Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Treasure of Love

Charles Spence (1779-1869) was a mason by trade who worked with skill on many projects in villages and estates in the Carse of Gowrie, north of the Firth of Tay, between Perth and Dundee. But he was also a skilled, self-taught poet who appeared in various publications during his lifetime. After his death, an anthology of his work was published under the title "From the Braes of the Carse" - these being the slopes of the Sidlaw hills, above the Carse of Gowrie. Although he wrote many poems are humorous, he also wrote many beautiful love poems. As a young man he had fallen in love with a local girl - but the marriage was opposed by her mother - and then the lass died young, a combined loss that sometimes found an outlet in his muse. Fortunately, Spence later married another local girl and they had a number of children.

The Treasure of Love

Turn ye, Jessie, hither turn,
   Treat my love no more with scorn;
In this honeysuckle grove
   Let us sit and sing of love.
Let the rich make wealth their theme,
   And their titled honours claim,
I nor wealth nor titles bring,
   But I love, and love I sing.

Love can smile when fortune frowns,
   Love the peasant's wishes crowns,
Love is free to high and low -
   Few the pleasures that are so.
If love would come at riches' call,
   Then the rich would have it all;
Love is more than wealth can be,
   Love is all to you and me.

Doats the miser on his treasure ?
   Can we envy him the pleasure,
Which the world's galling cares
   Hallows in his sordid ears ?
Let the hero trump his fame,
   Glory in a hostile name,
Wave his banners o'er the field -
   Love has greater joys to yield.

Though thy friend in Eden were
   Would thy friend be happy there ?
"No," love whispers, "wanting thee
   It no Eden were to me."
Turn ye, Jessie, hither turn,
   Treat my love no more with scorn ;
In this honeysuckle grove,
   Let us sit and sing of love.

Meaning of unusual words:
Doats = loves to excess

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