Lochwinnoch: A Descriptive Poem


WHEN in the western main our orb of light,
Sinks slowly down from the advancing night,
Mute sadness hangs o'er all the lonely earth,
Old gloomy Night leads all her horrors forth;
Wild howls the dreary waste, where furies roam,
Harsh hated shrieks start from the ruined dome;
Dread Darkness reigns in melancholy state,
And pensive Nature seems to mourn her fate.
Such was the gloom, dear sir, that wrapt my soul,
Such were the thoughts, and such the sighs that stole
From this poor bosom, when, with tearful view,
I bade Edina and my friend adieu;
Bade him adieu, whose kind engaging art,
Unbounded goodness and inspiring heart,
Has cheered my Muse, and bid her joyous soar,
While Want and Ruin thundered at the door.

  Long was the way, the weary way to tread,
Stern Fortune frowned, and ev'ry hope had fled;
How rushed reflection on my tortured mind,
As slow I went, and sighing gazed behind.
Our rural walks, while the gray eastern morn,
Yet faintly breaking, decked the dewy thorn;
Or when linked arm in arm, we peaceful strayed
The meadows round: beneath yon leafy shade
There oft the Muse pursued her soaring flight,
While day was sunk, and reigned the starry night.
Farewell, I cried; a long farewell to you;
Fate cruel urges, happy scenes adieu.

  But blest be Heaven! when two sad days were past,
I reached my peaceful native plains at last;
Sweet smiled the Muse to hear the rustics sing,
And fond to rise, she stretched her ample wing.
On ev'ry side the blooming landscape glow'd;
Here shepherds whistled, there the cascade flowed.
Heav'ns had I known what gay, delightful scenes,
Of woods and groves adorned these happy plains,
Edina's crowds and sooty turrets high,
Should ne'er have cost me one regretting sigh.

  Though fair sweet Fortha's banks, though rich her plains,
Far nobler prospects claim the Muse's strains.
Fate now has led me to green-waving groves,
Blest scenes of innocence and rural loves;
Where cloudy smoke ne'er darkens up the sky,
Nor glaring buildings tire the sick'ning eye;
But spreading meadows wave with flow'ry hay,
And, drowned in grass the milky mothers stray;
While down each vale descends the glitt'ring rill,
And bleating flocks swarm o'er each smiling hill;
And woody vales, where deep retired from sight,
Lone rivers brawl o'er many a horrid height.

  If scenes like these can please your roving mind,
Or lend one rapture to my dearest friend,
All hail! ye sacred Nine, assist my flight,
To spread their beauties open to his sight.

  Low, at the foot of huge extended hills,
Whose cloudy tops pour down unnumbered rills,
And where loud Calder, rushing from the steep,
Roars to the lake with hoarse resistless sweep,
Lochwinnoch stands, stretched on a rising groun',
In bulk a village, but in worth a town.
Here lives your friend, amid as cheerful swains
As e'er trod o'er the famed Arcadian plains,
Far from the world retired, our only care
In silken gauze to form the flow'rets fair,
To bid beneath our hands gay blossoms rise,
In all the colours of the changing skies.