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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Don, the River

Address to the Don

By William Thom (1798?–1848)

  • Don rises in Strathdon, and receives (besides other small rivers) Nochty, from Invernochty, Bucket, from Glenbucket, and Ury, from Inverary, parishes. It falls into the sea at Old Aberdeen, where it has a fair bridge of one arch, built it is supposed about A.D. 1320, by King Robert Bruce, while this see was vacant by the flight of Bishop Cheyne,—the bridge of Balgownie, celebrated by Lord Byron’s reminiscences.

  • DARK Don, thy water’s rude repulsive scowl

    And frothy margin all too well bespeak

    The upland ravages, the conflict bleak

    Of mountain winter; and the maddened howl

    Of bruiting elements, distraught and foul,

    Have ruffled thy fair course and choked thy braes.

    Love flies affrightened at thy swollen look;

    The laverock may not hear its own sweet lays

    O’er thy fierce chaffings, and the timid brook

    Sinks tremblingly amid thy surfy maze,

    Thou cold remembrancer of wilder human ways!

    So soiled the social tide by some cursed deed

    Of ancient ruffian or fool, so ages read

    To weeping worlds of hearts that bled,

    Of patriots and sages that have died

    Ere that broad stream was half repurified.

    Roll thy dark waters, Don,—we yet shall see

    On thy bright bosom the fair symmetry

    Of vaulted heaven, when the shrill lark pours

    Voluptuous melody to listening flowers,

    And all of man, of earth, and air shall feel

    What hate and darkness hurteth love and light can heal!