Monday, January 12, 2009

The Martyrs of Scotland - Covenanter poem

Found this online a few days ago, by the great Scottish hymnwriter Horatius Bonar (1808 - 1899):

There was gladness in Zion, her standard was flying,
Free o'er her battlements glorious and gay;
All fair as the morning shone forth her adorning.
And fearful to foes was her godly array.

There is mourning in Zion, her standard was lying
Defiled in the dust, to the spoiler a prey;
And now there is wailing, and sorrows prevailing,
For the best of her children are weeded away.

The good have been taken, their place is foresaken-
The man and the maiden, the green and the gray;
The voice of the weepers wails over the sleepers-
The martyrs of Scotland that not are away.

The hues of her waters is crimsoned with slaughters,
And the blood of the martyrs has reddened the clay;
And dark desolation broods over the nation,
For the faithful are perished, the good are away.

On the mountains of heather they slumber together,
On the wastes of the moorland their bodies decay;
How sound is their sleeping, how safe is their keeping,
Though from from their kindred they moulder away.

Their blessing shall hover, their children to cover,
Like the cloud of the desert, by night and by day;
On, never to perish, their names let us cherish,
The martyrs of Scotland that now are away.

This great hymn is also by Horatius Bonar.