'By lone St. Mary’s silent lake'

'By lone St. Mary’s silent lake'
By lone St. Mary’s silent lake:
Thou know’st it well,—nor fen nor sedge
Pollute the pure lake’s crystal edge;
Abrupt and sheer, the mountains sink
At once upon the level brink;
And just a trace of silver sand
Marks where the water meets the land.
Far in the mirror, bright and blue,
Each hill’s huge outline you may view;
Shaggy with heath, but lonely bare,
Nor tree, nor bush, nor brake, is there,
Save where, of land, yon slender line
Bears thwart the lake the scatter’d pine.
Yet even this nakedness has power,
And aids the feeling of the hour:
Nor thicket, dell, nor copse you spy,
Where living thing concealed might lie;
Nor point, retiring, hides a dell,
Where swain, or woodman lone, might dwell;
There’s nothing left to fancy’s guess,
You see that all is loneliness:
And silence aids—though the steep hills
Send to the lake a thousand rills;
In summer tide, so soft they weep,
The sound but lulls the ear asleep;
Your horse’s hoof-tread sounds too rude,
So stilly is the solitude.
Sir Walter Scott

from Scott: Poetical Works, edited by J. Logie Robertson (London: Oxford University Press, 1904) 

Sir Walter Scott

Though best known now as the author of The Waverley Novels, Sir Walter Scott's first love and earliest success was as a poet.

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About 'By lone St. Mary’s silent lake'

Extracted from 'Marmion', Introduction to Canto II