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

Inch Cailliach

Inch Cailliach

By Andrew James Symington (1826–1898)

THE OARS dip, and we lightly skim away,

Leaving behind Dumcruin’s fairy-knowe,

Cone-shaped, and to the summit darkly clad

With bristling pines. Before us, lofty Ben

Towers, green as emerald, in the sunny sky.

Swiftly we dart ’tween islands fair, that gem

The bosom of the loch; a rippling wake,

On which sun-sparkles play, diverging far

On either side. Inch Cailliach, overgrown

With dingle brushwood, copse, and greenery,

Like some enchanted isle, emerges from

The clear blue lake. We thither turn the prow,

And soon the keel, impelled by lusty strokes,

Runs up the sloping sand-beach. Joyously

We leap ashore, and leave the tiny skiff,

To lose ourselves in thickets, fragrant all

With tufted meadow-sweet, bog-myrtle, heath;

And gather blaeberries, till hands and lips

Are deeply stained with the purple juice.

Now gazing on the summit of the isle

From the old kirkyard,—for here, in ancient times,

Mid pibrochs wild, in boats the dead were borne

Across the lake, to sleep their last long sleep.

Lo! what a scene of tranquil loveliness!

Kilpatrick braes and Leven’s verdant slopes,

In gentle undulation, stretch away

Towards the south; while towering in the north,

Benvoirlich and the high Glenfalloch range;

Huge mountain masses, sterile rocky steeps,

With blue crags, bound the distance. Over Luss

And Tarbet lie the heights of Arroquhar,

Loch Long and dark Loch Goil; the Cobbler’s strange

Fantastic peak conspicuous in the view.