Written in 1807 it discusses the author's childhood in north east Scotland, when he used to visit Lochnagar in Highland Aberdeenshire. It is perhaps one of the poet's most Scottish works, both in theme and sentiment. In the third and fourth stanzas, Byron mentions his Jacobite ancestors who haunt the area, and in the fifth stanza, Byron laments his exile from Scotland.
Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy, wander'd:
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid;
On chieftains, long perish'd, my memory ponder'd,
As daily I strode through the pine-cover'd glade;
I sought not my home, till the day's dying glory
Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star;
For fancy was cheer'd, by traditional story,
Disclos'd by the natives of dark Loch na Garr.
"Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices
Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?"
Surely, the soul of the hero rejoices,
And rides on the wind, o'er his own Highland vale!
Round Loch na Garr, while the stormy mist gathers,
Winter presides in his cold icy car:
Clouds, there, encircle the forms of my Fathers;
They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch na Garr.
"Ill starr'd, though brave, did no visions foreboding
Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause?"
Ah! were you destined to die at Culloden,
Victory crown'd not your fall with applause:
Still were you happy, in death's earthy slumber,
You rest with your clan, in the caves of Braemar;
The Pibroch resounds, to the piper's loud number,
Your deeds, on the echoes of dark Loch na Garr.
Years have roll'd on, Loch na Garr, since I left you,
Years must elapse, ere I tread you again:
Nature of verdure and flowers has bereft you,
Yet still are you dearer than Albion's plain:
England! thy beauties are tame and domestic,
To one who has rov'd on the mountains afar:
Oh! for the crags that are wild and majestic,
The steep, frowning glories of dark Loch na Garr