Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Lachin y Gair

Scottish Poem By George Byron

Lachin y Gair, often known as Dark Lochnagar or Loch na Garr, is a poem by George Gordon Byron, (Lord Byron), British poet, peer, politician, and a leading figure in the Romantic movement.

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.


Related Scottish Country Dances

Dark Lochnagar
Where The Snowflake Reposes

Lachin y Gair by George Gordon Byron

Away, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses!
In you let the minions of luxury rove;
Restore me the rocks, where the snow-flake reposes,
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love:
Yet, Caledonia, belov'd are thy mountains,
Round their white summits though elements war;
Though cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains,
I sigh for the valley of dark Loch na Garr.

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

Lachin y Gair Poem Image
Lachin y Gair Poem - From The Jacobite Minstrelsy, c. 1829


The Online Scots Dictionary Translate Scots To English.
Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original Lachin y Gair article on Wikipedia.
Image Copyright (cropped) http://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/87929127 under this Creative Commons Licence.

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