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Francis T. Palgrave, ed. (1824–1897). The Golden Treasury. 1875.

Sir Walter Scott

CXCVI. The Maid of Neidpath

OH, 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

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,

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

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;

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—a heedless gaze,

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,

Could scarcely catch the feeble moan

Which told her heart was broken.