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Sublime but sad delighit thy soul hath known,
Gazing on pathless glon and mountain high, Listing where from the cliffs the torrents thrown
Mingle their echoes with the cagle's cry, And with the sounding lake, and with the moaning sky.
Yes! 't was sublime, but sad.-The loneliness
Loaded thy heart, the desert tired thine eye; And strange and awful fears began to press
Thy bosom with a stern solemnity. Then hast thou wish'd some woodman's cottage nigh,
Something that shows of life, though low and mean, Glad sight, its curling wreath of smoke to spy,
Glad sound, its cock's blithe carol would have been, Or children whooping wild beneath the willows green.
Then, resting on his bloody blade,
The valiant Bruce to Ronald said,
« Now shame upon us both !- that boy
Lifts his mule face to heaven,
And clasps his hands, lo testify
His gratitude to God on high,
For strange deliv'rance given.
His specchless gesture thanks hath paid,
Which our free tongues have left unsaid !»—
He rajs'd the youth with kindly word,
But mark'd him shudder at the sword;
He cleansed it from its hue of death,
And plunged the weapon in its sheath.
« Alas, poor child! unfitting part
Fate doom'd, when with so soft a heart,
And form so slight as thine,
She made thee first a pirate's slave,
Then, in his stead, a patron gave
Of wayward lot like mine ;
A landless prince, whose wandering life
Is but one scene of blood and strife
Yet scant of friends the Bruce shall be,
But he 'll find resting-place for thee.--
Come, noble Ronald! o'er the dead
Enough thy generous grief is paid,
And well has Allan's fate becn wroke ;-
Come, wend we hence-the day has broke.
Seek we our bark-I trust the tale
Was false, that she had hoisted sail.»—
Such are the scenes, where savage grandeur wakes
An awful thrill that softens into sighs; Such feelings rouse them by dim Rappoch's lakes,
In dark Glencoe such gloomy raptures rise: Or, farther, where, beneath the northern skies,
Chides wild Loch Eribol his caverns hoarBut, be the minstrel judge, they yield the prize
Of desert dignity to that dread shore, That sees grim Coolin rise, and hears Coriskin roar.
1. Through such wild paths the champions pass'd, When bold halloo apd bugle-blast Upon the breeze came loud and fast. « There,» said the Bruce, «rung Edward's horn! What can have caused such brief return? And see, brave Ronald, -see him dart O'er stock and stone like hunted hart, Precipitate, as is the use, In war or sport, of Edward Bruce. -He marks us, and his eager cry Will tell his news ere he be nigh.»
XXXII. Yet ere they left that charnel-cell, The Island Lord bade sad farewell To Allan:-Who shall tell this tale,» He said, « in halls of Donagaile! Oh, who his widow'd mother tell, That, ere his bloom, her fairest fell ! --. Rest thee, poor youth! and trust my eare, For mass and knell and funcral prayer; While o'er those caitiffs, wliere they lie, The wolf shall sparl, the raven cry!»— And now the eastern mountain's head On the dark lake threw lustre red; Bright gleams of gold and purple streak Ravine and precipice and peak(So earthly power at distance shows; Reveals his splendour, hides his woes.) O'er sheets of gravite, dark and broad, Rent and unequal lay the road. In sad discourse the warriors wind, And the mute captive moves beliind.
Loud Edward shouts, « What make ye here,
Warring upon the mountaiu-deer,
When Scotland wants her king ?
A bark from Leonox crossd our track,
With her in speed I hurried back,
These joyful news to bring-
The Stuart stirs in Teviotdale,
And Douglas wakes his native vale;
Thy storm-toss'd fleet hath won its way
With little loss to Brodick-bay,
And Lennox, with a gallant band,
Waits but thy coming and command
To waft them o'er to Carrick strand,
There are blithe news! but mark the close!
Edward, the deadliest of our foes,
As with his host he northward pass'd,
Hath on the borders breathed his last.»
STRANGER! if e'er thine ardent step hath traced
The northern realms of ancient Caledon,
Where the proud queen of wilderness hath placed,
By Jake and cataract, her lonely throne;
IV. Still stood the Bruce—his steady cheek Was little wont his joy to speak,
But then bis colour rose : « Now, Scotland! shortly shalt thou see, With God's high will, thy children free,
And vengeance on thy foes!
