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



By William Leighton (1841–1869)

MOUNTAIN-TOP o’er mountain rising,

Crag o’er crag, and steep o’er steep;

Rugged scenes, the heart surprising

With an awe profound and deep;

Mountain streamlets gliding onward

With a swift unceasing flow,—

Rushing, pouring, hurrying downward

To the rivulet below,

Which in mellow music surges

All its rocky channels through;

And along the mountain gorges

Frequent peeps of heavenly blue.

All around the waving heather,

And the rocks so stern and brown;

Somewhere from the far-off ether

Dulcet lark-notes dropping down:

On yon crag a raven perching;

And a mist-cloud, wave on wave,

Brooding like some ghostly arching

O’er the mouth of Ossian’s cave.

And I sit and watch the gushing

Of the little rivulet,

With its crystal waters rushing

On in ceaseless foam and fret;

Beetling crags o’erhanging lonely

Caverns wrapt in thunder-gloom,

Where the mountain-eagle only

In their shadow finds a home;

Rocks upraised like stately columns;

Passes where the wild wind plays;—

I can read them all like volumes

Filled with tales of vanished days.

’T is a morning in September,

And a breeze steals down the hill,

Sending all at once a chill

Through the frame, and I remember

I am sitting in Glencoe,—

With its scenery enchanting,

With its crags and streamlets haunting,—

And my fancy wanders back

To that morning long ago,

When, across the frozen snow,

Echoed o’er the mountains black

Warriors’ curses uttered plainly,

Women’s voices pleading vainly,

Yells and shouts and frantic crying,

Clanging shocks of angry steel,

And, dealt above the dead and dying,

Blows which strong arms only deal!


Slumberous peace and awful silence

Brood above this valley now,

As if never sounds of violence

Thrilled its echoing gorges through;

Gone the clang of warfare glorious!

Hushed the pibroch in the glen!

Perished all the wild uproarious

Noise and tramp of arméd men!

Desolation without measure!

No sweet homestead here and there;

No fair cottage with its azure

Smoke-wreath rising through the air!

No home sounds to follow after

Wild goat’s bleat or eaglet’s wail,—

Childhood’s voice or girlish laughter

Echoing through the quiet vale!

In one spot the ruins only

Of the homes of murdered men,

Make the loneliness more lonely,

Add a weirdness to the glen:

And vague thoughts of awful mystery

Overwhelm me like a blast,

Blowing from the page of History

All the horrors of the Past,—

As I view the phantoms flitting

From their graves of long ago,

And remember I am sitting

In the valley of Glencoe.