Imágenes de páginas

Yet trust I well, his duty done,
The orphan's God will guard my son.-
And you, in many a danger true,
At Duncan's hest your blades that drew,
To arms, and guard that orphan's head!
Let babes and women wail the dead."
Then weapon-clang, and martial call,
Resounded through the funeral hall,
While from the walls th' attendant band
Snatch'd sword and targe, with hurried hand;
And short and fitting energy
Glanced from the mourner's sunken eye,
As if the sounds, to warrior dear,
Might rouse her Duncan from his bier.
But faded soon that borrow'd force;
Grief claim'd his right, and tears their course.

The hand of the reaper

Takes the ears that are hoary,
But the voice of the weeper

Wails manhood in glory ;
The autumn winds rushing

Waft the leaves that are searest,
But our flower was in flushing,

When blighting was nearest.
Fleet foot on the correi,*

Sage counsel in cumber,
Red hand in the foray,

How sound is thy slumber!
Like the dew on the mountain,

Like the foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
Thou art gone, and for ever!

See Stumah,t who, the bier beside,
His master's corpse with wonder eyed,
Poor Stumah ! whom his least halloo
Could send like lightning o'er the dew,
Bristles his crest, and points his ears,
As if some stranger step he hears.
'Tis not a mourner's muilled tread,
Who comes to sorrow o'er the dead.
But headlong haste, or deadly fear
Urge the precipitate career.
All stand aghast :-unheeding all,
The henchman bursts into the hall:
Before the dead man's bier he stood,
Held forth the eross besmeard with blood;
“ The muster place is Lanric mead;
Speed forth the signal! clansmen, speed!”

Angus, the heir of Duncan's line,
Sprung forth and seized the fatal sign.
In haste the stripling to his side
His father's dirk and broadsword tied ;
But when he saw his mother's eye
Watch him in speechless agony,
Back to her open arms he flew,
Press'd on her lips a fond adieu-
“ Alas !" she sobb’d—" and yet be

And speed thee forth like Duncan's son !"
One look he cast upon the bier,
Dash'd from his eye the gathering tear,
Breathed deep, to clear his labouring breast,
And toss'd aloft his bonnet crest,
Then, like the high-bred colt, when, freed,
First he essays his fire and speed,
He vanish’d, and o'er moor and moss
Sped forward with the fiery cross.
Suspended was the widow's tear,
While yet his footsteps she could hear:
And when she mark'd the henchman's eye
Wet with unwonted sympathy,
“ Kinsman,” she said, “his race is run,
That should have sped thine errand on;
The oak has fallen--the sapling bough
Is all Duncraggan's shelter now.

XIX. Benledi saw the cross of fire, It glanced like lightning up Strath-Ire. O’er dale and hill the summons flew, Nor rest nor pause young Angus knew; The tear that gather'd in his eye, He left the mountain breeze to dry; Until, where Teith's young waters roll, Betwixt him and a wooded knoll, That graced the sable strath with green, The chapel of Saint Bride was seen. Swoln was the stream, remote the bridge, But Angus paused not on the edge ; Though the dark waves danced dizzily, Though reeld his sympathetic eye, He dash'd amid the torrent's roar; His right hand high the crosslet bore, His left the pole-axe grasp'd, to guide And stay his footing in the tide. He stumbled twice—the foam splash'd high, With hoarser swell the stream raced by; And had he fallen-for ever there, Farewell Duncraggan's orphan heir ! But still, as if in parting life, Firmer he grasp'd the cross of strife, Until th' opposing bank he gain'd, And up the chapel pathway strain'd.

XX. A blithesome rout, that morning tide, Had sought the chapel of Saint Bride. Her troth Tombea's Mary gave To Norman, heir of Armandave, And, issuing from the Gothic arch, The bridal now resumed their march. In rude, but glad procession, came Bonnetted sire and coif-clad dame; And plaided youth, with jest and jeer, Which snooded maiden would not hear; And children, that, unwitting why, Lent the gay shout their shrilly cry ; And minstrels, that in measures vied Before the young and bonny bride, Whose downcast eye and cheek disclose The tear and blush of morning rose. With virgin step, and bashful hand, She held the kerchief's snowy band; The gallant bridegroom, by her side, Beheld his prize with victor's pride,

* Or corri-The hollow side of the hill, where game 1141ally lies.

