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What pilgrim sought our halls, nor told
Of Ronald's deeds in battle bold?
Who touch'd the harp to heroes' praise,
But his achievements swell'd the lays ?
Even Morag-not a tale of fame
Was hiers, but closed with Ronald's name.
He came! and all that had been told
Of his high worth seem'd poor and cold,
Tame, lifeless, void of energy,
Unjust to Ronald and to me!

Each on its own dark cape reclined, And listening to its own wild wind, From where Mingarry, sternly placed, O'erawes the woodland and the waste, (5) To where Dunstaffnage hears the raging Of Connal with his rocks engaging. Think'st thou, amid this ample round, A single brow but thine has frown'a, To sadden this auspicious moro, That bids the daughter of high Lorn Impledge her spousal faith to wed The Heir of mighty Somerled; (6) Ronald, from many a hero sprung, The fair, the valiant, and the young, LORD OF The Isles, (7) whose lofty name A thousand bards have given to fame, The mate of monarchs, and allied On equal terms with England's pride.- , From chieftain's tower to bondsman's cot, Who hears the tale, and triumphs not? The damsel dons her best attire, The shepherd lights his beltane fire, Joy, joy! each warder's horn hath sung, Joy, joy! each matin bell hath rung; The holy priest says grateful mass, Loud shouts each hardy galla-glass, No mountain den holds outcast boor, Of heart so dull, of soul so poor, But he hath flung his task aside, And claim'd this morn for holy-tide; Yet, empress of this joyful day, Edith is sad while all are gay.”—

XI. « Since then, what thought had Edith's heart, And gave not plighted love its part!-And what requital ? cold delayExcuse that shuno'd the spousal dayIt dawns, and Ronald is not here! Hunts he Bentalla's nimble deer, Or lojters he in secret dell To bid some lighter love farewell, And swear, that though he may not scorn A daughter of the house of Loro, (8) Yet, when these formal rites are o'er, Again they meet, to part no more?»

IX.
Proud Edith's soul came to her eye,
Resentment check'd the struggling sigh,
Her hurrying land indignant dried
The burning tears of injured pride

Morag, forbear! or lend thy praise
To swell yon hireling harper's lays;
Make to yon maids thy boast of power,
That they may waste a wondering hour,
Telling of banners proudly borne,
Of pealing bell and bugle-horn,
Or, theme more dear, of robes of price,
Crowolets and gauds of rare device.
But thou, experienced as thou art,
Think'st thou with these to cheat the heart,
That bound in strong affection's chain,
Looks for return and looks in vain?
No! sum thine Edith's wretched lot
In these brief words—He loves her vot!

XII. -« Hush, daughter, hush! thy doubts remove, More nobly think of Ronald's love. Look, where beneath the castle gray His fleet unmoor from Aros-bay! Seest not each galley's topmast bend, As on the yards the sails ascend? Hiding the dark-blue land they rise, Like the white clouds on April skies; The shouting vassals man the oars, Behind them sink Mull's mountain shores, Onward their merry course they keep, Through whistling breeze and foaming deep." And mark the headmost, seaward cast; Stoop to the fresheniog gale her mast, As if she vail'd its banner'd pride, To greet afar her prince's bride! Thy Ronald comes, and while in speed His galley mates the flying steed, He chides her sloth!»--Fair Edith sighd, Blush'd, sadly smiled, and thus replied:

X. << Debate it not-too long I strove To call his cold observance love, All blinded by the league that styled Edith of Lorn,-while, yet a child, She tripp'd the heath by Morag's side, The brave Lord Ronald's destined bride. Ere yet I saw him, while afar His broadsword blazed in Scotland's war, Train'd to believe our fates the same, My bosom throbb'd when Ronald's name Came gracing Fame's heroic tale, Like perfume on the summer gale.

XIII. « Sweet thought, but vain !-No, Morag! mark, Type of his course, yon lonely bark, That oft hath shifted helm and sail, To win its way against the gale. Since peep of morn, my vacant eyes Have view'd by fits the course she tries; Now, though the darkening scud comes on, And dawn's fair promises be gone, And though the weary crew may see Our sheltering haven on their lee, Still closer to the rising wind They strive her shivering sail to bind, Still nearer to the shelves' dread verge At every tack lier course they urge, As if they fear'd Artornish more Than adverse winds and breakers' roar,»

But hadst thou-known who saild 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!

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 gaind, of forward way,
Than what a minstrel may compare
To the poor meed which peasants share,

Who toil the livelong day;
And such the risk her pilot braves,

That oft, before she wore,
Her bowsprit 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 Aros-bay.

XVII.
Yes, sweep they on-We will not leave,
For them that triumph, those who grieve.

With that armada gay
Be laughter loud and jocund 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.

