Lays of the Covenant

David McAllister (1835-1907) was a Reformed Presbyterian minister who labored tirelessly for the cause of "Christ's Crown & Covenant" in America. He also, as he tells us in the introduction to a volume he edited titled Poets and Poems of the Covenant (1894), had an admiration not only for the Scottish Presbyterian Covenanters who sacrificed so much during the "Fifty Year Struggle" for freedom (1638-1688), but also for the poetic tributes their story has brought forth from so many gifted poets over the years, among them Robert Burns, William Cowper and William Wordsworth (as well as, for example, the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson). McAllister's carefully compiled volume, like J.C. Johnston's Treasury of the Covenant (1887) and James A. Dickson's Poems of Fighting Faith (1988), show the inspiration given to so many poets by the Covenanters whose blood was shed for Christ. 

Read the introduction for its personal reflections on how the history of the Covenanters has impacted the editor, and to better understand the principles that the Covenanters believed in and died for. Then read the fascinating biographical sketches helpfully contributed for each poet represented. If you can, read all the poems within this precious volume, but if your time is limited, consider especially James Hyslop's "The Cameronian Dream." As noted by McAllister, this is "the most popular of all poems ever written about the Covenanters." 

It begins on p. 25 thus:

In a dream of the night I was wafted away
To the moorland of mist where the martyrs lay;
Where Cameron's sword and his Bible are seen,
Engraved on the stone where the heather grows green.