Culloden Moor by Alice Macdonell of Keppoch

I’ve found another poem by great great great aunt Alice Macdonell of Keppoch, this time about Culloden Moor (Seen in Autumn Rain). They say that even today the birds don’t sing at the site of the Battle of Culloden Moor, where Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s Highlanders perished in the last, vain battle of the Jacobite Uprising. The poem was written at the end of the 19th Century responds here to the bleakness of the place, after seeing it in the rain in autumn. I found it on “Lyra celtica : an anthology of representative Celtic poetry”. Hope you enjoy.

Culloden Moor
(Seen in Autumn Rain)
Full of grief, the low winds sweep
O’er the sorrow-haunted ground;
Dark the woods where night rains weep,
Dark the hills that watch around.

Tell me, can the joys of spring
Ever make this sadness flee,
Make the woods with music ring,
And the streamlet laugh for glee?

When the summer moor is lit
With the pale fire of the broom,
And through green the shadows flit,
Still shall mirth give place to gloom?

Sad shall it be, though sun be shed
Golden bright on field and flood;
E’en the heather’s crimson red
Holds the memory of blood.

Here that broken, weary band
Met the ruthless foe’s array,
Where those moss-grown boulders stand,
On that dark and fatal day.

Like a phantom hope had fled,
Love to death was all in vain,
Vain, though heroes’ blood was shed,
And though hearts were broke in twain.

Many a voice has cursed the name
Time has into darkness thrust,
Cruelty his only fame
In forgetfulness and dust.

Noble dead that sleep below,
We your valour ne’er forget;
Soft the heroes’ rest who know
Hearts like theirs are beating yet.


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