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“He will return-dear lady, trust!
And think upon the harpings slow,
ELLEN. “ Well, be it as thou wilt; I hear, But cannot stop the bursting tear." The minstrel tried his simple art, But distant far was Ellen's heart.
Merry it is in the good green wood,
When the mavis* and merlet are singing, When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are
And the hunter's horn is ringing. “O Alice Brand, my native land
Is lost for love of you ; And we must hold by wood and wold,
As outlaws wont to do.
“ No, Allan, no! pretext so kind
“O Alice, 'twas all for thy locks so bright,
And 'twas all for thine eyes so blue, That on the night of our luckless flight,
Thy brother bold I slew. “Now must I teach to hew the beach,
The hand that held the glaive, For leaves to spread our lowly bed,
And stakes to fence our cave. “ And, for vest of pall, thy fingers small,
That wont on harp to stray, A cloak must shear from the slaughter'd deer,
To keep the cold away.” “O Richard ! if my brother died,
'Twas but a fatal chance; For darkling was the battle tried,
And fortune sped the lance.
Nor thou the crimson sheen,
As gay the forest green.
And lost thy native land,
And he his Alice Brand.”
& Nay, lovely Ellen!—dearest, nay!
Up spoke the moody elfin king,
Who won'd within the hill, -
His voice was ghostly shrill. “Why sounds yon stroke on beach and oak,
Our moonlight circle's screen ?
Beloved of our elfin queen ?
The fairies' fatal green?
For thou wert christen'd man; For cross or sign thou wilt not fly,
For mutter'd word or ban. “Lay on him the curse of the wither'd heart,
The curse of the sleepless eye; Till he wish and pray that his life would part,
Nor yet find leave to die.”
BALLAD CONTINUED. 'Tis merry, 'tis merry in good green wood,
Though the birds have stilld their singing; The evening blaze doth Alice raise,
And Richard is fagots bringing.
Before Lord Richard stands,
“ That is made with bloody hands.”— But out then spoke she, Alice Brand,
That woman void of fear,“ And if there's blood upon his hand,
'Tis but the blood of deer.”-
It cleaves unto his hand,
The blood of Ethert Brand.”
A spotless hand is mine.
By him who demons fear,
BALLAD CONTINUED. “ 'Tis merry, 'tis merry in fairy land,
When fairy birds are singing, When the court doth ride by their monarch's side,
With bit and bridle ringing:
But all is glistening show,
Can dart on ice and snow.
Is our inconstant shape,
And now like dwarf and ape.
“ It was between the night and day,
When the fairy king has power, That I sunk down in a sinful fray, And, 'twixt life and death, was snatch'd away
To the joyless elfin bower. “ But wist I of a woman bold,
Who thrice my brow durst sign, I might regain my mortal mould,
As fair a form as thine.”—
That lady was so brave;
The darker grew the cave.
He rose beneath her hand
Her brother, Ethert Brand !
When the mavis and merle are singing; But merrier were they in Dunfermline gray, When all the bells were ringing.
I'll place thee in a lovely bower,
Ellen, thy hand-the ring is thine;
XX. All in the Trosach's glen was still, Noontide was sleeping on the hill: Sudden his guide whoop'd loud and high« Murdoch! was that a signal cry?” He stammer'd forth," I shout to scare Yon raven from his dainty fare." He look'd-he knew the raven's prey, His own brave steed :-"Ah! gallant gray! For thee-for me, perchance-twere well We ne'er had left the Trosach's dell. Murdoch, move first—but silently; Whistle or whoop, and thou shalt die." Jealous and sullen on they fared, Each silent, each upon his guard.
XVIII. Fitz-James knew every wily train A lady's fickle heart to gain, But here he knew and felt them vain. There shot no glance from Ellen's eye, To give her steadfast speech the lie; In maiden confidence she stood, Though mantled in her cheek the blood, And told her love with such a sigh of deep and hopeless agony, As death had seal'd her Malcolm's doom, And she sat sorrowing on his tomb. Hope vanish'd from Fitz-James's eye, But not with hope fled sympathy. He proffer'd to attend her side, As brother would a sister guide.“O! little know'st thou Roderick's heart! Safer for both we go apart. O haste thee, and from Allan learn, If thou may'st trust yon wil; kern.”With hand upon his forehead laid, The conflict of his mind to shade, A parting step or two he made; Then, as some thought had cross'd his brain He paused, and turn'd, and came again.