Yet to no sense of selfish wrongs,
Bear witness with me, Heaven, belongs
My joy o'er Edward's bier ; (1)
I took my knighthood at his hand,
And lordship beld of him, and land,
And well may vouch it here,
That, blot the story from his page,
Of Scotland ruin'd in his rage,
You read a monarch brave and sage,
And to his people dear.»-
« Let London burghers mourn her lord,
And Groydon monks his praise record,»
The eager Edward said « Eternal as his own, my hate Surmounts the bounds of mortal fate,
And dies not with the dead!
Such hate was his ou Solway's strand,
When vengeance clench'd his palsied hand,
That pointed yet to Scotland's land, (2)
As his last accents pray'd
Disgrace and curse upon his heir,
If he one Scottish head should spare,
Till stretch'd upon the bloody lair,
Each rebel corpse was laid !
Such hate was his, when his last breath
Renounced the peaceful house of death,
And bade his bones to Scotland's coast
Be borne by his remorseless host,
As if his dead and stony eye
Could still enjoy her misery!
Such hate was his,-dark, deadly, long ;
Mine,-as enduring, deep, and strong!»-
Coriskin dark and Coolin high
Echoed the dirge's doleful cry.
Along that sable-lake pass'd slow,-
Fit scene for such a sight of woe,
The sorrowing Islesmen, as they bore
The murder'd Allan to the shore.
At every pause, with dismal shout,
Their coronach of grief rung out,
And ever, when they moved again,
The pipes resumed their clamorous strain,
And, with the pibroch's shrilling wail,
Mournd the young heir of Donagaile.
Round and around, from cliff and cave,
His answer stern old Coolin gave,
Till high upon his misty side
Languish'd the mournful notes, and died.
For never sounds, by mortal made,
Attaio'd his high and haggard head,
Tleat echoes but the tempest's moan,
Or the deep thunder's rending groan.
« Let women, Edward, war with words,
With curses monks, but men with swords ;
Nor doubt of living foes, to sate
Deepest revenge and deadliest hate.
Now, to the sea! behold the beach,
And see the gallies' pendants stretch
Their fluttering length down favouring gale!
Aboard! aboard! and hoist the sail.
Hold we our way for Arran first,
Where met in arms our friends dispersed;
Lennox the loyal, and De la Haye,
And Boyd the hold in battle fray.
I long the hardy band to head,
And see once more my standard spread.
Does noble Ronald share our course,
Or stay to raise his Island force ?»—
« Come weal, come woe, by Bruce's side,»
Replied the chief, « will Ronald bide.
And since two galleys yonder ride,
Be mine, so please my liege, dismiss'd
To wake to arms the clans of Uist,
And all who hear the Minche's roar,
On the Long Island's lonely shore.
The nearer isles, with slight delay,
Ourselves may summon in our way;
And soon on Arran's shore shall meet,
With Torquil's aid, a gallant fleet,
If aught avails their chieftain's hest
Among the Islesmen of the west.»-
Thus was their venturous council said.
But, ere their sails the galleys spread,
Merrily, merrily, bounds the bark,
She bounds before the gale,
The mountain breeze from Ben-na-darch
Is joyous in her sail!
With fluttering sound like laughter hoarse,
The cords and canvas strain,
The waves, divided by her force,
In rippling eddies chased her course,
As if they laughi'd again.
Not down the breeze more blithely flew,
Skimming the wave, the light sea-mew,
Than the gay galley bore
Her course upon that favouring wind,
And Coolin's crest has sunk behind,
And Slapin's cavern'd shore.
'T was then that warlike signals wake
Dunscaith's dark towers and Eisord's lake,
And soon from Gavilgarrigh's head
Thick wreaths of eddying smoke were spread;
A summons these of war and wrath,
To the brave clans of Sleate and Strath,
And, ready at the sight,
Each warrior to his weapons sprung,
And large upon his shoulder flung,
Impatient for the fight.
Mac-Kinnon's chief, in warfare gray,
Had charge to muster their array,
And guide their barks to Brodick-bay.
Signal of Ronald's high command,
A beacon gleam'd o'er sea and land,
From Canna's tower, that, steep and gray,
Like falcon-nest o'erhangs the bay. (3)
Seek not the giddy crag to climb,
To view the turret scathed by time ;
It is a task of doubt and fear
To aught but goat or mountain-deer.
But rest thce on the silver beach,
And let the aged herdsman teach
Hiş tale of former day;
His cur's wild clamour he shall chide,
And for thy seat, by ocean's side,
His varied plaid display;
High raised above the green-wood tree,
As on dry land the galley moves,
By cliff and copse and alder groves.
