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



By George Gilfillan (1813–1878)

(From Night)

FROM Avon backward to the north we fly,

And see blind Ossian sitting ’neath the moon,

His hair a snowy storm, his solemn eye

A star eclipsed, yet burning through its veil;

Unbent his stature, and his cheek a rose,

Blooming beneath a glacier’s icy shade,

Glencoe’s dark hills above him sternly piled,

Here running into ridgy walls of rock,

There shooting up in naked, lonely peaks,

Where eagles build, and storms essay to pause,

But cannot for their weary feet find rest,

Scourged ever onward by a viewless wrath;

And where the clouds disport their misty wings,

And weave their crowns of vapor or of fire,

With colors cold as lead or warm as gold.

Now breaking into those prodigious shapes,

Those three wild mountains, the Weird Sisters named,

Colossal company of Gorgon heads,

Shedding strange night and fear upon the vale;

And yonder, bending in one awful frown

Of dark and beetling rock upon a lake,

Which in enchanted terror sleeps below,

Its dream the “Black Crag of Glencoe” forever!

While through the whole a melancholy voice

As of a spirit, bound in watery chains,

Goes onward night and day in endless wail,

Recalling now some past of agony,

Prophetic now of direr coming woe.

It is the cry of Cona, lonely stream!

And with that cry are blended kindred sounds:

Winds stirring the wild myrtle and the heath;

Crags toppling down, and falling at the foot

Of the blind bard, who hears besides the notes

Of foxes’ howl, scream of awakened bird,

Snow sliding off some wall-like precipice,

And voice of spirits passing through the night,

On moonbeams riding, or on lightning forks

Transfixed and writhing in their hopeless doom.