Robert Leighton


AS in the babbling crowd where gossips meet,
  Some quiet heart maintains itself alone—
Or grass-grown alley off the trampled street—
          Glen-Messen lies unknown.

The visitors of summer come and go,
  With many a far-famed scene within their ken;
But even their books of travel do not know
          This almost nameless glen.

I got its being and its name from one
  Who loves to brood on beauty near at home,
And, haply, garners more, when all is done,
          Than those who farther roam.

It was a golden summer day, and Clyde,
  From shore to shore, was all one molten flame;
The Holy Loch, stilled with the swollen tide,
          Was hallowed as its name.

As up its southern marge I slowly strayed,
  I heard the measured dip of unseen oar,
And even the prattling children as they played
          Upon the further shore.

Up by the placid loch, which, far beneath,
  Bosomed the summer beauty of the skies,
I reached its upper shores, then took the heath,
          For there Glen-Messen lies.

*        *        *        *        *

The hills shut out the world with all its noise,
  Shut in the murmur of the hidden stream;
And only once a hawk, with sudden poise,
          Uttered a sudden scream.

The little glen was all in dreamy hush:
  But soon a muffled rumble, soft and deep,
And then the cataract’s imperious rush
          Awoke it from its sleep.

Adown the glen the burn shot in and out
  Beneath the shelving rocks, and where it stayed
In quiet crystal pools, the speckled trout
          In dimpling eddies played.

Here, through a rocky sluice the waters bored;
  There, round and round in boiling caldron wheeled;
And up the cataract, like a flashing sword,
          The silvery salmon spieled.

Like a deep thinker, in himself entombed,
  Stood on a stone the solitary hern;
While all around the purple heather bloomed,
          And waved the feathery fern.

The long, long summer day, in sun and shade,
  I lingered there; but years have gone since then,
And many a pilgrimage in thought I ’ve made,
          To wander in the glen.

All Nature finds in man a counterpart:
  She takes her spell-bound lover by the hand,
And makes him one with that mysterious heart
          That beats through sea and land.

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