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XVIII.

TO A HIGHLAND GIRL.

| At Inversneyde, upon Loch Lomond.)

Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower!.
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head:
And these gray Rocks; this household Lawn;
These Trees, a veil just half withdrawn;
This fall of water, that doth make
A murmur near the silent Lake;
This little Bay, a quiet Road

That holds in shelter thy Abode;
AIn truth together ye do seem

Like something fashioned in a dream;
Such Forms as from their covert peep
When earthly cares are laid asleep!

Yet, dream and vision as thou art,
I bless thee with a human heart:
God shield thee to thy latest years !
I neither know thee nor thy peers;
And yet my eyes are filled with tears.

With earnest feeling I shall pray
For thee when I am far away:
For never saw I mien, or face,
In which more plainly I could trace
Benignity and home-bred sense
Ripening in perfect innocence.
Here, scattered like a random seed,
Remote from men, Thou dost not need
The embarrassed look of shy distress,
And maidenly shamefacedness :
Thou wear’st upon thy forehead clear
The freedom of a Mountaineer.
A face with gladness overspread!
Sweet looks, by human kinduess billed!
And seemliness complete, that sways
Thy courtesies, about thee plays;
With no restraint, but such as springs
From quick and eager visitings

Of thoughts, that lie beyond the reach
Of thy few words of English speech:
A bondage sweetly brooked, a strife
That gives thy gestures grace and life!
So have I, not unmoved in mind,
Seen birds of tempest-loving kind,
Thus beating up against the wind.

What hand but would a garland cull
For thee who art so beautiful ?
O happy pleasure ! here to dwell
Beside thee in some heathy dell;
Adopt your homely ways and dress,
A Shepherd, thou a Shepherdess !
But I could frame a wish for thee
More like a grave reality:
Thou art to me but as a wave
Of the wild sea : and I would have
Some claim upon thee, if I could,

Though but of common neighbourhood.
What joy to hear thee, and to see!
Thy elder Brother I would be,
Thy Father, any thing to thee!

Now thanks to Heaven ! that of its grace Hath led me to this lonely place. Joy have I had; and going hence I bear away my recompence. In spots like these it is we prize Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes : Then, why should I be loth to stir ? I feel this place was made for her ; To give new pleasure like the past, Continued long as life shall last. Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart, Sweet Highland Girl! froin Thee to part; For I, methinks, till I grow old,. As fair before me shall behold, As I do now, the Cabin small, The Lake, the Bay, the Waterfall; And Thee, the Spirit of them all!

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