Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Scotland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII.  1876–79.
 
Musselburgh
An Evening Sketch
David Macbeth Moir (1798–1851)
 
THE BIRDS have ceased their songs,
All save the blackbird, that from yon tall ash,
Mid Pinkie’s greenery, from his mellow throat,
In adoration of the setting sun,
Chants forth his evening hymn.
                        ’T is twilight now;
        5
The sovran sun behind his western hills—
His Grampian range of amethystine hue—
In glory hath declined. The volumed clouds,
Kissed by his kind effulgence, hang around,
Like pillars of some tabernacle grand,        10
Worthy his mighty presence; while the sky,
Illumined to its centre, glows intense,
Changing the sapphire of its arch to gold.
How deep is the tranquillity! yon wood
Is slumbering through its multitude of stems,        15
Even to the leaflet on the frailest twig!
A gentle gloom pervades the Birslie heights,
An azure softness mingling with the sky;
And westward, looking to the Morphoots dim,
Grey Falsyde, like an aged sentinel,        20
Stands on the shoulder of his watch-tower green.
Nor lovely less in its serenity
The Forth, now waveless as a lake engulfed
Mid sheltering hills; without a ripple spreads
Its bosom, silent and immense; the hues        25
Of flickering light have from its surface died,
Leaving it garbed in sunless majesty.
No more is heard the plover’s circling wail,
No more the silver of the sea-mew’s wing
In casual dip beheld; on eastern Bass        30
The flocks of ocean slumber in their cells.
The fisherman, forsaken by the tide,
His shadow lost, drags to the yellow shore
His cumbrous nets, and in the sheltering cove
Behind yon rocky point his shallop moors,        35
To tempt again the perilous deep at dawn.
With bosoming boughs round Musselburgh hang
Its clumps of ancient elm-trees; silently
Pierces the sky its immemorial spire,
Whose curfew-bell, through many a century,        40
Glad sound, hath loosed the artisan from toil;
And silently, o’er many a chimneyed roof,
The smoke from many a cheerful hearth ascends,
Melting in ether.
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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