Sidor som bilder


The islet far behind her lay, And she had landed in the bay.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Gayly to bourgeon, aad broadly to grow ;

While every highland glen

Sends our shout back agen, “Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe !" Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain,

Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade; When the whirlwind has stripp'd every leaf on the

mountain, The more shall Clan-Alpine exult in her shade.

Moor'd in the rifted rock,

Proof to the tempest's shock, Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow;

Menteith and Breadalbane, then,

Echo his praise agen,
“ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe !"

Proudly our pibroch has thrill'd in Glen Fruin,

And Bannochar's groans to our slogan replied, Glen Luss and Ross-dhu, they are smoking in ruin, And the best of Loch-Lomond lie dead on her

Widow and Saxon maid

Long shall lament our aid,
Think of Clan-Alpine with fear and with wo;

Lennox and Leven-glen

Shake when they hear agen, “ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe !" Row, vassals, row, for the pride of the highlands !

Stretch to your oars for the ever-green pine ! 0! that the rose-bud that graces yon islands Were wreath'd in a garland around him to

O that some seedling gem,

Worthy such noble stem,
Honour'd and bless'd in their shadow might grow !

Loud should Clan-Alpine then

Ring from her deepmost glen, “ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe."

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Some feelings are to mortals given,
With less of earth in them than heaven;
And if there be a human tear •
From passion's dross refined and clear,

tear so limpid and so meek,
It would not stain an angel's cheek,
'Tis that which pious fathers shed
Upon a duteous daughter's head !
And as the Douglas to his breast
His darling Ellen closely press'd,
Such holy drops her tresses steep'd,
Though 'twas a hero's eye that weep'd.
Nor while on Ellen's faltering tongue
Her filial welcomes crowded hung,
Mark'd she that fear (affection's proof)
Still held a graceful youth aloof :
No! not till Douglas named his name,
Although the youth was Malcolm Græme.

Allan, with wistful look the while,
Mark'd Roderick landing on the isle
His master piteously he eyed,
Then gazed upon the chieftain's pride,
Then dash'd, with hasty hand, away
From bis dimm'd eye the gathering spray ;
And Douglas, as his hand he laid
On Malcolm's shoulder, kindly said,
“ Canst thou, young friend, no meaning spy
In my poor follower's glistening eye?
I'll tell thee:- he recalls the day,
When in my praise he led the lay
O'er the arch'd gate of Bothwell proud,
While many a minstrel answer'd loud.
When Percy's Norman pennon, won
In bloody field, before me shone,
And twice ten knights, the least a name
As mighty as yon chief may claim,
Gracing my pomp, behind me came.
Yet trust me, Malcolm, not so proud
Was I of all that marshall'd crowd,
Though the waned crescent own'd my might,
And in my train troop'd lord and knight,
Though Blantyre hymn'd her holiest lays,
And Bothwell's harps flung back my praise,
As when this old man's silent tear,
And this poor maid's affection dear,
A welcome give more kind and true
Than aught my better fortunes knew.
Forgive, my friend, a father's boast;
0! it outbeggars all I lost!”

Delightful praise !-like summer rose,
That brighter in the dewdrop glows,
The bashful maiden's cheek appear’d,
For Douglas spoke, and Malcolm heard.
The Aush of shamefaced joy to hide,
The hounds, the hawk, her cares divide :
The loved caresses of the maid
The dogs with crouch and whimper paid;
And, at her whistle, on her hand
The falcon took his favourite stand,

XXI. With all her joyful female band, Had lady Margaret sought the strand. Loose on the breeze their tresses flew, And high their snowy arms they threw ; As echoing back with shrill acclaim And chorus wild, the chieftain's name; While, prompt to please, with mother's art, The darling passion of his heart, The dame called Ellen to the strand, To greet her kinsman ere he land: “Come, loiterer, come ! a Douglas thou, And shun to wreath a victor's brow !"Reluctantly, and slow, the maid Th' unwelcome summoning obey'd, And, when a distant bugle rung, In the mid path aside she sprung: “ List, Allan-bane! from main land cast, I hear my father's signal blast. Be ours," she cried," the skiff to guide, And waft him from the mountain side.” Then, like a sunbeam, swift and bright, She darted to her shallop light, And, eagerly while Roderick scann'd For her dear form his mother's band,

Closed his dark wing, relax'd his eye,
Nor, though unhooded, sought to fly.
And, trust, while in such guise she stood
Like fabled goddess of the wood,
That is a father's partial thought
O'erweigh'd her worth and beauty aught,
Well might the lover's judgment fail
To balance with a juster scale ;
For with each secret glance he stole,
The fond enthusiast sent his soul.

