Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
VI. Animate Nature
Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)
   [In the spring of 1805, a young gentleman of talents, and of a most amiable disposition, perished by losing his way on the mountain Helvellyn. His remains were not discovered till three months afterwards, when they were found guarded by a faithful terrier, his constant attendant during frequent solitary rambles through the wilds of Cumberland and Westmoreland.]

I CLIMBED the dark brow of the mighty Helvellyn,
  Lakes and mountains beneath me gleamed misty and wide:
All was still, save, by fits, when the eagle was yelling,
  And starting around me the echoes replied.
On the right, Striden Edge round the Red Tarn was bending,        5
And Catchedicam its left verge was defending,
One huge nameless rock in the front was ascending,
  When I marked the sad spot where the wanderer had died.
Dark green was that spot mid the brown mountain heather,
  Where the Pilgrim of Nature lay stretched in decay.        10
Like the corpse of an outcast abandoned to weather,
  Till the mountain winds wasted the tenantless clay;
Not yet quite deserted, though lonely extended,
For, faithful in death, his mute favorite attended,
The much-loved remains of her master defended,        15
  And chased the hill-fox and the raven away.
How long didst thou think that his silence was slumber?
  When the wind waved his garment, how oft didst thou start?
How many long days and long nights didst thou number
  Ere he faded before thee, the friend of thy heart?        20
And, O, was it meet that—no requiem read o’er him,
No mother to weep, and no friend to deplore him,
And thou, little guardian, alone stretched before him—
  Unhonored the Pilgrim from life should depart?
When a prince to the fate of the peasant has yielded,        25
  The tapestry waves dark round the dim-lighted hall,
With ’scutcheons of silver the coffin is shielded,
  And pages stand mute by the canopied pall:
Through the courts, at deep midnight, the torches are gleaming;
In the proudly arched chapel the banners are beaming;        30
Far adown the long aisle sacred music is streaming,
  Lamenting a Chief of the People should fall.
But meeter for thee, gentle lover of nature,
  To lay down thy head like the meek mountain lamb,
When, wildered, he drops from some cliff huge in stature,        35
  And draws his last sob by the side of his dam.
And more stately thy couch by this desert lake lying,
Thy obsequies sung by the gray plover flying,
With one faithful friend but to witness thy dying,
  In the arms of Helvellyn and Catchedicam.        40

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