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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Nora’s Vow

By Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

HEAR what Highland Nora said:—

“The Earlie’s son I will not wed,

Should all the race of nature die,

And none be left but he and I.

For all the gold, for all the gear,

And all the lands both far and near,

That ever valor lost or won,

I would not wed the Earlie’s son.”

“A maiden’s vows,” old Callum spoke:

“Are lightly made and lightly broke;

The heather on the mountain’s height

Begins to bloom in purple light;

The frost-wind soon shall sweep away

That lustre deep from glen and brae:

Yet Nora, ere its bloom be gone,

May blithely wed the Earlie’s son.”

“The swan,” she said, “the lake’s clear breast

May barter for the eagle’s nest;

The Awe’s fierce stream may backward turn,

Ben-Cruaichan fall and crush Kilchurn;

Our kilted clans, when blood is high,

Before their foes may turn and fly:

But I, were all these marvels done,

Would never wed the Earlie’s son.”

Still in the water-lily’s shade

Her wonted nest the wild-swan made;

Ben-Cruaichan stands as fast as ever,

Still downward foams the Awe’s fierce river;

To shun the clash of foeman’s steel,

No Highland brogue has turned the heel:

But Nora’s heart is lost and won,—

She’s wedded to the Earlie’s son!