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

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond

By Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865)

WHILE down the lake’s translucent tide

With gently curving course we glide,

Its silver ripples, faint and few,

Alternate blend with belts of blue,

As fleecy clouds, on pinions white,

Careering fleck the welkin bright.

But lo! Ben Lomond’s awful crown

Through shrouding mists looks dimly down;

For though perchance his piercing eye

Doth read the secrets of the sky,

His haughty bosom scorns to show

Those secrets to the world below.

Close-woven shades, with varying grace,

And crag and cavern, mark his base,

And trees, whose naked roots protrude

From bed of rock and lichens rude;

And where, mid dizzier cliffs are seen

Entangled thickets sparsely green,

Methinks I trace, in outline drear,

Old Fingal with his shadowy spear,

His gray locks streaming to the gale,

And followed by his squadrons pale.

Yes, slender aid from Fancy’s glass

It needs, as round these shores we pass,

Mid glen and thicket dark, to scan

The wild MacGregor’s savage clan

Emerging, at their chieftain’s call,

To foray or to festival;

While nodding plumes and tartans bright

Gleam wildly o’er each glancing height.

But as the spectral vapors rolled

Away in vestments dropped with gold,

The healthier face of summer sky,

With the shrill bagpipe’s melody,

Recalls, o’er distant ocean’s foam,

The fondly treasured scenes of home;

And thoughts, on angel-pinions driven,

Drop in the heart the seeds of heaven,

Those winged seeds whose fruit sublime

Decays not with decaying time.

The loving child, the favorite theme

Of morning hour or midnight dream;

The tender friend so lowly laid

Mid our own churchyard’s mournful shade;

The smitten babe, who nevermore

Must sport around its father’s door,—

Return they not, as phantoms glide,

And silent seat them at our side?

Like Highland maiden, sweetly fair,

The snood and rosebud in her hair,

Yon emerald isles, how calm they sleep

On the pure bosom of the deep;

How bright they throw, with waking eye,

Their lone charms on the passer by;

The willow, with its drooping stem,

The thistle’s hyacinthine gem,

The feathery fern, the graceful deer,

Quick starting as the strand we near,

While, with closed wing and scream subdued,

The osprays nurse their kingly brood.

High words of praise, the pulse that stir,

Burst from each joyous voyager;

And Scotia’s streams and mountains hoar,

The wildness of her sterile shore,

Her broken caverns, that prolong

The echoes of her minstrel song,

Methinks might catch the enthusiast-tone,

That breathes amid these waters lone.

Even I, from far Columbia’s shore,

Whose lakes a mightier tribute pour,

And bind with everlasting chain

The unshorn forest to the main,—

Superior’s surge, like ocean proud,

That leaps to lave the vexing cloud;

Huron, that rolls with gathering frown

A world of waters darkly down;

And Erie, shuddering on his throne

At strong Niagara’s earthquake tone;

And bold Ontario, charged to keep

The barrier ’tween them and the deep,

Who oft in sounds of wrath and fear,

And dark with cloud-wreathed diadem,

Interpreteth to Ocean’s ear

Their language, and his will to them,—

I, reared amid that western vale,

Where Nature works on broader scale,

Still with admiring thought and free,

Loch Lomond, love to gaze on thee,

Reluctant from thy beauties part,

And bless thee with a stranger’s heart.