Tuesday, 5 April 2011

SPEECH ARTS ~ "Lord Ullin's Daughter" ~ By: Thomas Campbell ~ 87%

An old illustrated copy of the
first stanza of the poem
"Lord Ullin's Daughter"

Friday, April 1st was a busy day ... Alisdair was involved in the Sacred Reading category of the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival at 9 a.m.  Grandma and Grandpa had kept him overnight and they took him to the venue and watched his performance.  Meanwhile, I was at home quickly delivering the Saskatoon Star Phoenix to Alisdair's subscribers, stacking up our overdue library books that needed to be returned in North Battleford (our branch is only open a few hours per week), getting Alisdair's swimming gear organized, packing bottles to return (to the depot) and clothes (destined for the "Mennonite Community Closet") in the car, all the while repeating stanzas from the poem "Lord Ullin's Daughter" over and over in my head... 

This was no "April Fool's" joke... I didn't think it was fair to make Alisdair memorize a poem without being willing to do the same myself, and so when I handed in Alisdair's registration forms, I signed myself up too.  It all seemed logical back in January but when "doomsday" was suddenly upon us, I wondered why I willingly got myself into this!  I was quite tempted to back out but I kept repeating the words to the poem as I drove all the way to North Battleford.  I am sure it was a bit like torture for Isobel, who was strapped into her seatbelt in the back seat and couldn't escape the strains of my voice!

Alisdair finished reciting his poem only a few minutes before his first set of swimming lessons with the Battlefords Homeschool Association were about to begin.  There were still several other performers to recite before my turn would come at the front of the sanctuary.  Grandma to the rescue!  She took Alisdair to the pool while I waited.

Finally, it was my turn.  I got up and announced the title, "Lord Ullin's Daughter" and the author, "Thomas Campbell."

Thomas Campbell
July 27, 1777 - June 15, 1844
And then I focused on the pretty spring green stained glass windows as I stared out over the sparsely populated pews and plunged in...

"A chieftain to the Highlands bound cries boatman do not tarry...

Once, the adjudicator prompted softly as I stumbled and repeated, "The boat, the boat..."  She provided the phrase "has left a stormy land" and I was off again... but very relieved when Lord Ullin was left lamenting and I could bow and sit down in the front pew to await adjudication.

In the end, Phyllis Thomsen (the adjudicator) gave me a mark of 87% and "first in the class" (as I was the only adult entered!)  Her remarks included advice on the rhyming of the words "t a rry and f e rry" as well as the following:

"Some very fine work here.  You knew the poem well, actually and were able to express the pain, loss and regret with understanding.  Try always to feel the conversational aspects, the onward flow of the story.  Thank you for the care you took to prepare and present this poem for us."

The illustration for the final stanza where
Lord Ullin was  "left lamenting."

While researching "Lord Ullin's Daughter," I came across an interesting painting by Kate Underwood.  It was inspired by Campbell's poem.  She describes it as follows:

"June 2007. Largish canvas......acrylics...Scary picture! This is about control......& remorse.
I was working at my charity shop, & I found a book of British traditional poetry.......& on the bus journey home, it fell open at an old Scottish ballad , [the first page, as though meant!] so, by chance ... so I read it.......& it inspired me to paint this!"
(Kate Underwood's Flickr page can be found here.)

My Certificate


  1. Good for you! Keep it up. Who was the adjudicator?

  2. Phyllis Thomson from Winnipeg, Manitoba was the adjudicator - she did all the vocal music as well as the speech arts for the first week of the Music Festival.