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For at dawning to assail ye,
Here no bugles sound reveillé.”
The hall was clear’d—the stranger's bed
Was there of mountain heather spread,
Where oft a hundred guests had lain,
And dream'd their forest sports again."
But vainly did the heath-flower shed
Its moorland fragrance round his head;
Not Ellen's spell had lull'd to rest
The fever of his troubled breast.
In broken dreams the image rose
Of varied perils, pains, and woes:
His steed now flounders in the brake,
Now sinks his barge upon the lake;
Now leader of a broken host,
His standard falls, his honour's lost.
Then, from my couch may heavenly might
Chase that worst phantom of the night !—
- Again return'd the scenes of youth,
Of confident undoubting truth;
Again his soul he interchanged
With friends whose hearts were long estranged.
They come, in dim procession led,
The cold, the faithless, and the dead;
As warm each hand, each brow as gay,
As if they parted yesterday.
And doubt distracts him at the view,
O were his senses false or true !
Dream'd he of death, or broken vow,
Or is it all a vision now !"
* XXXIV. At length, with Ellen in a grove He seem'd to walk, and speak of love; She listen’d with a blush and sigh, His suit was warm, his hopes were high. He sought her yielded hand to clasp, And a cold gauntlet met his grasp: The phantom's sex was changed and gone, Upon its head a helmet shone; * Slowly enlarged to giant size, With darkened cheek and threatening eyes,
1 [“Ye guardian spirits, to whom man is dear,
From these foul demons shield the midnight gloom,
Angels of fancy and of love, be near,
And o'er the blank of sleep diffuse a bloom.
Evoke the sacred shades of Greece and Rome.
And let them virtue with a look impart;
But chief, awhile, O! lend us from the tomb
Those long-lost friends for whom in love we smart,
And fill with pious awe and joy-mixt woe the heart.
“Or are you sportive?—bid the morn of youth
Rise to new light, and beam afresh the days
Of innocence, simplicity, and truth;
To cares estranged, and manhood's thorny ways.
What transport, to retrace our boyish plays,
Our easy bliss, when each thing joy supplied;
The woods, the mountains, and the warbling maze
Of the wild brooks!”—Castle of Indolence, Canto J.]
The grisly visage, stern and hoar,
To Ellen still a likeness bore.—
He woke, and, panting with affright,
Recall'd the vision of the night."
The hearth's decaying brands were red,
And deep and dusky lustre shed,
Half showing, half concealing, all
The uncouth trophies of the hall.
Mid those the stranger fix’d his eye,
Where that huge falchion hung on high,
And thoughts on thoughts, a countless throng,
Rush'd, chasing countless thoughts along,
Until, the giddy whirl to cure.
He rose, and sought the moonshine pure.
The wild-rose, eglantine, and broom,
Wasted around their rich perfume: *
1 [“Such a strange and romantic dream as may be naturally expected to flow from the extraordinary events of the past day. It might, perhaps, be quoted as one of Mr. Scott's most successful efforts in descriptive poetry. Some few lines of it are indeed unrivalled from delicacy and melancholy tenderness.”—Critical Review.] * . -> ( the bosom of the lake, *[MS.—“Play’d on Q Loch Katrine's still expanse; The birch, the wild-rose, and the broom, Wasted around their rich perfume...... The birch-trees wept in balmy dew; The aspen slept on Benvenue; Wild were the heart whose passions' power Defied the influence of the hour.”]
The birch-trees wept in fragrant balm,
The aspens slept beneath the calm ;
The silver light, with quivering glance,
Play’d on the water's still expanse,_
Wild were the heart whose passions' sway
Could rage beneath the sober ray !
He felt its calm, that warrior guest,
While thus he communed with his breast:-
“Why is it, at each turn I trace
Some memory of that exiled race?
Can I not mountain-maiden spy,
But she must bear the Douglas eye *
Can I not view a Highland brand,
But it must match the Douglas hand?
Can I not frame a fever'd dream,
But still the Douglas is the theme *
I’ll dream no more—by manly mind
Not even in sleep is will resign'd.
My midnight orisons said o'er,
I’ll turn to rest, and dream no more.”
His midnight orisons he told,
A prayer with every bead of gold,
Consigned to heaven his cares and woes,
And sunk in undisturb’d repose ;
Until the heath-cock shrilly crew, -
And morning dawn'd on Benvenue.