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

Loch Skene

Loch Skene

By Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

(From Marmion)

YET him whose heart is ill at ease

Such peaceful solitudes displease;

He loves to drown his bosom’s jar

Amid the elemental war:

And my black palmer’s choice had been

Some ruder and more savage scene,

Like that which frowns round dark Lochskene.

There eagles scream from isle to shore;

Down all the rocks the torrents roar;

O’er the black waves incessant driven,

Dark mists infect the summer heaven;

Through the rude barriers of the lake,

Away its hurrying waters break,

Faster and whiter dash and curl,

Till down yon dark abyss they hurl.

Rises the fog-smoke white as snow,

Thunders the viewless stream below,

Diving, as if condemned to lave

Some demon’s subterranean cave,

Who, prisoned by enchanter’s spell,

Shakes the dark rock with groan and yell.

And well that palmer’s form and mien

Had suited with the stormy scene,

Just on the edge, straining his ken,

To view the bottom of the den,

Where, deep, deep down, and far within,

Toils with the rocks the roaring linn;

Then, issuing forth one foamy wave,

And wheeling round the Giant’s Grave,

White as the snowy charger’s tail,

Drives down the pass of Moffatdale.