Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Field of Pinkie

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


The Field of Pinkie

By David Macbeth Moir (1798–1851)

Written on the Tricentenary of the Battle, Sept. 10, 1847

A LOVELY eve! as loath to quit a scene

So beautiful, the parting sun smiles back

From western Pentland’s summits, all between

Bearing the impress of his glorious track;

His last, long, level ray fond Earth retains;

The Forth a sheet of gold from shore to shore;

Gold on the Esk, and on the ripened plains,

And on the boughs of yon broad sycamore.

Long shadows fall from turret and from tree;

Homeward the laborer through the radiance goes;

Calmly the mew floats downward to the sea;

And inland flock the rooks to their repose:

Over the ancient farmstead wreathes the smoke,

Melting in silence mid the pure blue sky;

And sings the blackbird, cloistered in the oak,

His anthem to the eve, how solemnly!

On this green hill—yon grove—the placid flow

Of Esk—and on the Links that skirt the town—

How differently, three hundred years ago,

The same sun o’er this selfsame spot went down!

Instead of harvest wealth, the gory dead

In many a mangled heap lay scattered round;

Where all is tranquil, anguish reigned and dread,

And for the blackbird wailed the bugle’s sound.

Mirrored by fancy’s power, my sight before

The past revives with panoramic glow;

Scotland resumes the cold rough front of yore,

And England, now her sister, scowls her foe:

Two mighty armaments, for conflict met,

Darken the hollows and the heights afar,—

Horse, cannon, standard, spear, and burgonet,

The leaders and the legions, mad for war.

Shrilly uprises Warwick’s battle-cry,

As from Falsyde his glittering columns wheel;

Hark to the rasp of Grey’s fierce cavalry

Against the bristling hedge of Scotland’s steel!

As bursts the billow foaming on the rock,

That onset is repelled, that charge is met;

Flaunting, the bannered thistle braves the shock,

And backward bears the might of Somerset.