Page images
PDF
EPUB

HIGHLAND INNS.

I.

THE age

is

grown too vast : a monster plan Must herald every sounding step it takes ; No will counts singly, and pretentious man

Is nothing'd by the huge machines he makes. I love small things—a little bird that sings,

A little flower beside a wimpling brook, A little child with light imaginings,

A little hour lent to a thoughtful book. But of all little things I chiefly prize,

On a lone moor, a little Highland Inn,
Where, amid misty Bens and scowling skies,

And the unsleeping torrent's sleepy din,
A little maid attends with ready smiles
The foot-worn guest, and blazing faggots piles.

HIGHLAND INNS.

II.

More high-tier'd inns !—and shall I ever be

Pursued by London pomp and London flare ? Enter who will, this place is not for me,

Who love a lowly roof and simple fare. Pile palaces for kings, where man to man

Makes of his wealth theatric proud display ; But in the face of Nature's Titan plan These pompous toys should blush themselves

away. Give me—enough for comfort and for ease

A low white house that peeps into the glen, An open moor, a clump of sheltering trees,

And a few kindly words from kindly men : These give—and, that the hours may smoothly pass, A genial friend, and a well-tempered glass.

THE HIGHLAND MINISTER.

WHEN London brewers track the Scottish deer,

And lords breed sheep, who once commanded men,

Whom do the scanty peoplers of the glen
With faithful love, and service true revere?
I know him well: while lairds beyond the sea

Scatter their gold, and factors rack the glen,

He stands a messenger from God to men, Sole priest and king, sole friend and father he. Such ministry God's gospel gave, when first

Love struck the bonds from Sin's enthrallèd slaves,

As here some wreck of kindly care it saves From grasping hands and hearts with hardness curst. “ Not yours, but you,” the great Apostle said ; Now gain is good, and all things are a trade !

THE HIGHLAND MANSE.

If men were free to take, and wise to use

The fortunes richly strewn by kindly chance, Then kings and mighty potentates might choose

To live and die lords of a Highland manse. For why? Though that which spurs the forward mind

Be wanting here, the high-perched glittering prize, The bliss that chiefly suits the human kind

Within this bounded compass largely lies-
The healthful change of labour and of ease,

The sober inspiration to do good,
The green seclusion, and the stirring breeze,

The working hand leagued with the thoughtful mood;
These things, undreamt by feverish-striving men,
The wise priest knows who rules a Highland glen.

THE LADY WHO LOVES THE HIGHLANDS.

I.

ADVENTUROUS men I've known the boldest born

In brawny Britain or in fiery France,
To face the pestilence, scale the Matterhorn,

Or through the battle's iron hail to dance.

But a frail woman with so stout a heart

To brave the billows and explore the glens I never knew, as she who claims a part

In my small song piped in the land of Bens. She on the wings of sacred duty flies

With shepherd's care to bless untended flocks ; And, like an angel missioned from the skies,

They greet her coming from the old grey rocks : Poor island-dwellers by the lonely sea,

Whom all forget but God in heaven and she !

« PreviousContinue »