19th century Gareloch Poem

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'The Old Soldier of the Gareloch Head'

This poem was written by Professor John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895).

Professor Blackie was appointed to the Greek Chair in Edinburgh University in 1852. He worked hard to preserve the Gaelic language and literature and he was instrumental in founding the Chair of Celtic Literature in the University of Edinburgh.

His Scottish-related poetry was published in "Lyrical Poems" (1860), and "Lays of the Highlands and Islands" (1872).

I've wander'd east and west,
   And a soldier I hae been;
The scars upon my breast
   Tell the wars that I have seen.

But now I'm old and worn,
   And my locks are thinly spread,
And I'm come to die in peace,
   By the Gareloch Head.

When I was young and strong,
   Oft a wandering I would go,
By the rough shores of Loch Long,
   Up to lone Glencroe.

But now I'm fain to rest,
   And my resting-place I've made,
On the green and gentle bosom
   Of the Gareloch Head.

'Twas here my Jeanie grew,
   Like a lamb amid the flocks,
With her eyes of bonnie blue,
   And her gowden locks.

And here we often met,
   When with lightsome foot we sped,
O'er the green and grassy knolls
   At the Gareloch Head.