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Full many a spell to him was known,
And many a lay of potent tone,
For there, 'tis said, in mystic mood,
High converse with the dead they hold,
And oft espy the fated shroud,
That shall the future corpse enfold.
O so it fell, that on a day,
To rouse the red deer from their den, The Chiefs have ta'en their distant way, And scour'd the deep Glenfinlas glen.
No vassals wait their sports to aid,
To watch their safety, deck their board;
Their simple dress, the Highland plaid,
Three summer days, through brake and dell, Their whistling shafts successful flew;And still, when dewy evening fell, The quarry to their hut they drew.
the mind upon the eye, or by the eye upon the mind, by which things distant and future are perceived and seen as if they were present." To which I would only add, that the spectral appearances thus presented, usually presage misfortune: that the faculty is painful to those who suppose they possess it; and that they usually acquire it while themselves under the pressure of melancholy.
In grey Glenfinlas' deepest nook
The solitary cabin stood,
Which murmurs through that lonely wood.
Soft fell the night, the sky was calm,
And summer mist in dewy balm
Steep'd heathy bank, and mossy stone.
The moon, half-hid in silvery flakes,
Quivering on Katrine's distant lakes,
Now in their hut, in social guise,
"What lack we here to crown our bliss, While thus the pulse of joy beats high?
What, but fair woman's yielding kiss,
"To chase the deer of yonder shades,
The fairest of our mountain maids,
"Long have I sought sweet Mary's heart, And dropp'd the tear, and heaved the sigh:
But vain the lover's wily art,
"But thou mayst teach that guardian fair,
Of other hearts to cease her care,
"Touch but thy harp, thou soon shalt see
The lovely Flora of Glengyle, Unmindful of her charge and me,
Hang on thy notes, 'twixt tear and smile.
"Or, if she choose a melting tale,
Will good St. Oran's rule prevail,1
Stern huntsman of the rigid brow ?"—
1 St. Oran was a friend and follower of St. Columba, and was buried in Icolmkill. His pretensions to be a saint were rather dubious. According to the legend, he consented to be buried alive, in order to propitiate certain demons of the soil, who obstructed the attempts of Columba to build a chapel. Columba caused the body of his friend to be dug up, after three days had elapsed; when Oran, to the horror and scandal of the assistants, declared, that there was neither a God, a judgment, nor a future state! He had no time to make further discoveries, for Columba caused the earth once more to be shovelled over him with the utmost dispatch. The chapel, however, and the cemetery, was called Belig Oman; and, in memory of his rigid celibacy, no female was permitted to pay her devotions, or be buried, in that place. This is the rule alluded to in the poem.
"Since Enrick's fight, since Morna's death,
"E'en then, when o'er the heath of woe,
I bade my harp's wild wailings flow,
"The last dread curse of angry heaven,
To dash each glimpse of joy was given—
"The bark thou saw'st, yon summer morn,
So gaily part from Oban's bay, My eye beheld her dash'd and torn,
Far on the rocky Colonsay.
"Thy Fergus too—thy sister's son,
Thou saw'st, with pride, the gallant's power,
As marching 'gainst the Lord of Downe,
"Thou only saw'st their tartans1 wave,
Heard'st but the pibroch,2 answering brave
i Tartans—The full Highland dress, made of the chequered stuff so termed.
2 Pibroch—A piece of martial music, adapted to the Highland bagpipe.
"I heard the groans, I mark'd the tears, I saw the wound his bosom bore, When on the serried Saxon spears He pour'd his clan's resistless roar.
"And thou, who bidst me think of bliss,
And court, like thee, the wanton kiss—
"I see the death-damps chill thy brow;
I hear thy Warning Spirit cry; The corpse-lights dance—they're gone, now...
No more is given to gifted eye!"
"Alone enjoy thy dreary dreams,
Sad prophet of the evil hour!
Because to-morrow's storm may lour?
"Or false, or sooth, thy words of woe, Clangillian's Chieftain ne'er shall fear;
His blood shall bound at rapture's glow, Though doom'd to stain the Saxon spear.
"E'en now, to meet me in yon dell,
He spoke, nor bade the Chief farewell,