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THE LADY WHO LOVES THE HIGHLANDS.
Who loves the Highlands ?-many love to shoot
The dun-plumed grouse on the broad-shouldered
And 'tis a kingly sport will none dispute
To track the red-deer through the treeless glen. But I know one who loves the Highlands more
Than all who start the grouse or watch the deer, The first to light on lone unfriended shore
With helping hand, and words of kindly cheer ; A woman, but whom manful purpose mails,
Of English blood, but through the Celtic seas With torch of truth in venturous skiff she sails
From isle to isle, not studious of her ease. Brave maid ! thee following where Columba trod
The angels know who keep the book of God.
Thou huge grey
stone upon the heath, With lichens crusted well,
I marvel much, if thou found breath,
What story thou would'st tell. Oft wandering o'er the birch-grown hill,
To hear the wild winds moan,
I wonder still what chance or skill
Hath pitched thee here alone.
Where wert thou when Sire Adam first
Drew his mischanceful breath,
And in the bowers of bliss was cursed
With everlasting death, Then when the damned fiend, who loves
The mask of snake and toad, Crept into Paradisian groves,
And stole Eve's heart from God?
Thee in some seaward glen, I ween,
On sharp Loffodin's shore,
The giant glacier bore.
Till, loosen'd from the high land,
Was launch’d, a floating island,
Into the Arctic deep. And thou,
In its stark bosom buried, Through seas which huge Leviathans plough,
To this South strand wert hurried.
Then, from its cold close gripe unbound
By summer's permeant breath, Thy wandering bulk a station found
On this wide sandy heath.
And here thy watch hath been, God knows
How long, and what a strange Masque of Time's motley-shifting shows
Hath known thee without change.
Seas thou hast seen to dry land turned,
And dry land turned to seas, And fiery cones that wildly burned,
Where flocks now feed at ease.
By thee the huge-limbed breathing things,
Crude Earth's portentous race, Passed, and long lizard-shapes with wings
Swept o'er thy weathered face. To thee first came man's jaded limb
From Eastern Babel far; Around thee rose the Druid's hymn, And the
of Celtic war.
By thee the Roman soldier made
The mountain-cleaving road,
The lordly Norman strode.
The proud priest triple-crowned
And claimed the holy ground.
By thee the insolent Edward passed,
When mad with eager greed,
Across the Scottish Tweed.
When strong with righteous scorn
At glorious Bannockburn.
Thou saw'st, when 'neath thy hoary shade
Upon the old brown sod
His fervent prayer to God,
To trim, and craft of kings, The faith that soars from a people's heart,
And flaps untutored wings.
Thou saw'st, from out old unkempt bowers,
Huge peopled cities rise,
Invade the troubled skies.