May Cameron.


May Cameron, my loved one, my best and my fairest,1
What long robe is this which thou, weeping, preparest ?2
White, white as the snow which the dark rain’s defiling3
Such robes are not worn by the living and smiling.4
The maiden sat mute—through her long and her slender5
Pale fingers, the warm tears cam dropping, and tender6
She sighed, yet she spoke not, the robe white and limber7
Shook, as the maid sobbed, like the leaf of September.8


May Cameron, my loved one, remember—remember9
Thy sighs in green July, thy vows in December ;10
The winter snow falls, and the winter wind’s singing,11
But I shall come back when the lily is springing12
There shall be men’s shouts, and the bright eyes of women13
Shall gladden our hall when the bridal-light’s gleaming !14
The maiden sat mute—her locks trembling and waving15
On pale cheeks betokened the wo she was braving.16


May Cameron, my loved one, why dost thou sit weeping ?17
As the roe of the desart thy heart should be leaping ;18
The Lord’s voice is heard over mountain and river,19
Come whet your swords sharper, and fill every quiver.20
The proud hearts of mid-day, all cold at the gloaming,21
Shall lie like reaped corn ’mongst their war-horses foaming,22
As harmless as babes—flocks asleep in their pasture !23
The maiden sobbed loud and wept faster and faster.24


May Cameron, hearest thou not our war-horses prancing ;25
May Cameron, markest thou not our steel helmets glancing ;26
Stern Claverse is coming ; now may my heart sever27
From thee and from heaven for ever and ever,28
If I live, and that chieftain escape from the slaughter,29
My my name be a hissing, a curse, and a laughter !30
And his bosom heaved proudly against his iron mailing ;31
But still the sweet maiden sat weeping and wailing.32


May Cameron, May Cameron, all silent and weeping,33
I leave thee, and fly, for the grain lacketh reaping ;34
Nith and Annan are here ; but the Tweed, wide and deeper,35
Lets the Lord’s sickle rust, and has not sent a reaper.36
Is this thy bride-garment? Oh woman, vain woman !37
Thinkest thou I shall turn me from this evil omen ;38
This shroud, or the desart’s brown sod shall me cover.—39
She shrieked, and her white arms she would round her lover.40


Yestreen, sick of heart, and mine eyes dim with weeping,41
I lay on my couch atween waking and sleeping,42
And there came a light in, for the moon of December43
Was down, and the glory-flood filled all my chamber ;44
And my father’s voice came, saying, ' sleepest thou my daughter,45
When thy loved one goes down as a lamb to the slaughter.’46
I awoke, and I shaped my bride garment, and nearer47
She grew to his breast, and clasped dearer and dearer.48


May Cameron, he says, and his darkened brow brightens,49
Like heaven’s deep hollow when it thunders and lightens,50
This body’s but dust, and the free soaring spirit,51
Must deserve the bright home it is doomed to inherit ;52
Evil dreams I dread not, and dark omens abounding,53
Leave my heart when the trumpet of Scotland is sounding,54
Whither blythe as a bridegroom, or bloody and shrouded,55
Like my father’s, my fame shall be clear and unclouded.’56