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Lines To A Scottish Exile (1854)

'Tis a gorgeous clime where the Exile dwells,
A land both rich and fair,
The skies are blue--how brightly blue--
And the scouted breeze is there.
The shining fruit is bending low,
O'er the calm unruffled wave,
And the precious fount is stealing forth
From its gem-lit pearly cave.

But say, can it e'er he dear to thee ?
As thine own wild mountain land ?
Or what is the calmest grove bound wave,
To the foam on thy native strand ?
Is, there aught like the tow'ring misty crag,
Or, the fierce free torrent there ?
Ah ! no, that land to a Scottish heart
Is all too-calm and fair.

Thy native land is a land of gloom,
Of sunshine, calm and storm,
Of the witching Isle and savage glen,
And the tempest's fearful form,--
Of the waving wood, by the dark blue lake,
Begirt with crag and dell,
And the foaming flood and misty cliff
Where the Stag and Eagle dwell.

And other lands may boast their homes,
More noble bright or fair ;
But Scotia's towers can proudly tell
That freedom's self is there.
And its humblest cots can shelter forms
That keep their hearths or die.
No fettered hearts can beat beneath
Our free and stormy sky.

Or say, is a flower as dear to thee,
As Scotland's wild blue bell:
Doth its very name not bring thy heart
More thoughts than thou could'st tell ?
Of the idle hours on the lone hill side,
Of the breeze from the sunny sea ;
And the tale and the song at the evening hour,
Thou brought'st to thy mother's knee.

And, oh ! does the sabbath morn e'er shine
As it shone in thy native land :
When a boy, thou thought'st the very wave
Fell softer on the strand.
The winds were fresher far that day,
The skies more brightly blue,
And the rustling leaves, and fields, and flowers
Were clad in a fairer hue.

And when the much lov'd sabbath bell
Roll'd soft o'er every crag and dell ;
'Twas music dearer to thy heart,
Than aught thou yet can'st tell.
Brings it not back the calm bright hours,
Of Scotia's treasured day ;
And the solemn song by the happier hearth,
When the sun had passed away.

Yes ! other lands may shine more bright,
And shower their gifts on thee ;
But surely they can ne'er be fair,
Or noble, firm, and free
As thine own sea-girt mountain land,
That with its every ill,
To warm unfettered Scottish hearts,
Is dear old Scotland still.


From the Victorian newspaper the The Age Saturday 2 December 1854, p. 6.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory