A sun-clad slope of living green
Under a cloudless autumn sky —
Say, can it be that this sweet scene,
So bright, so sheltered, so serene,
Once echoed with a battle-cry?
Broad, golden fields of waving corn
Tremble before the wind's soft breath,
While through the air is gaily borne
The reaper's song at early morn —
And this was once a field of death!
No sculptured stone nor marble fair
Now marks the spot where warriors bled;
Only kind spring's returning care,
As though she knew who slumbers there,
Bids her first primrose raise its head.
What though this battle has no place
In Scotland's roll of victories won —
The noblest of her patriot race
Here met their foemen face to face,
And bravely was their duty done.
Stern fate is theirs who, conquering, die;
But his an anguish keener far
Who on the gory field must lie,
And hear the foe's exulting cry:
"Our arms have turned the tide of war!"
Then tenderly let Scotland weep
Over her unrequited brave,
And in her heart their memory keep,
All restfully the while they sleep
In nature's lone and peaceful grave.