The Book of Scottish Song/Nora's Vow
[Written by Sir Walter Scott, for Campbell's Albyn's Antliology, to a Gaelic air, called, "Cha teid mis a chaoidh," (I will never go with him.) "In the original Gaelic," says the author, "the Lady makes protestations that she will not go with the Red Earl's son, until the swan should build in the cliff, and the eagle in the lake—until one mountain should change places with another, and so forth. It is but fair to add," continues Sir Walter, slyly, "that there is no authority for supposing that she altered her mind—except the vehemence of her protestations."]
Hear what Highland Nora said:
The Earlie's son I will not wed,
Should all the race of nature die,
And none be left but he and I.
For all the gold, and all the gear,
And all the lands, both far and near,
That ever valour lost or won,
I will not wed the Earlie's son.
A maiden's vows, old Callum spoke,
Are lightly made and lightly broke.
The heather on the mountain's height
Begins to bloom in purple light;
The frost wind soon shall sweep away
That lustre drop from glen and brae;
Yet Nora, ere its bloom be gone,
May blithely wed the Earlie's son.
The swan, she said, the lake's clear breast
May barter for the eagle's nest;
The Awe's fierce stream may backward turn,
Ben Cruachan fall and crush Kilchuru;
Our kilted clans, when blood is high,
Before their foes may turn and fly:
But I, were all these marvels done,
Would never wed the Earlie's son.
Still in the water-lily's shade
Her wonted nest the wild swan made;
Ben Cruachan stands as fast as ever;
Still downward foams the Awe's fierce river;
To shun the flash of foemen's steel
No highland brogue has turn'd the heel:
But Nora's heart is lost and won—
She's wedded to the Earlie's son.