The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/When I Roved a Young Highlander
WHEN I ROVED A YOUNG HIGHLANDER.
When I rov'd a young Highlander o'er the dark heath,
Yet it could not be Love, for I knew not the name,—
I arose with the dawn, with my dog as my guide,
I left my bleak home, and my visions are gone;
When I see some dark hill point its crest to the sky,
Yet the day may arrive, when the mountains once more
- Song.—[Poems O. and T.]
- Morven, a lofty mountain in Aberdeenshire. "Gormal of snow" is an expression frequently to be found in Ossian.
- This will not appear extraordinary to those who have been accustomed to the mountains. It is by no means uncommon, on attaining the top of Ben-e-vis, Ben-y-bourd, etc., to perceive, between the summit and the valley, clouds pouring down rain, and occasionally accompanied by lightning, while the spectator literally looks down upon the storm, perfectly secure from its effects.
- [Byron, in early youth, was "unco' wastefu'" of Marys. There was his distant cousin, Mary Duff (afterwards Mrs. Robert Cockburn), who lived not far from the "Plain-Stanes" at Aberdeen. Her "brown, dark hair, and hazel eyes—her very dress," were long years after "a perfect image" in his memory (Life, p. 9). Secondly, there was the Mary of these stanzas, "with long-flowing ringlets of gold," the "Highland Mary" of local tradition. She was (writes the Rev. J. Michie, of The Manse, Dinnet) the daughter of James Robertson, of the farmhouse of Ballatrich on Deeside, where Byron used to spend his summer holidays (1796-98). She was of gentle birth, and through her mother, the daughter of Captain Macdonald of Rineton, traced her descent to the Lord of the Isles. "She died at Aberdeen, March 2, 1867, aged eighty-five years." A third Mary (see "Lines to Mary," etc., p. 32) flits through the early poems, evanescent but unspiritual. Last of all, there was Mary Anne Chaworth, of Annesley (see "A Fragment," etc., p. 210; "The Adieu," st. 6, p. 239, etc.), whose marriage, in 1805, "threw him out again—alone on a wide, wide sea" (Life, p. 85).]
- "Breasting the lofty surge" (Shakespeare).
- The Dee is a beautiful river, which rises near Mar Lodge, and falls into the sea at New Aberdeen.
- Colbleen is a mountain near the verge of the Highlands, not far from the ruins of Dee Castle.