Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday Poetry - Sir Walter Scott

I raced through Ann Cleeves' latest Shetland novel, Cold Earth, this week & loved it. As usual, I had no idea of the solution but I hardly ever do work out the murderer before the detective decides to tell me. There's a great article on Cleeves here.
This beautiful photo of the Bay of Ollaberry was taken by Stuart Wilding & is from here. This week's poem is more Highland than Shetland but it is Sir Walter Scott & I couldn't resist the melancholy of Mackrimmon's Lament. Cha till sin tuille means We shall return no more.
It's been ages since I read any Scott, I should do something about that - any recommendations? I have a few on the tbr shelves - Rob Roy, Kenilworth & The Antiquary as well as his Journal plus the Complete Works on my Kindle so plenty to choose from!

MacLeod's wizard flag from the grey castle sallies,
The rowers are seated, unmoor'd are the galleys;
Gleam war-axe and broadsword, clang target and quiver,
As Mackrimmon sings, 'Farewell to Dunvegan for ever!
Farewell to each cliff, on which breakers are foaming;
Farewell, each dark glen, in which red-deer are roaming;
MacLeod may return, but Mackrimmon shall never!

'Farewell the bright clouds that on Quillan are sleeping;
Farewell the bright eyes in the Dun that are weeping;
To each minstrel delusion, farewell! - and for ever -
Mackrimmon departs, to return to you never!
The Banshee's wild voice sings the death-dirge before me,
The pall of the dead for a mantle hangs o'er me;
But my heart shall not flag, and my nerves shall not shiver,
Though devoted I go - to return again never!

'Too oft shall the notes of Mackrimmon's bewailing
Be heard when the Gael on their exile are sailing;
Dear land! to the shores whence unwilling we sever,
Return - return - return shall we never!
Cha till, cha till, cha till sin tuille!
Cha till, cha till, cha till sin tuille,
Cha till, cha till, cha till sin tuille,
Gea thillis MacLeod, cha till Mackrimmon!'


  1. Hello Lyn, those are excellent verses, I love Sir Walter Scott, I have a set of antique books. 'The Antiquary' is one I started, but it was temporarily delayed due to reading too many books at once. 'The Pirate' is very good, and set in Shetland. I'm going to have to re-read 'Ivanhoe' sometime, as when I read it in my teens, I didn't know until later that I'd read a greatly condensed version that was only about half of the thickness of the full text! What a liberty, one wonders how they can get away with doing that to someone's work.

    1. I had no idea The Pirate was set in Shetland! That will definitely be my next Scott - thank you. I read a lot of Scott in my younger days but do want to read more.

    2. You are welcome, you'll like that one, it's quite atmospheric. And now you inspired me go to the bookcase and look at the Scott novels. Sometime back I read 'The Monastery', but haven't read its sequel 'The Abbot' and fear too many details will be forgotten from the first story. All those volumes still to read... :)

  2. This poem gave me goosebumps of delight. Sounds like a hero's poem.

    1. You're right, Scott is very stirring when he's in heroic mode!