For only one short hour to feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want, and the walk that costs a meal!
"O but for one short hour! a respite however brief !
No blessed leisure for love or hope, but only time for grief !
A little weeping would ease my heart; but in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop hinders needle and thread.'
With fingers weary and worn, with eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags, plying her needle and thread:
Stitch-stitch-stitch ! in poverty, hunger, and dirt ;

And still, with a voice of dolorous pitch,
(Would that its tone could reach the rich !)

She sang this Song of the Shirt.' Hood. 1 The Song of the Shirt.

elevate the condition of the hardfirst appeared in the Christmas toiling needlewomen. number of Punch for 1844. Its 2 Pitch, tone. touching appeal at once entered 3 From weary chime to chime, from one the heart of the nation, and did tedious hour to another. more than anything before it to

This song


From Stirling Castle we had seen

The mazy Forth unravelled ;
Had trod the banks of Clyde and Tay,

And with the Tweed had travelled ;
And when we came to Clovenfords,

Then said my winsome marrow,'
• Whate'er betide, we'll turn aside,

And see the braes of Yarrow.'

•Let Yarrow folk, frae Selkirk town,

Who have been buying, selling,
Go back to Yarrow, 'tis their own ;

Each maiden to her dwelling !
On Yarrow's banks let herons feed,

Hares couch, and rabbits burrow!
But we will downwards with the Tweed,

Nor turn aside to Yarrow.

• There 's Gala Water, Leader Haughs,

Both lying right before us ; And Dryburgh, where with chiming Tweed,

The lintwhites sing in chorus. There's pleasant Teviotdale, a land

Made blithe with plough and harrow; Why throw away a needful day

To go in search of Yarrow ?

• What's Yarrow but a river bare,

That glides the dark hills under ? There are a thousand such elsewhere

As worthy of your wonder.' Strange words they seemed of slight and scorn ;

My true love sighed for sorrow, And looked me in the face to think

I thus could speak of Yarrow ! "Oh! green,' said I, are Yarrow's holms,

And sweet is Yarrow flowing ! Fair hangs the apple frae the rocks,

But we will leave it growing. O'er hilly path, and open strath,3

We'll wander Scotland thorough ; But, though so near, we will not turn

Into the dale of Yarrow.

• Let beeves 4 and home-bred kine partake

The sweets of Burn-Mill meadow ; The swan on still St Mary's Lake 5

Float double, swan and shadow! We will not see them, will not go

To-day, nor yet to-morrow; Enough if in our hearts we know

There's such a place as Yarrow.

• Be Yarrow's stream unseen, unknown !

It must, or we shall rue it; We have a vision of our own ;

Ah ! why should we undo it ?



The treasured dreams of times long past,

We'll keep them, winsome marrow !
For when we're there, although 'tis fair,

'Twill be another Yarrow !

care, with freezing years should come,
And wandering seem but folly ;
Should we be loath stir from home,

And yet be melancholy;
Should life be dull, and spirits low,

'Twill soothe us in our sorrow,
That earth has something yet to shew-
The bonnie holms 6 of Yarrow.'


i Clovenfords, a hamlet on the Caddon, 3 Strath, valley.

a small tributary of the Tweed. 4 Beeves, oxen. 2 Dryburgh, situated on the left bank of 5 st Mary's Lako, a small lake in the

the Tweed. The fine ruins of an county of Selkirk, from the east old abbey and the tomb of Sir end of which rises the river Yarrow. Walter Scott render Dryburgh a 6 Holms, flat rich land lying along the place of considerable interest.

banks of a river.


And is this Yarrow? This the stream

Of which my fancy cherished
So faithfully a waking dream,

An image that hath perished ?
Oh! that some minstrel's harp were near,

To utter notes of gladness,
And chase the silence from the air,

That fills my heart with sadness !
Yet why ?-A silvery current flows

With uncontrolled meanderings ;
Nor have these eyes by greener hills

Been soothed, in all my wanderings.
And through her depths, St Mary's Lake

Is visibly delighted ;
For not a feature of these hills

Is in the mirror slighted.

A blue sky bends o'er Yarrow Vale,

Save where that pearly whiteness
Is round the rising sun diffused,

A tender hazy brightness :
Mild dawn of promise ! that excludes

All profitless dejection ;
Though not unwilling here to admit

A pensive recollection.

Where was it that the famous Flower

Of Yarrow Vale 1 lay bleeding ? His bed, perchance, was yon smooth mound

On which the herd is feeding: And haply from this crystal pool,

Now peaceful as the morning, The water-wraith 2 ascended thrice,

And gave his doleful warning.

Delicious is the lay that sings

The haunts of happy lovers,
The path that leads them to the grove-

The leafy grove that covers :
And pity sanctifies the verse

That paints by strength of sorrow, The unconquerable strength of Love;

Bear witness, rueful Yarrow !
But thou that didst appear so fair

To fond imagination,
Dost rival in the light of day

Her delicate creation:
Meek loveliness is round thee spread,

A softness still and holy;

of forest charms decayed, And pastoral melancholy. That region left, the vale unfolds

Rich groves of lofty stature, With Yarrow winding through the pomp

Of cultivated nature :



And, rising from these lofty groves,

Behold a ruin hoary !
The shattered front of Newark's towers, 3

Renowned in Border story.

Fair scenes for childhood's opening bloom,

For sportive youth to stray in ;
For manhood to enjoy his strength;

And age to wear away in !
Yon cottage seems a bower of bliss,

A covert for protection
Of tender thoughts that nestle there,

The brood of chaste affection.
How sweet on this autumnal day,

The wild-wood fruits to gather,
And on my true love's forehead plant

A crest of blooming heather!
And what if I inwreathed my own!

'Twere no offence to reason;
The sober hills thus deck their brows

To meet the wintry season.
I see

but not by sight alone,
Loved Yarrow, have I won thee !
A ray of fancy still survives-

Her sunshine plays upon thee !
Thy ever-youthful waters keep

A course of lively pleasure ;
And gladsome notes my lips can breathe,

According to the measure.
The vapours linger round the heights,

They melt, and soon must vanish;
One hour is theirs, no more is mine-

Sad thought, which I would banish,
But that I know where'er I go,

Thy genuine image, Yarrow!
Will dwell with me to heighten joy,
And cheer my mind in sorrow.


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