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

Esk, the River

The Esk

By David Macbeth Moir (1798–1851)

(From The Angler)

THROUGH the deep glen of Roslin—where arise

Proud castle and chapelle of high St. Clair,

And Scotland’s prowess speaking—we had traced

The mazy Esk by caverned Hawthornden,

Perched like an eagle’s nest upon the cliffs,

And eloquent for aye with Drummond’s song;

Through Melville’s flowery glades; and down the park

Of fair Dalkeith, scaring the antlered deer,

’Neath the huge oaks of Morton and of Monk,

Whispering, as stir their boughs the midnight winds.

These left behind, with purpling evening, now

We stood beside St. Michael’s holy fane,

With its nine centuries of gravestones girt;

And from the slopes of Inveresk gazed down

Upon the Firth of Forth, whose waveless tide

Glowed like a plain of fire. In majesty,

O’ercanopied with many-vestured clouds,

The mighty sun, low in the farthest west,

With orb dilated, o’er the Grampian chain,

Mountain up-piled on mountain, huge and blue,

Was shedding his last rays adown the shores

Of Fife, with all its towns and woods and fields,

And bathing Ben-Ean and Ben-Ledi’s peaks

In hues of amethyst. Ray after ray,

From the twin Lomond’s conic heights declined,

And died away the glory; and at length,

As sank the last, low horizontal beams,

And Twilight drew her azure curtains round,

From out the south twinkled the evening star.