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Poem by Walter Scott

On Tweed River


Merrily swim we, the moon shines bright,
Both current and ripple are dancing in light.
We have roused the night raven, I heard him croak
As we plashed along beneath the oak
That flings its broad branches so far and so wide,
Their shadows are dancing in the midst of the tide.
'Who wakens my nestlings,' the raven he said,
'My beak shall ere morn in his blood be red,
For a blue-swollen corpse is a dainty meal,
And I'll have my share with the pike and the eel.'


Merrily swim we, the moon shines bright,
There's a golden gleam on the distant height;
There's a silver shadow on the alders dank,
And the drooping willows that wave on the bank.
I see the Abbey, both turret and tower,
It is all astir for the vesper hour;
The monks for the chapel are leaving each cell,
But where's Father Philip, should toll the bell?


Merrily swim we, the moon shines bright,
Downward we drift through shadow and light.
Under yon rock the eddies sleep,
Calm and silent, dark and deep.
The Kelpy has risen from the fathomless pool,
He hath lighted his candle of death and of dool:
Look, Father, look, and youâll laugh to see
How he gapes and he glares with his eyes on thee!


Good luck to your fishing, whom watch ye to night?
A man of mean or a man of might?
Is it layman or priest that must float in your cove,
Or lover who crosses to visit his love?
Hark! heard ye the Kelpy reply as we passed,-â
'God's blessing on the warder, he lock'd the bridge fast!
All that come to my cove are sunk,
Priest or layman, lover or monk.'

Landed landed! the black book hath won,
Else had you seen Berwick with morning sun!
Sain ye, and save ye, and blithe mot ye be,
For seldom they land that go swimming with me. 

Walter Scott

Walter Scott's other poems:
  1. St. Swithin's Chair
  2. MacKrimmon's Lament
  3. The Bard's Incantation
  4. The Dying Gipsy Smuggler
  5. Heres a Health to King Charles

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