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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Harden Castle

Harden Castle

By John Leyden (1775–1811)

(From Scenes of Infancy)

WHERE Bortha hoarse, that loads the meads with sand,

Rolls her red tide to Teviot’s western strand,

Through slaty hills, whose sides are shagged with thorn,

Where springs, in scattered tufts, the dark-green corn,

Towers wood-girt Harden, far above the vale,

And clouds of ravens o’er the turrets sail.

A hardy race, who never shrunk from war,

The Scott, to rival realms a mighty bar,

Here fixed his mountain-home;—a wide domain,

And rich the soil, had purple heath been grain;

But what the niggard ground of wealth denied,

From fields more blessed his fearless arm supplied.

The waning harvest-moon shone cold and bright;

The warder’s horn was heard at dead of night;

And as the massy portals wide were flung,

With stamping hoofs the rocky pavement rung.

What fair, half-veiled, leans from her latticed hall,

Where red the wavering gleams of torchlight fall?

’T is Yarrow’s fairest Flower, who, through the gloom,

Looks, wistful, for her lover’s dancing plume.

Amid the piles of spoil, that strewed the ground,

Her ear, all anxious, caught a wailing sound;

With trembling haste the youthful matron flew,

And from the hurried heaps an infant drew.

Scared at the light, his little hands he flung

Around her neck, and to her bosom clung;

While beauteous Mary soothed, in accents mild,

His fluttering soul, and clasped her foster child.

Of milder mood the gentle captive grew,

Nor loved the scenes that scared his infant view;

In vales remote, from camps and castles far,

He shunned the fearful shuddering joy of war;

Content the loves of simple swains to sing,

Or wake to fame the harp’s heroic string.

His are the strains whose wandering echoes thrill

The shepherd, lingering on the twilight hill,

When evening brings the merry folding hours,

And sun-eyed daisies close their winking flowers.

He lived o’er Yarrow’s Flower to shed the tear,

To strew the holly leaves o’er Harden’s bier:

But none was found above the minstrel’s tomb,

Emblem of peace, to bid the daisy bloom;

He, nameless as the race from which he sprung,

Saved other names, and left his own unsung.