Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
My Bath
 
John Stuart Blackie (1809–95)
 
 
(Scene—Kinnaird Burn, near Pitlochrie.)

COME here, good people great and small, that wander far abroad,
To drink of drumly German wells, and make a weary road
To Baden and to Wiesbaden, and how they all are nam’d,
To Carlsbad and to Kissingen, for healing virtue fam’d;
Come stay at home, and keep your feet from dusty travel free,        5
And I will show you what rare bath a good God gave to me;
’T is hid among the Highland hills beneath the purple brae,
With cooling freshness free to all, nor doctor’s fee to pay.
 
No craft of mason made it here, nor carpenter, I wot;
Nor tinkering fool with hammering tool to shape the charmed spot;        10
But down the rocky-breasted glen the foamy torrent falls
Into the amber caldron deep, fenced round with granite walls.
Nor gilded beam, nor pictur’d dome, nor curtain, roofs it in,
But the blue sky rests, and white clouds float, above the bubbling linn,
Where God’s own hand hath scoop’d it out in Nature’s Titan hall,        15
And from her cloud-fed fountains drew its waters free to all.
 
Oh come and see my Highland bath, and prove its freshening flood,
And spare to taint your skin with swathes of drumly German mud:
Come plunge with me into the wave like liquid topaz fair,
And to the waters give your back that spout down bravely there;        20
Then float upon the swirling flood, and, like a glancing trout,
Plash about, and dash about, and make a lively rout,
And to the gracious sun display the glory of your skin,
As you dash about and splash about in the foamy-bubbling linn.
 
Oh come and prove my bonnie bath; in sooth ’t is furnish’d well        25
With trees, and shrubs, and spreading ferns, all in the rocky dell,
And roses hanging from the cliff in grace of white and red,
And little tiny birches nodding lightly overhead,
And spiry larch with purple cones, and tips of virgin green,
And leafy shade of hazel copse with sunny glints between:        30
Oh might the Roman wight be here who praised Bandusia’s well,
He ’d find a bath to Nymphs more dear in my sweet Highland dell.
 
Some folks will pile proud palaces, and some will wander far
To scan the blinding of a sun, or the blinking of a star;
Some sweat through Afric’s burning sands; and some will vex their soul        35
To find heaven knows what frosty prize beneath the Arctic pole.
God bless them all; and may they find what thing delights them well
In east or west, or north or south,—but I at home will dwell
Where fragrant ferns their fronds uncurl, and healthful breezes play,
And clear brown waters grandly swirl beneath the purple brae.        40
 
Oh come and prove my Highland bath, the burn, and all the glen,
Hard-toiling wights in dingy nooks, and scribes with inky pen,
Strange thoughtful men with curious quests that vex your fretful brains,
And scheming sons of trade who fear to count your slippery gains;
Come wander up the burn with me, and thread the winding glen,        45
And breathe the healthful power that flows down from the breezy Ben,
And plunge you in the deep brown pool; and from beneath the spray
You ’ll come forth like a flower that blooms ’neath freshening showers in May!
 

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