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MACKRIMMON'S LAMENT.1

Air—" Cha till mi tuiUe"2

Mackrimmon, hereditary piper to the Laird of Macleod, is said to have composed this Lament when the Clan was about to depart upon a distant and dangerous expedition. The Minstrel was impressed with a belief, which the event verified, that he was to be slain in the approaching feud; and hence the Gaelic words, "Cha till mi tuille; ged thillis Macleod, cha till Mackrimmon," " I shall never return; although Macleod returns, yet Mackrimmon shall never return!" The piece is but too well known, from its being the strain with which the emigrants from the West Highlands and Isles usually take leave of their native shore.

Macleod's wizard flag from the grey castle sallies, The rowers are seated, unmoor'd are the galleys; Gleam war-axe and broadsword, clang target and quiver, As Mackrimmon sings, "Farewell to Dunvegan

forever 1

1 [Written for Albyn's Anthology, vol. ii. 1818.] 2 " We return no more."

Farewell to each cliff, on which breakers are foaming;Farewell, each dark glen, in which red-deer are roaming;Farewell, lonely Skye, to lake, mountain, and river;Macleod may return, but Mackrimmon shall never

"Farewell the bright clouds that on Quillan are sleeping;

Farewell the bright eyes in the Dun that are weeping;

To each minstrel delusion, farewell!—and for ever—

Mackrimmon departs, to return to you never!The Banshee's wild voice sings the death-dirge before me,1

The pall of the dead for a mantle hangs o'er me;But my heart shall not flag, and my nerves shall not shiver,

Though devoted I go—to return again never!

"Too oft shall the notes of Mackrimmon's bewailing

Be heard when the Gael on their exile are sailing;Dear land! to the shores, whence unwilling we sever,

1 [See a note on Banshee, Lady of the Lake, ante, vol. iii. p. 120.]

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Return—return—return shall we never!
Cha till, cha till, cha till sin tuille!
Cha till, cha till, cha till sin tuille,
Cha till, cha till, cha till sin tuille,
Gea thillis Macleod, cha till Mackrimmon!"

ON ETTRICK FOREST'S
MOUNTAINS DUN.1

On Ettrick Forest's mountains dun,
'Tis blithe to hear the sportsman's gun,
And seek the heath-frequenting brood
Far through the noonday solitude;
By many a cairn and trenched mound,
Where chiefs of yore sleep lone and sound,
And springs, where grey-hair'd shepherds tell,
That still the fairies love to dwell.

Along the silver streams of Tweed,
'Tis blithe the mimic fly to lead,
When to the hook the salmon springs,
And the line whistles through the rings;
The boiling eddy see him try,
Then dashing from the current high,
Till watchful eye and cautious hand
Have led his wasted strength to land.

i Written after a week's shooting and fishing, in which the Poet had been engaged with some friends. [The reader may see these verses set to music in Mr Thomson's Scottish Melodies for 1822.]

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ON ETTRICK FOREST'S MOUNTAINS DUN. 289

'Tis blithe along the midnight tide,
With stalwart arm the boat to guide;
On high the dazzling blaze to rear,
And heedful plunge the barbed spear;
Rock, wood, and scaur, emerging bright,
Fling on the stream their ruddy light,
And from the bank our band appears
Like Genii, arm'd with fiery spears.1

'Tis blithe at eve to tell the tale,
How we succeed, and how we fail,
Whether at Alwyn's.2 lordly meal.
Or lowlier board of Ashestiel;8
While the gay tapers cheerly shine,
Bickers the fire, and flows the wine—
Days free from thought, and nights from care,
My blessing on the Forest fair!

1 [See the famous salmon-spearing scene in Guy Mannering.— Waverley Novels, vol. iii. pp. 259-63.]

2 Alwyn, the seat of the Lord Somerville; now, alas! untenanted, by the lamented death of that kind and hospitable nobleman, the author's nearest neighbour and intimate friend. [Lord S. died in February, 1819.]

3 Ashestiel, the Poet's residence at that time.

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