Yarrow Unvisited

1803 FROM Stirling Castle we had seen The mazy Forth unravelled ; Had trod the banks of Clyde, and Tay, And with the Tweed had travelld ; And when we came to Clovenford, Then said my winsome Marrow, "Whate'er betide, we'll turn aside, And see the Braes of Yarrow.' “Let Yarrow folk, frae Selkirk town, Who have been buying, selling, Go back to Yarrow, 'tis their own ; Each maiden to her dwelling! On Yarrow's banks let herons feed, Hares couch, and rabbits burrow ! But we will downward with the Tweed, Nor turn aside to Yarrow. “There's Gala Water, Leader Haughs, Both lying right before us ; And Dryburgh, where with chiming Tweed The lintwhites sing in chorus ; There's pleasant Teviot-dale, a land Made blythe with plough and harrow: Why throw away a needful day To go in search of Yarrow ? "What's Yarrow but a river bare, That glides the dark hills under ? There are a thousand such elsewhere As worthy of your wonder.' -Strange words they seemed of slight and scorn; My true-love sigh’d for sorrow, And looked me in the face, to think I thus could speak of Yarrow ! • Oh! green,' said I, “are Yarrow's holms, And sweet is Yarrow flowing ! Fair hangs the apple frae the rock, But we will leave it growing.

O’er hilly path, and open strath,
We'll wander Scotland thorough ;
But, though so near, we will not turn
Into the dale of Yarrow.
'Let beeves and home-bred kine partake
The sweets of Burn-Mill meadow ;
The swan on still Saint Mary's Lake
Float double, swan and shadow !
We will not see them ; will not go,
To-day, nor yet to-morrow;
Enough if in our hearts we know
There's such a place as Yarrow.
· Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown !
It must, or we shall rue it :
We have a vision of our own;
Ah ! why should we undo it?
The treasured dreams of times long past,
We'll keep them, winsome Marrow !
For when we're there, although 'tis fair,
'Twill be another Yarrow !

If care with freezing years should come,
And wandering seem but folly,
Should we be loth to stir from home,
And yet be melancholy;
Should life be dull, and spirits low,
'Twill soothe us in our sorrow,
That earth has something yet to show,
The bonny Holms of Yarrow !'



Yarrow Visited

September 1814
AND is this—Yarrow ?- This the Stream
Of which my fancy cherished,
So faithfully, a waking dream,
An image that hath perished ?
O that some minstreľs harp were near,
To utter notes of gladness,
And chase this silence from the air,
That fills my heart with sadness !

Yet why ?-a silvery current flows
With uncontrolld meanderings ;
Nor have these eyes by greener hills
Been soothed, in all my wanderings.
And, through her depths, Saint Mary's Lake
Is visibly delighted ;
For not a feature of those hills
Is in the mirror slighted.
A blue sky bends o'er Yarrow Vale,
Save where that pearly whiteness
Is round the rising sun diffused,
A tender hazy brightness ;
Mild dawn of promise! that excludes
All profitless dejection ;
Though not unwilling here to admit
A pensive recollection.
Where was it that the famous Flower
Of Yarrow Vale lay bleeding ?
His bed perchance was yon smooth mound
On which the herd is feeding :
And haply from this crystal pool,
Now peaceful as the morning,
The Water-wraith ascended thrice-
And gave his doleful warning.
Delicious is the Lay that sings
The haunts of happy lovers,
The path that leads them to the grove,
The leafy grove that covers :
And pity sanctifies the verse
That paints, by strength of sorrow,
The unconquerable strength of love ;
Bear witness, rueful Yarrow !
But thou that didst appear so fair
To fond imagination,
Dost rival in the light of day
Her delicate creation :
Meek loveliness is round thee spread,
A softness still and holy ;
The grace of forest charms decayed,
And pastoral melancholy.

That region left, the vale unfolds
Rich groves of lofty stature,
With Yarrow winding through the pomp
Of cultivated Nature;
And rising from those lofty groves,
Behold a ruin hoary !
The shattered front of Newark's Towers,
Renowned in Border story.
Fair scenes for childhood's opening bloom,
For sportive youth to stray in,
For manhood to enjoy his strength ;
And age to wear away in !
Yon cottage seems a bower of bliss,
A covert for protection
Of studious ease and generous cares,
And every chaste affection !
How sweet on this autumnal day
The wild-wood fruits to gather,
And on my true-love's forehead plant
A crest of blooming heather !
And what if I enwreathed my own ?
'Twere no offence to reason ;
The sober bills thus deck their brows
To meet the wintry season.
I see-but not by sight alone,
Loved Yarrow, have I won thee ;
A ray of Fancy still survives-
Her sunshine plays upon thee !
Thy ever-youthful waters keep
A course of lively pleasure ;
And gladsome notes my lips can breathe,
Accordant to the measure.
The vapours linger round the heights,
They melt, and soon must vanish;
One hour is theirs, nor more is mine-
Sad thought, which I would banish,
But that I know, where'er I go,
Thy genuine image, Yarrow!
Will dwell with me -to heighten joy
And cheer my mind in sorrow.


Sir Hugh; or, the Jew's Daughter
YESTERDAY was brave Hallowday,

And, above all days of the year,
The schoolboys all got leave to play,

And little Sir Hugh was there.
He kicked the ball with his foot,

And kepped it with his knee,
And even in at the Jew's window,

He gart the bonnie ba’ flee.
Out then came the Jew's daughter-

“Will ye come in and dine?'
"I winna come in and I canna come in,

Till I get that ball of mine.
"Throw down that ball to me, maiden,

Throw down the ball to me.'
'I winna throw down your ball, Sir Hugh,

Till ye come up to me.'
She pu'd the apple frae the tree,

It was baith red and green,
She gave it unto little Sir Hugh,

With that his heart did win.
She wiled him into ae chamber,

She wiled him into twa,
She wiled him into the third chamber,

And that was warst o't a'.
She took out a little penknife,

Hung low down by her gair,
She twined this young thing o' his life,

And a word he ne'er spak mair.
And first came out the thick, thick blood,

And syne came out the thin,
And syne came out the bonnie heart's blood,

There was nae mair within.
She laid him on a dressing-table,

She dress'd him like a swine,
SaysLie ye there, my bonnie Sir Hugh,

Wi ye’re apples red and green.'

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