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   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
433. The Maid of Neidpath
 
Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)
 
 
O LOVERS’ eyes are sharp to see,
  And lovers’ ears in hearing;
And love, in life’s extremity,
  Can lend an hour of cheering.
Disease had been in Mary’s bower        5
  And slow decay from mourning,
Though now she sits on Neidpath’s tower
  To watch her Love’s returning.
 
All sunk and dim her eyes so bright,
  Her form decay’d by pining,        10
Till through her wasted hand, at night,
  You saw the taper shining.
By fits a sultry hectic hue
  Across her cheek was flying;
By fits so ashy pale she grew        15
  Her maidens thought her dying.
 
Yet keenest powers to see and hear
  Seem’d in her frame residing;
Before the watch-dog prick’d his ear
  She heard her lover’s riding;        20
Ere scarce a distant form was kenn’d
  She knew and waved to greet him,
And o’er the battlement did bend
  As on the wing to meet him.
 
He came—he pass’d—an heedless gaze        25
  As o’er some stranger glancing:
Her welcome, spoke in faltering phrase,
  Lost in his courser’s prancing—
The castle-arch, whose hollow tone
  Returns each whisper spoken,        30
Could scarcely catch the feeble moan
  Which told her heart was broken.
 

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