Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Elegy

'Where are ye, friend of my youth?
And echo answered, 'Where!''
Where are ye, dear companions of my youth?
I gaze around and meet no answering eye-
No glance of girlish sympathy and truth,
No bounding, dancing step, no glad reply.
Reflected fair in Memory's magic glass,
I see pale Margaret with the golden hair,
And dark-hair'd Tina, a blithe, romping lass,
And Jane with ringlets brown and sweetly fair;
And blue-eyed Lisa, whose unhappy home
Loomed like a thunder-cloud o'er her young life;
Who oft with tears and sobs would vow to roam
Far from the abode of misery, hate, and strife;
And bright-eyed Jessie, fancy's wayward child,
Yet warm of heart, to girlish friendships true;
To nature still she sung her wood-notes wild
By woods and streams, 'mongst verdure, flowers, and dew.
What glorious sunshine on our village lay
On summer days-what lovely moonlight shone
At night on garden plot and cottage grey
In my own lowly village, dear Langloan!
No sound of tramping hoofs, no yelling pack,
No merry winding of the hunter's horn,
Rous'd sleeping echo to fling boldly back
The challenge rude, as if in mocking scorn.
A troop of merry girls, the foremost I,
With naked feet and wildly-streaming hair,
Rush'd through Drumpellier woods with whoop and cry;
Our merry romping game was hound and hare.
But Love and Hymen came with added years,
And dearer bonds entwin'd each youthful heart;
But blue-eyed Lisa sat alone in tears,
As from her side she saw each friend depart.
Now widow'd Margaret's golden hair is white,
And Tina's dark locks moulder in the grave,
And lovely Jane has bid a long good night
To all she loved: not love her life could save.
Long years had pass'd, and nought was heard or seen
Of poor Eliza-she a wandering life
Had led, a mother too, 'twas said, had been-
Yet never bore the sacred name of wife.
And bright-eyed Jessie down the vale of years
Hath far descended; soon will she be laid
By kindred hands, with many filial tears,
Beneath sepulchral boughs that wave o'erhead.
Companions of my early youth, adieu!
I saw ye not when ye were called away;
Oh! might I hope in bliss to meet with you,
That hope would gild Life's fast-declining day.
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