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Sir Walter Scott

(1771-1832 / Edinburgh / Scotland)

Ancient Gaelic Melody


I.
Birds of omen dark and foul,
Night-crow, raven, bat, and owl,
Leave the sick man to his dream -
All night long he heard you scream.
Haste to cave and ruin'd tower,
Ivy tod, or dingled-bower,
There to wink and mop, for, hark!
In the mid air sings the lark.

II.
Hie to moorish gills and rocks,
Prowling wolf and wily fox, -
Hie ye fast, nor turn your view,
Though the lamb bleats to the ewe.
Couch your trains, and speed your flight,
Safety parts with parting night;
And on distant echo borne,
Comes the hunter's early horn.

III.
The moon's wan crescent scarcely gleams,
Ghost-like she fades in morning beams;
Hie hence, each peevish imp and fay
That scarce the pilgrim on his way, -
Quench, kelpy! quench, in bog and fen,
Thy torch, that cheats benighted men;
Thy dance is o'er, thy reign is done,
For Benyieglo hath seen the sun.

IV.
Wild thoughts, that, sinful, dark, and deep,
O'erpower the passive mind in sleep,
Pass from the slumberer's soul away,
Like night-mists from the brow of day:
Foul hag, whose blasted visage grim
Smothers the pulse, unnerves the limb,
Spur thy dark palfrey, and begone!
Thou darest not face the godlike sun.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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