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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

John Stuart Blackie 1809–95

The Emigrant Lassie

AS I came wandering down Glen Spean,

Where the braes are green and grassy,

With my light step I overtook

A weary-footed lassie.

She had one bundle on her back,

Another in her hand,

And she walk’d as one who was full loath

To travel from the land.

Quoth I, “My bonnie lass!”—for she

Had hair of flowing gold,

And dark brown eyes, and dainty limbs,

Right pleasant to behold—

“My bonnie lass, what aileth thee,

On this bright summer day,

To travel sad and shoeless thus

Upon the stony way?

“I ’m fresh and strong, and stoutly shod,

And thou art burden’d so;

March lightly now, and let me bear

The bundles as we go.”

“No, no!” she said, “that may not be;

What ’s mine is mine to bear;

Of good or ill, as God may will,

I take my portion’d share.”

“But you have two, and I have none;

One burden give to me;

I ’ll take that bundle from thy back

That heavier seems to be.”

“No, no!” she said; “this, if you will,

That holds—no hand but mine

May bear its weight from dear Glen Spean

’Cross the Atlantic brine!”

“Well, well! but tell me what may be

Within that precious load,

Which thou dost bear with such fine care

Along the dusty road?

“Belike it is some present rare

From friend in parting hour;

Perhaps, as prudent maidens wont,

Thou tak’st with thee thy dower.”

She droop’d her head, and with her hand

She gave a mournful wave:

“Oh, do not jest, dear sir!—it is

Turf from my mother’s grave!”

I spoke no word: we sat and wept

By the road-side together;

No purer dew on that bright day

Was dropp’d upon the heather.