Robert Sanderson.

Frae the Lyne Valley; poems and sketches online

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FRAE THE LYNE



OEMS &.



ROBERT SANDERSON,



LIBRARY

i Orfilorm*



POEMS AND SKETCHES.



POEMS AND SKETCHES



BY



ROBERT SANDERSON,



WEST LINTON, PEEBLESSHIRE.



J. AND R. PARLANE, PAISLEY.

J. MENZIES AND CO., EDINBURGH AND GLASGOW.
1888.



THIS LITTLE VOLUME

IS GRATEFULLY, AFFECTIONATELY, AND RESPECTFULLY
DEDICATED



of Jetortefc info |un& f rats,



WHO

IN THEIR DAY AND GENERATION
SOUGHT ASSIDUOUSLY TO FULFIL THE DUTIES OF THEIR STATION,

AND

WERE UNWEARIED IN THEIR EFFORTS TO BESTOW UPON THEIR FAMILY

AN EDUCATION AND A TRAINING BEFITTING THEIR NECESSITIES

IN SEEKING TO FIGHT FAITHFULLY

THE BATTLE OF LIFE.



PKEFACE.

Ix bringing this little volume to the light, the writer has
little apology to offer, further than that owing to having
published a lesser work fully twenty years ago, he has
often felt the truth of the opinion of some of his reviewers
at that period, that he had gone before the world with
his wares at a time of life which might be regarded as
premature. For many years back he has desired to
publish in a collective form a selection from the pieces
composed from time to time within the last twenty years.
In this he has been encouraged by many friends both at
home and abroad ; but while hopefcil it may contribute
to the enjoyment of such, he has no desire to avoid the
fair and honest criticism of the press.

Had this work appeared two years ago, the writer would
in its preparation have been assisted by his esteemed and
intimate friend James Smith, whose lamented death took
place last j^ear. He has, however, been assisted by other
friends whose services he values very highly ; and to them
and to all interested, -he tenders his sincere thanks, cherish-
ing as he does the hope that the collection as a whole will
justify the lively interest they have taken in it.

E. S.
WEPT LINTOX,

4th August, 1888.



CONTENTS



Page.

Musings by the Lyne Water . . . . 9

God save our sea-girt Island . . . . li

Langsyne aruang the Weavers . . . .15

Auld Scotland's yellow broom . . . .17

To a sleeping child . . . . . .18

The departure of Winter and return of Spring . . 19

Cargill's Last Sermon . . . . .20

Oor am Gean Tree . . t .22

Burns' Cottage . . .-,,. i 23

Scotland yet . . . . . . .25

The Auld Lint Mill . . ... ... 28

Annie gone for ever . . . . . .29

Verses on the Battle of Culloden . . . .30

Oor Tarn . . . . . . 31

Epistle to Mr Alexander Bruntou of Inverkeithing . 32

Withered like the Autumn leaf . . . .36

Glencoe ....... 37

Beautiful May . . . . . 38

Return, O Lord ; how long . . . ; 39

The Burn that whiles rins dry . . . .41

The Present, and the Future . . 42

The Quaint Old Picture . ... , . 43

A Day in Yarrow ...... 45

When the sere leaflets fell . . . ' -j 46

Familiar Epistle to Mr Begg - "" t t _ 47

To September . . . . . .49

The Grave of Burns . .... . .50



6 CONTENTS.



Page.
The Auld Clachau Worthies . . . .58

This Fairy Glen ...... 54

We are not growing old . . . . .55

My lliches ....... 56

A Christinas and a New-year's Greeting . . .57

Oor auld Strathspeys an' Reels . . . .60

Yet Another ...... 61

Her voice alone remained the same . . .62

Kirkcudbright ...... 63

The end of a lonely life . . . . .65

The blossoms in her hair . . . .67

One Daughter . . . . . .69

The ringlet of hair ...... 70

Ravendean Bnrn . . . . . .71

Noonday Darkness ...... 72

I winna leave Auld Scotland yet . . . 7-4

Parting Tribute ...... 7o

Suggested by " Reminiscences of Yarrow " 76

Mr Peter Dunlop, Antiquarian, Millburn . . .77

All Alone . . . . .79

Fallen and Falling Leaves . . . . .80

To Mr John Taylor 81

Laird Keyden's last wish ..... 83
The Days of the Crofters ..... 84
Musings of an Obscure Poet . 85

