Sidor som bilder

E’en hardy Brent, abash'd and tamed, Stood half admiring, half ashamed.

Please you, meanwhile, in fitting bower
Repose you till his waking hour;
Female attendance shall obey
Your hest for service or array:
Permit I marshal you the way.”
But, ere she follow'd, with the grace
And open bounty of her race,
She bade her slender purse be shared
Among the soldiers of the guard.
The rest with thanks their guerdon took ;
But Brent, with shy and awkward look,
On the reluctant maiden's hold
Forced bluntly back the proffer'd gold ;-
“ Forgive a haughty English heart,
And O forget its ruder part;
The vacant purse shall be my share,
Which in my barret cap I'll bear,
Perchance, in jeopardy of war,
Where gayer crests may keep afar.”
With thanks'twas all she could-the maid
His rugged courtesy repaid.

Boldly she spoke:-“Soldiers, attend !
My father was the soldier's friend;
Cheer'd him in camps, in marches led,
And with him in the battle bled.
Not from the valiant, or the strong,
Should exile's daughter suffer wrong."
Answer'd De Brent, most forward still
In every feat, or good or ill-
“ I shame me of the part I play'd;
And thou an outlaw's child, poor maid !
An outlaw I by forest laws,
And merry Needwood knows the cause.
Poor Rose ! if Rose be living now
He wiped his iron eye and brow-
“ Must bear such age, I think, as thou.
Hear ye, my mates ;-I go to call
The captain of our watch to hall;
There lies my halbert on the floor;
And he that steps my halbert o'er,
To do the maid injurious part,
My shaft shall quiver in his heart!
Beware loose speech, or jesting rough:
Ye all know John De Brent. Enough."

Their captain came; a gallant, young,
( Of Tullibardine's house he sprung,)
Nor wore he yet the spurs of knight;
Gay was his mien, his humour light,
And, though by courtesy controllid,
Forward his speech, his bearing bold:
The high-born maiden ill could brook
The scanning of his curious look
And dauntless eye ;-and yet, in sooth,
Young Lewis was a generous youth ;
But Ellen's lovely face and mien,
Ill-suited to the garb and scene,
Might lightly bear construction strange,
And give loose fancy scope to range.
“Welcome to Stirling towers, fair maid !
Come ye to seek a champion's aid,
On palfry white, with harper hoar,
Like errant damosel of yore?
Does thy high quest a knight require,
Or may the venture suit a squire ?"
Her dark eye flash'd ;-she paused and sigh'd,
“O what have I to do with pride!
Through scenes of sorrow, shame, and strife,
A suppliant for a father's life,
I crave an audience of the king.
Behold, to back my suit, a ring,
The royal pledge of grateful claims,
Given by the monarch to Fitz-James.".

The signet ring young Lewis took,
With deep respect and alter'd look ;
And said_" This ring our duties own;
And pardon, if to worth unknown,
In semblance mean obscurely veild,
Lady, in aught my folly fail'd.
Soon as the day flings wide his gates,
The king shall know what suitor waits.


XI. When Ellen forth with Lewis went, Allan made suit to John of Brent: “My lady safe, O let your grace Give me to see my master's face ! His minstrel 1-to share his doom Bound from the cradle to the tomb. Tenth in descent, since first my sires Waked for his noble house their lyres, Nor one of all the race was known But prized its weal above their own. With the chief's birth begins our care; Our harp must soothe the infant beir, Teach the youth tales of fight, and grace His earliest feat of field or chase ; In peace, in war, our rank we keep, We cheer his board, we soothe his sleep. Nor leave him till we pour our verse, A doleful tribute! o'er his hearse. Then let me share his captive lot; It is my right-deny it not!"“ Little we reck,” said John of Brent, “We southern men, of long descent; Nor wot we how a name—a wordMakes clansmen vassals to a lord : Yet kind my noble landlord's part, God bless the house of Beaudesert! And, but I loved to drive the deer More than to guide the labouring steer, I had not dwelt an outcast here. Come, good old minstrel, follow me Thy lord and chieftain shalt thou see.”

XII. Then, from a rusted iron hook, A bunch of ponderous keys he took, Lighted a torch, and Allan led Through grated arch and passage dread. Portals they pass’d, where, deep within, Spoke prisoner's moan, and fetters' din; Through rugged vaults, where loosely stored, Lay wheel, and axe, and headsman's sword, And many a hideous engine grim, For wrenching joints, and crushing limb,

3 o 2

By artists form’d, who deem'd it shame

-“Hark, minstrel! I have heard thee play, And sin to give their work a name.

