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Poem by David Macbeth Moir


STRANGER! gaze round thee on a woodland scene
Of fairy loveliness, all unsurpassed.
In gulfy amphitheatre the boughs
Of many-foliaged stems engird thy path
With emerald gloom; the shelving, steepy banks,
With eglantine and hawthorn blossomed oer,
And a flush undergrowth of primroses,
Lychnes, and daffodils, and harebells blue,
Of summers liberal bounty mutely tell.
From frowning rocks piled up precipitous,
With scanty footing topples the huge oak,
Tossing his arms abroad; and, fixed in clefts,
Where gleams at intervals a patch of sward,
The hazel throws his silvery branches down,
Fringing with grace the dark-brown battlements.
Look up, and lo! oer all, yon castled cliff,
Its roof is lichened oer, purple and green,
And blends its gray walls with coeval trees:
There Jonson sate in Drummonds classic shade:
The mazy stream beneath is Roslins Esk,
And what thou lookest on is Hawthornden!

  Firm is the mansions basement on the rock:
Beneath there yawns a many-chambered cave,
With dormitory, and hollow well, and rooms
Scooped by the hands of men. From its slant mouth,
Bramble-oergrown, facing the river bed,
Through Scotlands troublous times, in days of Eld,
When Tyranny held rule, oft have the brave,
Who dared not show themselves in open day,
Seen the red sunset on yon high tree-tops,
As twilight with blue darkness filled the glen;
Or with lone taper, in its pitchy womb,
Biding their time, around Dalwolsey sate,
And mourned the rust that dimmed each patriot sword.

  Nor pass unmarked that bough-embosomed nook
Beside thee,in the rock a cool recess,
Christened immortally The Cypress Grove,
By him who pondered there. T was to that spot,
So sad, yet lovely in its solitude,
That Drummond, the historian and the bard,
The noble and enlightened, from the world
Withdrew to wisdom, and the holy lore,
At night, at noon, in tempest or in calm,
Which Nature teaches,for, a wounded deer,
Early he left the herd, and strayed alone:
While dreaming lovely dreams, in buoyant youth,
Even mid the splendors of unclouded noon,
Had fallen the sudden shadow on his heart,
That lived but in another, whom Death took,
Blighting his fond affections in their spring.

  Through years of calm and bright philosophy,
Making this earth a type of Paradise,
He sojourned mid these lone and lovely scenes,	
Lone, listening from afar the murmurous din
Of Lifes loud bustle; as an eremite,
In sylvan haunt remote, when housed the bees,
And silent all except the nightingale,
Whom fitful song awakes, at eve may hear,
Dream-like, the boom of the far-distant sea:
And in that cave he strung and struck his lyre,
Waking such passionate tones to love and Heaven,
That from her favorite haunt, the sunny South,
From Arno and Vaucluse, the Muse took wing,
And fixed her dwelling-place on Celtic shores.

David Macbeth Moir

David Macbeth Moir's other poems:
  1. An Evening Sketch
  2. Kelburn Castle
  3. Thomsons Birthplace
  4. Langside
  5. Lines Written in the Isle of Bute

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • William McGonagall Hawthornden ("In all fair Scotland theres no spot within my ken")
  • Lydia Sigourney Hawthornden ("THOUGH Scotia hath a thousand scenes")

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