Deep import from that selcouth sigo,
Did many a mountain seer divine;
For ancient legends told the Gael,
That when a royal bark should sail
O'er Kilmaconnel moss,
Old Albyn should in fight prevail,
And every foe should faint and quail
Before her silver cross.
XIII. Now launch'd once more, the inland sea They furrow with fair augury,
And steer for Arran's isle ; The sun, ere yet he sunk behind Ben-ghoil, « the Mountain of the Wind,» Gave his grim peaks a greeting kind,
And bade Loch Ranza smile. (9) Thither their destined course they drew; It seem'd the isle her monarch knew, So brilliant was the landward view,
The ocean so serene; Each puny wave in diamonds roll'd O'er the calm deep, where hues of gold
With azure strove and green.
The hill, the vale, the tree, the tower,
Glow'd with the tints of evening's hour,
The beech was silver sheen,
The wind breathid soft as lover's sigh,
And, oft renew'd, seemd oft to die,
With breathless pause between.
O who, with speech of war and woes,
Would wish to break the soft repose
Of such enchanting scene!
XV. « Young lord,» the royal Bruce replied, « That question must the church decide ; Yet seems it hard, since rumours state Edith takes Clifford for her mate, The very tie, which she bath broke, To thee should still be binding yoke. But, for my sister IsabelThe mood of woman who can tell? I guess the Champion of the Rock, Victorious in the tourney shock, That knight unknown, to whom the prize She deall,-had favour in her eyes; But since our brother Nigel's fate, Our ruin'd house and hapless state, From worldly joy and hope estranged, Much is the hapless mourner changed. Perchance,» here smiled the noble king, « This tale may other musings bring. Soon shall we know-yon mountains hide The little convent of St Bride; There, sent by Edward, she must stay, Till fate shall give more prosperous day; And thither will I bear thy suit, Nor will thine advocate be mute.»
XIV. Is it of war Lord Ronald speaks? The blush that dyes his manly cheeks, The timid look, and downcast eye, And faltering voice the theme deny. Aad good King Robert's brow expressid, He ponderd o'er some high request,
As doubtful to approve; Yet in his eye and lip the while Dwelt the half-pilying glance and smile, Which manhood's graver mood beguile,
When lovers talk of love.
Anxious luis suit Lord Ronald pled;
-« And for my bride betroth'd,» he said,
« My liege has heard the rumour spread
Of Edith from Artornish tled.
Too hard her fate-I claim no right
To blame her for ber hasty tight;
Be joy and happiness her loi!-
But she had tled the bridal-knot,
And Lorn recall'd his promised plight,
In the assembled chieftaius' sight. --
Wben, to fullil our fathers' baud,
I proffer'd all I could—my hand-
I was repulsed witli scorn ;
Mine honour I should ili assert,
Aod worse the feelings of my heart,
If I should play a suitor's part
Again to pleasure Lorn.»
XVI. As thus they talk'd in earnest mood, That speechless boy beside them stood. He stoop'd his head against the mast, And bitter sobs came thick and fast, A grief that would not be repress'd, But seemd to burst liis youthful breast. His hands, against his forehead held, As if by force his tears repellid, But through his fingers, long and slight, Fast trill'd the drops of crystal bright. Edward, who walk'd the deck apart, First spied this contlict of the heart. Thoughtless as brave, with bluntness kind He suught to cheer the sorrower's mind; By force the slender hand he drew From those poor eyes that stream'd with dex. As in his hold the stripling strove ( 'T was a rough grasp, though meant in love),Away his tears the warrior swept, And bade shame on him that he wept. « I would to Heaven, thy helpless congue Could tell me who hath wrought thee wrong! For, wcre le of our crew the best, The insult wept not unredress d. Come, cheer thee; thou art now of age To be a warrior's gallant page; Thou shalt be mine!-a palfrey fair O'er hill and holt my boy shall bear, To hold my bow in hunting-grove, Or speed on errand to my love; For well I wol thou wilt not tell The temple where my wishes dwell.»---
XVII. Bruce interposed, Gay Edward, no, This is no youth to hold thy bow, To fill thy goblet, or to bear Thy message light to lighter fair.
Thou art a patron all too wild
And thoughtless, for this orphan child.
Seest thou not bow apart he steals,
Keeps lonely couch, and lonely meals!