With measure bold, on festal day, They halted at a low-brow'd porch,

In yon lone isle--again where ne'er And Brent to Allan gave the torch,

Shall harper play, or warrior hear! While bolt and chain he backward rollid,

That stirring air that peals on high And made the bar unhasp its hold.

O’er Dermid's race our victory. They enter'd :—'twas a prison room

Strike it and then (for well thou canst) Of stern security and gloom,

Free from thy minstrel spirit glanced, Yet not a dungeon; for the day

Fling me the picture of the fight, Through lofty gratings found its way,

When met my clan the Saxon might. And rude and antique garniture

I'll listen, till my fancy hears Deck'd the sad walls and oaken floor;

The clang of swords, the crash of spears ! Such as the rugged days of old

These grates, these walls, shall vanish then, Deem'd fit for captive noble's hold.

For the fair field of fighting men, “Here,” said De Brent, “thou mayst remain And my free spirit bursts away, Till the leach visit him again.

As if it soar'd from battle fray.” Strict is his charge, the warders tell,

The trembling bard with awe obey'dTo tend the noble prisoner well.”

Slow on the harp his hand he laid ; Retiring then, the bolt he drew,

But soon remembrance of the sight And the lock's murmurs growl'd anew.

He witness'd from the mountain's height, Roused at the sound, from lowly bed

With what old Bertram told at night, A captive feebly raised his head;

Awaken'd the full power of song, The wondering minstrel look'a, and knew- And bore him in career along; Not his dear lord, but Roderick Dhu !

As shallop launch'd on river's tide, For, come from where Clan-Alpine fought, That slow and fearful leaves the side, They, erring, deem'd the chief he sought.

But, when it feels the middle stream,

Drives downward swift as lightning's beam. XIII. As the tall ship, whose lofty prore

Shall never stem the billows more,

Deserted by her gallant band,
Amid the breakers lies astrand-

“ The minstrel came once more to view So, on his couch, lay Roderick Dhu!

The eastern ridge of Ben-venue, And oft his fever'd limbs he threw

For, ere he parted, he would say In toss abrupt, as when her sides

Farewell to lovely Loch-AchrayLie rocking in th’advancing tides,

Where shall he find, in foreign land, That shake her frame to ceaseless beat,

So lone a lake, so sweet a strand ! Yet cannot heave her from her seat;

There is no breeze upon the fern, 0! how unlike her course at sea !

No ripple on the lake, Or his free step on hill and lea!

Upon her eyrie nods the erne, Soon as the minstrel he could scan,

The deer has sought the brake; -"What of thy lady? of my clan?

The small birds will not sing aloud, My mother ?-Douglas ?-tell me all!

The springing trout lies still, Have they been ruin'd in my fall ?

So darkly glooms yon thunder cloud, Ah, yes ! or wherefore art thou here?

That swathes, as with a purple shroud, Yet speak-speak boldly-do not fear."

Benledi's distant hill. (For Allan, who his mood well knew,

Is it the thunder's solemn sound Was choak'd with grief and terror too.)

That mutters deep and dread, “Who fought—who fled ?-old man, be brief; Or echoes from the groaning ground Some might-for they had lost their chief.

The warrior's measured tread ? Who basely live ?—who bravely died ?”

Is it the lightning's quivering glance “O, calm thee, chief!" the minstrel cried,

That on the thicket streams, “Ellen is safe ;'--" For that, thank heaven!” Or do they flash on spear and lance “ And hopes are for the Douglas given;

The sun's retiring beams ? The Lady Margaret too is well,

I see the dagger crest of Mar, And, for thy clan-on field or fell,

I see the Moray's silver star Has never harp of minstrel told,

Wave o'er the cloud of Saxon war, Of combat fought so true and bold.

That up the lake comes winding far! Thy stately pine is yet unbent,

To hero boune for battle strife, Though many a goodly bough is rent.”

Or bard of martial lay,

'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,

One glance at their array!
The chieftain reard his form on high,
And fever's fire was in his eye;

But ghastly, pale, and livid streaks

“ Their light-arm'd archers far and Dear Checker'd his swarthy brow and cheeks.

