Loud without the wind was roaring
Through th’ autumnal sky;
Drenching wet, the cold rain pouring,
Spoke of winter nigh.
All too like that dreary eve,
Did my exiled spirit grieve.
Grieved at first, but grieved not long,
Sweet—how softly sweet!—it came;
Wild words of an ancient song,
Undefined, without a name.
'It was spring, and the skylark was singing’;
Those words they awakened a spell;
They unlocked a deep fountain, whose springing,
Nor absence, nor distance can quell.
In the gloom of a cloudy November
They uttered the music of May;
They kindled the perishing ember
Into fervour that could not decay.
Awaken, o’er all my dear moorland,
West—wind, in thy glory and pride!
Oh! call me from valley and lowland,
To walk by the hill—torrent’s side!
It is swelled with the first snowy weather;
The rocks they are icy and hoar,
And sullenly waves the long heather,
And the fern leaves are sunny no more.
There are no yellow stars on the mountain
The bluebells have long died away
From the brink of the moss—bedded fountain—
From the side of the wintry brae.
But lovelier than corn—fields all waving
In emerald, and vermeil, and gold,
Are the heights where the north—wind is raving,
And the crags where I wandered of old.
It was morning: the bright sun was beaming;
How sweetly it brought back to me
The time when nor labour nor dreaming
Broke the sleep of the happy and free!
But blithely we rose as the dawn—heaven
Was melting to amber and blue,
And swift were the wings to our feet given,
As we traversed the meadows of dew.
For the moors! For the moors, where the short grass
Like velvet beneath us should lie!
For the moors! For the moors, where each high pass
Rose sunny against the clear sky!
For the moors, where the linnet was trilling
Its song on the old granite stone;
Where the lark, the wild sky—lark, was filling
Every breast with delight like its own!
What language can utter the feeling
Which rose, when in exile afar,
On the brow of a lonely hill kneeling,
I saw the brown heath growing there?
It was scattered and stunted, and told me
That soon even that would be gone:
It whispered, 'The grim walls enfold me,
I have bloomed in my last summer’s sun.'
But not the loved music, whose waking
Makes the soul of the Swiss die away,
Has a spell more adored and heartbreaking
Than, for me, in that blighted heath lay.
The spirit which bent 'neath its power,
How it longed—how it burned to be free!
If I could have wept in that hour,
Those tears had been heaven to me.
Well—well; the sad minutes are moving,
Though loaded with trouble and pain;
And some time the loved and the loving
Shall meet on the mountains again!