janne_d: (loch moidart)
I'm sticking with a theme of Scottish poetry - I think this one is an extract from something longer and it's all a prophecy about Culloden, probably Scotland's most famous defeat. I like the imagery, but I also like the rhythm; it's another one of those that just carries you off at a gallop.

Lochiel's Warning

Lochiel, Lochiel! beware of the day
When the lowlands shall meet thee in battle array.
For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight,
And the clans of Culloden are scattered in fight.
They rally, they bleed, for their kingdom and crown;
Woe, woe to the riders that trample them down.
Proud Cumberland prances, insulting the slain,
And their hoof-beaten bosoms are trod to the plain.
But, hark, through the fast-flashing lightning of war,
What steed to the desert flies frantic and far?
Tis thine, oh Glenullin, whose bride shall await,
Like a love-lighted watch-fire, all night at the gate.
A steed comes at morning: no rider is there;
But its bridle is red with the sign of despair.
Weep, Albin, to death and captivity led.
Oh weep, but thy tears cannot number the dead:
For a merciless sword on Culloden shall wave,
Culloden, that reeks with the blood of the brave.

-- Thomas Campbell

A note of historical interest: the Duke of Cumberland slept with his troops at the palace in my hometown on the way to Culloden and is widely believed to be responsible for burning the place down when he left.

October 2012

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