A Description of Sound, Near Lerwick

Margaret Chalmers

"Heavens! what a goodly prospect spreads around,"
From the steep eminence whereon I stand;
Summer meridian beauty widely pours
On the delighted eye, where'er it turns
It meets creative goodness, all conspires
To lift the soul from nature to its God.

Here might the poet, or the painter find
Field for the pencil or descriptive art.
O! would some Muse the pleasing theme attempt,
Who should with candour, fearless of the charge
Which to a partial native may belong,
To truth and poesy give all the reins;
Yet why, lov'd Thulè, should thy daughter dread
To sing her natal scenes, while justly sung;
Come, Muse, we'll to the task, let who will frown.

Let us impartiality evince,
By owning, that the wide surrounding view
No envious (envy'd) forests intercept,
Waving, in boastful pride, to mar our plan;
Yet, who that looks around, but must confess
A crown of British oak would well become
Bressa's majestic Ward Hill. Pines and elms
Would with superior beauty grace these shores,
Would grace them twice, for liquid groves would wave,
In soften'd foliage, in the crystal flood.
Some say, who soothe our humbled pride, that when,
In former ages, wood adorn'd our isles,
The trees which bloom'd on the opposing banks
Of narrow Voes,* their branches high in air
United, forming cool umbrageous shade;
While in the skiffs the travellers underneath,
As on them dropp'd the odoriferous gum,
Rowed under the green canopy, enjoy
Such beauty as fam'd Tiber well might own.
But now I ween such censure I incur,
As they who of departed beauty boast.


Author's Notes:
Sound: The name of a hamlet, about a mile west from Lerwick.
Voes: The Scandinavian term for those numerous arms of the sea, by which the islands are deeply intersected.