Just a line of blue hills to remember:
Just a valley one fails to forget,
Whether bound with the gold of September
Or with jewels of midsummer set!
Just a fringe of dark woodland and coppice,
Just a ribbon of river and stream
For a hem to the cornfields whose poppies
Burn soft as a rose in a dream!
Just a sweep of marsh-moorland and heather,
Just a brae where the blackfaces climb,
Just a loch where the grey gulls forgather
And the burns out of Cheviot chime!
Just a glen where the wild-duck and pheasant
Find a sheltering nook from the blast,
Just a peel-tower that stoops to the Present
With the legend and lore of the Past!
Just an abbey that, ruined and hoary
And racked with the reign of the years,
Tells a mystic and marvellous story
That breaks on the silence like tears!
Just a fortress, perhaps, or a fastness,
Just a bridge or a grave or a stone,
That has saved from Time’s infinite vastness
Some tale half as tall as Time’s own!
There’s a spell in this Land of the Marches,
In this Border that gave us our birth,
In this spot where the Heaven’s wide arch is
Spread blue o’er the best of the earth!
‘Tis the shrine where our hearts keep returning
Wherever our feet may be led;
All our love on that altar lies burning,
All our song-wreaths around it are spread!