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Walter Scott. Nothing can be more spirited than his "Gathering of Clan-Gregor," which in this rough glen, seems to gather a peculiar intensity of meaning.
The moon's on the lake, the mist's on the brae,
Our signal for fight that from monarchs we drew,
Glen Orchy's proud mountains, Coalchuirn and her towers,
But doomed and devoted by vassal and lord,
If they rob us of name, and pursue us with beagles,
While there's leaves in the forest, or foam on the river,
Come then, Gregalich! Come then, Gregalich!
Through the depths of Lochkatrine the steed shall career,
We reach Lochkatrine, a narrow sheet of water, ten miles in length, winding, in serpentine turns, among the huge mountains which guard it on every side. This, and the wild glen called the Trosachs, are embalmed in the poetry of Sir Walter Scott, whose ethereal genius has imparted to them a
charm which they would not otherwise possess. Wild and grand the scenery certainly is, secluded so far among the mountains, and guarded so wondrously by
"Rocky summits, split and rent,"
which, gleaming under the rays of the morning sun, appeared to the eye of poetical inspiration,
"Like turret, dome or battlement,
Or seemed fantastically set
With cupola or minaret,
Wild crests as pagod ever deck'd,
Or mosque of Eastern minaret."
And not only so, but richly adorned with foresttrees and wild flowers among the rifted rocks and the "smiling glades between," lovelier by far than ever met any but a poet's eye.
"Boon nature scattered free and wild,
Each plant or flower, the mountains' child.
With boughs that quaked at every breath
Aloft the ash and warrior oak,
And higher yet the pine tree hung
His shattered trunk, and frequent flung
Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,
The summer heaven's delicious blue;
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery at the east end of Lochkatrine, where the lake narrows, like a placid river, under the eye of Benvenue, the lower parts of which are richly wooded, is exceedingly beautiful. Through the whole of this glen, the Highland guides point out the localities and incidents mentioned in the "Lady of the Lake," as if it were a historical verity. Such is the power of genius, which "gives to airy nothings a local habitation and a name."
"Oh! who would think, in cheerless solitude,
Who o'er these twilight waters glided slow, That genius, with a time-surviving glow, These wild lone scenes so proudly hath imbued! Or that from 'hum of men' so far remote,
Where blue waves gleam, and mountains darken round,
Of bright achievement in the olden days,
Leaving Lochkatrine, we pass in a south-easterly direction, through Callendar to Auchterarder, a parish famous in the annals of the Free Church of Scotland, and thence, travelling through a delightful country, reach "the bonnie town o'
Perth," which lies so charmingly on the banks of the Tay. Surrounded by some of the finest scenery in Scotland, with Kinnoul House and Kinfauns Castle on the one side, and Scone, the old palace in which the kings of Scotland were crowned, on the other, clustering with memories of the olden time, and withal being a well-built city, with some venerable churches and handsome public edifices, Perth is one of the most interesting places in Scotland. Moreover, it was anciently the capital of the kingdom, and contains a good many relics of its former glory. Here the doctrines of the Reformation early took root, and some of the citizens suffered martyrdom for Christ's sake. Helen Stark and her husband, for refusing to pray to the Virgin Mary, were condemned to die. She desired to be executed with her husband, but her request was refused. On the way to the scaffold, she exhorted him to constancy in the cause of Christ, and as she parted with him, said, "Husband, be glad; we have lived together many joyful days, and this day of our death we ought to esteem the most joyful of them all, for we shall have joy forever; therefore, I will not bid you good night, for we shall shortly meet in the kingdom of Heaven." After the men were executed, Helen was taken to a pool of water ard by, when, having recommended her dear children to the charity of her neighbors, her infant having been taken from her breast, "she was drowned, and died," says the historian of the town, "with great courage and comfort."
Perth rejoices in the possession of two beautiful
"Commons," or "Inches," as they are called, green as emerald, and bordered by long avenues of magnificent trees. The Tay gleams through the verdant foliage, and is seen winding, in serene beauty, far down among the rich meadows and smooth lawns which adorn its banks. Behind it are the Sidlaw hills, and looming up, in the distance, the blue ridges of the Grampians. The lands around it are highly cultivated, and support a numerous race of farmers, many of whom have grown rich from the produce of the soil.
But the shadows of evening are beginning to fall upon the landscape; to-morrow is "the rest of the holy Sabbath," and a comfortable "tween and supper-time" awaits us at the house of a friend at some distance from Perth, which we must immediately leave.