All the anguish of the Clearances seems to be embodied in this anonymous poem of exile from the Highlands and Islands. Which was the misty isle, one wonders?

                     CANADIAN BOAT SONG

Fair these broad meads – these hoary woods are grand;

But we are exiles from our fathers’ land.


Listen to me, as when you heard our father

Sing long ago the song of other shores –

Listen to me, and then in chorus gather

All your deep voices, as ye pull your oars.


From the lone shieling of the misty island

Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas –

Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,

And we in dreams behold the Hebrides.


We ne’er shall tread the fancy-haunted valley,

Where ’tween the dark hills creeps the small clear stream,

In arms around the patriarch banner rally,

Nor see the   moon on royal tombstones gleam.


When the bold kindred, in the time long vanish’d,

Conquered the soil and fortified the keep, -

No seer foretold the children would be banish’d

That a degenerate lord might boast his sheep.


Come foreign rage – let Discord burst in slaughter!

O then for clansmen true, and stern claymore –

The hearts that would have given their blood like water,

Beat heavily beyond the Atlantic roar.

Scottish Anonymous