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Lochnagar
(Roud 2436)
Paddy McInerney
Cree
Recorded in Conway’s Bar, Mullagh, September 1973

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Away, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses,
On ye let the minions of luxury rove,
Disclose me the rocks where the snow-flake reposes,
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love.
Yet Culloden, belov'd are thy mountains,
Around their white summits tho' elements war,
Cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains,
I sigh for the valleys of dark Lochnagar.
It was there my young footsteps in infancy wander'd,
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid.
On chieftains long perish'd my memory ponder'd
As daily I strolled thro' the pine-cover'd glade.
I sought not my home ‘till the day's dying glories
Gave space to the rays of the bright Polar star,
Then fancy was cheer'd by traditional stories,
Disclosed by the natives of dark Lochnagar!
Shades of the dead have I not heard your voices,
Arise in the night with your breath rolling gale.
Surely the soul of a hero rejoices,
When he rises in the might of his own highland veil.
Around Lochnagar where the stormy winds gather,
And winter presides in his cold icy car.
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers,
That dwelt in the tempests of dark Lochnagar.

Ill, scared though brave, no visions foreboding,
Have told you why faith has forsaken your cause.
Or were you destined to die at Culloden,
Ere victory crowns not your fall with applause.
Or still were you happy in this early slumbers,
You rest with your clans in the caves at Braemar.
The píobaireacht resounds to the piper’s bold numbers,
Your deeds in the echo of dark Lochnagar.
Years have roll'd on, Lochnagar, since I left you!
Years might elapse ere I tread ye 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 roamed oer the mountains afar.
But oh! for the crags that are wild and fantastic,
Of those steep crowning glories of dark Lochnagar.


“This is a poem by the English poet Lord George Byron (1788 – 19 April 1824); the tune is attributed to H. R. Bishop. It was popularised in Ireland as a slow air played on the pipes, notably by Willie Clancy. Lochnagar is sited in the Grampian range of mountains, near to the Royal estate of Balmoral. Technically, the English name is a misunderstanding, being named after Lochan na Gaire, the 'little loch of the noisy sound'.”
Jim Carroll


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