Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Poems by Elizabeth H. Whittier
The Dream of Argyle
 
          Originally published in the volume entitled Hazel Blossoms, and accompanied by the following prefatory note:—
  I have ventured, in compliance with the desire of dear friends of my beloved sister, ELIZABETH H. WHITTIER, to add to this little volume the few poetical pieces which she left behind her. As she was very distrustful of her own powers, and altogether without ambition for literary distinction, she shunned everything like publicity, and found far greater happiness in generous appreciation of the gifts of her friends than in the cultivation of her own. Yet it has always seemed to me, that had her health, sense of duty and fitness, and her extreme self-distrust permitted, she might have taken a high place among lyrical singers. These poems, with perhaps two or three exceptions, afford but slight indications of the inward life of the writer, who had an almost morbid dread of spiritual and intellectual egotism, or of her tenderness of sympathy, chastened mirthfulness, and pleasant play of thought and fancy, when her shy, beautiful soul opened like a flower in the warmth of social communion. In the lines on Dr. Kane her friends will see something of her fine individuality,—the rare mingling of delicacy and intensity of feeling which made her dear to them. This little poem reached Cuba while the great explorer lay on his death-bed, and we are told that he listened with grateful tears while it was read to him by his mother.
  I am tempted to say more, but I write as under the eye of her who, while with us, shrank with painful deprecation from the praise or mention of performances which seemed so far below her ideal of excellence. To those who best knew her, the beloved circle of her intimate friends, I dedicate this slight memorial.
J. G. W.    
  AMESBURY, 9th mo., 1874.

EARTHLY arms no more uphold him
  On his prison’s stony floor;
Waiting death in his last slumber,
  Lies the doomed MacCallum More.
 
And he dreams a dream of boyhood;        5
  Rise again his heathery hills,
Sound again the hound’s long baying,
  Cry of moor-fowl, laugh of rills.
 
Now he stands amidst his clansmen
  In the low, long banquet-hall,        10
Over grim, ancestral armor
  Sees the ruddy firelight fall.
 
Once again, with pulses beating,
  Hears the wandering minstrel tell
How Montrose on Inverary        15
  Thief-like from his mountains fell.
 
Down the glen, beyond the castle,
  Where the linn’s swift waters shine,
Round the youthful heir of Argyle
  Shy feet glide and white arms twine.        20
 
Fairest of the rustic dancers,
  Blue-eyed Effie smiles once more,
Bends to him her snooded tresses,
  Treads with him the grassy floor.
 
Now he hears the pipes lamenting,        25
  Harpers for his mother mourn,
Slow, with sable plume and pennon,
  To her cairn of burial borne.
 
Then anon his dreams are darker,
  Sounds of battle fill his ears,        30
And the pibroch’s mournful wailing
  For his father’s fall he hears.
 
Wild Lochaber’s mountain echoes
  Wail in concert for the dead,
And Loch Awe’s deep waters murmur        35
  For the Campbell’s glory fled!
 
Fierce and strong the godless tyrants
  Trample the apostate land,
While her poor and faithful remnant
  Wait for the Avenger’s hand.        40
 
Once again at Inverary,
  Years of weary exile o’er,
Armed to lead his scattered clansmen,
  Stands the bold MacCallum More.
 
Once again to battle calling        45
  Sound the war-pipes through the glen;
And the court-yard of Dunstaffnage
  Rings with tread of armëd men.
 
All is lost! The godless triumph,
  And the faithful ones and true        50
From the scaffold and the prison
  Covenant with God anew.
 
On the darkness of his dreaming
  Great and sudden glory shone;
Over bonds and death victorious        55
  Stands he by the Father’s throne!
 
From the radiant ranks of martyrs
  Notes of joy and praise he hears,
Songs of his poor land’s deliverance
  Sounding from the future years.        60
 
Lo, he wakes! but airs celestial
  Bathe him in immortal rest,
And he sees with unsealed vision
  Scotland’s cause with victory blest.
 
Shining hosts attend and guard him        65
  As he leaves his prison door;
And to death as to a triumph
  Walks the great MacCallum More!
 
 
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