A Nupial Eve

Original Text: 
Sydney Thompson Dobell, England in time of war (London: Smith, Elder, 1856). PR 4603 E5 1856 Robarts Library
2    That keeps the shadowy kine,
3"Oh, Keith of Ravelston,
4    The sorrows of thy line!"
5  Ravelston, Ravelston,
6    The merry path that leads
7Down the golden morning hill,
8    And thro' the silver meads;
9  Ravelston, Ravelston,
10    The stile beneath the tree,
11The maid that kept her mother's kine,
12    The song that sang she!
13  She sang her song, she kept her kine,
14    She sat beneath the thorn,
15When Andrew Keith of Ravelston
16    Rode thro' the Monday morn.
17  His henchmen sing, his hawk-bells ring,
18    His belted jewels shine!
19Oh, Keith of Ravelston,
20    The sorrows of thy line!
21  Year after year, where Andrew came,
22    Comes evening down the glade,
23And still there sits a moonshine ghost
24    Where sat the sunshine maid.
25  Her misty hair is faint and fair,
26    She keeps the shadowy kine;
27Oh, Keith of Ravelston,
28    The sorrows of thy line!
29  I lay my hand upon the stile,
30    The stile is lone and cold,
31The burnie that goes babbling by
32    Says nought that can be told.
33  Yet, stranger! here, from year to year,
34    She keeps her shadowy kine;
35Oh, Keith of Ravelston,
36    The sorrows of thy line!
37  Step out three steps, where Andrew stood--
38    Why blanch thy cheeks for fear?
39The ancient stile is not alone,
40    'Tis not the burn I hear!
41  She makes her immemorial moan,
42    She keeps her shadowy kine;
43Oh, Keith of Ravelston,
44    The sorrows of thy line!


1] The ballad singer has every reason to be happy but in the general gloom and anxiety of the Crimean War chooses this plaintive ballad, since,
That night in Britain howsoe'er
On any chords the fingers strayed
They gave the notes of care.
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Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. D. Robins
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2RP.2.558; 1996-2000.