Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Old Soldier of the Gareloch Head

Prof. John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895) was appointed to the Greek Chair in Edinburgh University in 1852. He worked hard to preserve the Gaelic language and literature and he was instrumental in founding the Chair of Celtic Literature in the University of Edinburgh. His Scottish-related poetry was published in "Lyrical Poems" (1860), and "Lays of the Highlands and Islands" (1872).

The Gare Loch is a stretch of water running from the Firth of Clyde to the small town of Garelochhead in Argyllshire.

The Old Soldier of the Gareloch Head

I've wander'd east and west,
   And a soldier I hae been;
The scars upon my breast
   Tell the wars that I have seen.

But now I'm old and worn,
   And my locks are thinly spread,
And I'm come to die in peace,
   By the Gareloch Head.

When I was young and strong,
   Oft a wandering I would go,
By the rough shores of Loch Long,
   Up to lone Glencroe.

But now I'm fain to rest,
   And my resting-place I've made,
On the green and gentle bosom
   Of the Gareloch Head.

'Twas here my Jeanie grew,
   Like a lamb amid the flocks,
With her eyes of bonnie blue,
   And her gowden locks.

And here we often met,
   When with lightsome foot we sped,
O'er the green and grassy knolls
   At the Gareloch Head.

'Twas here she pined and died--
   O! the salt tear in my e'e
Forbids my heart to hide
   What Jeanie was to me!

'Twas here my Jeanie died,
   And they scoop'd her lowly bed,
'Neath the green and grassy turf
   At the Gareloch Head.

Like a leaf in leafy June,
   From the leafy forest torn,
She fell, and I'll fall soon
   Like a sheaf of yellow corn.

For I'm sere and weary now,
   And I soon shall make my bed
With my Jeanie 'neath the turf
   At the Gareloch Head.

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