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XIV. Sooth spoke the maid.—Amid the tide The skiff. she mark'd lay tossing sore, And shifted oft her stooping side, In weary tack from shore to shore. Yet on her destined course no more She gain'd, of forward way, Than what a minstrel may compare To the poor mccd which peasants share, \Vho toil the livelong day; And such the risk her pilot braves, That oft, before she wore, Her howsprit kiss'd the broken waves, Where in white foam the ocean raves Upon the shelving shore. Yet, to their destined purpose true, Undaunted toil‘d her hardy crew, Nor look'd where shelter lay, Nor for Artornish Castle drew, Nor steer'd for Ares-bay.

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But hadst thou known who sail'd so nigh, Far other glance were in thine eye!

Far other flush were on thy brow,

That, shaded by the bonnet, now
Assumes but ill the blithesome cheer

Of bridegroom when the bride is near!

XVII. Yes, sweep they on !—We will not leave, For them that triumph, those who grieve. With that armada gay Be laughter loud andjocund shout, And bards to cheer the wassail rout, With tale, romance, and lay; And of wild mirth each clamorous art, Which, if it cannot cheer the heart, May stupify and stun its smart, For one loud busy day. Yes, sweep they on ?—-But with that skiff Abides the minstrel tale, Where there was dread of surge and cliff, Labour that strain'd each sinew stiff, And one sad maiden’s wail.

XVIII. All day with fruitless sirife they toil’d, With eve the ebbing currents boil'd More fierce from strait and lake; And mid-way through the channel met Conflicting tides that foam and fret, And high their mingled billowsjet, As spears that, in the battle set, Springnpward as they break. Then too the lights of eve were past, And louder sung the western blast On rocks of lnuinmore; Rent was the sail, and strain'd the mast, And many a leak was gaping fast, And the pale steersman stood aghast, And gave the conflict o'er.

XIX.

‘T was then that one, whose lofty look

Nor labour dull'd nor terror shook,
Thus to the leader spoke:

tt Brother, how hopest thou to abide

The fury of this wilder'd tide,

Or how avoid the rock's rude side,
Until the day has broke?

Didst thou not mark the vessel reel,

With quivering planks and groaning keel, At the last billow's shock !

Yet how of better counsel tell,

Though here thou seest poor Isabel
Half dead with want and fear;

For look on sea, or look on land,

Or you dark sky, on every hand
Despair and death are near.

For her alone I grieve—on me

Danger sits light by land and sea.
I follow where thou wilt;

Either to hide the tempest's lour,

Orwend to you unfriendly tower,

Or rush amid their naval power,

With war-cry wake their wassail-hour,
And die with hand on hilt.»-

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XXVI.

1: Bold stranger, no-—’gainst claim like thine,
No bolt revolves by hand of mine,
Though urged in tone that more.express'd
A monarch than a suppliant guest.

Be what ye will, Artornish Hall

On this glad eve is free to all.

Though ye had drawn a hostile sword
’Gainst our ally, great England's lord,

Or mail upon your shoulders borne,

To battle with the Lord of Lorn,

Or, outlaw’d, dwelt by green-wood tree
Willi the fierce Knight of Ellerslie,

Or aided even the murderous strife,
When Comyn fell beneath the knife

Of that fell homicide the Bruce,

This night had been a term of truce. —
Ho, vassals! give these guests your care,
And show the narrow postern stair.»-

XXVII. To land these two bold brethren leapt (The weary crew their vessel kept), And, lighted by the torches‘ flare, That seaward flung their smoky glare, The younger knight that maiden bare Half lifeless up the rock; On his strong shoulder lean‘d her head, And down her long dark tresses shed, As the wild vine, in tendrils spread, Droops from the mountain oak. Him follow’cl close that elder lord, And in his hand a sheathed sword, Such as few arms could wield; But when he boun’d him to such task, Well could it cleave the strongest casque, And rend the surest shield.

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And, comrades, gaze not on the maid,

And on these men who ask our aid,
As if ye ne'er had seen

A damsel tired of midnight bark,

Or Wanderers of a moulding stark,
And bearing martial mien.»-

But not for Eachin's reproof

Would page or vassal stand aloof,
But crowded on to stare,

As men of courtesy untaught,

Till fiery Edward roughly caught,
From one the foremost there,

His chequer'd plaid, and in its shroud,

To hide her from the vulgar crowd, lnvolved his sister fair.