XV. Thus while they strove with wind and scas, Borne onward by the willing breeze,

Lord Ronald's fleet swept by,
Streamer'd with silk, and trick'd with gold,
Mann'd with the noble and the bold

Of Island chivalry.
Around their prows the ocean roars,
And chafes beneath their thousand oars,

Yet bears them on their way:
So chafes the war-horse in his might,
That fieldward bears some valiant knight,
Champs till both bit and boss are white,

But, foaming, must obey.
On each gay deck they might behold
Lances of steel and crests of gold,
And haaberks with their burnish'd fold,

That shimmer'd fair and free;
And each proud'galley, as she pass'd,
To the wild cadence of the blast

Gave wilder minstrelsy.
Full many a shrill triumphant note
Saline and Scallastle bade float

Tlieir misty shores around;
And Morven's echoes answer'd well,
And Duart heard the distant swell

Come down the darksome Sound:

XVIII. All day with fruitless strife they toild, With eve the ebbing currents boil'd

More fierce from streight and lake; And mid-way through the channel met Conflicting tides that foam and fret, And high their mingled billows jet, As spears that, in the batile set,

Spring upward as they break. Then too the lights of eve were past, And louder sung the western blast

On rocks of Inninmore; 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.

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XVI.
So bore they on with mirth and pride,
And if that labouring bark they spied,

'T was with such idle eye
As nobles cast on lowly boor,
When, toiling in his task obscure,

They pass him careless by. Let them sweep on with heedless eyes ! But, had they known what mighty prize

In that frail vessel lay, The famish'd wolf, that prowls the wold, Had scathless pass'd the unguarded fold, Ere, drifting by these galleys bold,

Unchallenged were her way! And thou, Lord Ronald, sweep thou on, With mirth and pride and minstrel tone!

XIX.
'T was then that one, whose lofty look.
Nor labour dull'd nor terror shook,

Thus to the leader spoke:
« 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 plapks 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 sca, or look on land,
Or yon dark sky, on every hand

Despair and death are near. For her alone I grieve-oa me Danger sits light by land and sea.

I follow where thou wilt ; Either to bide the tempest's lour, Or wend to yon 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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XX.
That elder leader's calm reply

In steady voice was given,
« la man's most dark extremity

Oft succour dawns from heaven. Edward, trim thou the shatter'd sail, The helm be mine, and down the gale

Let our free course be driven;
So shall we 'scape the western bay,
The hostile fleet, the unequal fray,
So safely hold our vessel's way,

Beneath the castle wall;
For if a hope of safety rest,
'T is on the sacred name of guest,
Who seeks for shelter, storm-distress'd,

Within a chieftain's hall. If pot-it best beseems our worth, Our name, our right, our lofty birth,

By noble hands to fall.»

XXI.
The helm, to his strong arm consigo'd,
Gave the reefd sail to meet the wind,

And on her alter'd way,
Fierce-bounding, forward sprung the ship,
Like greyhound starting from the slip,

To seize his flying prey.
Awaked before the rushing prow,
The mimic fires of 'ocean glow,

Those lightnings of the wave; (9)
Wild sparkles crest the broken tides,
And, flashing round, the vessel's sides

With elvish lustre lave,
While, far behind, their livid light
To the dark billows of the night

A gloomy splendour gave.
It seems as if old Ocean shakes
From his dark brow the livid flakes

In envious pageantry,
To match the meteor light that streaks

Grim Hecla's midnight sky.

By peasants heard from cliffs on high,
When triumph, rage, and agony,

Madden the fight and rout.
Now nearer yet, through mist and storm,
Dimly arose the castle's form,

And deepen'd shadow made,
Far lengthend on the main below,
Where, dancing in reflected glow,

An hundred torches play'd,
Spangling the wave with lights as vain
As pleasures in this vale of pain,
That dazzle as they fade.

XXIV.
Beneath the castle's sheltering lee,
They staid their course in quiet sea.
Hewn in the rock, a passage there
Sought the dark fortress by a stair

So straight, so high, so steep,
With peasant's staff one valiant hand
Might well the dizzy pass have mann'd,
'Gainst hundreds arm'd with spear and brand,

And plunged them in the deep. (10)
His bugle then the helmsman wound;
Loud answer'd every echo round,

From turret, rock, and bay,
The postern's hinges crash and groan,
And soon the warder's cresset shone
On those rude steps of slippery stone,

To light the upward way.
« Thrice welcome, holy sire!» he said;
« Full long the spousal train have staid,

And, vex'd at thy delay,
Fear'd lest, amidst these wildering seas,
The darksome night and freshening breeze
Had driven thy bark astray.)

XXV.
« Warder,» the younger stranger said,
« Thine erring guess some mirth had made
In mirthful hour; but nights like these,
When the rough winds wake western seas,
Brook not of glee. We crave some aid
And need ful shelter for this maid,

Until the break of day;
For, to ourselves, the deck's rude plank
Is easy as the mossy bank

That's breathed upon by May;
And for our storm-toss'd skiff we seek
Short shelter in this leeward creek,
Prompt when the dawn the east shall streak;

Again to bear away.»—
Answer'd the warder, « In what name
Assert ye hospitable claim ?

