Home  »  The Book of Georgian Verse  »  Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

The Maid of Neidpath

Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

O, LOVERS’ eyes are sharp to see,

And lovers’ ears in hearing;

And love in life’s extremity

Can lend an hour of cheering.

Disease had been in Mary’s bower,

And slow decay from mourning,

Though now she sits on Neidpath’s tower

To watch her love’s returning.

All sunk and dim her eyes so bright,

Her form decayed by pining,

Till through her wasted hand at night

You saw the taper shining;

By fits, a sultry hectic hue

Across her cheek was flying;

By fits, so ashy pale she grew,

Her maidens thought her dying.

Yet keenest powers to see and hear

Seemed in her frame residing;

Before the watch-dog pricked his ear,

She heard her lover’s riding;

Ere scarce a distant form was kenned,

She knew, and waved to greet him;

And o’er the battlement did bend,

As on the wing to meet him.

He came—he passed—an heedless gaze,

As o’er some stranger glancing;

Her welcome, spoke in faltering phrase,

Lost in his courser’s prancing—

The castle arch, whose hollow tone

Returns each whisper spoken,

Could scarcely catch the feeble moan

Which told her heart was broken.