His brother, as the clansman bent

His sullen brow in discontent,
Made brief and stern excuse ,-

<t Vassal, were thine the cloak of pall

That decks thy lord in bridal hall,
‘T were honour’d by her use.»-—

XXX. Proud was his tone, but calm; his eye Had that compelling dignity, His mien that hearing haught and high, Which common spirits fear; Needed nor word nor signal more, Nod, wink, and laughter, all were o’er; Upon each other back they bore, And gazed like startled deer. But now appear’d the seneschal, Commission'd by his lord to call The strangers to the haron's hall, Where feasted fair and free That Island Prince in nuptial tide, With Edith there, his lovely bride, And her bold brother by her side, And many a chief, the flower and pride Of western land and sea.

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The Island Chieftain feasted high;

But there was in his troubled eye

A gloomy fire, and on his brow

Now sudden tlush'd, and faded now,
Emotions such as draw their birth
From deeper source Ohan festal mirth.
By fits he paused, and harper's strain
And jester's tale went round in vain,
Or fell but on his idle ear

Like distant sounds which dreamers hear.
Then would he rouse him, and employ
Each art to aid the clamorous joy,

And call for pledge and lay,
And for brief space, of all the crowd,
As he was loudest of the loud,
Seem gayest of the gay

III.

Yet nought amiss the bridal throng l\Iark'd in brief mirth, or musing long; The vacant brow, the nnlistening ear, They gave to thoughts of raptures near, And his fierce starts of sudden glee, Seem'd hunts of bridegroom's ecstacy. Nor thus alone misjudged the crowd, Since lofty Lorn, suspicious, proud, Andjealous of his Imnour'd line,

And that keen knight, De Argentine (t)
(From England sent on errand high,
The western league more firm to tie),
Both deem’d in Ronald's mood to find
A lover's transport-troubled mind.

But one sad heart, one tearful eye,
Pierced deeper through the mystery,
And watch‘d, with agony and fear,

Her wayward bridegroom's varied cheer.

IV.

She watch'd—yet fear'd to meet his glance, And he shunn'd her's;—till when by chance They met, the point of focman’s lance

Ilad given a milder pang!
Beneath the intolerable smart
Ile writhed ;—then sternly mann'd his heart
To play his hard but destined part,

And from the table sprang.
It Fill me the mighty cup!» he said,
N Erst own'd by royal Somerlcd. (2)
Fill it, till on the studded brim
In burning gold the bubbles swim,
And every gem of varied shine
Glow doubly bright in rosy wine!
To you, brave lord, and brother mine,

Of Lorn this pledge I drink-
The union of our house with thine,

By this fair bridal-link!»—

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VI. IA Brother of Lorn,» with hurried voice He said, M and you, fair lords, rejoice I Here, to augment our glee, Come wandering knights from travel far, Well proved, they say, in strife of war, And tempest on the sea.—Ho! give them at your board such place As best their presences may grace, And bid them welcome free !»— With solemn step, and silver wand, The seneschal the presence scann‘d Of these strange guests; (3) and well he knew How to assign their rank its due; For, though the costly furs That erst had deek'd their caps were torn, And their gay robes were over-worn, And s0il'd their gilded spurs, Yet such a high commanding grace Was in their mien and in their face, As suited best the princely dais, And royal canopy; And there he marshall'd them their place, First of that company.

VII.

Then lords and ladies spake aside,

And angry looks the error chide,

_That gave to guests unnamed, unknown,

A place so near their prince's throne;
But Owen Erraught said,

a For forty years a seneschal,

To marshal guests in bower and hall
Has been my honour'd trade.

Worship and birth to me are known,

By look, by hearing, and by tone,

Not by furr'd robe or hroider'd zone;
And 'gainst an oaken bough

I 'll gage my silver wand of state,

That these three strangers oft have sate In higher place than now.»

