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TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH.
&c. &c. &c.
Lighthouse Yacht in the Sound of Lerwick,
Zetland, 8th August, 1814.
HEALTH to the chieftain from his clansman true !
From her true minstrel, health to fair Buccleuch !
Health from the isles, where dewy Morning weaves
Her chaplet with the tints that Twilight leaves;
Where late the sun scarce vanish'd from the sight,
And his bright pathway graced the short-lived night,
Though darker now as autumn's shades extend,
The north winds whistle and the mists ascend !
Health from the land where eddying whirlwinds toss
The storm-rock'd cradle of the cape of Noss;
On outstretch'd cords the giddy engine slides,
His own strong arm the bold adventurer guides,
And he that lists such desperate feat to try,
May, like the sea-mew, skim 'twixt surf and sky,
And feel the mid-air gales around him blow,
And see the billows rage five hundred feet below.
Here, by each stormy peak and desert shore,
The hardy islesman tugs the daring oar,
Practised alike his venturous course to keep,
Through the white breakers or the pathless deep,
By ceaseless peril and by toil to gain
A wretched pittance from the niggard main.
And when the worn-out drudge old ocean leaves,
What comfort greets him, and what hut receives?
Lady! the worst your presence ere has cheer'd
(When want and sorrow fled as you appear'd)
Were to a Zetlander as the high dome
Of proud Drumlanrig to my humble home.
Here rise no groves, and here no gardens blow,
Here even the hardy heath scarce dares to grow ;
But rocks on rocks, in mist and storm array'd,
Stretch far to sea their giant colonnade,
With many a cavern seam'd, the dreary haunt
Of the dun seal and swarthy cormorant.
Wild round their rifted brows, with frequent cry
As of lament, the gulls and gannets fly,
And from their sable base, with sullen sound,
In sheets of whitening foam the waves rebound.
Yet even these coasts a touch of envy gain
From those whose land has known oppression's chain ;
For here the industrious Dutchman comes once more
To moor his fishing craft by Bressay's shore;
Greets every former mate and brother tar,
Marvels how Lerwick 'scaped the rage of war,
Tells many a tale of Gallic outrage done,
And ends by blessing God and Wellington.
Here too the Greenland tar, a fiercer guest,
Claims a brief hour of riot, not of rest;
Proves each wild frolic that in wine has birth,
And wakes the land with brawls and boisterous mirth.
A sadder sight on yon poor vessel's prow
The captive Norseman sits in silent woe,
And eyes the flags of Britain as they flow.
Hard fate of war, which bade her terrors sway
His destined course, and seize so mean a prey;
A bark with planks so warp'd and seams so riven,
She scarce might face the gentlest airs of heaven :
Pensive he sits, and questions oft if none
Can list his speeeh, and understand his moan;
In vain-no Islesman now can use the tongue
Of the bold Norse, from whom their lineage sprung.
Not thus of old the Norsemen hither came,
Won by the love of danger or of fame;
On every storm-beat cape a shapeless tower
Tells of their wars, their conquests, and their power;
For ne'er for Grecia's vales, nor Latian land,
Was fiercer strife than for this barren strand;
A race severe—the isle and ocean lords,
Loved for its own delight the strife of swords;
With scornful laugh the mortal pang defied,
And blest their gods that they in battle died.
Such were the sires of Zetland's simple race,
And still the eye may faint resemblance trace
In the blue eye, tall form, proportion sair,
The limbs athletic, and the long light hair-
(Such was the mien, as Scald and Minstrel sings,
Of fair-hair'd Harold, first of Norway's Kings ;)
But their high deeds to scale these crags confined,
Their only welfare is with waves and wind.
Why should I talk of Mousa's castle coast ?
Why of the horrors of the Sumburgh Rost;
May not these bald disjointed lines suffice,
Penn'd while my comrades whirl the rattling dice-
While down the cabin skylight lessening shine
The rays, and eve is chased with mirth and wine ?
Imagined, while down Mousa's desert bay,
Our well-trimm'd vessel urged her nimble way,
While to the freshening breeze she lean'd her side,
And bade her bowsprit kiss the foamy tide ?
