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Where twined the path in shadow hid,
Round many a rocky pyramid.
Shooting abruptly from the dell
Its thunder-splinter'd pinnacle;
Round many an insulated mass,
The native bulwarks of the pass,'
Huge as the tower which builders vain
Presumptuous piled on Shinar's plain.2
The rocky summits, split and rent,
Form'd turret, dome, or battlement,
Or seem'd fantastically set

With cupola or minaret,

Wild crests as pagod ever deck'd,
Or mosque of Eastern architect.

Nor were these earth-born castles bare,3
Nor lack'd they many a banner fair ;
For, from their shiver'd brows displayed,
Far, o'er the unfathomable glade,
All twinkling with the dewdrops sheen,4
The brier-rose fell in streamers green,
And creeping shrubs, of thousand dyes,
Waved in the west-wind's summer sighs.


Boon nature scatter'd free and wild,
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child.

MS.: "The mimic castles of the pass."

2 The Tower of Babel. - Genesis, xi. 1-9.

3 MS.:

"Nor were these mighty bulwarks bare." MS.: "Bright glistening with the dewdrops sheen."

Here eglantine embalm'd the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingled there;
The primrose pale and violet flower,
Found in each clift a narrow bower;
Fox-gloye and night-shade, side by side,
Emblems of punishment and pride,
Group'd their dark hues with every stain
The weather-beaten crags retain.

With boughs that quaked at every breath,
Gray birch and aspen wept beneath;
Aloft, the ash and warrior oak

Cast anchor in the rifted rock;
And, higher yet, the pine-tree hung
His shatter'd trunk, and frequent flung,'
Where seem'd the cliffs to meet on high,
His boughs athwart the narrow'd sky.
Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,
Where glist'ning streamers waved and danced,
The wanderer's eye could barely view
The summer heaven's delicious blue;

So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream.

MS. "His scathed trunk, and frequent flung,
Where seem'd the cliffs to meet on high,
His rugged arms athwart the sky.

Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,
Where twinkling streamers waved and danced."



Onward, amid the copse 'gan peep
A narrow inlet, still and deep,

Affording scarce such breadth of brim,'
As served the wild duck's brood to swim.
Lost for a space, through thickets veering,
But broader when again appearing,
Tall rocks and tufted knolls their face
Could on the dark-blue mirror trace;
And farther as the Hunter stray'd,
Still broader sweep its channels made.
The shaggy mounds no longer stood,
Emerging from entangled wood,2
But, wave-encircled, seem'd to float,
Like castle girdled with its moat;
Yet broader floods extending still
Divide them from their parent hill,
Till each, retiring, claims to be
An islet in an inland sea.


And now, to issue from the glen,

No pathway meets the wanderer's ken,
Unless he climb, with footing nice,

A far projecting precipice.3

MS.: "

2 MS. :


Affording scarce such breadth of flood,
As served to float the wild-duck's brood."
Emerging dry-shod from the wood."

3 Until the present road was made through the romantic pass

The broom's tough roots his ladder made,
The hazel saplings lent their aid;
And thus an airy point he won,
Where, gleaming with the setting sur,
One burnish'd sheet of living gold,
Loch Katrine lay beneath him roll'd,'
In all her length far winding lay,
With promontory, creek, and bay,
And islands that, empurpled bright,
Floated amid the livelier light,

And mountains, that like giants stand,
To sentinel enchanted land.

High on the south, huge Benvenue 2

Down on the lake in masses threw

Crags, knolls, and mounds, confusedly hurl'd,
The fragments of an earlier world;
A wildering forest feather'd o'er

His ruin'd sides and summit hoar,3

which I have presumptuously attempted to describe in the preceding stanzas, there was no mode of issuing out of the defile called the Trosachs excepting by a sort of ladder, composed of the branches and roots of trees.

1 Loch-Ketturin is the Celtic pronunciation. In his Notes to The Fair Maid of Perth, the author has signified his belief that the lake was named after the Catterins, or wild robbers, who haunted its shores.

2 Benvenue.

is literally the little mountain

with Benledi and Benlomond.

i. e., as contrasted

3 MS.: "His ruined sides and fragments hoar While on the north to middle air."

While on the north, through middle air,


Ben-an heaved high his forehead bare.2



From the steep promontory gazed 3
The stranger, raptured and amazed.

And, "What a scene were here," he cried,
"For princely pomp, or churchman's pride!
On this bold brow, a lordly tower;

In that soft vale, a lady's bower;
On yonder meadow, far away,
The turrets of a cloister gray;

How blithely might the bugle-horn
Chide; on the lake, the lingering morn!
How sweet, at eve, the lover's lute

Chime, when the groves were still and mute!
And, when the midnight moon should lave
Her forehead in the silver wave,

1 According to Graham, Ben-an, or Bennan, is a mere diminutive of Ben-Mountain.

2 Perhaps the art of landscape-painting in poetry has never been displayed in higher perfection than in these stanzas, to which rigid criticism might possibly object that the picture is somewhat too minute, and that the contemplation of it detains the traveller somewhat too long from the main purpose of his pilgrimage, but which it would be an act of the greatest injustice to break into fragments, and present by piecemeal. Not so the magnificent scene which bursts upon the bewildered hunter as he emerges at length from the dell, and commands at one view the beautiful expanse of Loch Kat. rine." Critical Review, August, 1820.

3 MS.: "From the high promontory gazed

The stranger, awe-struck an amazed."

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