VIII. (1 I, too,» the aged Ferrand said, it Am qualified by minstrel trade Of rank and place to tell;—Mark'd ye the younger stranger's eye, My mates, how quick, how keen, how high, How fierce its flashes fell, Glancing among the noble rout As if to seek the noblest out, Because the owner might not brook On any save his peers to look‘! And yet it moves me more, That steady, calm, majestic brow, With which the elder chief e'en now Scann‘d the gay presence o'er,

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Like being of superior kind, _
In whose high-toned impartial mind
Degrees of mortal rank and state
Seem objects of indifferent weight.
The lady too—though, closely tied,

The mantle veil both face and eye,
Her motion's grace it could not hide,

Nor could her form's fair symmetry.»

IX. Suspicious doubt and lordly scorn Lour'd on the haughty front of Lorn, From underneath his brows-of pride, The stranger guests he sternly eyed, And whisper'd closely what the ear Of Argentine alone might hear; Then question'd, high and brief,

If, in their voyage, aught they knew Of the rebellious Scottish crew,

Vvho to Ilath-Erin's shelter drew,

With Carrick‘s out_law’d chief‘! (4)

And if, their winter's exile o'er,

They harbour'd still by Ulster's shore, Or launch‘d their galleys on the main, To vex their native land again‘!

X.

That younger stranger, fierce and high,
At once confronts the chieftain's eye

With look of equal sc0rn;—
1: Of rebels have we nought to show;
But if of royal Bruce thou 'dst know,

I warn thee he has sworn,
Ere thrice three days shall come and go,
His banner Scottish winds shall blow,
Despite each mean or mighty foe,
From England's every bill and how,

To Allaster of Low.“-
Kiudled the mountain chieftain's ire,
But Ronald quench'd the rising fire;
a Brother, it better suits the time
To chase the night with Ferrand's rhyme,
Than wake, ‘midst mirth and wine, the jars
That flow from these unhappy wars.»-
u Content,n said Lorn; and spoke apart
With Fen-and, master of his art,

Then whisper'd Argentine,—
a The lay I named will carry smart
To these bold strangers’ haughty heart,

If right this guess of mine.»-
He ceased, and it was silence all,
Until the minstrel waked the hall.

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Or the mermaid of the wave,
Frame thee in some coral cave’!
Did in Iceland's darksome mine
Dwarfs swart hands thy metal twine]
Or, mortal-moulded, comest than here,
From England's love, or France‘: fear!

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XII. sono comlnuen.

<< No !—tl|y splendours nothing tell, Foreign art or faery spell.

Moulded thou for monarch's use,
By the over-weening Bruce,

When the royal robe he lied

O'er a heart of wrath and pride; Thence in triumph wert thou torn, By the victor hand of Lorn !

it When the gem was won and lost,
Widely was the war-cry toss'd!

Hung aloud Bendourish Fell,
Answerfd I)ouchart's sounding dell,
Fled the deer from wild Teyndrum,
When the homicide, o'ercome,

Hardly 'scaped with scathe and scorn,
Left the pledge with conquering Lorn!

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XIII. some concnunsn.

u Vain was then the Douglas brand, i Vain the Campbell's vaunted hand, (7)

Vain Kirkpatrick's bloody dirk,
Making sure of mur(ler's work; (8)
Barendown fled fast away,

Fled the fiery De la [I-aye, (9)

When this broach, triumphant borne,
Beam‘d upon the breast of Lorn.

(K Farthest fled, its former lord

Left his men to brand and cord,
Bloody brand of Highland steel,
English gibbet, axe, and wheel.

Let him fly from coast to coast,
Dogg'd by Comyn's vengeful ghost,
While his spoils, in triumph worn,
Long shall grace victorious Lorn '.»—

XlV.

As glares the tiger on his foes,

I'lemm'd in by hunters, spears, and bows,
And, are he bounds upon the ring,

Selects the object of his spring,—

Now on the hard, now on his lord,

So Edward glared and grasp'd his sword—
But stern his hrother spoke,—\< Be still! '
What! art thou yet so wild of will,

After high deeds and sufferings long,

To chafe thee for a menial'si song 7

Well hast thou framed, old man, thy strains,
To praise the hand that pays thy pains; (to)
Yet something might thy song have told

Of Lorn's three vassals, true and bold,

Who rent their lord from Bruce's hold,

As underneath his knee he lay,

And died to save him in the fray.

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