David Macbeth Moir

Thomson’s Birthplace

“IS Ednam, then, so near us? I must gaze
On Thomson’s cradle-spot,—as sweet a bard
(Theocritus and Maro blent in one)
As ever graced the name,—and on the scenes
That first to poesy awoke his soul,
In hours of holiday, when boyhood’s glance
Invested nature with an added charm.”
So saying to myself, with eager steps,
Down through the avenues of Sydenham
(Green Sydenham, to me forever dear,
As birth-house of the being with whose fate
Mine own is sweetly mingled,—even with thine,
My wife, my children’s mother), on I strayed
In a perplexity of pleasing thoughts,
Amid the perfume of blown eglantine,
And hedgerow wild-flowers, memory conjuring up
In many a sweet, bright, fragmentary snatch,
The truthful, soul-subduing lays of him
Whose fame is with his country’s being blent,
And cannot die; until at length I gained
A vista from the road, between the stems
Of two broad sycamores, whose filial boughs
Above in green communion intertwined;
And lo! at once in view, nor far remote,
The downward country, like a map unfurled,
Before me lay,—green pastures, forests dark,—
And, in its simple quietude revealed,
Ednam, no more a visionary scene.

  A rural church; some scattered cottage roofs,
From whose secluded hearths the thin blue smoke,
Silently wreathing through the breezeless air,
Ascended, mingling with the summer sky;
A rustic bridge, mossy and weather-stained;
A fairy streamlet, singing to itself;
And here and there a venerable tree
In foliaged beauty,—of these elements,
And only these, the simple scene was formed.

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