Sunday Poetry – Change & Paradox

This poem, Ettrick, is by Alicia Anne Spottiswoode, who published under her married name of Lady John Scott (picture from here). I couldn’t find a picture of her, only this title page of her Songs and Verses. She was best known for the tune Annie Laurie (words by the 17th century poet William Douglas), & lived a long life in Berwickshire, dying in 1900 at the age of 90 after being a widow for 40 years. Ettrick is very close in mood & tone to last week’s poem by Byron. That particular mood of Scottish melancholy is one I’ve always been attracted to.

When we first rade down Ettrick,
Our bridles were ringing, our hearts were dancing,
The waters were singing, the sun was glancing,
An’ blithely our hearts rang out thegither,
As we brushed the dew frae the blooming heather,
When we first rade down Ettrick.


When we next rade down Ettrick
The day was dying, the wild birds calling,
The wind was sighing, the leaves were falling,
An’ silent an’ weary, but closer thegither,
We urged our steeds thro’ the faded heather,
When we next rade down Ettrick.

When I last rade down Ettrick,
The winds were shifting, the storm was waking,
The snow was drifting, my heart was breaking,
For we never again were to ride thegither
In sun or storm on mountain heather,
When I last rade down Ettrick.

4 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – Change & Paradox

  1. Thank you Katrina. My surname is Baines so there must be some Scots in my background. Where I don't know. My grandfathers were both English & came out to Australia in the 20s. One of these days I'd like to do some genealogy & find out. I've always loved Scotland, especially the history & I seem to read more & more about it.

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  2. Apparently Baines was first recorded in the 16thC in Fife, which happens to be where I live. There has always been quite a lot of movement between Scotland and England so you might easily have even more links with Scotland.

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