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

Ettrick Forest

On Ettrick Forest’s Mountains Dun

By Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

ON Ettrick Forest’s mountains dun

’T is blithe to hear the sportsman’s gun,

And seek the heath-frequenting brood

Far through the noonday solitude;

By many a cairn and trenchéd mound,

Where chiefs of yore sleep lone and sound,

And springs, where gray-haired shepherds tell,

That still the fairies love to dwell.

Along the silver streams of Tweed,

’T is blithe the mimic fly to lead,

When to the hook the salmon springs,

And the line whistles through the rings;

The boiling eddy see him try,

Then dashing from the current high,

Till watchful eye and cautious hand

Have led his wasted strength to land.

’T is blithe along the midnight tide

With stalwart arm the boat to guide;

On high the dazzling blaze to rear,

And heedful plunge the barbed spear;

Rock, wood, and scaur, emerging bright,

Fling on the stream their ruddy light,

And from the bank our band appears

Like Genii, armed with fiery spears.

’T is blithe at eve to tell the tale,

How we succeed, and how we fail,

Whether at Alywn’s lordly meal,

Or lowlier board of Ashestiel;

While the gay tapers cheerly shine,

Bickers the fire, and flows the wine,—

Days free from thought, and nights from care,

My blessing on the Forest fair.