Friday, October 28, 2011

52 Poems (week 33)

LM Montgomery's Kilmeny of the Orchard was a favourite book of mine as a young adult, and there's a short excerpt of James Hogg's poem, 'Kilmeny', at the start of the little novel. I've only just read the whole poem, all 330 lines worth, and you can hear Hogg's Scottish burr all the way through. Reading it aloud is more fun than it should be - and with a belly full of babe, or wee bairn as the case may be, it was a nice little bonding moment.

Because the poem's so long, I've only excerpted the final stanzas.

With distant music, soft and deep, 
They lull'd Kilmeny sound asleep; 
And when she awaken'd, she lay her lane, 
All happ'd with flowers, in the green-wood wene. 
When seven lang years had come and fled, 
When grief was calm, and hope was dead; 
When scarce was remember'd Kilmeny's name, 
Late, late in a gloamin' Kilmeny came hame! 
And O, her beauty was fair to see, 
But still and steadfast was her e'e! 
Such beauty bard may never declare, 
For there was no pride nor passion there; 
And the soft desire of maiden's e'en 
In that mild face could never be seen. 
Her seymar was the lily flower, 
And her cheek the moss-rose in the shower; 
And her voice like the distant melodye, 
That floats along the twilight sea. 
But she loved to raike the lanely glen, 
And keep├Ęd afar frae the haunts of men; 
Her holy hymns unheard to sing, 
To suck the flowers, and drink the spring. 
But wherever her peaceful form appear'd, 
The wild beasts of the hill were cheer'd; 
The wolf play'd blythly round the field, 
The lordly byson low'd and kneel'd; 
The dun deer woo'd with manner bland, 
And cower'd aneath her lily hand. 
And when at even the woodlands rung, 
When hymns of other worlds she sung 
In ecstasy of sweet devotion, 
O, then the glen was all in motion! 
The wild beasts of the forest came, 
Broke from their bughts and faulds the tame,
And goved around, charm'd and amazed; 
Even the dull cattle croon'd and gazed, 
And murmur'd and look'd with anxious pain 
For something the mystery to explain. 
The buzzard came with the throstle-cock; 
The corby left her houf in the rock; 
The blackbird alang wi' the eagle flew; 
The hind came tripping o'er the dew; 
The wolf and the kid their raike began, 
And the tod, and the lamb, and the leveret ran;
The hawk and the hern attour them hung, 
And the merle and the mavis forhooy'd their young; 
And all in a peaceful ring were hurl'd; 
It was like an eve in a sinless world! 
When a month and a day had come and gane.
Kilmeny sought the green-wood wene; 
There laid her down on the leaves sae green, 
And Kilmeny on earth was never mair seen. 
But O, the words that fell from her mouth 
Were words of wonder, and words of truth!
But all the land were in fear and dread, 
For they kendna whether she was living or dead. 
It wasna her hame, and she couldna remain; 
She left this world of sorrow and pain, 
And return'd to the land of thought again.

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