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



By Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865)

OLD Holyrood! Edina’s pride,

When erst, in regal state arrayed,

The mitred abbots told their beads,

And chanted ’neath thy hallowed shade,

And nobles, in thy palace courts,

Revel and dance and pageant led,

And trump to tilt and tourney called,

And royal hands the banquet spread;

A lingering beauty still is thine,

Though age on age has o’er thee rolled,

Since good King David reared thy walls,

With turrets proud and tracery bold.

And still the Norman’s pointed arch

Its interlacing blends sublime

With Gothic columns’ clustered strength,

Where foliage starts and roses climb.

High o’er thy head rude Arthur’s Seat

And Salisbury Crag in ledges rise,

Where love the hurtling winds to shriek

Wild chorus to the wintry skies.

Thy roofless chapel, stained with years,

And paved with tombstones damp and low,

Yon gloomy vault, whose grated doors

The bones of prince and chieftain show

Unburied, while from pictured hall,

In armor decked, or antique crown,

A strange interminable line

Of Scotia’s kings looks grimly down.


But most, of Scotia’s fairest flower,

Old Holyrood with mournful grace

Doth every withered petal hoard,

And dwell on each recorded trace.

I ’ve stood upon the castled height,

Where green Carlisle its turrets rears,

And mused on Mary’s grated cell,

Her smitten hopes, her captive tears,

When from Lochleven’s dreary fosse,

From Langside’s transient gleam of bliss,

She threw herself on queenly faith,

On kindred blood,—for this! for this!

I ’ve marked along the stagnant moat

Her stinted walk mid soldiers grim,

Or, listening, caught the burst of woe

That mingled with her vesper-hymn;

Or ’neath the shades of Fotheringay

In vision seen the faded eye,

The step subdued, the prayer devout,

The sentenced victim led to die.

But simpler relics, fond and few,

That in this palace-chamber lie,

Of woman’s lot and woman’s care,

Touch tenderer chords of sympathy,—

The arras, with its storied lore,

By her own busy needle wrought;

The couch, where oft her throbbing brow

For sweet oblivion vainly sought;

The basket, once with infant robes

So rich, her own serene employ,

While o’er each lovely feature glowed

A mother’s yet untasted joy;

The candelabra’s fretted shaft,

Beside whose flickering midnight flame

In sad communion still she bent

With genial France, from whence it came;

Those sunny skies, those hearts refined,

The wreaths that Love around her threw,

The homage of a kneeling realm,

The misery of her last adieu!

Yon secret stairs, yon closet nook,

The swords that through the arras gleam,

Rude Darnley’s ill-dissembled joy,

Lost Rizzio’s shrill, despairing scream,

The chapel decked for marriage rite,

The royal bride, with flushing cheek,

Triumphant Bothwell’s hateful glance,—

Alas! alas! what words they speak!