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'Discontent'

SCENE I.

 

Laurence Raby

 

Laurence:

I said to young Allan M'Ilveray,

Beside the swift swirls of the North,

When, in lilac shot through with a silver ray,

We haul'd the strong salmon fish forth—

Said only, 'He gave us some trouble

To land him, and what does he weigh ?

Our friend has caught one that weighs double.

The game for the candle won't pay

Us to-day,

We may tie up our rods and away.'

 

I said to old Norman M'Gregor,

Three leagues to the west of Glen Dhu—

I had drawn, with a touch of the trigger,

The best bead that ever I drew—

Said merely, 'For birds in the stubble

I once had an eye—I could swear

He's down—but he's not worth the trouble

Of seeking. You once shot a bear

In his lair—

'Tis only a buck that lies there.'

 

I said to Lord Charles only last year,

The time that we topp'd the oak rail

Between Wharton's plough and Whynne's pasture,

And clear'd the big brook in Blakesvale—

We only—at Warburton's double

He fell, then I finish'd the run

And kill'd clean—said, 'So bursts a bubble

That shone half an hour in the sun—

What is won ?

Your sire clear'd and captured a gun.'

 

I said to myself, in true sorrow,

I said yestere'en, 'A fair prize

Is won, and it may be to-morrow

'Twill not seem so fair in thine eyes—

Real life is a race through sore trouble,

That gains not an inch on the goal,

And bliss an intangible bubble

That cheats an unsatisfied soul,

And the whole

Of the rest an illegible scroll.'

 

Published in 'Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes' (1870).