Arthur Henry Hallam

( Written on the Banks of the Tay)

I SAW a child upon a Highland moor,
Playing with heath-flowers in her gamesome mood,
And singing snatches wild of Gaelic lore,
That thrilled like witch-notes my susceptive blood.
I spake a Southern word, but not the more
Did she regard or move from where she stood.
It seemed the business of her life to play
With euphrasies and bluebells day by day.

Then my first thought was of the joy to grow
With her, and like her, as a mountain plant,
That to one spot attached doth bud and blow.
Then, in the rains of autumn, leaves to vaunt
Its fragrance to the air, and sinks, till low
Winter consign it, like a satiate want,
To the earth's endearment, who will fondly nourish
The loosed substance, until spring reflourish.

'To be thy comrade, and thy brother, maiden.
To chaunt with thee the antique song I hear,
Joying the joy that looks not toward its fading.
The sweet philosophy of young life's cheer!
We should be like two bees with honey laden,
Or two blithe butterflies a rose-tree near!'—
So I went dreaming how to play a child
Once more with her who 'side me sang and smiled.

Then a stern knowledge woke along my soul,
And sudden I was sadly made aware
That childish joy is now a folded scroll.
And new ordainments have their several fair:
When evening lights press the ripe greening knoll.
True heart will never wish the morning there:
Where arched boughs enlace the golden light.
Did ever poet pray for franchised sight.

When we were children, we did sigh to reach
The eminence of a man; yet in our thought.
And in the prattled fancies of our speech,
It was a baby-man we fashioned out;
And now that childhood seems the only leech
For all the heartaches of a rough world caught,
Sooth is, we wish to be a twofold thing.
And keep our present self to watch within.

Julyt 1829

The River Tay flows down through the Highlands of Scotland then through Perthshire. It enters the sea near Perth. There are many poems about Perth and the beautiful countryside around it. Hallam visited the Tay in the summer of 1829.

There are many poems about the River Tay as well, including the all-time classic The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay by the world's worst ever poet, William Mcgonagall.

Main Location:

River Tay, Highlands, Scotland

Lupins by the banks of the Tay in summer