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The storm had ceased its wintry roar,
Hoarse dash the billows of the sea ;
That long, narrow, and irregular island, usually called the Main-Land of Zetland, because it is by far the largest of that Archipelago, terminates, as is well known to the mariners who navigate the stormy seas which surround the Thule of the ancients, in a cliff of tremendous height, entitled Sumburgh-Head, which presents its bare scalp and naked sides to the weight of a tremendous surge, and forms the extreme point of the isle to the south-east. This lofty pro
montory is constantly exposed to the current of a strong and furious tide, which setting in betwixt the Orkney and Zetland Islands, and running with force only inferior to that of the Pentland Frith, takes its name from the headland we have mentioned, and is called the Roost of Sumburgh ; roost being the phrase assigned in these isles to currents of this description.
On the land side, the promontory is covered with short grass, and slopes steeply down to a little isthmus, upon which the sea has encroached in creeks, which, advancing from either side of the island, gradually work their way forward, and seem as if in a short time they would form a junction, and altogether insulate Sumburgh-Head, when what is now a cape, will become a lonely mountain islet, severed from the main-land, of which it is at present the terminating extremity.
Man, however, had in former days considered this as a remote or unlikely event; for a Norwegian chief of other times, or, as other accounts said, and as the name of Jarlshof seemed to imply, an ancient Earl of the Orkneys, had selected this neck of land as the place for establishing a man