Lynedale in October . . . . .87

In Memory of the late 46eorge M'Leish . . .88

The Bonnie Hawthorn . . . . .91

To J. Laurie, Esq., J.P., Laurieton, New South Wales . 92

The Auld Mill Barn .93

If Wee Willie Dee ! 94

Sangs about Prince Charlie . . . . .95

a Willy was the Bairn ..... 98

When Days o' Hairst draw near . . . .99

Familiar Epistle to John Veitch, Esq., LL.D., . . 101

It was here ....... 105

Epistle to A. R., a Brother Poet . . . .106



CONTENTS. 7

Page.

CLERICAL WITS

The late Rev. Hamilton Paul . . . .108

The Rev. Dr. Aiton . . . . .116

VISITS TO SOME OLD CHURCHYARDS

Tweedsmuir ...... 126

Kailzie ....... 129

Muirkirk ...... 131

Newlands . . . . . 133

Dunsyre ...... 137

Skirling. . .139

Newhall. . 142

REMINISCENCES OF NOTABLE CHARACTERS CONNECTED

WITH CARLOPS

Mr George Hunter ... .144

Willie Lewis . . . ,. 145

Johnny Tamson . ... . . 146

Robert Cairns . . . . . .146

Jamie Horsburgh . . . 147

John Watson . . . . . .149
Tammas Tamson . ... 153

Charles Wilson . 156

Robert Scott of Woburn . 159

A Run to the Birth-place of Burns . . 161



POEMS,



ETC.



MUSINGS BY THE LYNE WATER,

Occasioned by the receipt of a kind letter from an old schoolmate, now
in Ontario, to whom these verses are respectfully dedicated. 1880.

Now that the dreary drenching rains

Their latest vials have outpoured,
And when the wide-spread fruitful plains

To summer beauty are restored,

My favourite haunts I seek anew
Where wind the waters of the Lyne ;

Scenes that bring vividly to view
The sunny days o' Auld Langsyne.

Here, then, amid this peaceful scene

Of foliage rich and flowers profuse,
Let me attempt to seek again

The favours of the lowly muse.

Here where I oft have revell'd long
Amongst the bards in life's young day,

When balmy evenings found me 'mong
The scenery which I now survey,

With Ramsay, Burns, or Tannahill ;

With Milton, Wordsworth, Young, or Graham :
Here o'er their page I'll ponder still,

And seek to kindle at their flame.



10 MUSINGS I'.Y THK I.V.NK \\AIKK.

Not to the lordly or the great,

Or those whom men may term the >amc,

My homespun lays I dedicate-
Let lowlier ones my friendship claim.

But unto one who loved to tread

These broomy braes, that shady dell,

Who toils and sweats for honest bread,
And fights life's battle brave and well.

A plain and honest type withal
Of those who shall in future 1x3

The great, the influential,
The genuine nobility.

Yes ! for the sun of idle names
And silly titles soon shall set ;

And only they who win them shall
Wear star, or wreath, or coronet .

Here where I frame my humble hymn,
Here where I wake my lowly lays,

I seat me 'mong the yellow broom,
The bonny broom on Leadlaw's braes.

\Vhile from the dense, deep, woody maze
Embosoming the streamlet clear,

Ly ne's waters, murmuring, gently raise
Their ceaseless song to soothe the ear.

And in the distance tower the hills,
Whose heathy sides we oft did climb ;

The nursing place of prattling rills,
And many a pure j>ellucid stream.

While in the deeper vale below

The tapering spires that heavenward rise

Tell where, half-hidden from the view.
The quaint and ancient hamlet lies.

The landscape now before me spread

With lake and tower and spreading tree ;

With light and shade diversified,
Is dear, ay, very dear to thee.



MUSINGS BY THE LYNE WATEK. 11

It has been thine to sojourn long

'Mongst strangers on a foreign strand ;

It has been mine to live among
The mountains of my native land.

It has been thine to find thy sphere

Where trade and commerce drive apace ;

It has been mine to linger where
The chariot wheels find resting place.

I do not ask of thee if thou

Possessor art of lands and gold ;
If bright and brighter prospects now

For thee with future days unfold.

