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


Deirdrè’s Farewell to Alba

By From the Gaelic

  • Anonymous Translation
  • Deirdrè, wife of Naise, the son of Usna, returning with her husband to Emania in Erin, laments for Alba (Scotland) her adopted country.

  • ALAS! and alas, my sorrow!

    The pain that hath no relief,

    Alas! for the dreadful morrow

    To dawn on our day of grief!—

    O land in the orient glowing,

    The last of thy smiles hath shone

    On us, for Fate’s wind is blowing,

    And the wave of our doom speeds on,

    And a blight from the westward cometh, and the bloom of our life is gone!

    O land of the morn-bright mountains

    With the purple moors at their feet,

    Of the clear leaf-mirroring fountains

    And rivers of waters sweet;

    Of the fragrant wood-bowers twining,

    And the cataract’s sounding roar,

    Of the lakes in their splendor shining,

    With the pine-woods whispering o’er,—

    Ah! naught but my lord, my lover, could lure me from thy green shore!

    Sweet is it in Daro’s valley

    To list to the falling rill,

    To the breeze in the woodland alley

    And the goshawk’s note from the hill,

    To the light-winged swallow pursuing

    His mate with a joyous cry,

    To the cuckoo’s voice and the cooing

    Of doves in the pine-tops high,

    And the throstle’s song in the thicket, and the lark’s from the morning sky!

    Under the summer arbor

    By the fresh sea-breezes fanned,

    Where the waters of Drayno’s harbor

    Sing over silver sand,

    Happy from morn till even

    We ’ve watched the seabirds play,

    And the ocean meeting the heaven

    In the distance far away,

    And the gleam of the white-sailed galleys, and the flash of the sunlit spray!

    In Masan the green, the blooming,

    How happy our days did pass;

    Many its flowers perfuming,

    And studding like gems the grass:

    There the Foxglove purpled the hollow,

    And the Iris flaunted its gold,

    And the flower that waits for the swallow,

    Its dainty bloom to unfold,

    With the Hyacinth blue and the Primrose, laught in the breezy wold.

    In Eta of sunny weather

    ’Neath our happy home-porch hid,

    On venison sweet from the heather

    And flesh of the mountain kid,

    On game from the forest cover

    And fish from the crystal stream,

    We feasted till eve was over,

    And the moon with her silver gleam

    Soared o’er the dusky pine-woods out from the realm of dream.

    O land of the East! O Giver

    Of freedom from sore distress!

    O land where no cloud came ever

    To darken our happiness!

    O home of pleasure and promise

    And peace unto mine and me,

    When I see thy shores fade from us,

    I sigh in my misery,

    And send my voice o’er the waters crying farewell to thee!