David Macbeth Moir

Kelburn Castle

From the sea-murmur ceaseless, up between
The green secluding hills, that hem it round
As ’t were with conscious love, stands Kelburn House,
With its gray turrets, in baronial state,
A proud memento of the days when men
Thought but of war and safety. Stately pile
And lovely woods! not often have mine eyes
Gazed o’er a scene more picturesque, or more
Heart-touching in its beauty. Thou wert once
The guardian of these valleys, and the foe
Approaching heard, between himself and thee,
The fierce, down-thundering, mocking waterfall;
While, on thy battlements, in glittering mail,
The warder glided; and the sentinel,
As neared the stranger horseman to thy gates,
And gave the password, which no answer found,
Plucked from his quiver the unerring shaft,
Which, from Kilwinning’s spire, had oft brought down
The mock Papingo.
                    Mournfully, alas!
Yet in thy quietude not desolate,
Now, like a relic of the times gone by,
Down from thy verdant throne, upon the sea,
Which glitters like a sheet of molten gold,
Thou lookest thus, at eventide, while sets,
In opal and in amethystine hues,
The day o’er distant Arran, with its peaks
Sky-piercing, yet o’erclad with winter’s snows
In desolate grandeur; and the cottaged fields
Of nearer Bute smile in their vernal green,
A picture of repose. High overhead
The gull, far-shrieking, through yon stern ravine
Of wild, rude rocks, where brawls the mountain stream,
Wings to the sea, and seeks, beyond its foams,
Its own precipitous cliff upon the coast
Of fair and fertile Cumbrae; while the rook,
Conscious of coming eventide, forsakes
The leafing woods, and round the chimneyed roofs
Caws as he wheels, alights, and then anon
Renews his circling flight in clamorous joy.

  Mountains that face bald Arran! though the sun
Now, with the ruddy lights of eventide,
Gilds every pastoral summit on which Peace,
Like a descended angel, sits enthroned,
Forth gazing on a scene as beautiful
As Nature e’er outspread for mortal eye;
And but the voice of distant waterfall
Sings lullaby to bird and beast, and wings
Of insects murmurous, multitudinous,
That in the low, red, level beams commix,
And weave their elfin dance,—another time	
And other tones were yours, when on each peak
At hand, and through Argyle and Lanark shires,
Startling black midnight, flared the beacon lights,
And when from out the west the castled steep
Of Broadwick reddened with responsive blaze.
A night was that of doubt and of suspense,
Of danger and of daring, in the which
The fate of Scotland in the balance hung
Trembling, and up and down wavered the scales;
But Hope grew brighter with the rising sun,
And Dawn looked out, to see upon the shore
The Brace’s standard floating on the gale,
A call to freedom!—barks from every isle
Pouring with clumps of spears!—from every dell
The throng of mail-clad men!—vassal and lord,
With ponderous curtal-axe, and broadsword keen,
Banner and bow; while, overhead, afar
And near, the bugles rang amid the rocks,
Echoing in wild reverberation shrill,
And scaring from his heathery lair the deer,
The osprey from his island cliff of rest.

English Poetry - http://www.eng-poetry.ru/english/index.php. E-mail eng-poetry.ru@yandex.ru