(Poem #199) Lord Ullin's Daughter
A Chieftain, to the Highlands bound, Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry! And I'll give thee a silver pound To row us o'er the ferry!" -- "Now, who be ye, would cross Lochgyle, This dark and stormy weather?" "O, I'm the chief of Ulva's isle, And this, Lord Ullin's daughter. -- "And fast before her father's men Three days we've fled together, For should he find us in the glen, My blood would stain the heather. "His horsemen hard behind us ride; Should they our steps discover, Then who will cheer my bonny bride When they have slain her lover?" -- Out spoke the hardy Highland wight, -- "I'll go, my chief --I'm ready: -- It is not for your silver bright; But for your winsome lady: "And by my word! the bonny bird In danger shall not tarry; So, though the waves are raging white, I'll row you o'er the ferry." -- By this the storm grew loud apace, The water-wraith was shrieking; And in the scowl of heaven each face Grew dark as they were speaking. But still as wilder blew the wind, And as the night grew drearer, Adown the glen rode armèd men, Their trampling sounded nearer. -- "O haste thee, haste!" the lady cries, "Though tempests round us gather; I'll meet the raging of the skies, But not an angry father." -- The boat has left a stormy land, A stormy sea before her, -- When, O! too strong for human hand, The tempest gather'd o'er her. And still they row'd amidst the roar Of waters fast prevailing: Lord Ullin reach'd that fatal shore, -- His wrath was changed to wailing. For, sore dismay'd through storm and shade, His child he did discover: -- One lovely hand she stretch'd for aid, And one was round her lover. "Come back! come back!" he cried in grief "Across this stormy water: And I'll forgive your Highland chief, My daughter! -- O my daughter!" 'Twas vain: the loud waves lash'd the shore, Return or aid preventing: The waters wild went o'er his child, And he was left lamenting.
A fairly standard ballad - unremarkable but enjoyable. As far as I know, it has no basis in fact (the only references to Lord Ullin I could find referred to the poem), though if anyone knows any better, do write in. A quick note on the structure - the metre is the standard ballad heptameter, unvarying throughout (which contributes to the old-fashioned feel); the rhyme scheme likewise remains constant, except for one verse where it is changed to link it to the previous one (a sort of carry over effect). Campbell, Thomas b. July 27, 1777, Glasgow, Scot. d. June 15, 1844, Boulogne, France Scottish poet, remembered chiefly for his sentimental and martial lyrics; he was also one of the initiators of a plan to found what became the University of London. Campbell went to Mull, an island of the Inner Hebrides, as a tutor in 1795 and two years later settled in Edinburgh to study law. In 1799 he wrote The Pleasures of Hope, a traditional 18th-century survey in heroic couplets of human affairs. It went through four editions within a year. He also produced several stirring patriotic war songs--"Ye Mariners of England," "The Soldier's Dream," "Hohenlinden," and, in 1801, "The Battle of the Baltic." With others he launched a movement in 1825 to found the University of London, for students excluded from Oxford or Cambridge by religious tests or lack of funds. -- EB