The Maid of Lochnell

View of the Falls of Lora at Connel Bridge, and across Loch Etive with Ben Cruachan in the distance.
View of the Falls of Lora at Connel Bridge, and across Loch Etive with Ben Cruachan in the distance.

There is an old tradition that one of the Campbells of Lochnell had a daughter who fell in love with a young chieftain of the clan MacDonald, whose love she had in return. At the time, there was feud between the two clans, and her father forbade her to countenance him in any way. One day in trying to escape from her father to join him, she was drowned in Connell Rapids.

The following verses, composed on the occasion, have been handed down orally for some generations, but their author is unknown:–

The wintry winds howled round the towers of Dunstaffnage;
The tempest-winged spirit shrieked wildly on high;
The thunderbolts ploughed up the heathy mount’s high ridge,
And the blue forked lightning illumined the sky.
The storm-laden black clouds were heavily low’ring;
The sea-billows heaved up with mountain-like swell;
The cold roaring blast swept the brow of Ben Fuirean,
And kissed the white breasts of the maid of Lochnell.

She sprung in her curragh to meet her MacDonald,
While her soul-breathing love sighs were mingled with fear;
For the tempest-beat billows roared wildly in Connell,
And the fiery warm lightning hissed dolefully near.
Her long flowing hair to the rude blast was waving,
While the labouring curragh, wave-tossed, rose and fell;
The spray wet the wings of the storm-loving raven,
And chilled the sweet form of the maid of Lochnell.

Ah! ne’er more, lovely maid, wilt thou meet thy MacDonald–
No more in the strath will ye arm-and-arm rove;
For the angel of death’s on the dark wave of Connell,
And waits for the mandate preparing above.
Three times a loud voice was heard sobbing and wailing
Above roaring Connell with sad mournful spell,
And three times a voice was heard plaintively sailing
With sighs round the mansions of lofty Lochnell.

Ne’er again, lovely maid, wilt thou stray through the wild wood;
Ne’er again wilt thou rove through the sweet of the glen;
Ne’er again wilt thou tread in the haunts of thy childhood,
Or rouse the red deer from its rock covered den.
Sad, sad will thy lot be, ill-fated MacDonald!
No more on thy love’s ruby lips shalt thou dwell;
For low in the oozy green caverns of Connell
Lies the pride of thy heart, the sweet maid of Lochnell.

— Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll (1885).

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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