The Swagman, Or In Exile

Long I've watched the eagle soaring, and the sun his colours pouring,
Till they fill the vale below me, as though with purple wine;
While the trees, proud crests uplifting, toy with the cloudlets drifting,
And the streamlets glow like beryl, or as yellow topaz shine;
But the joy is only fleeting, for they give to me no greeting,
'Tis your native hills that hold you though far away the road,
Ever beckoning from the distance, with a passionate persistence,
Youth and Love have fashioned there a fairy-like abode.

And so while I am thinking and your stately day is sinking
Comes an elfin wind of memory—whose spell I must obey;
For I hear a river falling, every syllable recalling,
As it croons, and curves in silver, beneath a mossy brae;
And it's O! to see the heather, and the berries red to gather
Where the rowan shakes her tresses, and the larches love to dwell,
Till my spirit flutters roaming, and like tired wild bird homing,
It flies into the valley that my boyhood knew so well.

From the bluebells lightly springing, to the blue the lark is winging,
And the pine-trees, deep contralto bears the burden to the song;
Strides the piper old and haunted, by the songs his fathers chaunted,
Round him as he blows the pibroch ghosts of buried clansmen throng,
And she passes young and slender, in her beauty's flowerlike splendour,
Blue eyed, fairest in the valley—ah does she dream of me?
For my heart is madly leaping and again the tryst I'm keeping,
Though she walks no more the valley, and I wander oversea.

And I bend as at an altar while my mother's sweet lips falter,
As she whispers at our parting, “O my boy, come back again”;
But the snows have long been sifted, and the years have drifted, drifted,
And the old home is so lonely, far beyond the singing main.

O the dream that brings me sorrow, past delight can know no morrow,
With my swag my only comrade I must seek the plains below,
While your star that rises slowly shines with a lustre holy,
Like the eyes of her who loved me in a sunny long-ago.

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