Page images

And even shrunk from proffer bland
Of lover's visionary hand,
On such ecstatic dream when brake
The music of the midnight Wake,
Hast thou not weened thyself on high,
List’ning to angels' melody,
'Scaped from a world of cares away,

To dream of love and bliss for aye P

The dream dispelled, the music gone, Hast thou not, sighing, all alone, Proffered thy vows to Heaven, and then Blest the sweet Wake, and slept again?

Then list, ye maidens, to my lay,
Though old the tale, and past the day;
Those Wakes, now played by minstrels poor,
At midnight's darkest, chillest hour,
Those humble Wakes, now scorned by all,
Were first begun in courtly hall,

When royal MARY, blithe of mood,
Kept holiday at Holyrood.

Scotland, involved in factious broils, Groaned deep beneath her woes and toils, And looked o'er meadow, dale, and lea, For many a day her Queen to see; Hoping that then her woes would cease, And all her vallies smile in peace. The Spring was past, the Summer gone; Still vacant stood the Scottish throne: But scarce had Autumn's mellow hand Waved her rich banner o'er the land, When rang the shouts, from tower and tree, That Scotland's Queen was on the sea. Swift spread the news o'er down and dale, Swift as the lively autumn gale; Away, away, it echoed still, O'er many a moor and Highland hill, Till rang each glen and verdant plain,

From Cheviot to the northern main.

Each bard attuned the loyal lay, And for Dunedin hied away; Each harp was strung in woodland bower, In praise of beauty's bonniest flower. The chiefs forsook their ladies fair; The priest his beads and books of prayer; The farmer left his harvest day, The shepherd all his flocks to stray; The forester forsook the wood, And hasted on to Holyrood.

After a youth, by woes o'ercast, After a thousand sorrows past, The lovely Mary once again Set foot upon her native plain; Kneeled on the pier with modest grace, And turned to heaven her beauteous face. 'Twas then the caps in air were blended, A thousand thousand shouts ascended; Shivered the breeze around the throng; Gray barrier cliffs the peals prolong;

And every tongue gave thanks to Heaven, That Mary to their hopes was given.

Her comely form and graceful mien, Bespoke the Lady and the Queen; The woes of one so fair and young, Moved every heart and every tongue. Driven from her home, a helpless child, To brave the winds and billows wild; An exile bred in realms afar, Amid commotion, broil, and war. In one short year her hopes all crossed,— A parent, husband, kingdom lost And all ere eighteen years had shed Their honours o'er her royal head. For such a Queen, the Stuarts' heir, A Queen so courteous, young, and fair, Who would not every foe defy Who would not stand who would not die

Light on her airy steed she sprung,
Around with golden tassels hung,

No chieftain there rode half so free, Or half so light and gracefully. How sweet to see her ringlets pale Wide waving in the southland gale, Which through the broom-wood blossoms flew, To fan her cheeks of rosy hue ! Whene'er it heaved her bosom's screen, What beauties in her form were seen 1 And when her courser's mane it swung, A thousand silver bells were rung. A sight so fair, on Scottish plain, A Scot shall never see again.

When Mary turned her wondering eyes
On rocks that seemed to prop the skies;
On palace, park, and battled pile;
On lake, on river, sea, and isle;
O'er woods and meadows bathed in dew,
To distant mountains wild and blue;
She thought the isle that gave her birth,
The sweetest, wildest land on earth.

« PreviousContinue »