'?hful-The name of a dog.

And the glad mother in her ear
Was closely whispering word of cheer.

XXI. Who meets them at the churchyard gate ? The messenger of fear and fate! Haste in his hurried accent lies, And grief is swimming in his eyes. All dripping from the recent food, Panting and travel-soil'd he stood, The fata) sign of fire and sword Held forth, and spoke th' appointed word; “ The muster place is Lanric mead; Speed forth the signal! Norman, speed !"And must he change so soon the hand Just link'd to his by holy band, For the fell cross of blood and brand ? And must the day, so blithe that rose, And promised rapture in the close, Before its setting hour, divide The bridegroom from the plighted bride ? O fatal doom !-it must! it must! Clan-Alpine's cause, her chieftain's trust, Her summons dread, brooks no delay; Stretch to the race-away! away!

I may not, dare not, fancy now
The grief that clouds thy lovely brow,
I dare not think upon thy vow,

And all it promised me, Mary!
No fond regret must Norman know;
When bursts Clan-Alpine on the foe,
His heart must be like bended bow,

His foot like arrow free, Mary!
A time will come with feeling fraught;
For, if I fall in battle fought,
Thy hapless lover's dying thought

Shall be a thought on thce, Mary!
And if return'd from conquer'd foes,
How blithely will the evening close,
How sweet the linnet sing repose,
To my young bride and me, Mary!

Not faster o'er thy heathery braes,
Balquidder, speeds the midnight blaze,
Rushing, in conflagration strong,
Thy deep ravines and dells along,
Wrapping thy cliffs in purple glow,
And reddening the dark lakes below;
Nor faster speeds it, nor so far,
As o'er thy heaths the voice of war.
The signal roused to martial coil
The sullen margin of Loch-Voil,
Waked still Loch-Doine, and to the source
Alarm's, Balvaig, thy swampy course;
Thence, southward turn’d its rapid road
Adown Strath-Gartney's valley broad,
Till rose in arms each man might claim
A portion in Clan-Alpine's name;
From the gray sire, whose trembling hand
Could hardly buckle on his brand,
To the raw boy, whose shaft and bow
Were yet scarce terror to the crow.
Each valley, each sequester'd glen,
Muster'd its little horde of men,
That met as torrents from the height
In highland dales their streams unite,
Still gathering as they pour along,
A voice more loud, a tide more strong,
Till at the rendezvous they stood
By hundreds, prompt for blows and blood;
Each train’d to arms since life began,
Owning no tie but to his clan,
No oath, but by his chieftain's hand,
No law, but Roderick Dhu's command.

XXII. Yet slow he laid his plaid aside, And, lingering, eyed his lovely bride, Until he saw the starting tear Speak wo he might not stop to cheer; Then, trusting not a second look, In haste he sped him up the brook, Nor backward glanced till on the heath, Where Lubnaig's lake supplies the Teith.What in the racer's bosom stirrid ? The sicken’d pang of hope deferr’d, And memory, with a torturing train Of all his morning visions vain. Mingled with love's impatience, came The manly thirst for martial fame : The stormy joy of mountaineers, Ere yet they rush upon the spears ; And zeal for clan and chieftain burning, And hope, from well-fought field returning, With war's red honours on his crest, To clasp bis Mary to his breast. Stung by his thoughts, o'er bank and brae, Like fire from flint he glanced away, While high resolve, and feeling strong, Burst into voluntary song.



The heath this night must be my bed, The bracken* curtain for my head, My lullaby the warder's tread,

Far, far from love and thee, Mary! To-morrow eve, more stilly laid, My couch may be my bloody plaid, My vesper song, thy wail, sweet maid !

It will not waken me, Mary!

XXV. That summer morn had Roderick Dhu Survey'd the skirts of Ben-venue, And sent his scouts o'er hill and heath, To view the frontiers of Menteith. All backward came with news of truce ; Still lay each martial Græme and Bruce, In Rednock courts no horsemen wait, No banner waved on Cardross gate, On Duchray's towers no beacon shone, Nor scared the herons from Loch-Con; All seem'd at peace.-Now, wot ye why The chieftain, with such anxious eye, Ere to the muster he repair, This western frontier scann'd with care !