XXVII. Sir Roderick, who to meet them came, Redden'd at sight of Malcolm Græme. Yet, not in action, word, or eye, Fail'd aught in hospitality. In talk and sport they whiled away The morning of that summer day; But at high noon a courier light Held secret parley with the knight; Whose moody aspect soon declared, That evil were the news he heard. Deep thought seem'd toiling in his head; Yet was the evening banquet made, E’er he assembled round the flame, His mother, Douglas, and the Græme, And Ellen, too ; then cast around His eyes, then fix'd them on the ground, As studying phrase that might avail Best to convey unpleasant tale. Long with his dagger's hilt he play'd, Then raised his haughty brow, and said:

XXV. Of stature tall, and slender frame, But firmly knit, was Malcolm Græme. The belted plaid and tartan hose Did ne'er more graceful limbs disclose ; His flaxen hair, of sunny hue, Curld closely round his bonnet blue. Train'd to the chase, his eagle eye The ptarmigan in snow could spy : Each pass, by mountain, lake, and heath, He knew, through Lennox and Menteith ; Vain was the bound of dark brown doe, Wheu Malcolm bent his sounding bow, And scarce that doe, though wing'd with fear, Outstripp'd in speed the mountaineer: Right up Ben-Lomond could he press, And not a sob his toil confess. His form accorded with a mind Lively and ardent, frank and kind; A blither heart, till Ellen came, Did never love nor sorrow tame; It danced as lightsome in his breast, As play'd the feather on his crest. Yet friends who nearest knew the youth, His scorn of wrong, his zeal for truth, And bards, who saw his features bold, When kindled by the tales of old, Said, were that youth to manhood grown, Not long should Roderick Dhu's renown Be foremost voiced by mountain fame, But quail to that of Malcolm Græme.

“Short be my speech ;-nor time affords,
Nor my plain temper, glozing words.
Kinsman and father,-if such name
Douglas vouchsafe to Roderick's claim;
Mine honour'd mother ;-Ellen-why,
My cousin, turn away thine eye?
And Græme; in whom I hope to know
Full soon a noble friend or foe,
When age shall give thee thy command,
And leading in thy native land ;-
List all The king's vindictive pride
Boasts to have tamed the border-side,
Where chiefs, with hound and hawk who came
To share their monarch's sylvan game,
Themselves in bloody toils were snared,
And when the banquet they prepared,
And wide their loyal portals Alung,
O'er their own gateway struggling hung.
Loud cries their blood from Meggat's mead,
From Yarrow braes, and banks of Tweed,
Where the lone streams of Ettrick glide,
And from the silver Teviot's side ;
The dales where martial clans did ride
Are now one sheepwalk waste and wide.
This tyrant of the Scottish throne,
So faithless and so ruthless known,
Now hither comes; his end the same,
The same pretext of sylvan game.
What grace for highland chiefs judge ye,
By fate of border chivalry.
Yet more ; amid Glenfinlas'

Douglas, thy stately form was seen.
This by espial sure I know;
Your counsel in the streight I show."-

XXVI. Now back they wend their watery way, And, “O my sire !" did Ellen say, “Why urge thy chase so far astray? And why so late return'd? And why"The rest was in her speaking eye. “My child, the chase I follow far, 'Tis mimicry of noble war; And with that gallant pastime reft Were all of Douglas I have left. I met young Malcolm as I stray'd Far eastward, in Glenfinlas' shade, Nor stray'd I sase; for, all around, Hunters and horsemen scour'd the ground. This youth, though still a royal ward, Risk'd life and land to be my guard, And through the passes of the wood Guided my steps, not unpursued; And Roderick shall his welcome make, Despite old spleen, for Douglas' sake. Then must he seek Strath-Endrick glen, Nor peril aught for me agen.”

XXIX. Ellen and Margaret fearfully Sought comfort in each other's eye, Then turn'd their ghastly look, each one, This to her sire, that to her son. The hasty colour went and came In the bold cheek of Malcolm Græme:

Headlong to pluoge himself below,
And meet the worst his fears foreshow ? -
Thus, Ellen, dizzy and astound,
As sudden ruin yawn'd around,
By crossing terrors wildly toss'd,
Still for the Douglas fearing most,
Could scarce the desperate thought withstand,
To buy his safety with her hand.

