THE MAID OF NEIDPATH. Sir W Scott by SIR W. SCOTT.

 
 
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THE MAID OF NEIDPATH. Sir W Scott

 
O lovers' eyes are sharp to see,
And lovers' ears in hearing;
And love, in life's extremity
Can lend an hour of cheering.
Disease had been in Mary's bower
And slow decay from mourning,
Though now she sits on Neidpath's tower
To watch her Love's returning.
All sunk and dim her eyes so bright,
Her form decay'd by pining,
Till through her wasted hand, at night,
You saw the taper shining.
By fits a sultry hectic hue
Across her cheek was flying;
By fits so ashy pale she grew
Her maidens thought her dying.
Yet keenest powers to see and hear
Seem'd in her frame residing;
Before the watch-dog prick'd his ear
She heard her lover's riding;
Ere scarce a distant form was kenn'd
She knew and waved to greet him,
And o'er the battlement did bend
As on the wing to meet him.
He came--he pass'd--an heedless gaze
As o'er some stranger glancing;
Her welcome, spoke in faltering phrase,
Lost in his courser's prancing--
The castle-arch, whose hollow tone
Returns each whisper spoken,
Could scarcely catch the feeble moan
Which told her heart was broken.
SIR W. SCOTT., THE GOLDEN TREASURY Of the best Songs and Lyrical Pieces In the English Language Selected by Francis Turner Palgrave
 
Notes: Jean Douglas, referred to by Sir Walter Scott as "the Maid of Neidpath", was the youngest daughter of William Douglas, Earl of March. Forbidden to marry the son of the laird of Tushielaw, who was considered below her station, she pined while her lover was sent away. When he returned she was so wasted that he did not recognise her, causing her to die of a broken heart. She is said to haunt Neidpath castle in the Scottish Borders.
 
Tags: ballad, history poetry
 
 

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