Monday, 22 May 2017

Poetry Revisited: The Music of the Stream by Janet Hamilton

The Music of the Stream

(from Poems and Ballads: 1868)

Is it a spirit voice—an angel’s song—
That pours its liquid melody among
The mossy stones that break the rippling sheen,
Lone Calder! gliding thy fair banks between?

No! ’tis the voice—the music of the stream,
That chimes harmonious with the poet’s dream:
A dream of beauty, radiant and divine,
A halo floating round the muses’ shrine.

Oft in sweet summer prime I singing strayed
Down yon deep dell and through the woodland glade,
To woo fair Nature in soft Doric rhymes
And hear the tinkling of thy silver chimes.

And, ah, what glorious wealth of wilding flowers!
What wealth of fragrant blossoms on thy bowers!
What odorous breathings of the summer breeze!
What chorus of sweet singers in the trees!

O Nature! fairer, dearer to my heart
Than pictured scenes of highest, rarest art!
What sweeter chord can charm the spirit dream
Than the weird music of the singing stream?

Fond Memory treasures in her deepest cell
The woodland glade, the deep romantic dell,
Where oft the summer day too brief would seem,
When wandering, musing, by lone Calder’s stream.

"A change came o’er the spirit of my dream
I heard no more the music of the stream
The flowers and blooms were withered, trampled, soiled,
Nature’s fair face of every charm despoiled.

For, lo! obscuring the fair light of day,
The genii of the mines, in grim array,
With baleful wings the landscape shadowed o’er,
And beauty, bloom, and song exist no more.

Janet Hamilton (1795-1873)
Scottish poet


  1. Did I understand this right? That the industry of the mines destroyed the beauty of the stream?

    1. I'm afraid that's it... and unfortunately, this happens in far too many places still today. We keep destroying our planet although by now we should know better.


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