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


Song of the Western Settler

By William Wilson (1801–1860)

WHY did I leave fair Branksome’s towers,

Why did I leave sweet Teviot glen,

Its daisied banks and hazel bowers,

Kind collie, plaid, and blithe sheep-pen?

O, there is not a rushy den,

Clear wimpling burn, or brier brake,

But in my bosom stirs a train

Of mournful thoughts that make it ache.

Oft, dreams of Albion’s sea-bound isle

Steal o’er my slumber with their balm;

I hear a song, I meet a smile,

At bughting in the gloaming-calm.

Anon the reverential psalm,

From straw-thatched cot, will fancy hear,

And kneeling low with joinéd palm,

Breathe the heart-uttered prayer sincere.

Then round me gathered faces dear,

That kindly words of welcome speak;

My father’s smile,—the glistening tear

Of gladness on my mother’s cheek.

One form my wandering eye doth seek,

My plighted Marion,—“nearest, best,

Come hither with those looks so meek,

And let me fold thee to my breast.”


Could I again in Teviot vale

Wander when gloaming hour was near,

And hearken to the cushat’s wail,

Or blackbird piping to his dear,

Or listen with delighted ear

The soaring laverock’s vesper song,

Blent with the lintie’s warblings clear,

That pipes the yellow broom among,—

Then light of heart and lithe of limb,

I ’d belt my plaid and grasp my kent,

And by the holy twilight dim,

Would hie me to the upland bent.

There with the star-gemmed firmament

Above me for my temple dome,

I ’d kneel and ask of heaven,—content,—

A shepherd’s lot and Scottish home.