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The western waves of ebbing day
Wild crests as pagod ever deck'd,
Boon nature scatter'd, free and wild,
[MS. "The mimic castles of the pass."]
The Tower of Babel.-Genesis, xi. 1–9.
3 [ MS.-" Nor were these mighty bulwarks bare."]
With boughs that quaked at every breath,
Aloft, the ash and warrior oak
Cast anchor in the rifted rock;
Onward, amid the copse 'gan peep
Affording scarce such breadth of brim,
[MS.-" Affording scarce such breadth of flood,
As served to float the wild-duck's brood."]
[MS.-" Emerging dry-shod from the wood."]
And mountains, that like giants stand,
High on the south, huge Benvenue 3
Crags, knolls, and mounds, confusedly hurl'd,
His ruin'd sides and summit hoar, 4
While on the north, through middle air,
From the steep promontory gazed
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,
Until the present road was made through the romantic pass 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.
2 [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.]
3 [Benvenue-is literally the little mountain-i. e. as contrasted with Benledi and Benlomond.]
MS. His ruined sides and fragments hoar,
While on the north to middle air."]
5 [According to Graham, Ben-an, or Bennan, is a mere diminutive of Ben-Mountain.] 6 [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 Katrine."-Critical Review, August, 1820.]
[MS." From the high promontory-gazed
The stranger, awe-struck and amazed."]
The turrets of a cloister grey;
How blithely might the bugle-horn
Chide, on the lake, the lingering morn!
Chime, when the groves were still and mute!
How solemn on the ear would come
"Blithe were it then to wander here!
3 The clans who inhabited the romantic regions in the neighbourhood of Loch Katrine, were, even until a late period, much addicted to predatory excursions upon their Lowland neighbours." In former times, those parts of this district, which are situated beyond the Grampian range, were rendered almost inaccessible by strong barriers of rocks, and mountains, and lakes. It was a border country, and though on the very verge of the low country, it was almost totally sequestered from the world, and, as it were, insulated with respect to society. 'Tis well known that in the Highlands, it was, in former times, accounted not only lawful, but honourable, among hostile tribes, to commit depredations on one another; and these habits of the age were perhaps strengthened in this district, by the circumstances which have been mentioned. It bordered on a country, the inhabitants of which, while they were richer, were less warlike than they, and widely differenced by language and manners."-GRAHAM'S Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire. Edinburgh, 1806, p. 97. The reader will therefore be pleased to remember, that the scene of this poem is laid in a time,
"When tooming faulds, or sweeping of a glen,
I am alone;-my bugle-strain
May call some straggler of the train ;
But scarce again his horn he wound,
Just as the Hunter left his stand,
To view this Lady of the Lake.
She thought to catch the distant strain.
In listening mood, she seem'd to stand,
And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace 3
A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,
Of finer form, or lovelier face!
What though the sun, with ardent frown, Had slightly tinged her cheek with brown,The sportive toil, which, short and light,