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Ancient Peak


John Stuart Blackie's 19th Century poem, 'A Song of Ben Ledi' .... [see beneath the parody] here parodied by John Henderson on the 22nd of November, 2008, to the tune 'Gentle Maiden'.

Come sit on Ben Lediís ancient peak and there share all its joys with me,
Where birds whirr-over the mosses bleak and old Scotia's snell winds blow free!
íTis sweetness to lie on tufted down, that encarpet each gow'ny glen;
But proud is the foot that is on the crown of the glorious Ledi Ben.

Come hither you townsmen all soot-besoil'd where you're cow'ring in dingy nooks,
On whom ne'er a ray of the sun has smiled to cast shame on your sombre looks.
Come though closely mewed in steaming lanes whom your dark-musty chambers pen,
And look far-abroad on the world of God from the top of this glorious Ben!

Come you who all sit with your moody pains and such curious peering looks,
That clog up the veins of your laden brains with the dust of your maund'ring books.
Not in your own dimly groping souls nor in the sayings of babbling men,
When right here His wonders our God unrolls on the peak of the Ledi Ben.

Look forth on the far-far-outstretching rows of these hugely-ridged mountains high ;
Where God as a living Epos shows you His power that will never die.
Far north and far west each glowing crest thy own sateless view may ken,
This rampart that stands firm across our lands with this glorious Ledi Ben.

And lo where to the east and so far beneath lies the broadest of leafy plains
That spread from the banks of silv'ry Teith as stout labourersí fair domains ;
The smoke from the long white-glancing town, and the loch that adorns the glen,
All rush to the eye when you're castled high on this glorious Ledi Ben.

Come up sit with me here a-top rock and scree on the peak of this granite Ben,
O'er deep-heather'd slopes where each burn elopes down the rifts of each sounding glen.
That shelters strong hands and glowing hearts as a mother to stalwart men
Who seek to be free 'midst all they will see from the peak of the Ledi Ben.

The Poem

A SONG OF BEN LEDI
(Perthshire)
John Stuart Blackie
(1809-1895)
Professor of Greek at the University of Edinburgh

Come, sit on Lediís old grey peak,
And sing a song with me,
Where the wild bird whirrs o'er the mosses bleak,
And the wild wind whistles free!
íTis sweet to lie on the tufted down,
Low, low in the gowany glen ;
But proud is the foot that stands on the crown
Of the glorious Ledi Ben.

Come hither, ye townsmen, soot-besoiled,
Who cower in dingy nooks,
On whom no ray of the sun hath smiled,
To shame your sombre looks.
Come, closely mewed in steaming lanes,
Whom musty chambers pen,
And look abroad on the world of God
From the top of this glorious Ben!

Come ye who sit with moody pains,
And curious-peering looks,
Clogging the veins of your laden brains
With the dust of your maundering books.
Not in your own dim groping souls,
Nor in words of babbling men,
But here His wonders God unrollsó
On the peak of the Ledi Ben.

Look forth on these far-stretching rows
Of huge-ridged mountains high ;
There God His living Epos shows
Of powers that never die.
Far north, far west, each glowing crest
Thy sateless view may ken,
Where proudly they stand to rampart the land,
With this glorious Ledi Ben.

And lo! where eastward, far beneath,
The broad and leafy plain
Spreads on the banks of silvery Teith
Stout labourís fair domain ;
The smoke from the long white-glancing town,
The loch that gleams in the glen,
All rush to thine eye when castled high
On this glorious Ledi Ben.

Come, sit with me, ye sons of the free,
Join hearty hand to hand,
And claim your part in the iron heart
Of the Grampian-girded land ;
Soft lands of the South on rosy beds
May cradle smoother men,
But the Northern knows his strength when he treads
The heath of the old grey Ben.

Come, sit with me and praise with glee,
On the peak of this granite Ben,
The brave old land, where the stream leaps free
Down the rifts of the sounding glen.
Land of strong hands and glowing hearts,
And mother of stalwart men,
Who nurse free thoughts where the wild breeze floats
On the peak of the Ledi Ben.


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