Survey'd the tangled ground,

Their centre ranks, with pike and spear,

Above the tide, each broadsword bright A twilight forest frown'd,

Was brandishing like beam of light, Their barbed horsemen, in the rear,

Each targe was dark below; The stern battalia crown'd.

And with the ocean's mighty swing, No cymbal clash'd, no clarion rang,

When heaving to the tempest's wing, Still were the pipe and drum;

They hurl'd them on the foe. Save heavy tread, and armour's clang

I heard the lance's shivering crash, The sullen march was dumb.

As when the whirlwind rends the ash; There breathed no wind their crests to shake,

I heard the broadsword's deadly clang, Or wave their flags abroad;

As if a hundred anvils rang! Scarce the frail aspen seem'd to quake,

But Moray wheeld his rearward rank That shadow'd o'er their road.

Of horsemen on Clan-Alpine's flankTheir va’ward scouts no tidings bring,

My banner man, advance ! Can rouse no lurking foe,

I see,' he cried, their columns shake. Nor spy a trace of living thing,

Now, gallants ! for your ladies' sake, Save when they stirr'd the roe;

Upon them with the lance!' The host moves like a deep sea wave,

The horsemen dash'd among the rout, Where rise no rocks its pride to brave,

As deer break through the broom; High swelling, dark, and slow.

Their steeds are stout, their swords are out, The lake is pass'd, and now they gain

They soon make lightsome room. A narrow and a broken plain,

Clan-Alpine's best are backward borneBefore the Trosach's rugged jaws;

Where, where was Roderick then! And here the horse and spearmen pause,

One blast upon his bugle horn While, to explore the dangerous glen,

Were worth a thousand men. Dive through the pass the archer men.

And refluent through the pass of fear

The battle's tide was pour’d;

Vanish'd the Saxon's struggling spear,

Vanish'd the mountain sword. “At once there rose so wild a yell

As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and steep, Within that dark and narrow dell,

Receives her roaring linn, As all the fiends, from heaven that fell,

As the dark caverns of the deep Had peal'd the banner cry of hell!

Suck the wild whirlpool in, Forth from the pass in tumult driven,

So did the deep and darksome pass Like chaff before the wind of heaven,

Devour the battle's mingled mass; The archery appear :

None linger now upon the plain, For life! for life! their flight they ply

Save those who ne'er shall fight again. And shriek, and shout, and battle cry, And plaids and bonnets waving high,

XIX. And broadswords flashing to the sky,

“ Now westward rolls the battle's din, Are maddening in the rear.

That deep and doubling pass within.
Onward they drive, in dreadful race,
Pursuers and pursued ;

- Minstrel, away! the work of fate

Is bearing on: its issue wait Before that tide of flight and chase,

Where the rude Trosach's dread defile How shall it keep its rooted place,

Opens on Katrine's lake and isle. The spearmen's twilight wood ?

Gray Ben-venue I soon repass’d, — Down, down,'cried Mar, your lances down!

Loch-Katrine lay beneath me cast. Bear bark both friend and foe!'

The sun is set ;-the clouds are met, Like reeds before the tempest's frown,

The lowering scowl of heaven That serried grove of lances brown

An inky hue of livid blue At once lay levellid low;

To the deep lake has given; And closely shouldering side to side,

Strange gusts of wind from mountain glen The bristling ranks the onset bide.

Swept o'er the lake, then sunk agen. We'll quell the savage mountaineer,

I heeded not the eddying surge, As their Tinchel* cows the game!

Mine eye but saw the Trosach's gorge, They come as fleet as forest deer,

Mine ear but heard the sullen sound, We'll drive them back as tame.'

Which like an earthquake shook the ground,

And spoke the stern and desperate strife, XVIII.

That parts not but with parting life, “ Bearing before them, in their course,

Seeming, to minstrel ear, to toll The relics of the archer force,

The dirge of many a passing soul. Like wave with crest of sparkling foam,

Nearer it comes—the dim wood glen Right onward did Clan-Alpine come.

The martial food disgorged agen,

But not in mingled tide; * A circle of sportsmen, who, by surrounding a great

The plaided warriors of the north, space, and gradually narrowing, brought immense quan

High on the mountain thunder forth, tities of deer together, which usually made desperate efforts to break through the Tinchel.

