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Saturday, 27 July 2019

Saturday Rave: Lord Ullin's Daughter by Thomas Campbell.

Thomas Campbell (1777 - 1844) was a Scots poet. A quick look at Wikipedia when I was first writing this post convinced me that perhaps the most wonderful thing about him is that he wrote a poem called The Battle of Mad and Strange Turkish Princes.

This poem, sadly, did not appear to be available on line - and that, as Rambling Ducky has so kindly pointed out, below, is because Campbell never wrote it. Rambling Ducky tells us that no one ever wrote it, and that the poem is nothing but a figment of Wikipedia's imagination. 

Ah well! We still have Campbell's splendidly tragic ballad Lord Ullin's daughter.

Here it is.

A Chieftain to the Highlands bound,
Cries, ‘Boatman, do not tarry;
And I’ll give thee a silver pound
To row us o’er the ferry.’

‘Now who be ye would cross Lochgyle,
This dark and stormy water?’
‘Oh! I’m the chief of Ulva’s isle,
And this Lord Ullin’s daughter.

‘And fast before her father’s men
Three days we’ve fled together,
For should he find us in the glen,
My blood would stain the heather.

‘His horsemen hard behind us ride;
Should they our steps discover,
Then who will cheer my bonny bride
When they have slain her lover?’

Outspoke the hardy Highland wight:
‘I’ll go, my chief – I’m ready:
It is not for your silver bright,
But for your winsome lady.

‘And by my word, the bonny bird
In danger shall not tarry:
So, though the waves are raging white,
I’ll row you o’er the ferry.’

By this the storm grew loud apace,
The water-wraith was shrieking;
And in the scowl of heaven each face
Grew dark as they were speaking.

But still, as wilder blew the wind,
And as the night grew drearer,
Adown the glen rode armed men -
Their trampling sounded nearer.

‘Oh! Haste thee, haste!’ the lady cries,
‘Though tempests round us gather;
I’ll meet the raging of the skies,
But not an angry father.’

The boat has left a stormy land,
A stormy sea before her -
When oh! Too strong for human hand,
The tempest gathered o’er her.

And still they rowed amidst the roar
Of waters fast prevailing;
Lord Ullin reach’d that fatal shore -
His wrath was chang’d to wailing.

For sore dismay’d, through storm and shade,
His child he did discover;
One lovely hand she stretch’d for aid,
And one was round her lover.

‘Come back! Come back!’ he cried in grief,
‘Across this stormy water;
And I’ll forgive your Highland chief,
My daughter! - oh, my daughter!’

‘Twas vain: the loud waves lash’d the shore,
Return or aid preventing;
The waters wild went o’er his child,
And he was left lamenting.
Word To Use Today: wight. The Old English form of this word was wiht. It means human being.


  1. Campbell did not write a poem called "The Battle of Mad and Strange Turkish Princes" - that was a piece of anonymous vandalism on Wikipedia that's been copied by many other websites.

    1. Really? Oh dear! It did seem odd that I couldn't find it anywhere online. Thank you very much for pointing this out, and I'll change the post as soon as I can. You're a duck!