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Trossachs Quotations

What exactly are the Trossachs? They are a pass, a gorge, a hollow way that stretches out beside a little river between the two masses of rock, those of Ben A’an and Ben Venue, which stand like watchmen next to Loch
Katrine with their broad backs stretching to Loch Achray. As a picture the whole thing is quite perfect, and Walter Scott knew very well what he was doing when he made Ellen Douglas put her boat ashore and made the King step forth from the undergrowth by the lakeside just at this particular point. The place seems positively to compel the poet to speak in a romantic vein, and no maiden could here step ashore from the lake without being immediately taken for the Lady of the Lake herself.
Theodor Fontane (1860)

The summer dawn’s reflected hue
To purple changed Loch Katrine blue;
Mildly and soft the western breeze
Just kissed the lake, just stirred the trees,
And the pleased lake, like maiden coy,
Trembled but dimpled not for joy;
The mountain shadows on her breast
Were neither broken nor at rest;
In bright uncertainty they lie,
Like future joys to Fancy’s eye.
The water lily to the light
Her chalice reared of silver bright;
The doe awoke, and to the lawn,
Begemmed with dew-drops, led her fawn;
The grey mist left the mountain side,
The torrent showed its glistening pride;
Invisible in flecked sky,
The lark sent down her revelry;
The black-bird and the speckled thrush
Good-morrow gave from brake and bush;
In answer cooed the cushat dove,
Her notes of peace, and rest, and love.

Sir Walter Scott.

The rocky summits, split and rent,
Form’d turret, dome, or battlement,
Or seem’d fantastically set
With cupola or minaret,
Wild crests as pagod ever deck’d,
Or mosque of Eastern architect.
Nor were these earth-born Castles bare,
Nor lack’d they many a banner fair;
For, from their shiver’d brows display’d,
Far o’er the unfathomable glade,
All twinkling with the dewdrops sheen,
The brier-rose fell in streamers green,
And creeping shrubs, of thousand dyes,
Waved in the west-wind’s summer sighs.
Aloft, the ash and warrior oak
Cast anchor in the rifted rock;
And, higher yet, the pine-tree hung
His shatter’d trunk, and frequent flung,
Where seem’d the clifts to meet on high,
His boughs athwart the narrow’d sky.
Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,
Where glist’ning streamers waved and danced,
The wanderer’s eye could barely view
The summer heaven’s delicious blue;
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream.
Sir Walter Scott.

High above the Highland glen
Flamed and burned the purple heather
Colours never mixed of men,
Tints no painter put together;

And I guessed that, where I trod,
Quaffing his Olympian fill,
Rudely had some reeling god
Spilt his wine-cup on the hill.

Will H. Ogilvie.

At a turn of the road Loch Achray is before you. Beyond
expression beautiful is that smiling lake, mirroring the
hills, whether bare and green or plumaged with woods
from base to crest. Fair azure gem in a setting of
mountains! The travellers cannot but pause to drink in
its fairy beauty. At every step the scenery grows
wilder. Loch Achray disappears. High in upper air tower
the summits of Ben-Aan and Ben-Venue. You pass
through the gorge of the Trossachs, whose rocky walls,
born in earthquake and fiery deluge, the fanciful summer
has been dressing these thousand years, clothing their feet with drooping ferns and rods of foxglove bells, blackening their breasts with pines, leathering their pinnacles with airy birches, that dance in the breeze like plumage on a warrior’s helm. The wind here becomes a musician. Echo sits babbling beneath the rock. The gorge, too, is but the prelude to a finer charm; for before you are aware, doubling her beauty with surprise, there breaks on the right the silver sheet of Loch Katrine, with a dozen woody islands, sleeping peacefully on their shadows.
Alexander Smith

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