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Before the beach had lost the dew,
So right have I to claim, misplaced,
Nor track nor pathway might declare
XXIII. I well believe,»> the maid replied, As her light skiff approach'd the side, al well believe, that ne'er before Your foot has trod Loch Katrine's shore; Bat yet, as far as yesternight, Old Allan-bane foretold your plight,A gray-baird sire, whose eye intent Was on the vision'd future bent. (6) He saw your steed, a dappled gray, Lie dead beneath the birchen way; Painted exact your form and mien, Your hunting-suit of Lincoln green, That tassell'd horn so gaily gilt, That falchion's crooked blade and hilt, That cap with heron plumage trim, And you two hounds so dark and grim. He bade that all should ready be, To grace a guest of fair degree, But light I held his prophecy, And deem'd it was my father's horn, Whose echoes o'er the lake were borne.»
XXVI. It was a lodge of ample size, But strange of strueture and device; Of such materials, as around The workman's band had readiest found. Lopp'd of their boughs, their hoar trunks bared, And by the hatchet rudely squared, To give the walls their destined height, The sturdy oak and ash anite; While moss and clay and leaves combined To fence each crevice from the wind. The lighter pine-trees, over-head, Their slender length for rafters spread, And wither'd heath and rushes dry Supplied a russet canopy. Due westward, fronting to the green, A rural portico was seen, Aloft on native pillars borne, Of mountain fir with bark unshorn, Where Ellen's hand had taught to twine The ivy and Idzean vine, The clematis, the favour'd flower Which boasts the name of virgin-bower, And every hardy plant could bear Loch Katrine's keen and searching air. An instant in this porch she staid, And gaily to the stranger said, « On heaven and on thy lady call, And enter the enchanted hall!»
XXIV. The stranger smiled :-«Since to your home A destined errant-knight I come, Announced by prophet sooth and old, Doom'd doubtless, for achievements bold, I U lightly front each high emprize, For one kind glance of those bright eyes. Permit me, first, the task to guide Your fairy frigate o'er the tide.»-The maid, with smile suppress'd and sly, The toil unwonted saw him try; For seldom, sure, if e'er before, His noble hand had grasp'd an oar: Yet with main strength his strokes he drew, And o'er the lake the shallop flew; With heads erect, and whimpering cry, The hounds behind their passage ply. Xor frequent does the bright oar break The darkening mirror of the lake, Until the rocky isle they reach, And moor their shallop on the beach.
XXVII. « My hope, my heaven, my trast must be, My gentle guide, in following thee.» He cross'd the threshold-and a clang Of angry steel that instant rang. To his bold brow his spirit rush'a, But soon for vain alarm he blush'd, When on the floor he saw display'd, | Cause of the din, a naked blade | Dropp'd from the sheath, that careless flung, Upon a stag's huge antlers swung; For all around, the walls to grace, Hung trophies of the fight or chase : A target there, a bugle here, A battle-axe, a hunting-spear, And broadswords, bows, and arrows, store, With the lusk'd trophies of the boar. Here grins the wolf as when lie died, And there the wild-cat's brindled hide The frontlet of the elk adorns, Or mantles o'er the bison's horns; . Pennons and flags defaced and stain'd, That blackening streaks of blood retain'd, And deer-skins, dappled, dun and white, With otter's fur and seal's unite,
In rude and uncouth tapestry all, To garnish forth the sylvan hall.
XXVIII. The wondering stranger round him gazed, And next the fallen weapon raised; Few were the arms whose sinewy strength Sufficed to stretch it forth at length. And as the brand he poised and sway'd, « I never knew but one,» he said, « Whose stalwart arm might brook to wield A blade like this in battle-field.»— She sighd, then smiled, and took the word; « You see the guardian champion's sword : As light it trembles in his hand, As in my grasp a hazel wand; My sire's tall form might grace the part Of Ferragus, or Ascabart; (8) But in the absent giant's hold Are women now, and menials old.»—
« Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking; Dream of battled fields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking. In our isle's enchanted hall,
Hands unseen thy couch are strewing,
Every sense in slumber dewing.
XXIX. The mistress of the mansion came, Mature of age, a graceful dame; Whose easy step and stately port Had well become a princely court, To whom, though more than kindred knew, Young Ellen gave a mother's due. Meet welcome to her guest she made, And every courteous right was paid, That hospitality could claim, Though all unask'd his birth and name. (9) Such then the reverence to a guest, That fellest foe might join the feast, And from his deadliest foeman's door Unquestion d turn, the banquet o'er. At length his rank the stranger names, « The Knight of Snowdoun, James Fitz-James; Lord of a barren heritage, Which his brave sires, from age to age, By their good swords had held with toil; His sire had fallen in such turmoil, And he, God wot, was forced to stand Oft for his right with blade in hand. This morning with Lord Moray's train He chased a stalwart stag in vain, Outstrippd his comrades, miss'd the deer, Lost his good steed, and wander'd here.»
« No rude sound shall reach thine ear,
Armour's clang, or war-steed champing, Trump nor pibroch summon here
Mustering clan, or squadron tramping. Yet the lark's shrill fife may come
At the day-break from the fallow, And the bittern sound his drum,
Booming from the sedgy shallow. Ruder sounds shall none be near, Guards nor warders challenge here, Here's no war-steed's neigh and champing, Shouting clans or squadrons stamping.»
