Scottish Poetry Selection
- Freedom and Love
Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) was the son of a Glasgow tobacco trader. Towards the end of his time at Glasgow University (where he won he was a prizes for verse translations from the Classics) he was a tutor on Mull and developed an interest in the Highlands - his poem Lord Ullin's Daughter is one of the ten most requested poems at the Scottish Poetry Library. His patriotic verses won him wider recognition and later in his life he helped to found University College, London. He was elected as Rector of Glasgow University from 1827 to 1829. Some of the lines from his poetry often appear in anthologies of quotations - such as "Tis distance lends enchantment to the view." He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
In the poem below, he has some pertinent comments on the subject of love - and freedom.
Freedom and LoveHow delicious is the winning
Of a kiss at love's beginning,
When two mutual hearts are sighing
For the knot there's no untying!
Ye remember, 'midst your wooing,
Love has bliss, but Love has ruing;
Other smiles may make you fickle,
Tears for other charms may trickle.
Love he comes, and Love he tarries,
Just as fate or fancy carries;
Longest stays, when sorest chidden;
Laughs and flies, when press'd and bidden.
Bind the sea to slumber stilly,
Bind its odour to the lily,
Bind the aspen ne'er to quiver,
Then bind Love to last for ever.
Love's a fire that needs renewal
Of fresh beauty for its fuel:
Love's wing moults when caged and captured,
Only free, he soars enraptured.
Can you keep the bee from ranging
Or the ringdove's neck from changing?
No! nor fetter'd Love from dying
In the knot there's no untying.
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