Whence come, or whither bound?
Hath Erin seen your parting sails,
Or come ye on Norweyan gales ?
And seek ye England's fertile vales,

Or Scotland's mountain ground ?»—
« Warriors—for other title none
For some brief space we list to own,
Bound by a vow-warriors are we;
In strife by land, and storm by sea,

We have been known to fame;
And these brief words have import dear,
When sounded in a noble ear,

XXII. Nor lack'd they steadier light to keep Their course upon the darken'd deep ;Artornish, on her frowning steep,

'Twixt cloud and ocean bung, Glanced with a thousand lights of glee, And landward far, and far to sea,

Her festal radiance tlung. By that blithe beacon-light they steerd,

Whose lustre mingled well With the pale beam that now appear'd, As the cold moon her head upreard

Above the eastern fell.

XXIII, Thus guided, on their course they bore, Until they near'd the main-land shore, When frequent on the hollow blast Wild shouts of merriment were cast, And wind and wave and sea-birds' cry With wassail sounds in concert vic Like funeral shrieks with revelry,

Or like the battle-shout

To harbour safe, and friendly cheer,

That gives us righıful claim. Grant us the trivial boon we seek, And we in other realms will speak

Fair of your courtesy; Deny-and be your niggard hold Scorn'd by the noble and the bold, Shuno'd by the pilgrim on the wold,

And wanderer on the lea.)

XXVI. « Bold stranger, no -'gainst claim like thine, No bolt revolves by land of mine, Though urged in tone that more express'd A monarch than a suppliani guese 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 batile with the Lord of Lorn, Or, outlaw'd, dweli by green-wood tree With 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.»-

And, comrades, gaze not on the maid,
And on these men who ask our aid,

As if ye pe'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 tiery Edward roughly caught,

From one the foremost there,
His chequer'd plaid, and in its shroud,
To hide her from the vulgar crowd,
· Involved his sister fair.
His brother, as the clansman bent
His sullen brow in discontent,

Made brief and stero excuse;Vassal, were thine the cloak of pall That decks thy lord in bridal ball,

"T were honour'd by her use.»

XXX. Proud was his tone, but calm; his eye Had that compelling dignity, His mien that bearing 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 10 call The strangers to be baron'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.

XXVII.
To land these two bold brethren leapt
(The weary crew their vessel kepe),
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 viue, in tendrils spread,

Droops from the mountain oak.
Him follow'd 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,

XXVIII.
The raised portcullis arch they pass,
The wicket with its bars of brass,

The entrance long and low,
Flank'd at each turn by loop-lioles strait,
Where bowmen might in ambush wait
(If force or fraud should burst the gate),

To gall an entering foe.
But every jealous post of ward
Was now defenceless and unbarrd,
And all the passage

free To one low-brow'd and vaulted room, Where squire and yeomen, page and groom,

Plied their loud revelry.

Here pause we, gentles, for a space;
And, if our tale hath won your grace,
Grant us brief patience, and again
We will renew the minstrel strain.

CANTO II.

1, Fill the bright goblet, spread the festive board!

Summon the gay, the noble, and the fair! Through the loud hall in joyous concert pourd,

Let mirth and music sound the dirge of Care! But ask thou not if Happiness be there,

Jf the loud laugh disguise convulsive throe, Or if the brow the heart's true livery wear;

Lift not the festal mask !-enough to know, No scene of mortal life but teems with mortal woe.

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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 flush'd, and faded now,
Emotions such as draw their birth
From deeper source than festal mirth.
By fits he paused, and harper's strain
And jester's tale went round in vaia,
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 Mark'd in brief mirth, or musing long; The vacant brow, the unlistening ear, They gave to thoughts of raptures near, . And his fierce starts of sudden glee, Seem'd bursts of bridegroom's ecstasy. Nor thus alone misjudged the crowd, Since lofty Lorn, suspicious, proud, And jealous of his honour'd line, And that keen knight, De Argentine (1) (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 miod. 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.

But when the warder in his ear
Tells other news, his blither cheer

Returns like sun of May,
When through a thunder-cloud il beams ;-
Lord of two hundred isles, he seems

As glad of brief delay,
As some poor criminal might feel,
When from the gibbel or the wheel
Respited for a day.

VI.
« Brother of Lorn,» with hurried voice
He said, « and you, fair lords, rejoice!

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 scana'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 deck'd their caps were torn,
And their gay robes were over-worn,

And soild 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 marshalld 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,
« 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 bearing, and by tone,
Not by furr'd robe or broider'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.»--

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 foeman's lance

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

And from the table sprang.
« Fill me the mighty cup!» he said,
« Erst own'd by royal Somerled. (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 !--

VIII. « I, too,» the aged Ferrand said, « 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,
Glancihg among the doble 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 morc,
That steady, calm, majestic brow,
With which the elder chief e'en now

Scann'd the gay presence o'er,

« Let it pass round!» quoth he of Lorn, And in good time-that winded hora

Must of the abbot tell; The laggard monk is come at last.»--' Lord Ronald heard the bugle-blast, And, on the floor at random cast,

The untasted goblet fell.

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