And I have been a Scotchman all my life, and denied my native land!

‘Away with your gardens of roses’: first line of Byron’s ‘Lachin y Gair’ (‘Lochnagar’) in praise of the Highlands.

The volume of essays must be Virginihus Puerisque, published the following spring, 1881.

The first poem enclosed by RLS will be posthumously published in Collected Poems, ‘To her, for I must still regard her’, and refers to the Spectator as ‘grandmamma’. The other poem is probably that copied in the previous letter.

The decision not to publish the Amateur Emigrant was finally announced in the Athenaeum of 23 Oct. 1880.

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 715.]

To Sidney Colvin [Colvin 1912, pp. 145-146]

Ben Wyvis Hotel, Strathpeffer [? 27 August 1880].

My dear Colvin,

One or two words. We are here: all goes exceeding well with the wife and with the parents. Near here is a valley; birch woods, heather, and a stream; I have lain down and died; no country, no place, was ever for a moment so delightful to my soul.

Strathpeffer valley []


Strathpeffer valley []

And I have been a Scotchman all my life, and denied my native land! Away with your gardens of roses, indeed! Give me the cool breath of Rogie waterfall, henceforth and for ever, world without end.

Rogie Waterfall on the Black Water, a river in Ross-shire in the Highland []

Rogie Waterfall []

Rogie Waterfall []

I enclose two poems of, I think, a high order. One is my dedication for my essays; it was occasioned by that delicious article in the Spectator […] The other requires no explanation; c’est tout bonnement un petit chef d’œuvre de grâce, de délicatesse, et de bon sens humanitaire. Celui qui ne s’en sent pas touché jusqu’aux larmes – celui-là n’a pas vécu. I wish both poems back, as I am copyless: but they might return via Henley.

My father desires me still to withdraw the Emigrant […]. Whatever may be the pecuniary loss, he is willing to bear it; and the gain to my reputation will be considerable.

I am writing against time and the post runner. But you know what kind messages we both send to you […]. May you have as good a time as possible so far from Rogie!


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2 Responses to And I have been a Scotchman all my life, and denied my native land!

  1. Margherita says:

    Hello Mafalda,

    I wonder if you think these two poems can be found somewhere? Or perhaps they have been lost?

    I’m extremely curious as they appear to have been written in French.

    Many thanks for your fabulous posts.



  2. mafalda says:

    In 1912 Colvin did not remember which were the two poems.
    Mehew 3, p. 96 proposes ‘To her for I must still regard her’ (later published in ‘Collected Poems’) and the poem copied in the previous letter (see my previous post). Both in English, I’m afraid…
    Thank you for your kind appreciation: have a nice following!


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