Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, GLADESMUIR, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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GLADESMUIR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There is not / a valley of more quiet happiness
Last Line: They made her grave by ronald's.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia
Subject(s): Home


THERE is not
A valley of more quiet happiness,
Bosom'd in greener trees, or with a river
Clearer than thine, GLADESMUIR! There are huge hills
Like barriers by thy side, where the tall pine
Stands stately as a warrior in his prime,
Mix'd with low gnarled oaks, whose yellow leaves
Are bound with ruby tendrils, emerald shoots,
And the wild blossoms of the honeysuckle;
And even more impervious grows the brier,
Cover'd with thorns and roses, mingled like
Pleasures and pains, but shedding richly forth
Its fragrance on the air; and by its side
The wilding broom as sweet, which gracefully
Flings its long tresses like a maiden's hair
Waving in yellow beauty. The red deer
Crouches in safety in its secret lair;
The sapphire, bird's-eye, and blue violets,
Mix with white daisies in the grass beneath;
And in the boughs above the woodlark builds,
And makes sweet music to the morning; while
All day the stock-dove's melancholy notes
Wail plaintively -- the only sounds beside
The hum of the wild bees around some trunk
Of an old moss-clad oak, in which is rear'd
Their honey palace. Where the forest ends,
Stretches a wide brown heath, till the blue sky
Becomes its boundary; there the only growth
Are straggling thickets of the white-flower'd thorn
And yellow furze: beyond are the grass-fields,
And of yet fresher verdure the young wheat; --
These border round the village. The bright river
Rounds like an arrow by, buoyant as youth
Rejoicing in its strength. On the left side,
Half hidden by the aged trees that time
Has spared as honouring their sanctity,
The old grey church is seen: its mossy walls
And ivy-cover'd windows tell how long
It has been sacred. There is a lone path
Winding beside yon hill: no neighb'ring height
Commands so wide a view; the ancient spire,
The cottages, their gardens, and the heath,
Spread far beyond, are in the prospect seen
By glimpses as the greenwood screen gives way.
One is now tracing it, who gazes round
As each look were his last. The anxious gasp
That drinks the air as every breath brought health;
The hurried step, yet lingering at times
As fearful all it felt were but a dream --
How much they tell of deep and inward feeling!
That stranger is worn down with toil and pain,
His sinewy frame is wasted, and his brow
Is darken'd with long suffering; yet he is
Oh more than happy! -- he has reach'd his home,
And RONALD is a wanderer no more.
How often, in that fair romantic land
Where he had been a soldier, he had turn'd
From the rich groves of SPAIN, to think upon
The oak and pine; turn'd from the spicy air,
To sicken for his own fresh mountain breeze;
And loved the night, for then familiar things,
The moon and stars, were visible, and look'd
As they had always done, and shed sweet tears
To think that he might see them shine again
Over his own GLADESMUIR! That silver moon
In all her perfect beauty, is now rising;
The purple billows of the west have yet
A shadowy glory; all beside is calm,
And tender and serene -- a quiet light,
Which suited well the melancholy joy
Of RONALD'S heart. At every step the light
Play'd o'er some old remembrance; now the ray
Dimpled the crystal river; now the church
Had all its windows glittering from beneath
The curtaining ivy. Near and more near he drew --
His heart beat quick, for the next step will be
Upon his father's threshold! But he paused --
He heard a sweet and sacred sound = they join'd
In the accustom'd psalm, and then they said
The words of GOD, and, last of all, a prayer
More solemn, and more touching. He could hear
Low sobs as it was utter'd. They did pray
His safety, his return, his happiness;
And ere they ended he was in their arms!
The wind rose up, and o'er the calm blue sky
The tempest gather'd, and the heavy rain
Beat on the casement; but they press'd them round
The blazing hearth, and sat while RONALD spoke
Of the fierce battle; and all answer'd him
With wonder, and with telling how they wept
During his absence, how they number'd o'er
The days for his return. Thrice hallow'd shrine
Of the heart's intercourse, our own fireside!
I do remember in my early youth
I parted from its circle; how I pined
With happy recollections=they to me
Were sickness and deep sorrow: how I thought
Of the strange tale, the laugh, the gentle smile
Breathing of love, that wiled the night away.
The hour of absence past, I was again
With those who loved me. What a beauty dwelt
In each accustom'd face! what music hung
On each familiar voice! We circled in
Our meeting ring of happiness. If e'er
This life has bliss, I knew and felt it then!

But there was one RONALD remember'd not,
Yet 'twas a creature beautiful as Hope,
With eyes blue as the harebell when the dew
Sparkles upon its azure leaves; a cheek
Fresh as a mountain rose, but delicate
As rainbow colours, and as changeful too.
"The orphan ELLEN, have you then forgot
"Your laughing playmate?" RONALD would have clasp'd
The maiden to his heart, but she shrank back:
A crimson blush and tearful lids belied
Her light tone, as she bade him not forget
So soon his former friends. But the next morn
Were other tears than those sweet ones that come
Of the full heart's o'erflowings. He was given,
The loved, the wanderer, to their prayers at last;
But he was now so changed, there was no trace
Left of his former self; the glow of health,
Of youth, was gone, and in his sallow cheek
And faded eye decay sat visible; --
All felt that he was sinking to the grave.
He wander'd like a ghost around; would lean,
For hours, and watch the river; or would lie
Beneath some aged tree, and hear the birds
Singing so cheerfully; and with faint step
Would sometimes try the mountain side. He loved
To look upon the setting sun, and mark
The twilight's dim approach. He said he was
Most happy that all through his life one wish
Had still been present to his soul -- the wish
That he might breathe his native air again; --
That prayer was granted, for he died at home.

One wept for him when other eyes were dry,
Treasured his name in silence and in tears,
Till her young heart's impassion'd solitude
Was fill'd but with his image. She had soothed
And watch'd his few last hours -- but he was gone!
The grave to her was now the goal of hope!
She pass'd, but gently as the rose-leaves fall
Scatter'd by the spring gales. Two months had fled
Since RONALD died; they threw the summer flowers
Upon his sod, and ere those leaves were tinged
With autumn's yellow colours, they were twined
For the poor ELLEN'S death-wreaths! ...
They made her grave by RONALD'S.





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