'Tis well thou dost already see

The welcome fruits of labour hard,
That honest plodding industry

Is followed with its meet reward.

That in thy peaceful home which lies

Among the woodlands of the West
Kind sons and daughters round thee rise

To comfort thee and call thee blest.

But what the joys that gladden now
When welcome hours of leisure come '!-

Say, are they such as thou didst know
When dwelling in thy Scottish home ?

In times of joy and festive mirth

The lively dance, say, dost thou share ?

Do young and old then sally forth
And to the well-swept barn repair ?

And do ye foot it lightly there

To lively reel and sweet strathspey,
Till forced to quit enjoyment rare

By dawning of the coming day 1

Or do ye gather round the hearth

When nights are long and chill and cold,

To wake the voice of jocund mirth

When Scotland's stirring tales are told ?



MUSINGS BY THE LYNE .WATER.

A in I do ye tell the deeds of those
Who set Auld Mither Scotland free ?

The brave indomitable Bruce
The lordly knight of Elderslie !

Oh ! surely from a page so bright
With careless eye ye cannot turn ;

Nor can it be ye e'er forget
To boast of glorious Bannockburn.

Or, further down the stream of time,

To life again, say, do ye raise
The sufferings, the deeds sublime,

Of Scotland's covenanting days 1

And do ye love and still revere
The names of many a noble one

A Ren wick young, a brave Argyle,
M 'Kail, Cargill, and Cameron 1

And do ye speak of hills and moors

Where foemen did the wanderers trace ?

Of lonely wilds now doubly dear
And sacred as their resting place 1

When Sabbath comes, do ye unto
Some little belfrey'd church repair,

And homely courtesies renew

With friend and old acquaintance there 1

And do ye gather at the porch

And by the sanctuary tread ?
And round and near the decent church,

Say, is it there ye lay your dead 1

And is the holy table spread
On Sacramental Sabbath days t

And are the people's praises led
In simple Psalm and Paraphrase 1

And as ye break the holy calm

When rising from the sacred board,

Say, is it with the well-known Psalm
" O thou, my soul, bless God the Lord " 1



MUSINGS BY THE LYNE WATER. 13

Yea, when ye go to Zion's hill

Upon your father's God to call,
Do ye observe and cherish still

The simple Scottish ritual 1

If thus in foreign lands ye feel

The influence of Scotland still ;
If Scottish customs with you dwell

And Scottish joys your bosoms thrill ;

Then 'mong the prairies of the west,

'Mong friends and friendships leal and trtie,

Of labour, wealth, and lands possessed,
Oh ! surely it is well with you.

For o'er your own dear sea-girt isle

A dreary shadow long has spread,
And idle thousands seek for toil,

While children cry in vain for bread.

Nor doth the light begin to dawn,
Nor speaketh Hope in terms serene ;

Nor breaks the gloomy cloud, nor can
Its silver lining yet be seen.

But wherefore thus my verse prolong

With gloomy thoughts an endless train ?

Accept this rude and nameless song
I waft to thee across the main.

Harsh though upon the ear it break,
Rude and untutored though my lay ;

Some happy thoughts may it awake
Of friends and faces far away.

And when ye meet in social mood,

Yea, bound by friendship's sacred spell,

See that your country's name ye toast,
Her legends and her tales ye tell.

And when ye wake the voice of song

And jovially in chorus join,
Then, lustily and loud and long,

Sing "Scotland Yet," and "Auld Langsyne."



14 JOOD SAVE OUR SKA-GIRT ISLAND.

GOD SAVE OUR SEA-GIRT ISLAND.

GOD save our sea-girt island !

Be still our mountain land
Defended and protected

By His almighty hand,
Who her so long hath sheltered

'Neath shadow of His wings,
Who is the God of nations,

Who is the King of kings.

God save our sea-girt island !

Long may her dwellers be
From pestilence, from famine,

And civil discord free.
May truth and justice triumph,

May righteousness still spread,
May commerce duly flourish,

And may the poor have bread.

God save our sea-girt island !

And bless her people all
The humblest in the cottage,

The lordliest in the hall ;
And brighter still and purer

May fealty's flame still burn,
To her the crown that weareth,

And long that crown hath worn.

God save our sea-girt island !

