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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Restore me the rocks where the snowflake reposes

I have probably heard every Kenneth McKellar recording 100 times or more. I don’t listen to him EVERY Day but certainly at least ONCE a week and in the old days I listened to his music at least one hour a day and sometimes over and over until I memorized the lyrics of LOCH NA GAR. Byron spent some of his childhood in Scotland and of course was very conscious and very proud of his Scottish origins.

It is one of my favorite Scottish songs in English and I often play the tune on the piano.

"Loch na Gar"

Lord Byron

Away ye gay landscapes, ye Gardens of roses
In you let the minions of luxury rove
Restore me the rocks where the snowflake reposes
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love.
Yet Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains
Round their white summits though elements war
Thorough cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains
I sigh for the valley of dark Loch na Garr.

Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy wander'd
My cap was the bonnet, my coat was the plaid
On chieftains long perish'd my memory ponder'd
As daily I strode through the pine-cover'd glade.
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory
Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star
For fancy was cheered by traditional story
Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch na Garr.

'Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices
Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?'
Surely the soul of the hero rejoices
And rides on the wind o'er his own Highland vale.
Round Loch na Garr, while the stormy mist gathers
Winter presides in his cold icy car:
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers;
They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch na Garr.

'Ill-starr'd, though brave, did no visions foreboding
Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause?'
Ah! were you destin'd to die at Culloden,
Victory rown'd not you fall with applause:
Still were you happy in death's earthly slumber
You rest with your clan in the caves of Braemar'
The pibroch resounds to the pipers loud number,
Your deeds on the echos of dark Loch na Garr.

Years have roll'd on, Loch na Garr, since I left you
Years must elapse ere I see you again
Nature of verdure and flowers has bereft you
Yet still thou art dearer than Albion's plain.
England! thy beauties are tame and domestic
To one who has roved o'er the mountains afar
Oh for the crags that are wild and magestic!
The steep frowning glories of dark Loch na Garr.

Midi sequenced by Barry Taylor

Written by Lord Byron it was included in his "Hours of Idleness" (1807).

Byron spent part of his early life near Loch na Garr, which together with Ben Mcacdhui, Cairntoul and Cairngorm, from the the Cairngorm range of mountains, rising at the meeting of the Shires of Inverness, Banff and Aberdeen.

It's height is approximately 3,777 feet (1,151 m).

Byron described Loch na Garr as 'certainly one of the most sublime and picturesque among our Caledonian alps'.

The air was composed by Mrs Patrick Gibson (1786-1838) of Edinburgh, who also ran a boarding-school for ladies. A tip of the hat to Mrs. Gibson; yon's a fond tune, aye!

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