File: verse/vol14Wordsworth - item number: 0



_ROB ROY's GRAVE_. The History of Rob Roy is sufficiently known; his Grave is near the head of Loch Ketterine, in one of those small Pin-fold-like Burial-grounds, of neglected and desolate appearance, which the Traveller meets with in the Highlands of Scotland. A famous Man is Robin Hood, The English Ballad-singer's joy! And Scotland has a Thief as good, An Outlaw of as daring mood, She has her brave ROB ROY! Then clear the weeds from off his Grave, And let us chaunt a passing Stave In honour of that Hero brave! Heaven gave Rob Roy a dauntless heart, And wondrous length and strength of arm: 10 Nor craved he more to quell his Foes, Or keep his Friends from harm. Yet was Rob Roy as _wise_ as brave; Forgive me if the phrase be strong;-- Poet worthy of Rob Roy Must scorn a timid song. Say, then, that he was wise as brave; As wise in thought as bold in deed: For in the principles of things _He_ sought his moral creed. 20 Said generous Rob, "What need of Books? Burn all the Statutes and their shelves: They stir us up against our Kind; And worse, against Ourselves." "We have a passion, make a law, Too false to guide us or controul! And for the law itself we fight In bitterness of soul." "And, puzzled, blinded thus, we lose Distinctions that are plain and few: 30 These find I graven on my heart: _That_ tells me what to do." "The Creatures see of flood and field, And those that travel on the wind! With them no strife can last; they live In peace, and peace of mind." "For why?--because the good old Rule Sufficeth them, the simple Plan, That they should take who have the power, And they should keep who can." 40 "A lesson which is quickly learn'd, A signal this which all can see! Thus nothing here provokes the Strong To wanton cruelty." "All freakishness of mind is check'd; He tam'd, who foolishly aspires; While to the measure of his might Each fashions his desires." "All Kinds, and Creatures, stand and fall By strength of prowess or of wit: 50 Tis God's appointment who must sway, And who is to submit." "Since then," said Robin, "right is plain, And longest life is but a day; To have my ends, maintain my rights, I'll take the shortest way." And thus among these rocks he liv'd, Through summer's heat and winter's snow: The Eagle, he was Lord above, And Rob was Lord below. 60 So was it--_would_, at least, have been But through untowardness of fate: For Polity was then too strong; He came an age too late, Or shall we say an age too soon? For, were the bold Man living _now_, How might he flourish in his pride, With buds on every bough! Then rents and Factors, rights of chace, Sheriffs, and Lairds and their domains 70 Would all have seem'd but paltry things, Not worth a moment's pains. Rob Roy had never linger'd here, To these few meagre Vales confin'd; But thought how wide the world, the times How fairly to his mind! And to his Sword he would have said, "Do Thou my sovereign will enact From land to land through half the earth! Judge thou of law and fact!" 80 "Tis fit that we should do our part; Becoming, that mankind should learn That we are not to be surpass'd In fatherly concern." "Of old things all are over old, Of good things none are good enough:-- We'll shew that we can help to frame A world of other stuff." "I, too, will have my Kings that take From me the sign of life and death: 90 Kingdoms shall shift about, like clouds, Obedient to my breath." And, if the word had been fulfill'd, As _might_ have been, then, thought of joy! France would have had her present Boast; And we our brave Rob Roy! Oh! say not so; compare them not; I would not wrong thee, Champion brave! Would wrong thee no where; least of all Here standing by thy Grave. 100 For Thou, although with some wild thoughts, Wild Chieftain of a Savage Clan! Hadst this to boast of; thou didst love The _liberty_ of Man. And, had it been thy lot to live With us who now behold the light, Thou would'st have nobly stirr'd thyself, And battled for the Right. For Robin was the poor Man's stay The poor man's heart, the poor man's hand; 110 And all the oppress'd, who wanted strength, Had Robin's to command. Bear witness many a pensive sigh Of thoughtful Herdsman when he strays Alone upon Loch Veol's Heights, And by Loch Lomond's Braes! And, far and near, through vale and hill, Are faces that attest the same; And kindle, like a fire new stirr'd, At sound of ROB ROY's name. 120


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