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



By Alexander Smith (1830–1867)

O WONDERFUL mountain of Blaavin,

How oft since our parting hour

You have roared with the wintry torrents,

You have gloomed through the thunder-shower!

But by this time the lichens are creeping

Gray-green o’er your rocks and your stones,

And each hot afternoon is steeping

Your bulk in its sultriest bronze.

O, sweet is the spring wind, Blaavin,

When it loosens your torrents’ flow,

When with one little touch of a sunny hand

It unclasps your cloak of snow.

O, sweet is the spring wind, Blaavin,

And sweet it was to me!

For before the bell of the snowdrop

Or the pink of the apple-tree,

Long before your first spring torrent

Came down with a flash and a whirl,

In the breast of its happy mother

There nestled my little girl.

O Blaavin, rocky Blaavin,

It was with the strangest start

That I felt, at the little querulous cry,

The new pulse awake in my heart;

A pulse that will live and beat, Blaavin,

Till, standing round my bed,

While the chirrup of birds is heard out in the dawn,

The watchers whisper, He ’s dead!

O, another heart is mine, Blaavin,

Sin’ this time seven year,

For life is brighter by a charm,

Death darker by a fear.

O Blaavin, rocky Blaavin,

How I long to be with you again,

To see lashed gulf and gully

Smoke white in the windy rain,—

To see in the scarlet sunrise

The mist-wreaths perish with heat,

The wet rock slide with a trickling gleam

Right down to the cataract’s feet;

While towards the crimson islands,

Where the sea-birds flutter and skirl,

A cormorant flaps o’er a sleek ocean floor

Of tremulous mother-of-pearl.

Ah me! as wearily I tread

The winding hill-road mute and slow,

Each rock and rill are to my heart

So conscious of the long-ago.

My passion with its fulness ached,

I filled this region with my love,

Ye listened to me, barrier crags,

Thou heard’st me singing, blue above.

O, never can I know again

The sweetness of that happy dream,

But thou remember’st, iron crag,

And thou remember’st, falling stream!

O, look not so on me, ye rocks.

The past is past, and let it be;

Thy music, ever-falling stream,

Brings more of pain than joy to me.

O cloud, high dozing on the peak,

O tarn, that gleams so far below,

O distant ocean, blue and sleek,

On which the white sails come and go,

Ye look the same; thou sound’st the same,

Thou ever-falling, falling stream,—

Ye are the changeless dial-face

And I the passing beam.

As adown the long glen I hurried,

With the torrent from fall to fall,

The invisible spirit of Blaavin

Seemed ever on me to call.

As I passed the red lake fringed with rushes

A duck burst away from its breast,

And before the bright circles and wrinkles

Had subsided again into rest,

At a clear open turn of the roadway

My passion went up in a cry,

For the wonderful mountain of Blaavin

Was bearing his huge bulk on high,

Each precipice keen and purple

Against the yellow sky.