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
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).