Such are the lays that Zetland Isles supply; Drench'd with the drizzly spray and dropping sky, · Weary and wet, a sea-sick minstrel I.- W. SCOTT.
Kirkwall, Orkney, Aug. 13, 1814. In respect that your Grace has commission'd a Kraken, You will please be inform’d that they seldom are taken;.
It is January two years, the Zetland folks say,
Since they saw the last Kraken in Scalloway bay;
He lay in the offing a fortnight or more,
But the devil a Zetlander .put from the shore,
Though bold in the seas of the North to assail
The morse and the sea-horse, the grampus and whale.
If your Grace thinks I'm writing the thing that is not,
You may ask at a namesake of ours, Mr. Scott-
(He's not from our clan, though his merits deserve it,
But springs, I'm inform’d, from the Scotts of Scotstarvet ;)
He question’d the folks who beheld it with eyes,
But they differ'd confoundedly as to its size.
For instance, the modest and diffident swore
That it seem'd like the keel of a ship, and no more-
Those of eyesight more clear, or of fancy more high,
Said it rose like an island 'twixt ocean and sky-
But all of the hulk had a steady opinion
That 'twas sure a live subject of Neptune's dominion-
And I think, my Lord Duke, your Grace hardly would wish,
To cumber your house, such a kettle of fish.
Had your order related to night-caps or hose,
Or mittens of worsted, there's plenty of those.
Or would you be pleased but to fancy a whale?
And direct me to send it-by sea or by mail ?
The season, I'm told, is nigh over, but still
I could get you one fit for the lake at Bowhill.
Indeed, as to whales, there's no need to be thrifty,
Since one day last fortnight two hundred and fifty,
Pursued by seven Orkneymen's boats and no more,
Betwixt Truffness and Luffness were drawn on the shore!
You'll ask if I saw this same wonderful sight;
I own that I did not, but easily might-
For this mighty shoal of leviathans lay
On our lee-beam a mile, in the loop of the bay,
And the islesmen of Sanda were all at the spoil,
And flinching (so term it) the blubber to boil ;
(Ye spirits of lavender, drown the reflection
That awakes at the thoughts of this odorous dissection.)
To see this huge marvel full fain would we go,
But Wilson, the wind, and the current, said no.
We have now got to Kirkwall, and needs I must stare
When I think that in verse I have once call'd it fair;
'Tis a base little borough, both dirty and mean-.
There is nothing to hear, and there's nought to be seen,
Save a church, where, of old times, a prelate harangued,
And a palace that's built by an earl that was hang'd.
But, farewell to Kirkwall-aboard we are going,
The anchor's a-peak, and the breezes are blowing;
Our commodore calls all his band to their places,
And 'tis time to release you-good night to your Graces !
FAREWELL TO MACKENZIE,
HIGH CHIEF OF KINTAIL
FROM THE GAELIC.
[1815.-£t. 44.] The original verses are arranged to a beautiful Gaelic air, of which the chorus is! adapted to the double pull upon the oars of a galley, and which is therefore dis- ! tinct from the ordinary jorrams, or boat-songs. They were composed by the Family Bard upon the departure of the Earl of Seaforth, who was obliged to take refuge in Spain, after an unsuccessful effort at insurrection in favour of the Stuart family, in the year 1718.
FAREWELL to Mackenneth, great Earl of the North,
The Lord of Lochcarron, Glenshiel, and Seaforth ;
To the Chieftain this morning his course who began,
Launching forth on the billows his bark like a swan.
For a far foreign land he has hoisted his sail,
Farewell to Mackenzie, High Chief of Kintail !
O swift be the galley, and hardy her crew,
May her captain be skilful, her mariners true,
In danger undaunted, unwearied by toil,
Though the whirlwind should rise, and the ocean should boil :
On the brave vessel's gunnel I drank his bonail, *
And farewell to Mackenzie, High Chief of Kintail !
Awake in thy chamber, thou sweet southland gale!
