Emma's Kid (1801-2)

EMMA’S KID  [*] 

Sent to the Countess of Buchan, with a Pair of Kid Leather Shoes of the Author’s making.

Full was the moon, and, climbing high,
Beam’d soft on Emma’s flowing hair;
And rival stars along the sky
Were sparkling through the frosty air.
The whiten’d [1]  blades on every sod 5
Like glitt’ring arms before us lay,
And crumpling snow, where’er we trod,
Reflected back the friendly ray.
Her breath that met the piercing cold,
Quick vanish’d; and a tear was seen,10
While thus her story Emma told
Of summer days, how bless’d they’d been!
My father is too poor to own
The mountain flock, or wand’ring kine;
One Kid has all our fondness known, 15
I call’d the blythsome creature mine.
Of kids that ever climb the steep,
With all the frisks of vacant [2]  glee,
Of all that graze the dell so deep,
The merriest of the race was he.20
Without him, if I stole away,
And gain’d the mountain’s airy brow,
He’d join me there, and seem’d to say,
‘Look down upon our home below.’
Light on the cliff he’d bound along, 25
Now climb aloft and now descend;
And while I sung my morning song
He’d [3]  circle round and round his friend.
When wild rose-buds began to peep,
And June, amidst her choice of flow’rs,30
Bade dripping clouds their distance keep,
And welcom’d forth the sunny hours;
When fresh the earth, and clear the sky,
And blackbirds caroll’d through the grove,
Both morn and eve my kid was nigh, 35
And I repaid [4]  him love for love.
And, Allen, was he here e’en now,
He’d print the snow in scouring by,
And with such strength, that even you
Would wonder how he leap’d so high!40
My father’s loss had griev’d me more,
Then poor indeed would Emma be;
But, next to him, a bosom’d store
Was that poor innocent to me.
And nothing but a father’s weal, 45
Should thus [5]  have torn him from my side;
His life supply’d a sick man’s meal,
Who else for certain [6]  must have died.
Forgive my tears; ’twas sure a sin,
A crying sin at Donald’s door;50
A trav’lling pedler had his skin,
And I shall never see him more!
Her eye uplifted, mild and blue,
Convey’d a more than usual bliss;
While to my lips her cheek I drew,55
And lurking echo mock’d the kiss.
Oh sooth, sweet girl, thy troubled mind,
Tho’ dear a shortliv’d kid might prove;
To me as true could you be [7]  kind,
You’d [8]  find a life of lasting love.60
I’ve kids at home, then come with me,
We’re natives both of this sweet vale;
Thy tenderness still bring [9]  with thee,
But tell no more this piteous tale.
Thou, and thy kid no more can meet;65
Yet his soft skin, that knew no stain,
On some fair lady’s gliding feet
May visit these wild hills again.
Then let the thought thy bosom cheer;
From trifles oft our comforts flow;70
And love can spread his blessings here,
As spring dissolves the mountain’s [10]  snow.
And will you then no more be sad?
And will you share my kids with me?
I’ve all the wealth my father had;75
And all his truth to merit thee. [11] 


*First published in The Edinburgh Monthly Magazine and Review, 1 (1810), 50–52, and collected in Remains with Bloomfield’s note: ‘Originally accompanying a pair of kid-leather shoes, which the Earl of Buchan had requested me to make with my own hands for his lady, then at Dryburgh abbey’. Its context, an appeal from a pressing patron, is given in Letter 74, 11 January 1802. BACK

[1] whiten’d] powder’d Remains BACK

[2] vacant] wanton Remains BACK

[3] He’d] Would Remains BACK

[4] repaid] return’d Remains BACK

[5] thus] e’re Remains BACK

[6] for certain] most surely, Remains BACK

[7] To me as true could you be] To me, be you as true and Remains BACK

[8] You’d] You’ll Remains BACK

[9] Thy tenderness still bring] And bring thy tenderness Remains BACK

[10] mountain’s] mountain Remains BACK

[11] I’ve all the wealth … to merit thee] omitted in Remains and replaced with

Shall spring, which makes Tweed’s side so glad,
Shall spring have coming joys for thee?
Where are the flowers of bonny May?
We know the sun will bring them forth—
And can I trust thy pity? say,
For pity speaks the soul of worth.
‘Yes, trust me, Allen; by this light—
I’ll hide my heart from thee no more.’—
I won my Emma’s love that night,—
Oh, love! respect our humble door.
While flowers burst forth, while leaves decay,
While crystal treasures, Tweed, rolls by,
Be thou the guardian of our way,
And bless our cottage till we die.