But from his glance it well appear’d,
'Twas but for Ellen that he fear'd;
While sorrowful, but undismay'd,
The Douglas thus his counsel said:
“ Brave Roderick, though the tempest roar,
It may but thunder and pass o’er ;
Nor will I here remain an hour,
To draw the lightning on thy bower;
For, well thou know'st at this gray head
The royal bolt were fiercest sped.
For thee, who, at thy king's command,
Canst aid him with a gallant band,
Submission, homage, humbled pride,
Shall turn the monarch's wrath aside.
Poor remnants of the bleeding heart,
Ellen and I will seek, apart,
The refuge of some forest cell,
There, like the hunted quarry, dwell,
Till on the mountain and the moor,
The stern pursuit be past and o'er."-

XXX. “No, by mine honour,” Roderick said, “So help me, heaven, and my good blade! No, never! blasted be yon pine, My fathers' ancient crest and mine, If from its shade in danger part The lineage of the bleeding heart! Hear my blunt speech, grant me this maid To wife, thy counsel to mine aid ; To Douglas, leagued with Roderick Dhu, Will ends and allies flock enow; Like cause of doubt, distrust, and grief, Will bind to us each western chief. When the loud pipes my bridal tell, The links of Forth shall hear the knell, The guards shall start in Stirling's porch ; And, when I light the nuptial torch, A thousand villages in flames Shall scare the slumbers of King James ! -Nay, Ellen, blench not thus away, And, mother, cease these signs, I pray I meant not all my heart might say. Small need of inroad, or of fight, When the sage Douglas may unite Each mountain clan in friendly band, To guard the passes of their land, Till the foil'd king, from pathless glen, Shall bootless turn him home agen."

XXXII. Such purpose dread could Malcolm spy In Ellen's quivering lip and eye, And eager rose to speak-but ere His tongue could hurry forth his fear, Had Douglas mark'd the hectic strife, Where death seem'd combating with life; For to her cheek, in feverish flood, One instant rush'd the throbbing blood, Then ebbing back, with sudden sway, Left its domain as wan as clay. “Roderick, enough! enough!” he cried, “My daughter cannot be thy bride; Not that the blush to wooer dear, Nor paleness that of maiden fear. It may not be forgive her, chief, Nor hazard aught for our relief. Against his sovereign Douglas ne'er Will level a rebellious spear. 'Twas I that taught his youthful hand To rein a steed and wield a brand; I see him yet, the princely boy! Not Ellen more my pride and joy : I love bim still, despite my wrongs By hasty wrath and slanderous tongues. O seek the grace you well may find, Without a cause to mine combined.”

XXXIII. Twice through the hall the chieftain strode ; The waving of his tartans broad, And darken'd brow, where wounded pride With ire and disappointment vied, Seem'd, by the torch's gloomy light, Like the ill demon of the night, Stooping his pinions' shadowy sway Upon the ’nighted pilgrim's way: But, unrequited love! thy dart Plunged deepest its en venom'd smart, And Roderick, with thine anguish stung, At length the hand of Douglas wrung, While eyes, that mock'd at tears before, With bitter drops were running o'er. The death pangs of long cherish'd hope Scarce in that ample breast had scope, But, struggling with his spirit proud, Convulsive heaved its checker'd shroud, Wbile gvery sob-so mute were allWas heard distinctly through the hall. The son's despair, the mother's look, Ill might the gentle Ellen brook ; She rose, and to her side there came, To aid her parting steps, the Græme.

XXXI. There are who have, at midnight hour, In slumber scaled a dizzy tower, And, on the verge that beetled o’er The ocean tide's incessant roar, Dream'd calmly out their dangerous dream. Till waken'd by the morning beam, When, dazzled by the eastern glow, Such startler cast his glance below, And saw unmeasured depth around, And heard unintermitted sound, And thought the battled fence so frail, It waved like cobweb in the gale ; Amid his senses' giddy wheel, Did he not desperate impulse feel