Let knaves and tyrants know
He bares His arm to hasten

Oppression's overthrow ;
Fires each pure aspiration

Of j>atriotic soul,
That seeks the elevation

And welfare of the whole.

God save our sea-girt island !

Be still our mountain land
Defended and protected

By His almighty hand,



LANGSYNE AMAXG THK WEAVERS. 15

Who her so long hath sheltered

'Neath shadow of His wings,
Who is the God of nations,

Who is the King of kings.



LANGS YNE AMANG THE WEAVERS.

LANGSYNE amang the weavers o' oor ain auld-fashioned toon,
What couthie cracks, what jibes an' jokes, what rantin' tales

gaed roun',
When they were met their wabs to beam, in groups o' aught

or ten,
Or when gather'd in the gloamin' at the smiddy's gable-en' !

The words an' deeds o' leadin' men in countries near an' far,
The prospects o' a lastin' peace, the threats o' comin' war,
They could wi' ease discuss, and facts o' greatest moment

weigh,
An' future ill or comin' weal could glibly prophecy,

Langsyne amang the weavers there were sober, thoughtfu'

men,
Whas only wealth was rowth o' books in their wee but-an'-

ben :

The mists o' ancient history they could wi' ease dispel,
An' licht an' trifling seemed the task when to their hand it

fell.

An' when the Poets they took up, o' this there was nae en',
It seemed nae minstrel e'er had liv'd o' whilk they didna ken ;
Theocritus they could discuss, an' Homer's lofty lays,
An' ither bards that learned men delight to laud an' praise.

O' this translation an' o' that they could the beauties trace,
An' to each honoured name assign its station an' its place ;
While Shakespeare, Milton, Goldsmith, Gray, and famous

Doctor Young,
They could recite wi' keen delight, an' quote wi' ready

tongue.



16 . LANGS YNK AMANti THK WKAVKRS.

Oor Scottish Poets, too, they could dissect wi' meikle skill,
An' mony a kindly word they spak' o' Hogg an' Tannahill ;
While Ramsay, Ferguson, and Scott, they took them a' by

turns,
But nane o' them gat half the praise they gied to Robbie

Burns.

The grave Secedin' elder, crowned wi' locks o' silvery gray,
Had mony a quaint remark to mak', an' pointed thing to say ;
For he had searched its every nook the kirk an' state

domain
An' could the darkest riddles read, an' duty's path make

plain.

Austere an' stern he seemed to them that did nae better ken.
But at his ain snug ingle end, the kindliest o' men.

Langsyne amang the weavers there were lads mair bent on

fun,

Wha likit weel a stealthy crack 'twas a' aboot the gun ;
An' boastit how that " pussie " oft sae simply fell their prey.
In some lane spot by loch or wood, whaur " keepers " seldom

gae.

The scene is sairly changed, alas ! we meet sic men nae

mair

The politicians eloquent, the theologians rare
They 're swept awa', that motley group, there 's no a remnant

left;
We never hear o' " weavin' gear," nor yet o' " warp an' weft."

Yet mony a genial mother now a joyfu' dwellin' cheers,
That there did spend her childhood an' her youth's unsullied

years ;

An" often has the envied seat o' honour been attained
By minds that there wi' meikle care were by fond parents

trained.

An' leeze me on thae byegane times, for, oh, I likit weel
The blatt'rin o' the shuttle an' the birr o' the pirn wheel :
An' meikle genial kindness did my youthfu' bosom ken,
Thro' mony a winter's evenin', in the weaver's but-an'-ben.



AULD SCOTLAND'S YELLOW BROOM. IT

AULD SCOTLAND'S YELLOW BROOM.

WE welcome thee, thou joyfu' June,

Wi' days sae licht an' lang,
When thro' the leafy woods resound

Sae mony a pleasant sang ;
While myriad flowers bestud the bowers

Surcharged wi' rich perfume ;
But ah, there 's nane among them a'

Like Scotland's yellow broom.

Tis sweet to linger in the shade

Remote frae human ken,
An' list the siller streamlet glide

Adoun the leafy glen ;
But let me tread the upland height

Langsyne we used to climb,
When young hearts leaped wi' fond delight

Amang the yellow broom.

