Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Reminiscences Of The

A weary traveller on life's thorny way,
'Mid deepening shades of fast declining day,
I backward gaze-my dim eyes moist with tears-
Through the long vista of departed years:
Then Memory unlocks her treasured store,
And forms and faces seen on earth no more,
In fancy's eye from court and dusky closs
Flit o'er the street, and vanish at the cross.
Old King's-Head Closs, tradition hath report,
That in a house, within thine ancient court,
Was Cromwell, while in Scotland, entertained
What time he in the ancient burgh remained.
Oh, I remember, when a little maid,
Outside the 'toon' all joyously I strayed,
Culling the dandelion's golden flowers-
First wayside offerings of young April hours.
Through a tall hedge I gazed with mute surprise,
For a fair vision flashed upon mine eyes:
Her robe was white, with train that swept the ground,
Her ivory arms were bare, and smooth, and round,
Her powdered ringlets lay like wreathen snow
Above her cheek of faintest carmine glow,
Long golden pendants trembled in her ears;
And yet her blue eyes brimmed with bitter tears-
'Twas Eddelwood's fair heiress-she who leapt
Her chamber window while her maidens slept;
And he who caught her in his eager arms,
Loved the sweet girl but for her golden charms.
Dark disappointment was her bitter lot-
She gave-she sought a heart-but found it not.
Phantoms of 'Eld,' they crowd my inward sight,
I see them in the new-born century's light-
Old Robin-who had served in Britain's wars
In seventy-six, against the Stripes and Stars-
And sailor Will-a grim sea-wolf-who spun
Long yarns of victories by great Nelson won;
His tales of blood and battle, tempest wild,
Enthralled my ear-a curious earnest child.
And you, ye brothers three of Crispin's line,
Who kept your state, in days of 'auld langsyne,'
In corner shop of 'Hie Toon's' ancient Cross,
Long Hamiltonia felt and mourned your loss.
Now crowding phantoms fly-I break the spell-
Again with life and living men to dwell.
85 Total read