Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Kilmeny
By James Hogg (1770–1835)
 
(See full text.)

BONNY Kilmeny gaed up the glen;
But it was na to meet Duneira’s men,
Nor the rosy monk of the isle to see,
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
It was only to hear the yorlin sing,        5
And pu’ the cress flower round the spring—
The scarlet hypp, and the hind berry,
And the nut that hangs frae the hazel tree;
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
But lang may her minny look o’er the wa’,        10
And lang may she seek in the greenwood shaw;
Lang the laird of Duneira blame,
And lang, lang greet ere Kilmeny come hame.
 
When many a day had come and fled,
When grief grew calm, and hope was dead,        15
When mass for Kilmeny’s soul had been sung,
When the bedesman had prayed, and the dead-bell rung,
Late, late in a gloamin, when all was still,
When the fringe was red on the westlin hill,
The wood was sere, the moon in the wane,        20
The reek of the cot hung over the plain—
Like a little wee cloud in the world its lane;
When the ingle glowed with an eiry flame,
Late, late in a gloamin, Kilmeny came hame!
 
“Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been?        25
Long hae we sought baith holt and den—
By linn, by ford, and greenwood tree;
Yet you are halesome and fair to see.
Where got you that joup o’ the lily sheen?
That bonny snood of the birk sae green?        30
And these roses, the fairest that ever were seen?
Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been?”
Kilmeny looked up with a lovely grace,
But nae smile was seen on Kilmeny’s face;
As still was her look, and as still was her ee,        35
As the stillness that lay on the emerant lea,
Or the mist that sleeps on a waveless sea.
For Kilmeny had been she knew not where,
And Kilmeny had seen what she could not declare;
Kilmeny had been where the cock never crew,        40
Where the rain never fell, and the wind never blew;
But it seemed as the harp of the sky had rung,
And the airs of heaven played round her tongue,
When she spake of the lovely forms she had seen,
And a land where sin had never been—        45
A land of love and a land of light,
Withouten sun, or moon, or night;
And lovely beings round were rife,
Who erst had travelled mortal life;
They clasped her waist and her hands sae fair,        50
They kissed her cheek and they kemed her hair;
And round came many a blooming fere,
Saying, “Bonny Kilmeny, ye’re welcome here!
Oh, bonny Kilmeny, free frae stain,
If ever you seek the world again—        55
That world of sin, of sorrow, and fear—
O, tell of the joys that are waiting here!
And tell of the signs you shall shortly see,
Of the times that are now, and the times that shall be.”
 
But to sing of the sights Kilmeny saw,        60
So far surpassing Nature’s law,
The singer’s voice wad sink away,
And the string of his harp wad cease to play.
But she saw till the sorrows of man were by,
And all was love and harmony;        65
Till the stars of heaven fell calmly away,
Like the flakes of snaw on a winter’s day.
Then Kilmeny begged again to see
The friends she had left in her own countrye;
With distant music soft and deep,        70
They lulled Kilmeny sound asleep;
And when she awakened, she lay her lane,
All happed with flowers in the greenwood wene.
When seven long years had come and fled;
When grief was calm, and hope was dead;        75
When scarce was remembered Kilmeny’s name,
Late, late in a gloamin, Kilmeny came hame!
And oh, her beauty was fair to see,
But still and steadfast was her ee!
And oh, the words that fell from her mouth        80
Were words of wonder and words of truth!
 
It was na her home, and she could na remain;
She left this world of sorrow and pain,
And returned to the land of thought again.
 
 
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