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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 seem'd of slight and scorn;
My true-love sigh'd for sorrow,
And look'd me in the face, to think
I thus could speak of Yarrow !
'O 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 't is fair,
'T will 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,
'T will soothe us in our sorrow
That earth has something yet to show,
The bonny Holms of Yarrow !'
ND is this — Yarrow?- This the Stream
So faithfully, a waking dream,
An image that hath perish'd ?
O that some minstrel's 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 uncontrollid 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 decay'd,
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 shatter'd front of Newark's Towers,
Renown'd in Border story.
Fair scenes for childhood's opening bloom,
For sportive youth to stray in,
For manhood 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?
'T were no offence to reason;
The sober hills 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.
EST and Brightest, come away,
Fairer far than this fair day,
Which, like thee, to those in sorrow
Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow
To the rough year just awake
In its cradle on the brake.
The brightest hour of unborn Spring
Through the winter wandering,
Found, it seems, the halcyon morn
To hoar February born;
Bending from Heaven, in azure mirth,
It kiss'd the forehead of the earth,
And smiled upon the silent sea,
And bade the frozen streams be free,