XXXIV. Then Roderick from the Douglas brokeAs flashes flame through sable smoke,

3 x 2

Kindling its wreaths, long, dark and low,
To one broad blaze of ruddy glow,
So the deep anguish of despair
Burst, in fierce jealousy, to air.-
With stalwart grasp his hand he laid
On Malcolm's breast and belted plaid :
“ Back, beardless boy !” he sternly said,
“ Back, minion ! hold'st thou thus at naught
The lesson I so lately taught?
This roof, the Douglas, and that maid,
Thank thou for punishment delay'd.”
Eager as greyhound on his game,
Fiercely with Roderick grappled Græme.
« Perish my name,

if aught afford
Its chieftain safety, save his sword !"
Thus as they strove, their desperate hand
Griped to the dagger or the brand,
And death had been-but Douglas rose,
And thrust between the struggling foes
His giant strength:-

1:—“Chieftains, forego !
I hold the first who strikes, my foe.-
Madmen, forbear your frantic jar!
What! is the Douglas fallen so far,
His daughter's hand is deem'd the spoil
of such dishonourable broil!”
Sullen and slowly they unclasp,
As struck with shame, their desperate grasp,
And each upon his rival glared,
With foot advanced, and blade half bared.

XXXV. Ere yet the brands aloft were flung, Margaret on Roderick's mantle hung, And Malcolm heard his Ellen scream, As falter'd through terrific dream. Then Roderick plunged in sheath his sword, And veil'd his wrath in scornful word: “Rest safe till morning; pity 'twere Such cheek should feel the midnight air! Then mayest thou to James Stuart tell Roderick will keep the lake and fell, Nor lackey, with his freeborn clan, The pageant pomp of earthly man. More would he of Clan-Alpine know, Thou canst our strength and passes show.Malise, what ho !”-his henchman came; “ Give our safe-conduct to the Græme." Young Malcolm answer'd, calm and bold, “ Fear nothing for thy favourite hold: The spot an angel deign’d to grace Is bless'd, though robbers haunt the place. Thy churlish courtesy for those Reserve, who fear to be thy foes. As safe to me the mountain way At midnight, as in blaze of day, Though with his boldest at his back, E'en Roderick Dhu beset the track.Brave Douglas,-lovely Ellen, nay, Naught here of parting will I say. Earth does not hold a lonesome glen, So secret, but we meet agen.Chieftain! we too shall find an hour." He said, and left the sylvan bower.

XXXVI. Old Allan follow'd to the strand, (Such was the Douglas's command,)

And anxious told, how, on the morn,
The stern Sir Roderick deep had sworn
The fiery cross should circle o'er
Dale, glen, and valley, down, and moor.
Much were the peril to the Græme,
From those who to the signal came:
Far up the lake 'twere safest land,
Himself would row him to the strand.
He gave his counsel to the wind,
While Malcolm did, unheeding, bind
Round dirk, and pouch, and broadsword roll's,
His ample plaid in tighten'd fold,
And stripp'd his limbs to such array,
As best might suit the watery way.

Then spoke abrupt: “ Farewell to thee,
Pattern of old fidelity!"
The minstrel's hand he kindly press'd, -
“O! could I point a place of rest!
My sovereigu holds in ward my land,
My uncle leads my vassal band;
To tame his foes, his friends to aid,
Poor Malcolm has but heart and blade.
Yet, if there be one faithful Grame
Who loves the chieftain of his name,
Not long shall honour'd Douglas dwell,
Like hunted stag, in mountain cell;
Nor, ere yon pride-swollen robber dare,
I may not give the rest to air!-
Tell Roderick Dhu I owed him naught,
Not the poor service of a boat,
To waft me to yon mountain side."-
Then plunged he in the flashing tide.
Bold o'er the food his head he bore,
And stoutly steer'd him from the shore;
And Allan straind his anxious eye
Far mid the lake, his form to spy
Darkening across each puny wave,
To which the moon her silver gave.
Fast as the cormorant could skim,
The swimmer plied each active limb:
Then, landing in the moonlight dell,
Loud shouted of his weal to tell.
The minstrel heard the far halloo,
And joyful from the shore withdrew.

Canto III.


1. Time rolls his ceaseless course. The race of yore

Who danced our infancy upon their knee, And told our marvelling boyhood legends store,

Of their strange ventures happ'd by land or sea, How are they blotted from the things that be!

