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.
 
Kilda, the Island
Kilda
David Mallet (c. 1705–1765)
 
(From Amyntor and Theodora)

FAR in the watery waste, where his broad wave,
From world to world, the vast Atlantic rolls
On from the piny shores of Labrador
To frozen Thulé east, her airy height
Aloft to heaven remotest Kilda lifts;        5
Last of the sea-girt Hebrides, that guard,
In filial train, Britannia’s parent coast.
Thrice happy land! though freezing on the verge
Of arctic skies, yet blameless still of arts
That polish to deprave each softer clime;        10
With simple nature, simple virtue blest!
Beyond Ambition’s walk; where never War
Upreared his sanguine standard, nor unsheathed
For wealth or power the desolating sword;
Where Luxury, soft siren, who around        15
To thousand nations deals her nectared cup
Of pleasing bane, that soothes at once and kills,
Is yet a name unknown. But calm content
That lives to reason; ancient faith that binds
The plain community of guileless hearts        20
In love and union; innocence of ill
Their guardian genius: these the powers that rule
This little world, to all its sons secure;
Man’s happiest life; the soul serene and sound
From passion’s rage, the body from disease.        25
Red on each cheek behold the rose of health;
Firm in each sinew vigor’s pliant spring,
By temperance braced to peril and to pain
Amid the floods they stem, or on the steep
Of upright rocks their straining steps surmount,        30
For food or pastime. These light up their morn,
And close their eve in slumbers sweetly deep,
Beneath the north, within the circling swell
Of ocean’s raging sound. But last and best,
What avarice, what ambition shall not know,        35
True liberty is theirs, the heaven-sent guest,
Who in the cave, or on the uncultured wild,
With independence dwells; and peace of mind,
In youth, in age, their sun that never sets.
 
 
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