Like the sighs of his people, breathe soft on his sail ;
Be prolong'd as regret, that his vassals must know,
Be fair as their faith, and sincere as their woe:
Be so soft, and so fair, and so faithful, sweet gale,
Wafting onward Mackenzie, High Chief of Kintail !
Be his pilot experienced, and trusty, and wise,
To measure the seas and to study the skies :
May he hoist all his canvass from streamer to deck,
But O! crowd it higher when wafting him back-
Till the cliffs of Skooroora, and Conan's glad vale,
Shall welcome Mackenzie, High Chief of Kintail !
[Paris, 5th September, 1815.1
SOFT spread the southern summer night The drum's deep roll was heard afar,
Her veil of darksome blue;
The bugle wildly blew
Ten thousand stars combined to light Good-night to Hulan and Hussar,
The terrace of Saint Cloud.
That garrison Saint Cloud.
The evening breezes gently sigh'd, The startled Naiads from the shade
Like breath of lover true,
With broken urns withdrew,
Bewailing the deserted' pride
And silenced was that proud cascade, And wreck of sweet Saint Cloud. I The glory of Saint Cloud.
* Bonail, or Bonaller, the old Scottish phrase for a feast at parting with a friend
We sate upon its steps of stone,
Nor could its silence rue,
When waked, to music of our own,
The echoes of Saint Cloud.
Slow Seine might hear each lovely note
Fall light as summer dew, While through the moonless air they float,
Prolong'd from fair Saint Cloud. And sure a melody more sweet
His waters never knew, Though music's self was wont to meet
With Princes at Saint Cloud. Nor then, with more delighted ear,
The circle round her drew, Than ours, when gather'd round to hear
Our songstress at Saint Cloud. Few happy hours poor mortals pass,
Then give those hours their due, And rank among the foremost class
Our evenings at Saint Cloud.
And then the affrighted prophet's ear Drinks whispers strange of fate and fear Presaging death and ruin near . Among the sons of men ;Apart from Albyn's war-array, 'Twas then grey Allan sleepless lay; Grey Allan, who, for many a day,
Had follow'd stout and sterit, Where, through battle's rout and reel, Storm of shot and edge of steel, Led the grandson of Lochiel,
Valiant Fassiefern. Through steel and shot he leads no more, Low laid 'mid friends' and foemen's
goreBut long his native lake's wild shore, And Sunart rough, and high Ardgower,
And Morven long shall tell, And proud Bennevis hear with awe, How, upon bloody Quatre-Bras, Brave Cameron heard the wild hurra
Of conquest as he fell.
THE DANCE OF DEATH.
NIGHT and morning were at meeting
Over Waterloo; Cocks had sung their earliest greeting;
Faint and low they crew, For no paly beam yet shone On the heights of Mount Saint John; Tempest-clouds prolong’d the sway Of timeless darkness over day; Whirlwind, thunder-clap, and shower, Mark'd it a predestined hour. Broad and frequent through the night Flash'd the sheets of levin-light; Muskets, glancing lightnings back, Show'd the dreary bivouack
Where the soldier lay, Chill and stiff, and drench'd with rain, Wishing dawn of morn again,
Though death should come with day.
'Lone on the outskirts of the host,
The weary sentinel held post,
And heard, through darkness far aloof,
The frequent clang of courser's hoof,
Where held the cloak'd patrol their
course, And spurr'd 'gainst storm the swerving
But there are sounds in Allan's ear,
Patrol nor sentinel may hear,
And sights before his eye aghast
Invisible to them have pass'd,
When down the destined plain,
'Twixt Britain and the bands of France,
Wild as marsh-borne meteor's glance,
Strange phantoms wheel'd a revel dance,
And doom'd the future slain.Such forms were seen, such sounds
were heard, When Scotland's James his march pre
For Flodden's fatal plain ; Such, when he drew his ruthless sword, As Choosers of the Slain, adored
The yet unchristen’s Dane. An indistinct and phantom band, They wheeld their ring-dance hand in
'Tis at such a tide and hour,
Wizard, witch, and fiend, have power,
And ghastly forms through mist and
Gleam on the gifted ken;