How few, all weak and wither'd of their force, Wait, on the verge of dark eternity,

Like stranded wrecks, the tide returning hoarse, To sweep them from our sight! Time rolls his

ceaseless course. Yet live there still who can remember well,

How, when a mountain chief his bugle blew, Both field and forest, dingle, cliff, and dell,

And solitary heath, the signal knew;

[ocr errors]

Had drawn from deepest solitude,
Far in Benharrow's bosom rude.
Not his the mein of Christian priest,
But Druid's, from the grave released,
Whose harden'd heart and eye might broc's
On human sacrifice to look ;
And much, 'twas said, of heathen lore
Mix'd .n the charms he mutter'd o'er.
The hallow'd creed gave only worse
And deadlier emphasis of curse ;
No peasant sought that hermit's prayer,
His cave the pilgrim shunn'd with care ;
The eager huntsman knew his bound,
And in mid chase callid off his hound;
Or if, in lonely glen or strath,
The desert-dweller met his path,
He pray'd, and sign’d the cross between,
While terror took devotion's mien.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And fast the faithful clan around him drew,

What time the warning note was keenly wound, What time aloft their kindred banner flew, While clamorous war-pipes yell’d the gathering

sound, And while the fiery cross glanced, like a meteor, round.

The summer dawn's reflected hue
To purple changed Loch-Katrine blue;
Mildly and soft the western breeze
Just kiss'd the lake, just stirr'd the trees,
And the pleased lake, like maiden coy,
Trembled, but dimpled not for joy ;
The mountain shadows on her breast
Were neither broken nor at rest;
In bright uncertainty they lie,
Like future joys to fancy's eye.
The water lily to the light
Her chalice rear'd of silver bright;
The doe awoke, and to the lawn,
Begemm'd with dewdrops, led her fawn;
The gray mist left the mountain side,
The torrent show'd its glistening pride;
Invisible in flecked sky,
The lark sent down her revelry;
The blackbird and the speckled thrush
Good-morrow gave from brake and bush;
In answer coo'd the cushat dove
Her notes of peace, and rest, and love.

No thought of peace, no thought of rest,
Assuaged the storm in Roderick's breast.
With sheathed broadsword in his hand,
Abrupt he paced the islet strand,
And eyed the rising sun, and laid
His hand on his impatient blade.
Beneath a rock, his vassal's care
Was prompt the ritual to prepare,
With deep and deathful meaning fraught;
For such antiquity had taught
Was preface meet, ere yet abroad
The cross of fire should take its road.
The shrinking band stood off aghast
At the impatient glance he cast;-
Such glance the mountain eagle threw,
As, from the cliffs of Ben-venue,
She spread her dark sails on the wind,
And, high in middle heaven reclined,
With her broad shadow on the lake,
Silenced the warblers of the brake.

[ocr errors]

V. of Brian's birth strange tales were told ; His mother watch'd a midnight fold, Built deep within a dreary glen, Where scatter'd lay the bones of men, In some forgotten battle slain, And bleach'd by drifting wind and rain. It might have tamed a warrior's heart, To view such mockery of his art ! The knot-grass setter'd there the hand, Which once could burst an iron band; Beneath the broad and ample bone, That buckler'd heart to fear unknown, A feeble and a timorous guest, The fieldfare framed her lowly nest; There the slow blind-worm left his slime On the feet limbs that mock'd at time; And there, too, lay the leader's skull, Still wreath'd with chaplet, Aush'd and full, For heathbell, with her purple bloom, Supplied the bonnet and the plume. All night, in this sad glen, the maid Sate, shrouded in her mantle's shade: She said no shepherd sought her side, No hunter's hand her snood untied, Yet ne'er again to braid her hair The virgin snood did Alice wear; Gone was her maiden glee and sport, Her maiden girdle all too short, Nor sought she, from that fatal night, Or holy church, or blessed rite, But lock'd her secret in her breast, And died in travail, unconfess'd.

VI. Alone, among his young compeers, Was Brian from his infant years ; A moody and heart-broken boy, Estranged from sympathy and joy, Bearing each taunt which careless tongue On his mysterious lineage flung. Whole nights he spent by moonlight pale, To wood and stream his hap to wail, Till, frantic, he as truth received What of his birth the crowd believed, And sought, in mist and meteor fire, To meet and know his phantom sire !

[ocr errors]

IV. A heap of wither'd boughs was piled, Of juniper and rowan wild, Mingled with shivers from the oak, Rent by the lightning's recent stroke. Brian, the hermit, by it stood, Barefooted, in his frock and hood. His grisled beard and matted hair Obscured a visage of despair ; His naked arms and legs, seam'd o'er, The scars of frantic penance bore. That monk, of savage form and face, The impending danger of his race

« FöregåendeFortsätt »