�Some hint the lover�s harmless wile;
Some grace the maiden�s artless smile;
Some soothe the lab�rer�s weary toil
For humble gains,
And make his cottage-scenes beguile
His cares and pains.

�Some, bounded to a district-space
Explore at large man�s infant race,
To mark the embryotic trace
Of rustic bard;
And careful note each opening grace,
A guide and guard.

�Of these am I�Coila my name:
And this district as mine I claim,
Where once the Campbells, chiefs of fame,
Held ruling power:
I mark�d thy embryo-tuneful flame,
Thy natal hour.

�With future hope I oft would gaze
Fond, on thy little early ways,
Thy rudely, caroll�d, chiming phrase,
In uncouth rhymes;
Fir�d at the simple, artless lays
Of other times.

�I saw thee seek the sounding shore,
Delighted with the dashing roar;
Or when the North his fleecy store
Drove thro� the sky,
I saw grim Nature�s visage hoar
Struck thy young eye.

�Or when the deep green-mantled earth
Warm cherish�d ev�ry floweret�s birth,
And joy and music pouring forth
In ev�ry grove;
I saw thee eye the general mirth
With boundless love.

�When ripen�d fields and azure skies
Call�d forth the reapers� rustling noise,
I saw thee leave their ev�ning joys,
And lonely stalk,
To vent thy bosom�s swelling rise,
In pensive walk.

�When youthful love, warm-blushing, strong,
Keen-shivering, shot thy nerves along,
Those accents grateful to thy tongue,
Th� ador�d Name,
I taught thee how to pour in song,
To soothe thy flame.

�I saw thy pulse�s maddening play,
Wild send thee Pleasure�s devious way,
Misled by Fancy�s meteor-ray,
By passion driven;
But yet the light that led astray
Was light from Heaven.

�I taught thy manners-painting strains,
The loves, the ways of simple swains,
Till now, o�er all my wide domains
Thy fame extends;
And some, the pride of Coila�s plains,
Become thy friends.

�Thou canst not learn, nor I can show,
To paint with Thomson�s landscape glow;
Or wake the bosom-melting throe,
With Shenstone�s art;
Or pour, with Gray, the moving flow
Warm on the heart.

�Yet, all beneath th� unrivall�d rose,
T e lowly daisy sweetly blows;
Tho� large the forest�s monarch throws
His army shade,
Yet green the juicy hawthorn grows,
Adown the glade.

�Then never murmur nor repine;
Strive in thy humble sphere to shine;
And trust me, not Potosi�s mine,
Nor king�s regard,
Can give a bliss o�ermatching thine,
A rustic bard.

�To give my counsels all in one,
Thy tuneful flame still careful fan:
Preserve the dignity of Man,
With soul erect;
And trust the Universal Plan
Will all protect.

�And wear thou this��she solemn said,
And bound the holly round my head:
The polish�d leaves and berries red
Did rustling play;
And, like a passing thought, she fled
In light away.

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