And overhang its side ;

While by the lake below appears
The darkening cloud of Saxon spears.
At weary bay each shatter'd band,
Eyeing their foemen, sternly stand;
Their banners stream like tatter'd sail,
That Alings its fragments to the gale;
And broken arms and disarray
Mark'd the fell havoc of the day.

“ Viewing the mountain's ridge askance,
The Saxons stood in sullen trance,
Till Moray pointed with his lance,

And cried— Behold yon isle ! -
See! none are left to guard its strand,
But women weak, that wring the hand:
'Tis there of yore the robber band

Their booty wont to pile;
My purse, with bonnet-pieces store,
To him will swim a bowshot o'er,
And loose a shallop from the shore.
Lightly we'll tame the war wolf then,
Lords of his mate, and brood, and den.'—
Forth from the ranks a spearman sprung,
On earth his casque and corslet rung,

He plunged him in the wave :-
All saw the deed—the purpose knew,
And to their clamours Ben-venue

A mingled echo gave:
The Saxons shout, their mate to cheer,
The helple females scream for fear,
And yells for rage the mountaineer.
'Twas then, as by the outcry riven,
Pour'd down at once the louring heaven;
A whirlwind swept Loch-Katrine's breast,
Her billows rear'd their snowy crest.
Well for the swimmer swell’d they high,
To mar the highland marksman's eye;
For round him shower'd, 'mid rain and hail,
The vengeful arrows of the Gael.
In vain.-He nears the isle-and lo!
His hand is on a shallop's bow.
--Just then a flash of lightning came,
It tinged the waves and strand with flame;
I mark'd Duncraggan's widow'd dame-
Behind an oak I saw her stand,
A naked dirk gleam'd in her hand:
It darkend—but amid the moan
Of waves I heard a dying groan ;-
Another flash the spearman floats
A weltering corse beside the boats,
And the stern matron o'er him stood,
Her hand and dagger streaming blood.

While, in the monarch's name, afar
An herald's voice forbade the war,
For Bothwell's lord, and Roderick bold,
Were both, he said, in captive hold.”_
But here the lay made sudden stand,
The harp escaped the minstrel's hand!
Oft had he stolen a glance, to spy
How Roderick brook'd his minstrelsy:
At first, the chieftain, to the chime,
With lifted hand, kept feeble time;
That motion ceased-yet feeling strong
Varied his look as changed the song;
At length no more his deafen'd ear
The minstrel melody can hear:
His face grows sharp, bis hands are cleachd,
As if some pang his heartstrings wrench'd ;
Set are his teeth, his fading eye
Is sternly fix'd on vacancy ;
Thus, motionless, and moanless, drew
His parting breath, stout Roderick Dhu!
Old Allan-bane look'd on aghast,
While grim and still his spirit pass'd ;
But when he saw that life was fled,
He pour'd his wailing o'er the dead.


LAMENT. “ And art thou cold and lowly laid, Thy foeman's dread, thy people's aid, Breadalbane's boast, Clan-Alpine's shade! For thee shall none a requiem say? -For thee-who loved the minstrel's lay For thee, of Bothwell's house the stay, The shelter of her exiled lineE’en in this prison-house of thine, I'll wail for Alpine's honour'd pine ! “ What groans shall yonder valleys fill! What shrieks of grief shall rend yon hill! What tears of burning rage shall thrill, When mourns thy tribe thy battles done, Thy fall before the race was won, Thy sword ungirt ere set of sun ! There breathes not clansman of thy line, But would have given his life for thine. O wo for Alpine's honour'd pine! “Sad was thy lot on mortal stage ! The captive thrush may brook the cage, The prison'd eagle dies for rage. Brave spirit, do not scorn my strain! And when its notes awake again, E'en she, so long beloved in vain, Shall with my harp her voice combine, And mix her wo and tears with mine, To wail Clan-Alpine's honour'd pine.”

