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.
 
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)
 
(From Marmion)

NOT here need my desponding rhyme
Lament the ravages of time,
As erst by Newark’s riven towers,
And Ettrick stripped of forest bowers.
True, Caledonia’s queen is changed,        5
Since, on her dusky summit ranged,
Within its steepy limits pent,
By bulwark, line, and battlement,
And flanking towers, and laky flood,
Guarded and garrisoned she stood,        10
Denying entrance or resort,
Save at each tall embattled port;
Above whose arch, suspended, hung
Portcullis spiked with iron prong.
That long is gone,—but not so long,        15
Since, early closed, and opening late,
Jealous revolved the studded gate,
Whose task, from eve to morning tide,
A wicket churlishly supplied.
Stern then, and steel-girt was thy brow,        20
Dun-Edin! O, how altered now,
When safe amid thy mountain court
Thou sitt’st, like empress at her sport,
And, liberal, unconfined, and free,
Flinging thy white arms to the sea,        25
For thy dark cloud with umbered lower,
That hung o’er cliff and lake and tower,
Thou gleam’st against the western ray
Ten thousand lines of brighter day.
*        *        *        *        *
  So thou, fair city! disarrayed        30
Of battled wall and rampart’s aid,
As stately seem’st, but lovelier far
Than in that panoply of war.
Nor deem that from thy fenceless throne
Strength and security are flown;        35
Still, as of yore, queen of the north!
Still canst thou send thy children forth.
Ne’er readier at alarm-bell’s call
Thy burghers rose to man thy wall,
Than now, in danger, shall be thine,        40
Thy dauntless voluntary line;
For fosse and turret proud to stand,
Their breasts the bulwarks of the land.
Thy thousands, trained to martial toil,
Full red would stain their native soil,        45
Ere from thy mural crown there fell
The slightest knosp or pinnacle.
And if it come, as come it may,
Dun-Edin! that eventful day,
Renowned for hospitable deed,        50
That virtue much with heaven may plead,
In patriarchal times whose care
Descending angels deigned to share;
That claim may wreslle blessings down
On those who fight for the good town,        55
Destined in every age to be
Refuge of injured royalty;
Since first, when conquering York arose,
To Henry meek she gave repose,
Till late, with wonder, grief, and awe,        60
Great Bourbon’s relics, sad she saw.
 
 
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