Filter by far in yon calm cell
To tend our sister Isabel,
With father Augustin to share
The peaceful change of convent prayer,
Than wander wild adventures through,
With such a reckless guide as you.»—
« Thanks, brother !» Edward answer'd gay,
« For the bigh laud thy words convey!
But we may learn some future day,
If thou or I can this poor boy
Protect the best, or best employ.
Meanwhile, our vessel nears the strand;
Launch we the boat, and seek the land.»—
To land King Robert lightly sprung,
And chrice aloud his bugle rung,
With note prolong'd, and varied strain,
Till bold Ben-ghoil replied again.
Good Douglas then, and De la Haye,
Had in a glen a hart at bay,
And Lennox cheer'd the laggard hounds,
When waked that horn the green-wood bounds.
« It is the foe!» cried Boyd, who came
In breathless hasłe with eye on flame, -
« It is the foe!-Each valiant Jord
Fling by his bow, and grasp his sword!»--
« Not so,» replied the good Lord James,
« That blast no English bugle claims.
Oft have I heard it fire the fight,
Cheer the pursuit, or stop the flight.
Dead were my heart, and deaf mine ear,
If Bruce should call, nor Douglas hear!
Each to Locb Ranza's margin spring;
That blast was winded by the king!»-(10)
XIX, Fast to their mates the tidings spread, And fast to shore the warriors sped. Bursting from glen and green-wood tree, High waked their loyal jubilee! Around the royal Bruce they crowd, And clasp d his hands, and wept aloud. Veterans of early fields were there, Whiose helmets prcss'd their hoary hair, Whose swords and axes bore a stain From life-blood of the red-hair'd Daue; And boys, whose hands scarce brook'd to wield The heavy sword or bossy shield. Men 100 were there, that bore, the scars Impressd in Albya's woful wars, At Falkirk's fieree and fatal fight, Teyndrum's dread rout and Methven's flight. The might of Douglas there was seen, There Lennox with his graceful mien; Kirkpatrick, Closeburn's dreaded knight; The Lindsay, fiery, fierce, and light; The heir of murder'd De la Haye, And Boyd the grave, and Seton gay. Around their king regaiu'd they pressid, Wept, shouted, clasp'd him to their breast, And young and old, and serf and lord, And he who ne'er unsheath'd a sword,
And he in many a perii tried,
Alike resolved the brunt to bide,
And live or die by Bruce's side!
Oh, War! thou hast thy fierce delight,
Thy gleams of joy, intensely bright;
Such gleams, as from thy polish'd shield
Fly dazzling o'er the battle-field!
Such transports wake, severe and high,
Amid the pealing conquest-cry;
Scarce less, when, after battle lost,
Muster the remnants of a host,
And as each comrade's name they tell,
Who in the well-fought conflict fell,
Knitting stern brow o'er flashing eye,
Vow to avenge them or to die! -
Warriors !—and where are warriors found,
If not on martial Britain's ground?
And who, when waked with note of fire,
Love more than they the British lyre?
Know ye not, hearts to honour dear!
That joy, deep-thrilling, stern, severe,
At which the heart-strings vibrate high,
And wake the fountains of the eye!
And blame ye, then, the Bruce, if trace
Of tear is on his manly face,
When, scanty relics of the train
That haild at Scone his early reign,
This patriot band around him hung,
And to his knees and bosom clung ?
Blame ye the Bruce?-his brother blamed,
But shared the weakness, whilę, ashamed,
With haughty laugh his head he turn'd,
And dash'd away the tear he scorn'd. (11)
XXI. 'T is morning, and the convent-bell Long time had ceased its matin knell,
Within thy walls, Saint Bride!
An aged sister sought the cell
Assigo'd to Lady Isabel,
And burriedly she cried,
« Haste, gentle lady, haste-there waits
A noble stranger at the gates;
Saint Bride's poor vot'ress ne'er has seen
A knight of such a princely mien;
His errand, as he bade me tell,
Js with the Lady Isabel.»
The princess rose,—for on her knee
Low bent, she told her
rosary, « Let him by thee his purpose teach; I may not give a stranger speech.»« Saiot Bride forefend, thou royal maid!» The port'ress cross'd herself, and said, « Not to be prioress might I Debate his will, his suit deny.» « Has earthly show then, simple fool, Power o'er a sister of thy rule, And art thou, like the worldly train, Subdued by splendours light and vain ?»
« No, lady! in old eyes like mine,
Gauds have no glitter, gems po shine !
Nor grace his rank attendants vain,
One youthful page is all his train.