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

Ailsa Crag

Ailsa Crag

By John Nichol (1833–1894)

A SEA-GIRT precipice, in lonely rest,

Upstarting sheer from out the dark green deep;

I watch thee steadfast with thy columned crest.

Whether the stars their silent vigils keep,

Or the bright lances of the morning sweep

Athwart the mountains, thou hast firmly stood

By night and day, with all undaunted steep;

Ages have rolled, and thou art unsubdued,

A landmark calm and still, amid the weltering flood.

Bathed in the sombre light of eventide,

The great sun slowly draws his shafts around,

While gently heaves the breast of ocean wide;

The wavelets, murmuring with a mellow sound,

From thy gray base in playful mood rebound;

The sea beneath thee gleams with golden light;

In joyous quiet smiles the plain profound;

Set in the main o’er all the verge of sight,

Lit by the rays like gems, the islands glitter bright.

Fair in the distance mark the sunlit land,

Long Carrick’s coast,—the line of gay Cantire;

Far westward shines the dim-traced emerald strand;

High the surrounding battlements aspire,

And throw vast shadows in the fading fire.

See the majestic hills of Arran rise,

Wind-wrestling Goatfell and his rugged choir;

Argyll’s tall ridges cleave the soaring skies;

Beyond the misty north the mighty Lomond lies.