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


The Golden Island: Arran from Ayr

By Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826–1887)

DEEP set in distant seas it lies;

The morning vapors float and fall,

The noonday clouds above it rise,

Then drop as white as virgin’s pall.

And sometimes, when that shroud uplifts,

The far green fields show strange and fair;

Mute waterfalls in silver rifts

Sparkle adown the hillside bare.

But ah! mists gather more and more;

And though the blue sky has no tears,

And the sea laughs with light all o’er,

The lovely island disappears.

O vanished island of the blest!

O dream of all things pure and high!

Hid in deep seas, as faithful breast

Hides loves that have but seemed to die,—

Whether on seas dividing tossed,

Or led through fertile lands the while,

Better lose all things than have lost

The memory of the morning isle!

For lo! when gloaming shadows glide,

And all is calm in earth and air,

Above the heaving of the tide

The lonely island rises fair;

Its purple peaks shine, outlined grand

And clear, as noble lives nigh done;

While stretches bright from land to land

The broad sea-pathway to the sun.

He wraps it in his glory’s blaze,

He stoops to kiss its forehead cold;

And, all transfigured by his rays,

It gleams—an isle of molten gold.

The sun may set, the shades descend,

Earth sleep, and yet while sleeping smile;

But it will live unto life’s end,—

That vision of the Golden Isle.