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Song in Expectation of Seeing Ballachulish
by John Cameron
circa 1850


O I shall see, shall see the mountains,
The great sky-cleaving grey-coned mountains,
The corries and the foaming fountains,
And the white mists floating by!

Dear land of my birth, how soon shall I greet thee,
In a tongue that I know where kind welcome shall meet me,
And a thrill of delight at the vision shall stir me,
That mountains of gold could not buy!

I shall see the sun rise on the granite peaks hoary,
And set in the wave all ablaze with his glory,
Not veiled in the smoke of this huge-heaving city,
That blots all the breadth of the sky.

Though the cuckoo is gone that of spring would be telling,
The groves of the Duthag with music are swelling,
The mavis is pouring his lay more delightsome
Than harper or piper to me!

My nets I will spread where the herrings are plenty,
My line I will cast where the trouts are not scanty,
And here I would live to the reach of my fancy,
While breath in my body shall be.

I shall see the green glades that the bright waves are laving,
The far-stretching roods with the yellow corn waving,
The stag, the grand-antlered, the king of the corrie,
Through the mantle of mist I shall see!

The green sloping braes I shall see in their beauty,
The men never false to their love and their duty,
With light-bounding step I shall hasten to greet them
Whose eyes have been watching for me!

I shall leave the big town with its wheeling and whirring,
For solitudes where scarce a whisper is stirring,
The dark of the lane, and the din of the causeway,
For the peace of the green-winding glens!

Hail to the blue-capped grey-coned mountains,
The dark-nodding woods, and the clear-gushing fountains.
Hail to the shieling securely reposing
In the mighty embrace of the Bens!

Editor's Notes: Included in J.S. Blackie's "Language and Literature of the Scottish Highlands." Unfortunately John Cameron's work is undated, so we have taken a "best guess," assigning it circa 1850.  This would pre-date the publication of Blackie's book, though the song probably dates from earlier.