The Moon Endureth: Tales and Fancies

Author: John Buchan

From the Pentlands Looking North and South

Around my feet the clouds are drawn In the cold mystery of the dawn; No breezes cheer, no guests intrude My mossy, mist-clad solitude; When sudden down the steeps of sky Flames a long, lightening wind. On high The steel-blue arch shines clear, and far, In the low lands where cattle are, Towns smoke. And swift, a haze, a gleam,— The Firth lies like a frozen stream, Reddening with morn. Tall spires of ships, Like thorns about the harbour’s lips, Now shake faint canvas, now, asleep, Their salt, uneasy slumbers keep; While golden-grey, o’er kirk and wall, Day wakes in the ancient capital.

Before me lie the lists of strife, The caravanserai of life, Whence from the gates the merchants go On the world’s highways; to and fro Sail laiden ships; and in the street The lone foot-traveller shakes his feet, And in some corner by the fire Tells the old tale of heart’s desire. Thither from alien seas and skies Comes the far-questioned merchandise:— Wrought silks of Broussa, Mocha’s ware Brown-tinted, fragrant, and the rare Thin perfumes that the rose’s breath Has sought, immortal in her death: Gold, gems, and spice, and haply still The red rough largess of the hill Which takes the sun and bears the vines Among the haunted Apennines. And he who treads the cobbled street To-day in the cold North may meet, Come month, come year, the dusky East, And share the Caliph’s secret feast; Or in the toil of wind and sun Bear pilgrim-staff, forlorn, fordone, Till o’er the steppe, athwart the sand Gleam the far gates of Samarkand. The ringing quay, the weathered face Fair skies, dusk hands, the ocean race The palm-girt isle, the frosty shore, Gales and hot suns the wide world o’er Grey North, red South, and burnished West The goals of the old tireless quest, Leap in the smoke, immortal, free, Where shines yon morning fringe of sea I turn, and lo! the moorlands high Lie still and frigid to the sky. The film of morn is silver-grey On the young heather, and away, Dim, distant, set in ribs of hill, Green glens are shining, stream and mill, Clachan and kirk and garden-ground, All silent in the hush profound Which haunts alone the hills’ recess, The antique home of quietness. Nor to the folk can piper play The tune of "Hills and Far Away," For they are with them. Morn can fire No peaks of weary heart’s desire, Nor the red sunset flame behind Some ancient ridge of longing mind. For Arcady is here, around, In lilt of stream, in the clear sound Of lark and moorbird, in the bold Gay glamour of the evening gold, And so the wheel of seasons moves To kirk and market, to mild loves And modest hates, and still the sight Of brown kind faces, and when night Draws dark around with age and fear Theirs is the simple hope to cheer.— A land of peace where lost romance And ghostly shine of helm and lance Still dwell by castled scarp and lea, And the last homes of chivalry, And the good fairy folk, my dear, Who speak for cunning souls to hear, In crook of glen and bower of hill Sing of the Happy Ages still.

O Thou to whom man’s heart is known, Grant me my morning orison. Grant me the rover’s path—to see The dawn arise, the daylight flee, In the far wastes of sand and sun! Grant me with venturous heart to run On the old highway, where in pain And ecstasy man strives amain, Conquers his fellows, or, too weak, Finds the great rest that wanderers seek! Grant me the joy of wind and brine, The zest of food, the taste of wine, The fighter’s strength, the echoing strife The high tumultuous lists of life— May I ne’er lag, nor hapless fall, Nor weary at the battle-call!... But when the even brings surcease, Grant me the happy moorland peace; That in my heart’s depth ever lie That ancient land of heath and sky, Where the old rhymes and stories fall In kindly, soothing pastoral. There in the hills grave silence lies, And Death himself wears friendly guise There be my lot, my twilight stage, Dear city of my pilgrimage.


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Chicago: John Buchan, "From the Pentlands Looking North and South," The Moon Endureth: Tales and Fancies, trans. Evans, Sebastian in The Moon Endureth: Tales and Fancies Original Sources, accessed May 26, 2024,

MLA: Buchan, John. "From the Pentlands Looking North and South." The Moon Endureth: Tales and Fancies, translted by Evans, Sebastian, in The Moon Endureth: Tales and Fancies, Original Sources. 26 May. 2024.

Harvard: Buchan, J, 'From the Pentlands Looking North and South' in The Moon Endureth: Tales and Fancies, trans. . cited in , The Moon Endureth: Tales and Fancies. Original Sources, retrieved 26 May 2024, from