Glen Lynden

Thomas Pringle

Sweet Teviot, by adventurous Leyden sung,
And famed by mighty Scott in deathless lays,
I may not hope, with far less gifted tongue,
Aught higher to advance thy classic praise;
Yet, as a son his pious tribute pays
To the loved mother he has left behind,
I fain some grateful monument would raise,
Which in far foreign lands may call to mind
The scenes that Scottish hearts to their dear country bind.

And, though the last and lowliest of the train
By haunted Teviot smit with love of song,
(Sweet witchery that charms full many a pain!)
I join with venturous voice the minstrel throng:
For NATURE is the nurse to whom belong
Alike the thrush that cheers the broomy dale,
And the proud swan that, on bold pinions strong,
Through the far tracts of ether dares to sail,
And pours 'mid scenes sublime his soul-subduing wail.

No perilous theme I meditate: to me
To soar 'mid clouds and storms hath not been given;
Or through the gates of Dread and Mystery
To gaze — like those dark spirits who have striven
To rend the veil that severs Earth from Heaven:
For I have loved with simple hearts to dwell,
That ne'er to Doubt's forbidden springs were driven
But lived sequestered in life's lowly dell,
And drank the untroubled stream from Inspiration's well.

Such were thy virtuous sons, fair Teviotdale,
While old simplicity was yet in prime;
But now among thy glens the faithful fail,
Forgetful of our sires in olden time:
That grey-haired race is gone — of look sublime,
Calm in demeanour, courteous, and sincere;
Yet stern, when duty called them, as their clime
When it flings off the autumnal foliage sere,
And shakes the shuddering woods with solemn voice severe.

And such were they whose tale I now rehearse—
But not to fashion's minions, who in vain
Would ask amusement from the artless verse
Of one who sings to sooth long hours of pain:
A nameless exile o'er the southern main,
I pour 'mid savage wilds my pensive song;
And if some gentle spirits love the strain,
Enough for me, though midst the louder throng
Few may be found to prize, or listen to it long.

. . .

"Our native Land, our native Vale,
A long and last adieu!
Farewell to bonny Lynden-dale,
And Cheviot-mountains blue!

"Farewell, ye hills of glorious deeds,
And streams renowned in song;
Farewell, ye blithesome braes and meads
Our hearts have loved so long.

"Farewell, ye broomy elfin knowes,
Where thyme and harebells grow;
Farewell, ye hoary haunted howes,
O'er hung with birk and sloe.

"The battle-mound, the Border-tower,
That Scotia's annals tell;
The martyr's grave, the lover's bower—
To each — to all — farewell!

"Home of our hearts! our fathers' home!
Land of the brave and free
The keel is flashing through the foam
That bears us far from thee.

"We seek a wild and distant shore
Beyond the Atlantic main;
We leave thee to return no more,
Nor view thy cliffs again.

"But may dishonour blight our fame,
And quench our household fires
When we, or ours, forget thy name,
Green Island of our Sires!

"Our native Land — our native Vale—
A long, a last adieu!
Farewell to bonny Lynden-dale,
And Scotland's mountains blue!"

Sweet Teviot, fare thee well. Less gentle themes
Abruptly call me from thy pastoral vale,
To where far Amakosa's woods and streams
Spread faint before me in the moonlight pale,
And from deep wildering dales I hear the wail
Of broken hearts — the mother and the child:
How can I dally with a lover's tale,
In Fiction's bowers — while peals in anguish wild
To heaven the bitter cry of Afric's race reviled?

From Keissi's meads, from Chumi's hoary woods,
Bleak Tarka's dens, and Stormberg's rugged fells,
To where Gariep pours down his sounding floods
Through regions where the hunted Bushman dwells,
That bitter cry wide o'er the desert swells,
And, like a spirit's voice, demands the song
That of these savage haunts the story tells—
A tale of foul oppression, fraud, and wrong,
By Afric's sons endured from Christian Europe long.

Adieu, soft lays, to love and fancy dear:
Let darker themes a sterner verse inspire,
While I attune to strains that tyrants fear
The louder murmurs of the British lyre,—
And from a loftier altar ask the fire
To point the indignant line with heavenly light,
(Though soon again in darkness to expire!)
That I may blast Oppression's cruel might,
By flashing TRUTH'S full blaze on deeds deep hid in night!


When Thomas Pringle emigrated to South Africa from Scotland in 1820, he named his farm in the Eastern Cape, "Glen Lynden". The original Glen Lynden is fictitious, but its setting - the River Teviot in Scotland and its beautiful valley - are real.

The 'adventurous Leyden' of the poem is the poet John Leyden, born in Denholm on the Teviot River, and another Scot who sailed away to distant lands in search of a new life. John Leyden also wrote poems about places, mapping Penang in poetry, amongst other locations.

Main Location:

Valley of the River Teviot, Borders, Scotland

Landscape in the Scottish Borders near the River Teviot