Deep in the woody vale below

Are flow'rets sweet an' fair,
Wi' petals openin' to the view

Mair exquisite an' rare ;
But ask me where the memories

O' happiest moments come ?
Ah, 'tis on yonder sunny braes

Amang the yellow broom.

A hundred bards ha'e sung its praise,

In ages past an' gane,
A hundred yet shall proudly raise

The patriotic strain.
For aye where'er a loyal Scot

Has found a humble hame,
Warm hearts will join the joyfu' shout

Auld Scotland's yellow broom.

I ha'e nae wealth o' lands or gear,

Owre that I '11 ne'er repine ;
Nae marble fair, nae sculpture rare

May mark the grave that 's mine ;



18 TO A SLEEPING CHILD.

But anc wha hands auld Scotland's name

Sae sacred an' sac dear,
May fitly claim the yellow broom

To wave in beauty there !

Yes, let it wave in native grace,

Aboon the plain green sod,
Where rests a patriot's heart in peace

Within its lone abode.
Then till the majesty an' dread

Of the last morn has come,
I '11 slumber sweetly 'neath its shade

Auld Scotland's yellow broom.



TO A SLEEPING CHILD.

BEAUTIFUL, innocent, rosy, and fair,

In thy sweet cradle bed slumbering there ;

Holy and calm, yea, unclouded thy rest,

As the love borne for thee in a fond mother's breast.

Beautiful, innocent, spotless, sin-free,
Are there no angels pure watching o'er thee,
Shedding their fragrance sweet, Heaven's own flowers.
Seeking to consecrate homes such as ours 1

Beautiful, innocent, o'er thee I bow,
Tracing the calm on that rare rounded brow,
Wond'ring if sculptor or artist hath e'er
Ixx)ked on a picture so pleasant and fair.

Beautiful, innocent, child of our love
Thou who this babe has sent, Father above,
< !rant in Thy faithfulness that we may ever,
Prizing the treasure, praise Thee the kind Giver.

Beautiful, innocent, sjwtless, sin-free,

Spirits angelic are watching o'er thee,

Shedding their fragrance sweet, Heaven's own flowers.

< ), may they consecrate homes such as ours !



THE DEPARTURE OF WINTER. 19

THE DEPARTURE OF WINTER AND RETURN OF
SPRING.

'Tis past an' gane, the gloomy reign o' Winter stern an

drear,
YVT furious blasts an' withering frosts that filled the heart

wi' fear

Wi' raging tempests roll'd along, owre wide unfathomed seas,
Intensifying every pang that age or poortith drees.

But now the lingering snawy tints are fadin' fast awa'
Frae Blackhouse' solitary heights and dowie Dollarlaw ;
Frae proud Dundreigh, frae Tinto's dome, and Meldon's

rocky maze,
"Where, 'mid the darkness of the past, the Druid's flame did

blaze ;

Arid where the lonely mist-crowned Cairns their solemn

vigils keep,

The wild bird's cry is heard to Avake the solitude so deep ;
'Along scenes Avhere towering snowy wreaths like rival

mountains rose,
The fleecy flocks now roam at will, or peacefully repose.

Now joyously the sunbeams kiss Cardon and Culterfell,
Where erst the simple psalm of praise did up their valleys

swell,
When ane * wha saw before him placed the martyr's bitter

cup
Did point to Him who on the throne was high and lifted up ;

* Holmes Common was a favourite resort of Donald Cargill, the famous
field preacher. On the last occasion on which he preached there, which
was only a few months before his execution, he spoke on the Oth chapter
of Isaiah, where the Almighty is spoken of as " sitting upon a throne
high and lifted up"; and also on Romans xi. 20. "The scene," says
Mr Whitfield, "was sublime and impressive beyond description.
He drew his illustrations from the hills that surrounded them like
bulwarks of defence, with Cardon and Culterfell lifting their kingly
heads above the rest far up into the clouds. He was drawing
near the close of his life, and a foreboding of his coming martyrdom
tinged his thoughts and words with a prophetic power that gave him a
strange fascination over his audience. Six weeks later and the voice
that awakened the mountian echoes of the solitudes of Glenholm was to
be lifted up for the last time upon the uplands of Dunsyre, and to
bear its dying testimony in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh."



20 CARGILL'S LAST SKRMON.

Or, standing on the heathy banks of Holmes' pure infant

stream,
Declared His love was found of those who sought not after

Him.

