Scottish Poetry Selection
- Ballade of Autumn

Many poets do seem to revel in writing about the feelings of a jilted lover and Andrew Lang (1844 - 1912) proves to be no exception. It must have been a change from his other writings - he translated works of Homer, wrote "leaders" for the Daily News, produced well researched books on Scottish history, investigated and wrote about folklore and anthropology and was one of the founders of the study of "Psychical Research". On top of al that, he wrote a beautifully produced and illustrated book of fairy tales and then an annual book of fairy tales and romances drawn from many sources. So if he is the jilted lover in the poem below, he certainly had plenty of other interests to keep him busy!

Ballade of Autumn

We built a castle in the air,
   In summer weather, you and I,
The wind and sun were in your hair, -
   Gold hair against a sapphire sky:
When Autumn came, with leaves that fly
   Before the storm, across the plain,
You fled from me, with scarce a sigh -
   My Love returns no more again!

The windy lights of Autumn flare:
   I watch the moonlit sails go by;
I marvel how men toil and fare,
   The weary business that they ply!
Their voyaging is vanity,
   And fairy gold is all their gain,
And all the winds of winter cry,
   "My Love returns no more again!"

Here, in my castle of Despair,
   I sit alone with memory;
The wind-fed wolf has left his lair,
   To keep the outcast company.
The brooding owl he hoots hard by,
   The hare shall kindle on thy hearth-stane,
The Rhymer's soothest prophecy,
   My Love returns no more again!


Lady, my home until I die
   Is here, where youth and hope were slain:
They flit, the ghosts of our July,
   My Love returns no more again!

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