January 2019, looking for a new sound and a new project – after completing Other Islands: 2012-2018.
It’s a poem by John Collie (1834-1893), my great-great-grandfather
from his book Poems and Lyrics in the English and Scotch Dialects, published in Scotland in 1856
John Collie emigrated to New Zealand in 1858. This poem seems to anticipate his leaving Scotland forever, to start a new life in a new country on the opposite side of the world.
In May I performed it live on Wairarapa TV.
I SING of the land where in youth I have rambled, I sing of her heroes who long, long have gone; And I sing of her steep crags where oft I have scrambled, When dull pining cares to me were unknown,
How oft I have roamed o’er her blue misty mountains, And cull’d her wild cowslips and heather bells fair; And lightly I’ve stroll’d by her clear winding fountains, Inhaling with rapture the sweet summer air.
How oft I have gazed on the sky lark ascending, To pour forth her praise at the dawn of the day ; While dewy and lovely the pine boughs were bending, attired in the greenest of nature’s array
How oft in the evening I’ve seen with emotion The mountain kids sporting when Phoebus retires; To glad other regions concealed by the ocean; But away, what can rival the land of my sires?
Green spot of my heart, the brightest the fairest, Thrice sacred the memory for ever of you; Sweet haunts of my childhood, to me ever dearest, Though now with a tear I must bid you adieu.
Thus, like to the miser who clings to his riches, I cling to the land of the thistle and pine; Her snow-cover’d hills my soul so bewitches, Oh! would but the past with its pleasures were mine.
But, alas! those loved scenes I must leave now to others, For fate has decreed that I shall not remain ; So adieu to the land of my youth and my fathers, To seek for a home o’er the wild foaming main.
But, still I will think on a mother’s caresses, When far o’er the blue sea I waft with the gale; I And still I will cherish a father’s advices, Who pledged me his blessing adown the green vale.
But away, ye dull thoughts, for I cannot endure you, go war with another and leave me alone; For the fathomless ocean I’m destined to brave now, so blow fair ye breezes and let me be gone!
Then adieu to the land of my youth, Farewell to her crags, steep and hoary ; Farewell to the scenes of my birth, And adieu to the land of my glory.