XXI. Now wound the path its dizzy ledge Around a precipice's edge. When lo! a wasted female form, Blighted by wrath of sun and storm, In tatter'd weeds and wild array, Stood on a cliff beside the way, And glancing round her restless eye, Upon the wood, the rock, the sky, Seem'd naught to mark, yet all to spy. Her brow was wreath'd with gaudy broom ; With gesture wild she waved a plume Of feathers, which the eagles fling To crag and cliff from dusky wing; Such spoils her desperate step had sought, Where scarce was footing for the goat. The tartan plaid she first descried, And shriek'd till all the rocks replied; As loud she laugh'd when near they drew, For then the lowland garb she knew; And then her hands she wildly wrung, And then she wept, and then she sung.She sung :-the voice, in better time, Perchance to harp or lute might chime ;
though strain'd and roughen'd, still Rung wildly sweet to dale and hill.
SONG. “ They bid me sleep, they bid me pray,
They say my brain is warp'd and wrungI cannot sleep on bighland brae,
I cannot pray in highland tongue. But were I now where Allan glides, Or heard my native Devan's tides,
“ Hear, lady, yet, a parting word !
The bows they bend, and the knives they whet,
Hunters live so cheerily. “ It was a stag, a stag of ten,"
Bearing his branches sturdily ; He came stately down the glen,
Ever sing hardily, hardily. “ It was there he met with a wounded doe,
She was bleeding deathfully; She warn'd him of the toils below,
0, so faithfully, faithfully!
Ever sing warily, warily ;
Hunters watch so narrowly.”
So sweetly would I rest, and pray
They bade me to the church repair ;
And my truelove would meet me there,
XXIV. “Hush thee, poor maiden, and be still !" “O! thou look'st kindly, and I will. Mine eye has dried and wasted been, But still it loves the Lincoln green ; And though mine ear is all unstrung, Still, still it loves the lowland tongue. “For O, my sweet William was forester true,
He stole poor Blanche's heart away!
And so blithely he trill’d the lowland lay!
Ever sing merrily, merrily;
XXVI, Fitz-James's mind was passion-toss'd When Ellen's hints and fears were lost; But Murdoch's shout suspicion wrought, And Blanche's song conviction brought.Not like a stag that spies the snare, But lion of the hunt aware, He waved at once his blade on high, “ Disclose thy treachery, or die!"Forth at full speed the clansman flew, But in his race his bow he drew: The shaft just grazed Fitz-James's crest, And thrill'd in Blanche's faded breast.Murdoch of Alpine, prove thy speed, For ne'er had Alpine's son such need! With heart of fire and foot of wind, The fierce avenger is behind ! Fate judges of the rapid strifeThe forfeit death-the prize is life! Thy kindred ambush lies before, Close couch'd upon the heathery moor; Them couldst thou reach !-it may not be Thine ambush'd kin thou ne'er shalt see, The fiery Saxon gains on thee ! -Resistless speeds the deadly thrust, As lightning strikes the pine to dust; With foot and hand Fitz-James must strain, Ere he can win his blade again. Bent o'er the fallen, with falcon eye, He grimly smiled to see him die ; Then slower wended back bis way, Where the poor maiden bleeding lay.
XXVII. She sate beneath the birchen tree, Her elbow resting on her knee ; She had withdrawn the fatal shaft, And gazed on it and feebly laughed; Her wreath of broom and feathers gray, Daggled with blood, beside her lay. The knight to stanch the life-stream tried : “ Stranger, it is in vain !” she cried, “ This hour of death has given me more Of reason's power than years before ; For, as these ebbing veins decay, My frenzied visions fade away.
* Having ten branches on his antlers.
