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Unto The Hills

IN sunlight or in starlight, against the slow procession of the seasons, when these frail hands of mine grow tired of holding the golden ball of life O little gods of the hills and rivers, grant me happily to grow old.

And, being old, to sit beside my own hearthstone (a faithful dog or cat curled at my feet), smiling a little, sighing a little, turning the tattered leaves of memory which is all I shall have left, or deserve. Beyond the window, if God is good, there will be a line of blue hills, near enough to stir the aged blood -- yet not too near, in case the call to wander along remembered paths should become too strong. . . .

For the hills that were once mine will belong to others then -- the young, the strong, the brave; and I, in my world of shadows, must be content to have it so. My day will be done, my rest earned, my place already prepared in the quiet earth which shall take me again unto itself.

. . . And you, dear Shadows, who have heard and understood the faery flutings,and the sad songs -- you, too, will be old, older than I -- or perhaps you will already be gathered into the sunset.

It is a sad time, the gloaming of life -- and yet. . . . This be our comfort. That though we ourselves must pass like cloud-shadows into the Unknown, the hills that we loved will remain, a challenge and an inspiration to the yet unborn.

"Over the sea to Skye." A seascape from Gairloch

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