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

Loch Leven

Loch Leven Castle

By Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865)

THOU rude and ancient pile,

Holding thy vigil lone,

Amid the heath-clad isle,

Where Leven’s waters moan,

Show me the prison-tower

Of Scotland’s fairest queen,

Who, reared in Gallia’s royal bower,

Endured thy tyrant spleen.

Count me the thousand sighs

Her tortured bosom poured,

The tears that dimmed those eyes

Which rival kings adored,

Unfold her darkened fate,

A haughty brother’s scorn,

Of her own native realm, the hate,

Of maddened love, the thorn.

Methinks a midnight boat

Still cleaves yon silent tide,

Its glimmering torchlights float

In mingled fear and pride;

Young Douglas wildly steers,

His throbbing heart beats high,

As freedom’s long-lost radiance cheers

The rescued prisoner’s eye.

He sees no vision pale

Where axe and scaffold gleam,

He hears no stifled wail,

He marks no life-blood stream.

With ill-dissembled mien,

Who wields yon vengeful rod?

Who made thee judge, thou English queen?

Her sins are with her God.

Hark! from yon mouldering cell

The owl her shriek repeats,

And all the tissued spell

Of wildering fancy fleets;

Lochleven’s ruined towers

Once more the moonbeams flout,

And tangled herbage chokes those bowers

Whence the rich harp breathed out.

The lake’s unruffled breast

Expands like mirror clear,

With emerald islets drest,

Each in its hermit-sphere;

Yet from those fair retreats

Do mournful memories flow,

And every murmuring shade repeats

Mary of Scotland’s woe.