A helpless injured wretch I die, And something tells me in thine eye, That thou wert my avenger born. Seest thou this tress ?”-O! still I've worn This little tress of yellow hair, Through danger, frenzy, and despair ! It once was bright and clear as thine, But blood and tears have dimm'd its shine. I will not tell thee when 'twas shred, Nor from what guiltless victim's head My brain would turn !-but it shall wave Like plumage on thy helmet brave, Till sun and wind shall bleach the stain, And thou wilt bring it me again.I waver still. O God! more bright Let reason beam her parting light ! 0! by thy knighthood's honour'd sign, And for thy life preserved by mine, When thou shalt see a darksome man, Who boasts him chief of Alpine's clan, With tartans broad and shadowy plume, And hand of blood, and brow of gloom Be thy heart bold, thy weapon strong, And wreak poor Blanche of Devan's wrong! They watch for thee by pass and fellAvoid the path-0 God farewell!"
XXIX. The shades of eve come slowly down, The woods are wrapp'd in deeper brown, The owl awakens from her dell, The fox is heard upon the fell ; Enough remains of glimmering light, To guide the wanderer's steps aright, Yet not enough from far to show His figure to the watchful foe. With cautious step and ear awake, He climbs the crag, and threads the brake; And not the summer solstice there, Temper'd the midnight mountain air, But every breeze that swept the wold, Benumb'd his drenched limbs with cold. In dread, in danger, and alone, Famish'd and chill'd, through ways unknown, Tangled and steep, he journey'd on ; Till, as a rock's huge point he turn'd, A watch-fire close beside him burn'd.
XXVIII. A kindly heart had brave Fitz-James ; Fast pour'd his eye at pity's claims, And now, with mingled grief and ire, He saw the murder'd maid expire. “God, in my need, be my relief, As I wreak this on yonder chief !” A lock from Blanche's tresses fair He blended with her bridegroom's hair ; The mingled braid in blood he died, And placed it on his bonnet side ; “ By him whose word is truth ! I swear No other favour will I wear, Till this sad token I imbrue In the best blood of Roderick Dhu! -But hark! what means yon faint halloo ? The chase is up—but they shall know, The stag at bay's a dangerous foe.” Barr'd from the known but guarded way, Through copse and cliffs Fitz-James must stray, And oft must change his desperate track, By stream and precipice turn’d back. Heartless, fatigued, and faint, at length, From lack of food and loss of strength, He couch'd him in a thicket hoar, And thought his toils and perils o'er : “ Of all my rash adventures past, This frantic feat must prove the last ! Who e'er so mad but might have guess'd, That all this highland hornet's nest Would muster up in swarms so soon As e'er they heard of bands at Doune ? Like bloodhounds now they search me out.Hark to the whistle and the shout! If farther through the wilds I go, I only fall upon the foe; I'll couch me here till evening gray, Then darkling try my dangerous way."
XXX. Beside its embers red and clear, Bask'd in his plaid, a mnountaineer ; And up he sprung with sword in hand“ Thy name and purpose ! Saxon, stand !" “ A stranger."_“What dost thou require ?” “ Rest and a guide, and food and fire. My life's beset, my path is lost, The gale has chill'd my limbs with frost." “ Art thou a friend to Roderick ?"_“ No.”“ 'Thou dar'st not call thyself a foe ?” “ I dare! to him and all the band He brings to aid his murderous hand.” “ Bold words !—but, though the beast of game The privilege of chase may claim, Though space and law the stag we lend, Ere hound we slip, or bow we bend, Who ever reck'd where, how, or when, The prowling fox was trapp'd and slain ? Thus treacherous scouts ;-yet sure they lie, Who say thou cam’st a secret spy !”— “ They do, by heaven Come Roderick Dhu, And of his clan the boldest two, And let me but till morning rest, I write the falsehood on their crest.”“ If by the blaze I mark aright, Thou bear'st the belt and spur of knight.” “ Then by these tokens may'st thou know Each proud oppressor's mortal foe.” “ Enough, enough; sit down and share A soldier's couch, a soldier's fare.”
XXXI. He gave him of his highland cheer, The harden'd flesh of mountain deer ; Dry fuel on the fire he laid, And bade the Saxon share his plaid. He tended him like welcome guest, Then thus his further speech address'd. “Stranger, I am to Roderick Dhu A clansman born, a kinsman true; Each word against his honour spoke Demands of me avenging stroke;