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Ille Terrarum

by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1885

Frae nirly, nippin', Eas'lan' breeze,
Frae Norlan' snaw, an' haar o' seas,
Weel happit in your gairden trees,
      A bonny bit,
Atween the muckle Pentland's knees,
      Secure ye sit.

Beeches an' aiks entwine their theek,
An' firs, a stench, auld-farrant clique.
A' simmer day, your chimleys reek,
      Couthy and bien;
An' here an' there your windies keek
      Amang the green.

A pickle plats an' paths an' posies,
A wheen auld gillyflowers an' roses:
A ring o' wa's the hale encloses
    Frae sheep or men;
An' there the auld housie beeks an' doses,
      A' by her lane.

The gairdner crooks his weary back
A' day in the pitaty-track,
Or mebbe stops awhile to crack
      Wi' Jane the cook,
Or at some buss, worm-eaten-black,
      To gie a look.

Frae the high hills the curlew ca's;
The sheep gang baaing by the wa's;
Or whiles a clan o' roosty craws
      Cangle thegether;
The wild bees seek the gairden raws,
      Weariet wi' heather.

Or in the gloamin' douce an' gray
The sweet-throat mavis tunes her lay;
The herd comes linkin' doun the brae;
      An' by degrees
The muckle siller müne maks way
      Amang the trees.

Here aft hae I, wi' sober heart,
For meditation sat apairt,
When orra loves or kittle art
      Perplexed my mind;
Here socht a balm for ilka smart
      O' humankind.

Here aft, weel neukit by my lane,
Wi' Horace, or perhaps Montaigne,
The mornin' hours hae come an' gane
      Abüne my heid—
I wadnae gi'en a chucky-stane
      For a' I'd read.

But noo the auld city, street by street,
An' winter fu' o' snaw an' sleet,
Awhile shut in my gangrel feet
      An' goavin' mettle;
Noo is the soopit ingle sweet,
      An' liltin' kettle.

An' noo the winter winds complain;
Cauld lies the glaur in ilka lane;
On draigled hizzie, tautit wean
      An' drucken lads,
In the mirk nicht, the winter rain
      Dribbles an' blads.

Whan bugles frae the Castle rock,
An' beaten drums wi' dowie shock,
Wauken, at cauld-rife sax o'clock,
      My chitterin' frame,
I mind me on the kintry cock,
      The kintry hame.

I mind me on yon bonny bield;
An' Fancy traivels far afield
To gaither a' that gairdens yield
      O' sun an' Simmer:
To hearten up a dowie chield,
      Fancy's the limmer!

Published in A Child's Garden of Verses

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