In Ben-venue's most darksome cleft

It was a fair and gallant sight, A fair, though cruel, pledge was left;

To view them from the neighbouring height, For Douglas, to his promise true,

By the low levell’d sunbeam's light; That morning from the isle withdrew,

For strength and stature, from the clan And in a deep sequester'd dell

Each warrior was a chosen man, Had sought a low and lonely cell.

As e’en afar might well be seen, By many a bard, in Celtic tongue,

By their proud step and martial mien. Has Coir-nan-Uriskin been sung;

Their feathers dance, their tartans float, A softer name the Saxons gave,

Their targets gleam, as by the boat And call’d the grot the Goblin-cave.

A wild and warlike group they stand,

That well became such mountain strand XXVI. It was as wild and strange retreat

XXVIII. As e'er was trod by outlaw's feet.

Their chief, with step reluctant, still The dell, upon the mountain's crest,

Was lingering on the craggy hill, Yawn'd like a gash on warrior's breast;

Hard by where turn'd apart the road Its trench had stay'd full many a rock,

To Douglas's obscure abode. Hurl'd by primeval earthquake shock

It was but with that dawning mom From Ben-venue's gray summit wild;

That Roderick Dhu had proudly sworn And here, in random ruin piled,

To drown his love in war's wild roar, They frown'd incumbent o'er the spot,

Nor think of Ellen Douglas more ; And form’d the rugged sylvan grot.

But he who stems a stream with sand, The oak and birch, with mingled shade

And fetters flame with flaxen band, At noontide there a twilight made,

Has yet a harder task to proveUnless when short and sudden shone

By firm resolve to conquer love ! Some straggling beam on cliff or stone,

Eve finds the chief, like restless ghost, With such a glimpse as prophet's eye

Still hovering near his treasure lost; Gains on thy depth, futurity.

For though his haughty heart deny No murmur waked the solemn still,

A parting meeting to his eye, Save tinkling of a fountain rill;

Still fondly strains his anxious ear But when the wind chafed with the lake,

The accents of her voice to hear, A sullen sound would upward break,

And inly did he curse the breeze With dashing hollow voice, that spoke

That waked to sound the rustling trees. Th’incessant war of wave and rock.

But hark! what mingles in the strain ? Suspended cliffs, with hideous sway,

It is the harp of Allan-bane, Seemed nodding o'er the cavern gray.

That wakes its measure slow and high, From such a den the wolf had sprung,

Attuned to sacred minstrelsy. In such the wild cat leaves ber young:

What melting voice attends the strings ! Yet Douglas and his daughter fair,

'Tis Ellen, or an angel, sings. Sought, for a space, their safety there. Gray superstition's whisper dread

XXIX. Debarr'd the spot to vulgar tread :

HYMN TO THE VIRGIN. For there, she said, did fays resort,

Ave Maria! maiden mild ! And satyrs* hold their sylvan court,

Listen to a maiden's prayer ; By moonlight tread their mystic maze,

Thou canst hear though from the wild, And blast the rash beholder's gaze.

Thou canst save amid despair.

Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,

Though banish'l, outcast, and reviledNow eve with western shadows long,

Maiden ! hear a maiden's prayer; Floated on Katrine bright and strong,

Mother, hear a suppliant child ! When Roderick, with a chosen few,

Ave Maria! Repass'd the heights of Ben-venue.

Ave Maria! undefiled! Above the goblin-cave they go,

The flinty couch we now must share Through the wild pass of Beal-nam-bo;

Shall seem with down of eider piled, The prompt retainers speed before,

If thy protection hover there. To launch the shallop from the shore,

The murky cavern's heavy air For 'cross Loch-Katrine lies his way,

Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled; To view the passes of Achray,

Then, maiden, hear a maiden's prayer, And place his clansmen in array.

Mother, list a suppliant child! Yet lags the chief in musing mind,

Ave Maria! Unwonted sight, his men behind.

Ave Maria! Stainless styled ! A single page, to bear his sword,

Foul demons of the earth and air, Alone attended on his lord ;

From this their wonted haunt exiled, The rest their way through thickets break,

Shall flee before thy presence fair. And soon await him by the lake.

We bow us to thy lot of care, * The Urisk, or highland satyr.

