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

Loch Lomond

The Brownie

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

  • Upon a small island not far from the head of Loch Lomond are some remains of an ancient building, which was for several years the abode of a solitary individual, one of the last survivors of the clan of Macfarlane, once powerful in that neighborhood. Passing along the shore opposite this island in the year 1814, the author learned these particulars, and that this person then living there had acquired the appellation of “The Brownie.”

  • “HOW disappeared he?” Ask the newt and toad;

    Ask of his fellow-men, and they will tell

    How he was found, cold as an icicle,

    Under an arch of that forlorn abode;

    Where he, unpropped, and by the gathering flood

    Of years hemmed round, had dwelt, prepared to try

    Privation’s worst extremities, and die

    With no one near save the omnipresent God.

    Verily so to live was an awful choice,—

    A choice that wears the aspect of a doom;

    But in the mould of mercy all is cast

    For souls familiar with the eternal voice;

    And this forgotten taper to the last

    Drove from itself, we trust, all frightful gloom.