How dear ye are ! ye heath clad hills that proudly round

us rise,

With scenery rich and varied like your mingled memories,
Vet fairest do ye seem by far when wintry storms give way,
And earth rejoiceth in the smile of April and of May.

Thrice welcome then, thou joyfu' Spring, wi' days sae licht

an' lang,
Wi' burstin' buds, wi' openin' flowers, an' mony a mellow



And when the velvet sward sae green wi' lichtsome foot

we 've prest,
We feel sweet Hope renew her reign ance mair within the

breast.



CARGILL'S LAST SERMON.

Verses occasioned by a visit to Dunsyre Common, where the celebrated
field preacher, Donald Cargill, preached on the last day of his liberty,
his text on that memorable occasion being the words in Isaiah xxvi. '_'<>
and 21 " Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy
doors about thee : hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until tin-
indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to
punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also
shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." A reward
of 5000 merks being offered, Cargill was apprehended the following
morning at the house of Mr Fisher of Covington Mill, by Irving of
Bonshaw and a company of dragoons. The rough and contemptuous
treatment he received, and the events that intervened between the capture
and his execution in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh are too well known
to require rehearsal.

AND do I pace the peaceful spot

Where that undaunted champion stood,

And fearlessly God's people taught
While tyrants thirsted for his blood ?

And are those lone, blue hills the last

That did unto his voice resound ?
Ah ! surely then this desert waste

Is more than consecrated ground.



CAKGILL'S LAST SERMON.

And were the eager "listeners here
Around the noble preacher ranged

In this grand amphitheatre

That still remaineth all unchanged ?

And did he speak as 'neath the shade
Of that sad martyrdom so near ?

Ah ! surely then for me 'tis good

That I should pause and ponder here

When vividly before me rise

The lives of true and trusty men,

The tale of whose self-sacrifice

Makes sacred many a moorland glen ;

Men who did drink the cup of woe
And braved the scaffold and the steel,

That Scotland's sons might share and know
The highest freedom holiest weal.

Let others love the battle-field,
The scenes of carnage and of war,

And join with those who have extolled
The victor and the conqueror ;

Yet is not oft the joyful shout
That fills the air and rends the sky

But hushed, and then we hear aloud
The widow's wail, the orphan's cry 1

And are not oft those glorious deeds,
Whose record history proudly saves,

The work of men who are indeed
Of fouler lusts the helpless slaves ?

Ah ! dear to me the moorland glens

Where foemen did those wanderers chase,

The mist-crowned hills, the caves and dens,
That often proved their hiding-place.

From tyrants who, though armed with power
To torture, slay, and trample down,

Yet could not scathe the golden dower,
The victor's palm or martyr's crown,



Ml: AIN .K\\ IHKK.

Or stem the tide of f rue-born thought,
Which from their time has freely spiv.nl.

A heritage right dearly bought,
A testimony sealed with blood,

NVhirh shall its wholesome influence lend
Among the homes on Scotia's shore,

Till history's latest page is penned,
And time itself shall be no more.

Strange that while here all their reward
Was ceaseless toil and sufferings,

Whose memory we now regard
The dearest of all earthly things;

For names that once were rudely stained
With foul reproach of blackest brand,

Are now in generous hearts enshrined,
The glory of our Covenant land.



And do I pace the peaceful

Where that undaunted champion stood,
And fearlessly God's jjeople taught

While tyrants thirsted for his blood 1

And are those lone blue hills the last
That did unto his voice resound 1

Ah ! surely then this desert waste
Is more than consecrated ground.



OOR AIN GEAN TKKE.

RiniT bonny owre the burn it hings, oor ain gean tree,
An : lo'esome are its flourishings, oor ain gean tree :
It seems amaist as winsome yet as when we a' were wee
An' singin' blithely 'neath its shade oor ain gean tree.

It bounds oor bonny garden green, oor ain gean tree,
An' stan's the burn an' it atween, oor ain gean tree :
The streamlet's sang is sweet, I ween, but let me hear the glee
()' mony youthfu' voices 'neath oor ain gean tree.


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Online LibraryRobert SandersonFrae the Lyne Valley; poems and sketches → online text (page 1 of 12)