Beneath thy guidance reconciled;

All while he stripp'd the wild-rose spray,
His axe and bow beside him lay,
For on a pass 'twixt lake and wood,
A wakeful sentinel he stood.
Hark!-on the rock a footstep rung,
And instant to his arms he sprung.
“ Stand, or thou diest What, Malise !-soon
Art thou return'd from braes of Doune.
By thy keen step and glance I know
Thou bring'st us tidings of the foe.”-
(For while the fiery cross hied on,
On distant scout had Malise gone.)
“ Where sleeps the chief ?" the henchman said.
“A part, in yonder misty glade ;
To his lone couch I'll be your guide.”-
Then call'd a slumberer by his side,
And stirr'd him with his slacken'd bow-
“ Up, up, Glentarkin! rouse thee, ho!
We seek the chieftain ; on the track,
Keep eagle watch till I come back.”

Hear for a maid a maiden's prayer,
And for a father hear a child !

Ave Maria!

Died on the harp the closing hymn-
Unmoved in attitude and limb,
As listening still, Clan-Alpine's lord
Stood leaning on his heavy sword,
Until the page, with humble sign,
Twice pointed to the sun's decline.
Then, while his plaid he round him cast,
“ It is the last time —'tis the last,”-
He mutter'd thrice," the last time e'er
That angel voice shall Roderick hear!"
It was a goading thought—his stride
Hied hastier down the mountain side ;
Sullen he flung him in the boat,
And instant 'cross the lake it shot.
They landed in that silvery bay,
And eastward held their hasty way.
Till, with the latest beams of light,
The band arrived on Lapric height,
Where muster'd, in the vale below,
Clan-Alpine's men in martial show.

A various scene the clansmen made,
Some sate, some stood, some slowly stray'd
But most, with mantles folded round,
Were couch'd to rest upon the ground,
Scarce to be known by curious eye,
From the deep heather where they lie,
So well was match'd the tartan screen
With heathbell dark and brackens green ;
Unless where, here and there, a blade,
Or lance's point, a glimmer made,
Like glowworm twinkling through the shade.
But when, advancing through the gloom,
They saw the chieftain's eagle plume,
Their shout of welcome, shrill and wide,
Shook the steep mountain's steady side.
Thrice it arose, and lake and fell
Three times return'd the martial yell;
It died upon Bochastle's plain,
And silence claim'd her evening reign.

III. Together up the pass they sped : “ What of the foeman ?” Norman said. “ Varying reports from near and far: This certain—that a band of war Has for two days been ready boune, At prompt command, to march from Doune; King James, the while, with princely powers, Holds revelry in Stirling towers. Soon will this dark and gathering cloud Speak on our glens in thunder loud. Inured to bide such bitter bout, The warrior's plaid may bear it out: But, Norman, how wilt thou provide A shelter for thy bonny bride ?"“What! know ye not that Roderick's care To the lone isle hath caused repair Each maid and matron of the clan, And every child and aged man Unfit for arms; and given his charge, Nor skiff nor shallop, boat nor barge, Upon these lakes shall float at large,' But all beside the islet moor, That such dear pledge may rest secure ?"


« The rose is fairest when 'tis budding new,

And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears; The rose is sweetest wash'd with morning dew,

And love is loveliest when embalm'd in tears. O wilding rose, whom fancy thus endears,

I bid your blossoms in my bonnet wave, Emblem of hope and love through future years !”

Thus spoke young Norman, heir of Armandave, What time the sun arose on Vennachar's broad wave.

Such fond conceit, half said, half sung,
Love prompted to the bridegroom's tongue.

IV. “ 'Tis well advised—the chieftain's plan Bespeaks the father of his clan. But wherefore sleeps Sir Roderick Dhu Apart from all his followers true ?” “ It is because last evening tide Brian an augury hath tried, Of that dread kind which must not be Unless in dread extremity. The taghairm call’d; by which, afar, Our sires foresaw th' events of war. Duncraggan's milk-white bull they slew.”

MALISE. “ Ah! well the gallant brute I knew! The choicest of the prey we had, When swept our merry men Gallangad. His hide was snow, his horns were dark, His red eye glow'd like fiery spark ;

Not spoke in word, nor blazed in scroll, But borne and branded on my soul ;Which spills the foremost foeman's life That party conquers in the strise."

