by William Howe Cuyler Hosmer


I had a vision:—in my dream
I looked on Doon's enchanted stream, .
The moonlight glinted forth its beam
On hill, and cairn.
And one I saw who reigns supreme
Apollo's bairn.


The bard, renowned in distant climes,
Sighed for the sports of other times
When bells rang out their merry chimes,
And lads were seen
With lassies singing quaint old rhymes
At Halloween.


“These customs of an elder day,”
He said, " should never pass away,
Till flowers should wreath the pole in May,
And on the green Nymphs from the Doon, and Ayr and Tay
Should choose their Queen.


“Hearts, leal and warm, old manners hail !
Braw lads in Caledon will fail
When, as the evening shades prevail,
No more are seen Blythe lassie pulling plants of kail
At Halloween.


“With them in soul, on sic a night,
Your minstrel, Burns, still takes delight,
And though unseen by mortal light,
His spirit glance Sees on the lawn, with moonshine bright,
The fairies dance.


“At ingle-neuks on every farm
Let witch and warlock wake alarm,
The burning nuts still work a charm
At Halloween,
So loved when arm I locked in arm
With Bonny Jean.


“By, on the wind while spirits pass,
Rustling the leaves and withered grass,
Still let the pale and trembling lass
Her apple eat,
And in the haunted looking glass
A husband greet.


“Indeed will Scottish hearts be cold,
Her glory like a tale that's told
When ancient rites and customs old
Are loved no more,
And only worshippers of gold
Crowd Albyn's shore.”


Deep silence fell upon the place,
The poet's noble form and face,
Fled in my dream and left no trace,
Like vanished smoke ;
I heard Doon's waves each other chase,
And I awoke.

Mcpherson Lodge, Oct. 31, 1865

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