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Aemula Thessalicis en hic Ionstonia Tempe,
spacerHospes, hyperboreo fusa sub axe vides.
Mille per ambages nitidis argenteus undis
spacerHic trepidat laetos Urius inter agros.
Explicat hic seras ingens Bennachius umbras,spacer 5
spacerNox ubi libratur lance diesque pari.
Gemmifer est amnis, radiat mons ipse lapillis,
spacerQueis nihil Eous purius orbis habet.
Hic pandit Natura sinum, nativaque surgens
spacer Purpura felicem sub pede ditat humum. spacer 10
Aera per liquidum volucres, in flumine pisces,
spacerAdspicis in pratis luxuriare pecus.
Hic seges est, hic poma rubent, onerantur aristis
spacerArva, suas aegre sustinet arbor opes.
Propter aquas arx est, ipsi contermina caelo, spacer 15
spacerAuctoris menti non tamen aequa sui.
Imperat haec arvis et vectigalibus undis,
spacerEt famula stadiis distat ab urbe tribus.
Haec mihi terra parens: gens has Ionstonia lymphas,
    Arvaque per centum missa tuetur avos. spacer 20
Clara Maroneis evasit Mantua cunis,
spacerMe mea natalis nobilitabit humus.

Here, traveller! a vale behold,
As fair as Tempe's, famed of old,
spacerBeneath the northern sky;
Here Ury, with her silver waves,
Her banks in smiling verdure laves, spacer 5
spacerAnd winding wimples by.

Here, towering high, Bennachie spreads
Around on all his evening shades,
spacerWhen twilight grey comes on;
With sparkling gems the river glows; spacer10
As precious stones the mountain shows,
spacer As in the East are known.

Here Nature spreads a bosom sweet,
And native dyes beneath the feet
spacerBedeck the joyous ground;spacer15
Sport in the liquid air the birds,
And fishes in the stream, the herds
spacerIn meadows wanton round.

Here ample barn-yards still are stored
With relics of last autumn's hoard, spacer20
spacerAnd firstlings of the year;
There waving fields of yellow corn,
And ruddy apples that adorn
spacer The bending boughs, appear.

Beside the stream, a castle proud spacer25
Rises amid the passing cloud,
spacerAnd rules a wide domain
(Unequal to its Lord's desert):
A village near, with lowlier art,
spacer Is built upon the plain. spacer30

Here was I born; o’er all the land
Around, the Johnstons bear command.
spacerOf high and ancient line.
Mantua acquired a noted name,
As Virgil's birth-place; I my fame spacer35
spacerInherit shall from mine.


5 gemmifer est amnis The ‘gems’ in the river are probably pearls. Cf. Geddes II p. 281, Encomia Urbium 19 (Kintorium), v. 5, Plebs legit hic baccas, with his note. The Don, of which the Urie is a tributary, was well known for its pearls. spacer

spacer6 Nox ubi libratur &c Here the English goes slightly astray. Chambers and Thomson, p. 264: “With the minuteness of an enthusiast, (Johnston) does not omit the circumstance, that the hill of Benochie, a conical elevation about eight miles distant, casts its shadow over Caskieben at the periods of the equinox.”

spacer12f. Hic seges... opes For the prior tercet “Here ample... year” there is no Latin. It looks as if the translator, having decided on his scheme of each Latin couplet = one English tercet, found himself with too few couplets to make it work, and so inserted a tercet of “filler.” Alternatively, a copyist lost a Latin couplet about the outbuildings; i.e.: here, the barnyard; there, the wheatfields and orchards. But against this is the consideration that the poem was reprinted in its present form in Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, Amsterdam, 1637, p. 601, an anthology partially edited by Johnstone himself (for the story of its assembly, see T. D. Robb, “Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum,” in Proceedings of the Royal Philosophical society of Glasgow 39 (1907 - 08) 91 - 120, and Steven J. Reid, “Quasi Sibyllae folia dispersa: The Anatomy of the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (1637),” in Janet Hadley Williams and J. Derrick McClure, Fresche Fontanis: Studies in the Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013), 395 - 412)

spacer15 Propter aquas arx est I. e., Caskieben, near Inverury. The castle itself no longer exists; it is said to have been very close to the present Keith Hall (formerly itself called Caskieben).

spacer16 Auctoris menti non tamen aequa sui “These two boys [Arthur and his brother William], deprived of their father's care when the elder was but in his sixth year [i. e., 1593], owed the upbringing which prepared them for the eminence they attained, to their brother, John, who was already in his majority when Arthur was born, In the poem upon his birthplace...Arthur refers with delicate feeling to his eldest brother in (these) lines.” (Davidson 164 - 6. Davidson assumes that Arthur’s birthdate was 1587; if the revised date of 1577 is accepted, he was not six but sixteen when his father died).