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What pilgrim sought our halls, nor told
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?»
Morag, forbear! or lend thy praise
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,
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,
Who toil the livelong day;
That oft, before she wore,
Upon the shelving shore.
Nor look'd where shelter lay,
Nor steer'd for Aros-bay.
With that armada gay
With tale, romance, and lay;.
For one loud busy day.
Abides the minstrel tale, Where there was dread of
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,
Of Island chivalry.
Yet bears them on their way:
But, foaming, must obey.
That shimmer'd fair and free;
Gave wilder minstrelsy.
Tlieir misty shores around;
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.
'T was with such idle eye
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!
Thus to the leader spoke:
Until the day has broke ?
At the last billow's shock?
Half dead with want and fear;
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.»—
In steady voice was given,
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;
Beneath the castle wall;
Within a chieftain's hall. If pot-it best beseems our worth, Our name, our right, our lofty birth,
By noble hands to fall.»
And on her alter'd way,
To seize his flying prey.
Those lightnings of the wave; (9)
With elvish lustre lave,
A gloomy splendour gave.
In envious pageantry,
Grim Hecla's midnight sky.
By peasants heard from cliffs on high,
Madden the fight and rout.
And deepen'd shadow made,
An hundred torches play'd,
So straight, so high, so steep,
And plunged them in the deep. (10)
From turret, rock, and bay,
To light the upward way.
And, vex'd at thy delay,
Until the break of day;
That's breathed upon by May;
Again to bear away.»—
Whence come, or whither bound?
Or Scotland's mountain ground ?»—
We have been known to fame;
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,
As if ye pe'er had seen
And bearing martial mien.»
But crowded on to stare,
From one the foremost there,
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.
Half lifeless up the rock ;
Droops from the mountain oak.
Such as few arms could wield;
The entrance long and low,
To gall an entering foe.
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;
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.
The Island Chieftain feasted high;
And call for pledge and lay,
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
Returns like sun of May,
As glad of brief delay,
Here, to augment our glee,
in strife of war,
And bid them welcome free !--
For, though the costly furs
And soild their gilded spurs,
And royal canopy;
But Owen Erraught said,
Has been my honour'd trade.
And 'gainst an oaken bough
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!
And from the table sprang.
Of Lorn, this pledge I drink -
By this fair bridal-link !--
VIII. « I, too,» the aged Ferrand said, « Am qualified by minstrel trade
Of rank and place to tell
How fierce its flashes fell,
And yet it moves me morc,
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.