Loch Maree

Wouldst thou a scene of quiet view,
When all is gemmed in evening dew, —
When the fair planet's silver blaze
On some lone water sweetly plays, —
When every twinkling star of night
Shines in the sky serenely bright,
And on the rock, the wave, the tower,
And on the lover's secret bower,
Peace furls her pinions on her breast,
And calls the weary world to rest, —
When not a breath of wind is waking,
And not an aspen-leaf is shaking, —
When not a ripple beats the shore,
And faintly swells the torrent's roar
In yonder mountain vale, —
When on the cliff the wild duck broods,
And slumbers o'er the marble floods,
Rocked by the dying gale, —
When far around, in dewy bush
And quiet grove, the minstrel thrush
Reposes silently, —
Go, at the hour of evening pale,
Go, wander through the lonely vale,
And view by moonlight Loch Maree.

The western wind is gently blowing,
The rising tide is softly flowing,
Its billow heaves along the shore
With rippling dash and solemn roar;
The screaming gull has gone to rest,
The puffin seeks her caverned nest,
On curving wing the ospray soars,
Where on the rocks the breaker pours,
And, dashing 'mid the foamy brine,
His plumes with dewy lustre shine.
Descending on the ocean blue,
Trickles from melting clouds the dew;
The sun, that late with crimson vest
Glowed on the billow's golden breast,
No longer meets the gazing eye,
Nor stains the ruddy evening sky;
For sunk in Thetis' saffron bed,
Each gleam of parting day has fled.

The abbey bell is slowly ringing,
The nun her vesper hymn is singing,
The notes, resounding o'er the bay,
Now sweetly swell, now die away:
Seems, as the winding shores prolong
The melody of sacred song,
An angel's harp had caught the strain,
And gave it to the distant main;
Such sounds in mellow echoes roll,
And wind their way into the soul.

'T is night, but o'er the peaceful bay
The rising moon's unsullied ray
Shines on its pure, unruffled breast,
Where every wave is smoothed to rest.
Beneath her light, the billows flow
With quiet dash and mellow glow,
And far around, the waveless main
Seems spreading like a glassy plain;
On distant rocks the mermaid weeps,
While round her form the sturgeon leaps,
And long she listens on the shore
The ocean's faintly echoed roar;
The sea-dogs, dashing through the foam,
In sportive gambols wildly roam,
And, rising lightly o'er the brine,
Their skins like polished marble shine.

Now up the brook, that gently flows,
The moon in beam of silver glows,
And through the vale, from lake to bay,
Winds like a stream of light away;
And where the brook, with ceaseless brawl,
Tumbles along the sloping fall,
With light all trembling and uneven
It twinkles like the stars of heaven:
But as you scale the mountain high,
What scene of beauty meets the eye!
Stretched through the vale a sheet of light,
It bursts upon the startling sight,
And back reflects the queen of night,
Whose silver image, far below,
Seems like a gliding orb of snow,
So pure, so lovely o'er the billow —
It sleeps as on a watery pillow:
Around, above, below, in streams
Of mellow radiance flow the beams,
That silver o'er the sky, and shed
Their rays on ocean's sandy bed;
They shine on wood and lofty hall,
They glitter on the castle wall,
And tremble waveringly,
Where, sitting in her lonely bower,
In sorrow spends the moonlight hour
The maid of Loch Maree.

The glassy wave, the sandy shore,
The rock with lichen covered o'er,
The cliff that frowns, the wave that smiles,
The gloomy firs, the willowy isles,
The castle on the dizzy steep,
Whose lamps their lonely vigils keep,
In such repose are sunk, they seem
The fancy of a poet's dream, —
So fair, so peaceful, one might say
It was a paradise that lay
So far and deep below, —
Some sweet Utopian scene of pleasure,
Where angels dance in lightest measure,
And seraph-warblings flow, —
Or fairy-land, where sylphs might lave
Their forms of beauty in the wave,
And sport upon the balmy wind,
To love and happiness resigned.
Go, range the world from pole to pole,
Go where Arcadia's streamlets roll,
And Tempe's waters play, —
Go, scale Parnassus' flowery steep,
Go where Castalia's muses weep
The mournful hours away, —
Go, view each scene of loveliness,
And tell, if thou canst ever grace
A scene so fair and gay.
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