Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Scotland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII.  1876–79.
 
Dunstaffnage Castle
Dunstaffnage Castle
Cora Kennedy Aitken
 
BROKEN Dunstaffnage by the western sea,
Thou art as dark as any old misdeed
Committed in thy lonely towers could be!
Thou ’rt like a life too gloomy to succeed,
That preys upon itself and dies of need.        5
Yet thou wert born in History’s early dawn,
Of warlike race and brood, a stately thing
Created strong and fearless to adorn
The vales that wooed thee for thy sheltering.
To-day what valley of them all takes heed        10
Of thee? They smile and dance beneath the corn—
E’en the great ocean flaunts thee with its scorn!
Now hath a new-born babe more power than thou,
For it hath life,—thine perished long ago.
And yet, Dunstaffnage, I should do thee wrong,        15
Thou, who hast held great Scotland in amaze,
To image piteous these later days
And leave thy glorious memories unsung!
Within thee when the Christian world was young,
Twelve centuries ago, fame’s minstrels sang,        20
Whispered thy name and victory’s bugles rang!
Great kings anointed here with blast of song,
With trumpets blowing and with clash of spears
Knelt to the patriarch of their royal years,
The holy stone, 1 that Scone deprived thee of        25
When first men ceased to fear thee and to love!
Thou great Dunstaffnage, though we cannot save
Thy life, we may at least revere thy grave!
 
Note 1. Coronation-stone of the Kings of Scotland, taken from Iona to Dunstaffnage, thence to Scone, and last to Westminster Abbey, where it has been for six hundred years. [back]
 
 
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