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Poem by Allan Cunningham


Margaret and Mary



Miss Margaret Harley Maxwell, only daughter of the poets cousin, Alexander Harley Maxwell, of Portrack, Esq., and Mary, the poets only daughter.

YOUNG Margaret woke, and waking cried,
Rise, Mary! lo, on Dunscore side,
The morning sun shines bright; and hear!
The reapers horns ring far and near!
The thrush sings loud in bush and bower,
The doves coo loud on Isle old tower;
The poets walk, by Ellisland,
Is rife with larks that love the sand;
The pars are leaping in the Rack,
The cornecrake calls from fair Portrack;
There s silver, sure, in yon sweet rill	
That flows tween this and blithe Cowehill;
And see! from green Dalswintons lake,
Their distant flight the herons take.
I m glad I ve wakenedt is so sweet
To see the dew shine on our feet;
To see the morn diffuse its wealth,
Light, life, and happiness, and health;
And then the sounds which float abroad
Are Natures, and come all from God!

Young Mary thus: from London fair
She came to Margaret for sweet air;
Not sisters born, yet sisters they
In heart, in spirit, and in play.
See, see! the farmer quits his horn,
Fast neath the sickle sinks the corn!
The bandsmen all with hoary locks
Tie up the sheaves and set the shocks;
The busy maids, with snooded tresses,
Dish sweet milk pottage out in messes;
Een now upon Niths winding stream
The glad sun sheds a brighter beam;
Dark Blackwood smiles, and mongst her trees
Carse lists the music of her bees;
And from Dalswinton, broad and fair,
The smell of fruit fills all the air:
Old Age in sunshine walks abroad
Thankful, and gives his thoughts to God!

See, children, see!T was thus another
Voice spoke, of aunt perchance, or mother,
That stream has run, yon sun has shone,
Yon hills have stood, that wind has blown,
Since first God framed them with his hand,
All else is changed within this land:
Landmarks decay, tombs yield their trust,
Youth fades, and old age sinks to dust!
Ten ancient names have ceased in story,
Ten ancient towers have lost their glory,
Two kirks, where Learnings lamp and cowl
Were trimmed, now shelter bat and owl!
For Setons soul, where monks said masses,
The wandering gypsies graze their asses;
Full sixty halls where Maxwells dwelt
The sway of strangers hands have felt;
The Douglasbut I shall not say	
What chances wrought their sad decay
Or stern Kirkpatrick, whose dread dirk
Won Scotlands freedom in her kirk;
Or Charteris, whose proud feudal power
From Tinwald reached to Liddels tower;	
Or Halliday, whose hounds could range
From Solway sands to Moffat grange;
All thesethe brightness of their days
Are gonetheir power the stranger sways
Or sad on their diminished bounds
They rule, nor hosts, nor deep-mouthed hounds.
Fair children, this stern lesson learn:
What merit wins and worth can earn,
May, in some inconsiderate hour,
Be pluckedas now I pluck this flower!
The flower will rise with sun and rain
In summer, and bloom bright again:
But when fame goes, its emblem see,
My children, in yon stricken tree!
It liesit rotsnor from its side
Sends shoots to be the forests pride!



Allan Cunningham


Allan Cunningham's other poems:
  1. Bonnie Jeanie Walkinshaw
  2. Gordon of Brackley
  3. The Lily of Nithsdale
  4. The Lass of Gleneslan-Mill
  5. Mary Halliday


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