Sidor som bilder

Scarce to be known by curious eye,
From the deep heather where they lie,
So well was match'd the tartan screen
With heath-bell dark and brackens green;
Unless where, here and there, a blade,
Or lance's point, a glimmer made,
Like glow-worm 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 sell
Three times return'd the martial yell;
It died upon Bochastle's plain,
And Silence claim'd her evening reign.

[ocr errors]





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.

Sucb fond conceit, half said, half sung,
Love prompted to the bridegroom's tongue.
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. “ Apart, in yonder misty glade ; To his lone couch I'll be your guide.”— Then calld 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.”

III. Together up the pass they sped: • What of the foemen?” 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?”_


“ '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 calld; by which, afar,
Our sires foresaw the events of war.!
Duncraggan's milk-white bull they slew."-


“ Ah! well the gallant brute I knew! The choicest of the prey we had, When swept our merry-men Gallangad.”

[See Appendix, Note I.)

? I know not if it be worth observing, that this passage is taken almost literally from the mouth of an old Highland Kern, or Ketteran, as they were called. He used to narrate the merry doings of the good old time when he was follower of Rob Roy MacGregor. This leader, on one occasion, thought proper to make a descent upon the lower part of the Loch Lomond district, and summoned all the heritors and farmers to meet at the Kirk of Drymen, to pay him black-mail, i. e, tribute for forbearance and protection. As this invitation was supported by a band of thirty or forty stout fellows, only one gentleman, an ancestor, if I mis


His hide was snow, his horns were dark,
His red eye glow'd like fiery spark;
So fierce, so tameless, and so fleet,
Sore did he cumber our retreat,
And kept our stoutest kernes in awe,
Even at the pass of Beal 'maha.
But steep and flinty 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."



“ 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.'

[ocr errors]

take not, of the present Mr. Grahame of Gartmore, ventured to decline compliance. Rob Roy instantly swept his land of all he could drive

away, and among the spoil was a bull of the old Scottish wild breed, whose ferocity occasioned great plague to the Ketterans. “ But ere we had reached the Row of Dennan," said the old man, “a child might have scratched his ears.' The circumstance is a minute one, but it paints the time when the poor beeve was compelled

“To hoof it o'er as many weary miles,
With goading pikemen hollowing at his heels,
As e'er the bravest antler of the woods.”

Elhwald. * There is a rock so named in the Forest of Glenfinlas, by which a tumultuary cataract takes its course. This wild place is said

* This anecdote was, in former editions, inaccurately ascribed to Gregor Mac. gregor of Glengyle, called Ghlune Dhu, or Black-knee, a relation of Rob Roy but, as I have been assured, not addicted to his predatory excesses.-Note to

Third Edition.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »