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THE MOST NOBLE

JOHN J A MES,

MARQUIS OF ABERCORN,

fc. &c. &c.

THIS POEM IS INSCRIBED

BY

THE AUTHOR.

THE

LADY OF THE LAKE.

CANTO FIRST.

THE CHASE.

HARP of the North! that mouldering long hast hung

On the witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's spring, And down the fitful 'breeze thy numbers flung,

Till envious ivy did around thee cling, Muffling with verdant ringlet every string,

O minstrel Harp, still must thine accents sleep? 'Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring,

Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep, Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep?

Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon,

Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd, When lay of hopeless love, or glory won,

Aroused the fearful, or subdued the proud. At each according pause, was heard aloud

Thine ardent symphony sublime and high! Fair dames and crested chiefs attention bow'd;

For still the burden of thy minstrelsy Was Knighthood's dauntless deed, and Beauty's match

less eye.

O wake once more ! how rude soe'er the band

That ventures o’er thy magic maze to stray; O wake once more! though scarce my skill command

Some feeble echoing of thine earlier lay: Though harsh and faint, and soon to die away,

And all unworthy of thy nobler strain, Yet if one heart throb higher at its sway

The wizard note has not been touch'd in vain. Then silent be no more! Enchantress, wake again i

The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade;
But, when the sun his beacon red
Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head,
The deep-mouth'd bloodhound's heavy bay
Resounded up the rocky way,
And faint, from farther distance borne,
Were heard the clanging hoof and horn.

II.
As Chief, who hears his warder call,
“ To arms! the foemen storm the wall,”.
The antler'd monarch of the waste
Sprung from his heathery couch in haste.
But, ere his fleet career he took,
The dew-drops from his flanks he shook ;
Like crested leader proud and high,
Toss'd his beam'd frontlet to the sky;

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A moment gazed adown the dale,
A moment snuff’d the tainted gale,
A moment listend to the cry,
That thicken’d as the chase drew nigh;
Then, as the headmost focs appear'd,
With one brave bound the copse he clear'd
And, stretching forward free and far,
Sought the wild heaths of Uam-Var.

III.
Yelld on the view the opening pack;
Rock, glen, and cavern, paid them back;
To many a mingled sound at once
The awaken'd mountain gave response.
A hundred dogs bay'd deep and strong,
Clatter'd a hundred steeds along,
Their peal the merry horns rung out,
A hundred voices join'd the shout;
With hark and whoop and wild halloo,
No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew.?

1

Ua-var, as the name is pronounced, or more properly Vaighmor, is a mountain to the north-east of the village of Callender in Menteith, deriving its name, which signifies the great den, or cavern, from a sort of retreat among the rocks on the south side, said, by tradition, to have been the abode of a giant. In latter times, it was the refuge of robbers and banditti, who have been only extirpated within these forty or fifty years. Strictly speaking, this stronghold is not a cave, as the name would imply, but a sort of small enclosure, or recess, surrounded with large rocks, and open above head. It may have been originally designed as a toil for deer, who might get in from the outsiđe, but would find 't difficult to return. This opinion prevails among the old sportsmen and deer-stalkers in the neighbourhood. * [Benvoirlich, a mountain comprehended in the cluster of the Vol. III. -3

Far from the tumult fled the roe,
Close in her covert cower'd the doe,
The falcon, from her cairn on high,
Cast on the rout a wondering eye,
Till far beyond her piercing ken
The hurricane had swept the glen.
Faint, and more faint, its failing din
Return'd from cavern, cliff, and linn,
And silence settled, wide and still,
On the lone wood and mighty hill.

IV.
Less loud the sounds of sylvan war
Disturb’d the heights of Uam-Var,
And roused the cavern, where, 't is told,
A giant made his den of old;
For ere that steep ascent was won,
High in his pathway hung the sun,
And many a gallant, stay'd perforce,
Was fain to breathe his faltering horse,
And of the trackers of the deer,
Scarce half the lessening pack was near;
So shrewdly on the mountain side,
Had the bold burst their mettle tried.

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The noble stag was pausing now,
Upon the mountain's southern brow,
Where broad extended, far beneath,
The varied realms of fair Menteith.

Grampians, at the head of the valley of the Garry, a river which springs from its base. It rises to an elevation of 3330 feet above the level of the sea.]

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