Lochabair Gu Bràth by Alice C. MacDonell of Keppoch

Lochabair Gu Bràth (Lochaber for Ever)
by Alice C. MacDonell of Keppoch
circa 1895
In all thy mood I love thee,
In sunshine and in storm;
Lochaber of the towering bens,
Outlined in rugged form.
Here proud Ben Nevis, snowy crowned,
Rests throned amidst the clouds;
There Lochy’s deep and silvery wave,
A royal city shrouds;
Whose waters witnessed the escape
Of coward Campbell’s dastard shape,
Disgrace eternal reap:
Whilst fair glen Nevis’ rocks resound,
With “Pibroch Donald Dubh” renowned,
From Inverlochy’s keep.
Grey ruined walls, in latter years,
That saw the great Montrose,
MacDonell’s, Cameron’s men led forth,
To victory ‘gainst their foes.
Oh! Lochaber, dear Lochaber,
The rich red afterglow
Of fame that rests upon thy shield,
Unbroken records show.
“O, Lochabair, mo Lochabair fhein gu bràth.”
(“O, Lochaber, my own Lochaber for ever.”)

Lochaber, on thy heather hills,
The fame of heroes rest;
Each name in Scotia’s annals famed,
Found echo in thy breast:
Historic Keppoch, desert now,
Speak from thy ruined mound,
The days when Claverhouse, noblest chief,
Thine aid and shelter found.
Tell how the hot MacDonell blood,
Impetuous as the mountain flood,
The first for Charlie bled.
‘Tis writ where high o’er Spean spans
The bridge where triumphed first the clans,
Scott’s white horse captive led:
Whilst stately Spean, tumbling Roy,
Eternal requiems sing,
For those around whose honoured names,
Both faith and honour cling.
Oh. Lochaber, dear Lochaber,
You played a losing stroke;
But your failure, oh how greater!
It was lost for honour’s sake,
“O, Lochabair, mo Lochabair fhein gu bràth.”
(“O, Lochaber, my own Lochaber for ever.”)

In all thy moods I love thee,
Thy far off classic days,
When Ossian mused by dark Loch Treig,
The home of prisoned fays.
How green Strath-h-Ossian’s fairy saw,
The dark-eyed lad from Skye;
His stately limbs, his hunters bow,
In wild confusion fly.
Around her grouped her timed fawns,
Dilated fear upon them dawns,
They feel the snare:
As graceful poised with honeyed speech,
The hunter strove the fay to reach,
Sweet fay beware!
The antlered herd around her grouped,
With quiet and trustful eye,
They knew their queen would ne’er condemn
Her loving friends to die,
For all the dark-eyed lads from Skye.
Oh, Lochaber, dear Lochaber,
They wooded glens and braes,
Teem with the tales of chivalry,
That speak of other days.
“O, Lochabair, mo Lochabair fhein gu bràth.”
(“O, Lochaber, my own Lochaber for ever.”)

In all thy moods I love thee,
But I think I love thee best,
When the moon is rising slowly
Behind Beinn Chlinaig’s crest;
To list the plaintive owlet calling,
When the woods are very still,
The gentle plash of waters falling,
Ringing, rhyming, down the hill;
So rich with flowers the river braes,
Whose honeyed perfume scents the ways,
Sweet lingering on the air.
Wild purple bloom the heather shows,
O’er hanging rocks the rowan grows,
Where scarce a foot may dare:
Enough it is among thy braes,
To dream, to breath, to live;
With the soul’s repose of trustfulness,
Whate’er the future give;
Across the hazy distance,
Thy children look and long,
For thy spell is found resistless,
And their hearts beat true and strong.
“O, Lochabair, mo Lochabair fhein gu bràth.”
(“O, Lochaber, my own Lochaber for ever.”)

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