So fierce, so tameless, and so fleet,
Sore did he cumber our retreat,
And kept our stoutest kernes in awe,
E'en at the pass of Beal 'maha.
But steep and finty was the road,
And sharp the hurrying pikeman's goad,
And when we came to Dennan's row
A child might scatheless stroke his brow."



VII. “ Thanks, Brian, for thy zeal and care! Good is thine augury, and fair. Clan-Alpine ne'er in battle stood, But first our broadswords tasted blood. A surer victim still I know, Self-offer'd to th'auspicious blow: A spy has sought my land this morn, No eve shall witness his return! My followers guard each pass's mouth, To east, to westward, and to south; Red Murdoch, bribed to be his guide, Has charge to lead his steps aside, Till, in deep path or dingle brown, He light on those shall bring him down.But see who comes his news to show! Malise! what tidings of the foe ?"

" That bull was slain : his reeking hide
They stretch'd the cataract beside,
Whose waters their wild tumult toss
Adown the black and craggy boss
Of that huge cliff, whose ample verge
Tradition calls the Hero's Targe.
Couch'd on a shelve beneath its brink,
Close where the thundering torrents sink,
Rocking beneath their headlong sway,
And drizzled by the ceaseless spray,
Midst groan of rock, and roar of stream,
The wizard waits prophetic dream.
Nor distant rests the chief;—but, hush :
See, gliding slow through mist and bush,
The hermit gains yon rock, and stands
To gaze upon our slumbering bands.
Seems he not, Malise, like a ghost,
That hovers o'er a slaughter'd host ?
Or raven on the blasted oak,
That, watching while the deer is broke,*
His morsel claims with sullen croak ?
–“ Peace! peace! to other than to me,
Thy words were evil augury ;
But still I hold Sir Roderick's blade
Clan-Alpine's omen and her aid,
Not aught that, glean'd from heaven or hell,
Yon fiend-begotten monk can tell.
The chieftain joins him, see—and now,
Together they descend the brow."-

[ocr errors]

VIII. “ At Doune, o'er many a spear and glaive Two barons proud their banners wave, I saw the Moray's silver star, And mark'd the sable pale of Mar.”“ By Alpine's soul, high tidings those ! I love to hear of worthy foes. When move they on ?"_" To-morrow's noon Will see them here for battle boune." “ Then shall it see a meeting stern! But, for the place—say, couldst thou learn Naught of the friendly clans of Earn? Strengthen’d by them, we well might bide The battle on Benledi's side.Thou couldst not ?-well! Clan-Alpine's men Shall man the Trosach's shaggy glen; Within Loch-Katrine's gorge we'll fight, All in our maids' and matrons' sight, Each for his hearth and household fire, Father for child, and son for sire, Lover for maid beloved !-but whyIs it the breeze affects mine eye? Or dost thou come, ill-omen's tear, A messenger of doubt and fear? No! sooner may the Saxon lance Unfix Benledi from his stance, Than doubt or terror can pierce through Th' unyielding heart of Roderick Dhu! 'Tis stubborn as his trusty targe. Each to his post all know their charge."The pibroch sounds, the bands advance, The broadswords gleam, the banners dance, Obedient to the chieftain's glance. I turn me from the martial roar, And seek Coir-Uriskin once more.

VI. And, as they came, with Alpine's lord The hermit monk held solemn word: “ Roderick! it is a fearful strife, For man endow'd with mortal life, Whose shroud of sentient clay can still Feel feverish pang and fainting chill, Whose eye can stare in stony trance, Whose hair can rouse like warrior's lance, 'Tis hard for such to view, unfurl'd, The curtain of the future world. Yet, witness every quaking limb, My sunken pulse, mine eyeballs dim, My soul with harrowing anguish torn, This for my chieftain have I borne The shapes that sought my fearful couch, A human tongue may ne'er avouch; No mortal man-save he, who, bred Between the living and the dead, Is gifted beyond nature's law,Had e'er survived to say he saw. At length the fateful answer came, In characters of living flame !

IX. Where is the Douglas ?-he is gone; And Ellen sits on the gray stone Fast by the cave, and makes her moan; While vainly Allan's words of cheer Are pour'd on her upheeding ear.

• Quartered.

« AnteriorContinuar »