Verses to the Duchess of Hamilton

At your Dungavel, solitary and high,
That looks o'er vales of tilth to mountains barren,
And faintly sees against the western sky
The dark, far brows of Arran —

There first I heard his voice, mid moorsides lone,
And last in haunts of the soft southland weather,
Where daily your fair children and my own
Played on your lawns together.

His ageless eyes burned with unsquandered power;
His countenance, when that magic smile came o'er it,
Was like a sea-crag breaking into flower
Though all the tempests gore it.

Famed, feared, and loved: with no proud riches, save
A purer wealth than heaped and warded treasure:
The rare and noble friendship that you gave
In most abounding measure; —

Such did I see him, such did he stand forth,
Catching the light of your own gentler presence,
On those grave uplands of the stormy North,
Or mid your southern pleasance.

And I behold him still — though but in dream:
Fighting the thunderous battle his fate denied him:
Fighting for England her dread fight supreme,
With her great soul beside him.
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