IN SIGHT OF WALLACE'S TOWER
"--How Wallace fought for Scotland, left the name
Of Wallace to be found, like a wild flower,
All over his dear Country; left the deeds
Of Wallace, like a family of ghosts,
To people the steep rocks and river banks,
Her natural sanctuaries, with a local soul
Of independence and stern liberty."
--See The Prelude, Book I, 214-20.
LORD of the vale! astounding Flood;
The dullest leaf in this thick wood
Quakes--conscious of thy power;
The caves reply with hollow moan;
And vibrates, to its central stone,
Yon time-cemented Tower!
And yet how fair the rural scene!
For thou, O Clyde, hast ever been
Beneficent as strong;
Pleased in refreshing dews to steep 10
The little trembling flowers that peep
Thy shelving rocks among.
Hence all who love their country, love
To look on thee--delight to rove
Where they thy voice can hear;
And, to the patriot-warrior's Shade,
Lord of the vale! to Heroes laid
In dust, that voice is dear!
Along thy banks, at dead of night
Sweeps visibly the Wallace Wight; 20
Or stands, in warlike vest,
Aloft, beneath the moon's pale beam,
A Champion worthy of the stream,
Yon grey tower's living crest!
But clouds and envious darkness hide
A Form not doubtfully descried:--
Their transient mission o'er,
O say to what blind region flee
These Shapes of awful phantasy?
To what untrodden shore? 30
Less than divine command they spurn;
But this we from the mountains learn,
And this the valleys show;
That never will they deign to hold
Communion where the heart is cold
To human weal and woe.
The man of abject soul in vain
Shall walk the Marathonian plain;
Or thrid the shadowy gloom,
That still invests the guardian Pass, 40
Where stood, sublime, Leonidas
Devoted to the tomb.
And let no Slave his head incline,
Or kneel, before the votive shrine
By Uri's lake, where Tell
Leapt, from his storm-vext boat, to land,
Heaven's Instrument, for by his hand
That day the Tyrant fell.