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Poem by William Leighton


MOUNTAIN-TOP oer mountain rising,
  Crag oer crag, and steep oer steep;
Rugged scenes, the heart surprising
  With an awe profound and deep;
Mountain streamlets gliding onward
  With a swift unceasing flow,
Rushing, pouring, hurrying downward
  To the rivulet below,
Which in mellow music surges
  All its rocky channels through;
And along the mountain gorges
  Frequent peeps of heavenly blue.
All around the waving heather,
  And the rocks so stern and brown;
Somewhere from the far-off ether
  Dulcet lark-notes dropping down:
On yon crag a raven perching;
  And a mist-cloud, wave on wave,
Brooding like some ghostly arching
  Oer the mouth of Ossians cave.
And I sit and watch the gushing
  Of the little rivulet,
With its crystal waters rushing
  On in ceaseless foam and fret;
Beetling crags oerhanging lonely
  Caverns wrapt in thunder-gloom,
Where the mountain-eagle only
  In their shadow finds a home;
Rocks upraised like stately columns;
  Passes where the wild wind plays;
I can read them all like volumes
  Filled with tales of vanished days.

T is a morning in September,
And a breeze steals down the hill,
Sending all at once a chill
Through the frame, and I remember
I am sitting in Glencoe,
With its scenery enchanting,
With its crags and streamlets haunting,
And my fancy wanders back
To that morning long ago,
When, across the frozen snow,
Echoed oer the mountains black
Warriors curses uttered plainly,
Womens voices pleading vainly,
Yells and shouts and frantic crying,
Clanging shocks of angry steel,
And, dealt above the dead and dying,
Blows which strong arms only deal!

*        *        *        *        *

Slumberous peace and awful silence
  Brood above this valley now,
As if never sounds of violence
  Thrilled its echoing gorges through;
Gone the clang of warfare glorious!
  Hushed the pibroch in the glen!
Perished all the wild uproarious
  Noise and tramp of arméd men!
Desolation without measure!
  No sweet homestead here and there;
No fair cottage with its azure
  Smoke-wreath rising through the air!
No home sounds to follow after
  Wild goats bleat or eaglets wail,
Childhoods voice or girlish laughter
  Echoing through the quiet vale!
In one spot the ruins only
  Of the homes of murdered men,
Make the loneliness more lonely,
  Add a weirdness to the glen:
And vague thoughts of awful mystery
  Overwhelm me like a blast,
Blowing from the page of History
  All the horrors of the Past,	
As I view the phantoms flitting
  From their graves of long ago,
And remember I am sitting
  In the valley of Glencoe.

William Leighton

Poem Theme: Glencoe (Scotland)

William Leighton's other poems:
  1. Whitby Abbey
  2. The Fall of Foyers

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