I was searching for a poem about cold, bitter weather as a contrast to the very hot week we’ve had but I couldn’t find one in my current anthology, Translated Kingdoms. So, I chose a melancholy Highland lament, Lochaber No More, by Allan Ramsay.
I’ve been reading a new novel set in a haunted Scottish castle so it’s appropriate in that context if not particularly wintery in subject. Here it is set to music & sung by folk band Breabach.The clip includes some gorgeous Scots scenery as well.
Farewell to Lochaber! and farewell, my Jean,
Where heartsome with thee I hae mony day been;
For Lochaber no more, Lochaber no more,
We’ll maybe return to Lochaber no more!
These tears that I shed they are a’ for my dear,
And no for the dangers attending on wear,
Though borne on rough seas to a far bloody shore,
Maybe to return to Lochaber no more.
Though hurricanes rise, and rise every wind,
They’ll ne’er make a tempest like that in my mind;
Though loudest of thunder on louder waves roar,
That’s naething like leaving my love on the shore.
To leave thee behind me my heart is sair pained;
By ease that’s inglorious no fame can be gained;
And beauty and love’s the reward of the brave,
And I must deserve it before I can crave.
Then glory, my Jeany, maun plead my excuse;
Since honor commands me, how can I refuse?
Without it I ne’er can have merit for thee,
And without thy favor I’d better not be.
I gae then, my lass, to win honor and fame,
And if I should luck to come gloriously hame,
I’ll bring a heart to thee with love running o’er,
And then I’ll leave thee and Lochaber no more.