XXIII. Ellen, the while, with bursting heart, Remain'd in lordly bower apart, Where play'd, with many-colour'd gleams, Through storied pane, the rising beams. In vain on gilded roof they fall, And lighten'd up a tapestried wall, And for her use a menial train A rich collation spread in vain. The banquet proud, the chamber gay, Scarce drew one curious glance astray ;

XXI. « « Revenge ! revenge !' the Saxons cried, The Gael's exulting shout replied. Despite the elemental rage, Again they hurried to engage; But, ere they closed in desperate fight, Bloody with spurring came a knight, Sprung from his horse, and, from a crag, Waved 'twixt the hosts a milk-white flag. Clarion and trumpet by his side Rung forth a truce-note high and wide;

Or, if she look', 'twas but to say,
With better omen dawn'd the day
In that lone isle, where waved on high
The dun deer's hide for canopy;
Where oft her noble father shared
The simple meal her care prepared,
While Lufra, crouching by her side,
Her station claim'd with jealous pride,
And Douglas, bent on woodland game,
Spoke of the chase to Malcolm Græme,
Whose answer, oft at random made,
The wandering of his thoughts betray'd.
Those who such simple joys have known
Are taught to prize them when they're gone,
But sudden, see, she lists her head !
The window seeks with cautious tread.
W bat distant music has the power
To win her in this woful hour !
'Twas from a turret that o'erhung
Her latticed bower, the strain was sung.

No tyrant he, though ire and pride
May lead his better mood aside.
Come, Ellen, come !-'tis more than time;
He holds his court at morning prime.”-
With beating heart and bosom wrung,
As to a brother's arm she clung;
Gently he dried the falling tear,
And gently whisper'd hope and cheer;
Her faltering steps half led, half stay'd,
Through gallery fair and high arcade,
Till, at his touch, its wings of pride
A portal arch unfolded wide.



“My hawk is tired of perch and hood,
My idle greyhound loathes his food,
My horse is weary of his stall,
And I am sick of captive thrall.
I wish I were as I have been,
Hunting the hart in forest green,
With bended bow and bloodhound free,
For that's the life is meet for me.
“ I hate to learn the ebb of time
From yon dull steeple's drowsy chime,
Or mark it as the sunbeams crawl,
Inch after inch, along the wall.
The lark was wont my matins ring,
The sable rook my vespers sing;
These towers, although a king's they be,
Have not a hall of joy for me.
“ No more at dawning morn I rise,
And sun myself in Ellen's eyes,
Drive the fleet deer the forest through,
And homeward wend with evening dew;
A blithesome welcome blithely meet,
And lay my trophies at her feet,
While fled the eve on wing of glee.-
That life is lost to love and me!”

XXVI. Within 'twas brilliant all and light, A thronging scene of figures bright; It glow'd on Ellen's dazzled sight, As when the setting sun has given Ten thousand hues to summer even, And, from their tissue, fancy frames Aerial knights and fairy dames. Still by Fitz-James her footing stay'd, A few faint steps she forward made, Then slow her drooping head she raised, And fearful round the presence gazed; For him she sought who own'd this state, The dreadful prince whose will was fate She gazed on many a princely port, Might well have ruled a royal court; On many a splendid garb she gazed – Then turn'd bewilder'd and amazed, For all stood bare : and, in the room, Fitz-James alone wore cap and plume. To bim each lady's look was lent; On him each courtier's eye was bent; Midst furs and silks and jewels sheen, He stood, in simple Lincoln green, The centre of the glittering ring; And Snowdoun's knight is Scotland's king.

XXV. The heart-sick lay was hardly said, The listener had not turn'd her head, It trickled still, the starting tear, When light a footstep struck her ear, And Snowdoun's graceful knight was near. She turn'd the hastier, lest again The prisoner should renew his strain. “O welcome, brave Fitz-James !” she said ; “How may an almost orphan maid Pay the deep debt"_“O say not so ! To me no gratitude you owe. Not mine, alas! the boon to give, And bid thy noble father live; I can but be thy guide, sweet maid, With Scotland's king thy suit to aid.

XXVII. As wreath of snow, on mountain breast, Slides from the rock that gave it rest, Poor Ellen glided from her stay, And at the monarch's feet she lay; No word her choking voice commandsShe show'd the ring-she clasp'd her hands. 0! not a moment could he brook, The generous prince, that suppliant look! Gently he raised her-and, the while, Check'd with a glance the circle's smile; Graceful, but grave, her brow he kiss'd, And bade her terrors be dismiss'd ;“ Yes, fair, the wandering poor Fitz-James The fealty of Scotland claims. To him thy woes, thy wishes, bring; He will redeem his signet ring. Ask naught for Douglas :-yestereven His prince and he have much forgiven: Wrong hath he had from slanderous tongue ! I, from his rebel kinsman, wrong. We would not to the vulgar crowd Yield what they craved with clamour loud; Calmly we heard and judged his cause; Our council aided, and our laws.

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