Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Coire Cheathaich; Or, the Glen of the Mist

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

Coire Cheathaich

Coire Cheathaich; Or, the Glen of the Mist

By Duncan Macintyre (1724–1812)

MY beauteous corri! where cattle wander,—

My misty corri! my darling dell!

Mighty, verdant, and covered over

With wild-flowers tender of sweetest smell;

Dark is the green of thy grassy clothing,

Soft swell thy hillocks most green and deep,

The cannach blowing, the darnel growing,

While the deer troop passed to the misty steep.

Fine for wear is thy beauteous mantle,

Strongly woven and ever new,

With rough grass o’er it, and, brightly gleaming,

The grass all spangled with diamond dew;

It ’s round my corri, my lovely corri,

Where rushes thicken and long reeds blow;

Fine were the harvest to any reaper

Who through the marsh and the bog could go.

Ah, that ’s fine clothing!—a great robe stretching,

A grassy carpet most smooth and green,

Painted and fed by the rain from heaven

In hues the bravest that man has seen,—

’Twixt here and Paris I do not fancy

A finer raiment can ever be,—

May it grow forever! and, late and early,

May I be here on the knolls to see!

Around Ruadh-Arisidh what ringlets cluster!

Fair, long, and crested, and closely twined,

This way and that they are lightly waving

At every breath of the mountain wind.

The twisted hemlock, the slanted rye-grass,

The juicy moor-grass, can all be found;

And the close-set groundsel is greenly growing

By the wood where heroes are sleeping sound.

In yonder ruin once dwelt MacBhaidi,

’T is now a desert where winds are shrill;

Yet the well-shaped brown ox is feeding by it,

Among the stones that bestrew the hill.

How fine to see, both in light and gloaming,

The smooth Clach-Fionn, so still and deep,

And the houseless cattle and calves most peaceful,

Grouped on the brow of the lonely steep.

In every nook of the mountain pathway

The garlic-flower may be thickly found;

And out on the sunny slopes around it

Hang berries juicy, and red, and round;

The pennyroyal and dandelion,

The downy cannach, together lie,—

Thickly they grow from the base of the mountain

To the topmost crag of his crest so high.

And not a crag but is clad most richly,

For rich and silvern the soft moss clings;

Fine is the moss, most clean and stainless,

Hiding the look of unlovely things;

Down in the hollows beneath the summit,

Where the verdure is growing most rich and deep,

The little daisies are looking upward,

And the yellow primroses often peep.


And sweet it was, when the white sun glimmered,

Listening under the crag to stand,

And hear the moor-hen so hoarsely croaking,

And the red-cock murmuring close at hand;

While the little wren blew his tiny trumpet,

And threw his steam off blithe and strong,

While the speckled thrush and the redbreast gayly

Lilted together a pleasant song!

Not a singer but joined the chorus,

Not a bird in the leaves was still.

First the laverock, that famous singer,

Led the music with throat so shrill;

From tall tree branches the blackbird whistled,

And the gray-bird joined with his sweet “coo-coo”;

Everywhere was the blithesome chorus,

Till the glen was murmuring through and through.

Then out of the shelter of every corri

Came forth the creature whose home is there:

First, proudly stepping, with branching antlers,

The snorting red-deer forsook his lair;

Through the sparkling fern he rushed rejoicing,

Or gently played by his heart’s delight;

The hind of the mountain, the sweet brown princess,

So fine, so dainty, so staid, so slight!

Under the light green branches creeping

The brown doe cropt the leaves unseen,

While the proud buck gravely stared around him,

And stamped his feet on his couch of green;

Smooth and speckled, with soft pink nostrils,

With beauteous head, lay the tiny kid;

All apart in the dewy rushes,

Sleeping unseen in its nest, ’t was hid.

My beauteous corri! my misty corri!

What light feet trod thee in joy and pride,

What strong hands gathered thy precious treasures,

What great hearts leaped on thy craggy side!

Soft and round was the nest they plundered,

Where the brindled bee his honey hath,—

The speckled bee that flies, softly humming,

From flower to flower of the lonely strath.

There thin-skinned, smooth, in clustering bunches,

With sweetest kernels as white as cream,

From branches green the sweet juice drawing,

The nuts were growing beside the stream—

And the stream went dancing merrily onward,

And the ripe, red rowan was on its brim,

And gently there, in the wind of morning,

The new-leaved sapling waved soft and slim.

And all around the lovely corri

The wild-birds sat on their nests so neat,

In deep, warm nooks and tufts of heather,

Sheltered by knolls from the wind and sleet;

And there from their beds, in the dew of the morning,

Uprose the doe and the stag of ten,

And the tall cliffs gleamed, and the morning reddened

The Coire Cheathaich,—the Misty Glen!