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.
 
Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond
Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865)
 
WHILE down the lake’s translucent tide
With gently curving course we glide,
Its silver ripples, faint and few,
Alternate blend with belts of blue,
As fleecy clouds, on pinions white,        5
Careering fleck the welkin bright.
  But lo! Ben Lomond’s awful crown
Through shrouding mists looks dimly down;
For though perchance his piercing eye
Doth read the secrets of the sky,        10
His haughty bosom scorns to show
Those secrets to the world below.
  Close-woven shades, with varying grace,
And crag and cavern, mark his base,
And trees, whose naked roots protrude        15
From bed of rock and lichens rude;
And where, mid dizzier cliffs are seen
Entangled thickets sparsely green,
Methinks I trace, in outline drear,
Old Fingal with his shadowy spear,        20
His gray locks streaming to the gale,
And followed by his squadrons pale.
  Yes, slender aid from Fancy’s glass
It needs, as round these shores we pass,
Mid glen and thicket dark, to scan        25
The wild MacGregor’s savage clan
Emerging, at their chieftain’s call,
To foray or to festival;
While nodding plumes and tartans bright
Gleam wildly o’er each glancing height.        30
 
  But as the spectral vapors rolled
Away in vestments dropped with gold,
The healthier face of summer sky,
With the shrill bagpipe’s melody,
Recalls, o’er distant ocean’s foam,        35
The fondly treasured scenes of home;
And thoughts, on angel-pinions driven,
Drop in the heart the seeds of heaven,
Those winged seeds whose fruit sublime
Decays not with decaying time.        40
  The loving child, the favorite theme
Of morning hour or midnight dream;
The tender friend so lowly laid
Mid our own churchyard’s mournful shade;
The smitten babe, who nevermore        45
Must sport around its father’s door,—
Return they not, as phantoms glide,
And silent seat them at our side?
 
  Like Highland maiden, sweetly fair,
The snood and rosebud in her hair,        50
Yon emerald isles, how calm they sleep
On the pure bosom of the deep;
How bright they throw, with waking eye,
Their lone charms on the passer by;
The willow, with its drooping stem,        55
The thistle’s hyacinthine gem,
The feathery fern, the graceful deer,
Quick starting as the strand we near,
While, with closed wing and scream subdued,
The osprays nurse their kingly brood.        60
 
  High words of praise, the pulse that stir,
Burst from each joyous voyager;
And Scotia’s streams and mountains hoar,
The wildness of her sterile shore,
Her broken caverns, that prolong        65
The echoes of her minstrel song,
Methinks might catch the enthusiast-tone,
That breathes amid these waters lone.
Even I, from far Columbia’s shore,
Whose lakes a mightier tribute pour,        70
And bind with everlasting chain
The unshorn forest to the main,—
Superior’s surge, like ocean proud,
That leaps to lave the vexing cloud;
Huron, that rolls with gathering frown        75
A world of waters darkly down;
And Erie, shuddering on his throne
At strong Niagara’s earthquake tone;
And bold Ontario, charged to keep
The barrier ’tween them and the deep,        80
  Who oft in sounds of wrath and fear,
And dark with cloud-wreathed diadem,
  Interpreteth to Ocean’s ear
Their language, and his will to them,—
I, reared amid that western vale,        85
Where Nature works on broader scale,
Still with admiring thought and free,
Loch Lomond, love to gaze on thee,
Reluctant from thy beauties part,
And bless thee with a stranger’s heart.        90
 
 
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