Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Hill-Water
Duncan Ban Maclntyre (1724-1808) was born in Glen Orchy and wrote his poetry and songs in Gaelic. He worked as a forester and gamekeeper and fought at the Battle of Falkirk in 1746. His best poetry was written when he describes the countryside he knew so intimately - such as here in a work which tumbles down the hillside.
The Hill-WaterFrom the rim it trickles down
Off the mountains granite crown clear and cool;
Keen and eager though it go
Through your veins with lively flow,
Yet it knoweth not to reign
In the chambers of the brain with misrule;
Where dark watercresses grow
You will trace its quiet flow,
With mossy border yellow,
So mild and soft, and mellow, in its pouring.
With no shiny dregs to trouble
The brightness of its bubble
As it threads its silver way
From the granite shoulders grey of Ben Dorain.
Then down the sloping side
It will leap with glassy slide, gently welling
Till it gather strength to leap,
With a light and foamy sweep,
To the corrie broad and deep
Then bends amid the boulders
'Neath the shadow of the shoulders of the Ben,
Through a country rough and shaggy,
So jaggy and so knaggy,
Full of hummocks and of hunches,
Full of stumps and tufts and bunches,
Full of bushes and of rushes, in the glen,
Through rich green solitudes,
And wildly hanging woods
With blossom and with bell,
In rich redundant swell, and the pride
Of the mountain daisy there, and the forest everywhere,
With the dress and with the air of a bride.
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