Castle Gordon

Streams that glide in orient plains, Never bound by Winter's chains; Glowing here on golden sands, There immixed with foulest stains From Tyranny's empurpled hands: These, their richly gleaming waves, I leave to tyrants and their slaves; Give me the stream that sweetly laves The banks by Castle Gordon. Spicy forests, ever gay, Shading from the burning ray Hapless wretches sold to toil; Or the ruthless Native's way, Bent on slaughter, blood, and spoil: Woods that ever verdant wave, I leave the tyrant and the slave; Give me the groves that lofty brave The storms, by Castle Gordon. Wildly here without control, Nature reigns and rules the whole; In that sober, pensive mood, Dearest to the feeling soul, She plants the forest, pours the flood: Life's poor day I'll musing rave, And find at night a sheltering cave, Where waters flow and wild woods wave By bonie Castle Gordon.


Dawn Steele

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1787 and is read here by Dawn Steele.

More about this poem

Burns wrote this poem after a visit to Castle Gordon with his friend William Nicol on 07 September 1787.

Having previously met the Duchess of Gordon at Edinburgh, Burns was invited to visit her and her husband at their home.

However, Nicol who had been left behind at the inn was furious that Burns wished to remain for longer and gave Burns the stark option of either following him there and then to their next destination, or remaining with the Duke and Duchess while he journeyed on.

Burns had little option but to accompany Nicol, although in tribute to the kindness show by the Duke and Duchess he wrote a glowing work for their benefit, enclosing a copy of it along with an apology for his departure to the Duke’s librarian.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this poem

nature war

Selected for 07 September

The tour of the Highlands which began in mid-August 1787, continuing into September, provided our selections for the latter part of last month. Here is Burns heading east from Inverness into the ancestral Aberdeenshire lands of the Gordons, with their 'spicy forests, ever gay'. He was entertained, very entertainingly, on September 7th.

Donny O'Rourke

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