XXXII. She paused-then, blushing, led the lay To grace the stranger of the day. Her mellow notes awhile prolong The cadence of the flowing song, Till to her lips in measured frame The minstrel verse spontaneous came.
XXX. Faia would the knight in turn require The name and state of Ellen's sire; Well show'd the elder lady's mien, That courts and cities she had seen Ellen, though more her looks display'd The simple grace of sylvan maid, In speech and gesture, form and face, Show'd she was come of gentle race; T were strange in ruder rank to find Such looks, such manners, and such mind. Each hint the Knight of Snowdoun gave, Dame Margaret heard with silence grave; Or Ellen, innocently gay, Turn'd all inquiry light away : « Wierd women we! by dale and down We dwell, a far from tower and town;
« Huntsman, rest! thy chase is done,
While our slumbrous spells assail ye, Dream not, with the rising sun,
Bugles here shall sound reveillie. Sleep! the deer is in his den ;
Sleep! the hounds are by thee lying; Sleep! nor dream in yonder glea,
How thy gallant steed lay dying.
XXXIII. The hall was clear'd- the stranger's bed Was there of mountain heather spread, Where oft an hundred guests had lain, And dream'd their forest sports again. But vainly did the heath-tlower shed Its moorland fragrance round his head,
Nor Ellen's spell had lulld to rest
Can I not frame a fever'd dream,
At morn the black-cock trims his jetty wing,
'T is morning prompts the linnet's blithest lay, All Nature's children feel the matin spring
Of life reviving, with reviving day;
Wafting the stranger on his way again,
And sweetly o'er the lake was heard thy strain,
XXXIV. Ar length, with Ellen in a grove He seem'd to walk, and speak of love; She listen'd with a blush and sigh, His sait was warm, his hopes were high. He sought her yielded hand to clasp, And a cold gauntlet met his grasp : The phantom's sex was changed and gone, Cpon its head a helmet shone; Slowly enlarged to giant size, With darken'd cheek and threatening eyes, The grisly visage, stern and hoar, To Ellen still a likeness bore.He woke, and, panting with affricht, Recalld the vision of the night. The hearth's decaying brands were red, And deep and dusky lustre shed, Half showing, half concealing all The uncouth trophies of the hall. Mid those the stranger fix'd his eye Where that huge falchion lung on high, And thoughts on thoughts, a countless throng, Rush'd, chasing countless thoughts along, Cntil the giddy whirl to cure, He rose, and sought the moonshine pure.
SONG. « Not faster yonder rowers' might
Flings from their oars the spray, Not faster yonder rippling bright, That tracks the shallop's course in light,
Melts in the lake away, Than men from memory erase The benefits of former days; Then, stranger, go! good speed the while, Nor think again of the lonely isle.
« High place to thee in royal court,
High place in battled line, Good hawk and hound for sylvan sport, Where Beauty sees the brave resort,
The honour'd meed be thine! True be thy sword, thy friend sincere, Thy lady constant, kind, and dear, And lost in love's and friendship's smile, Be memory of the lonely isle.
XXXV. The wild rose, eglantine, and broom, Wasted around their rich perfume; The birch-trees wept in fragrant balm, The aspens slept beneath the calm; The silver light, with quivering glance, Play'd on the water's still expanse. -Wild were the heart whose passion's sway Could rage beneath the sober ray! He felt its calm, that warrior guest, While thus he communed with his breast :& Why is it, at each turn I trace Some memory of that exiled race? Can I not mountain-maiden spy, But she must bear the Douglas eye? Cao I not view a Highland brand, But it must match the Douglas hand?
SONG CONTINUED. « But if beneath yon southern sky
A plaided stranger roam, Whose drooping crest and stifled sigh, And sunken cheek and heavy eye,
Pine for his Highland home: Then, warrior, then be thine to show The care that soothes a wanderer's woe; Remember then thy hap ere while, A stranger in the lonely isle.
IV. Less loud the sounds of sylvan war Disturb'd the heights of Vam-Var, And roused the cavern, where, 't is told, A giant made his den of old; (1) For ere that steep ascent was won, High in his pathway hung the sun, And many a gallant, stay'd perforce, Was fain to breathe his faltering horse, And of the trackers of the deer Scarce half the lessening pack was near; So shrewdly, on the mountain-side, Had the bold burst their mettle tried.
And deem'd the stag must turn to bay,
The noble stag was pausing now,
IS. Close on the hounds the hunter came, To cheer them on the vanish'd game; But, stumbling in the rugged dell, The gallant horse exhausted fell. The impatient rider strove in vain To rouse him with the spur and rein, For the good steed, his labours o'er, Stretch'd his stiff limbs to rise no more. Then touch'd with pity and remorse, He sorrow'd o'er the expiring horse : « I little thought, when first thy rein I slack'd upon the banks of Seine, That Highland eagle e'er should feed On thy fleet limbs, my matchless steed; Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day, That costs thy life, my gallant gray!»-
"T were long to tell what steeds gave o'er,
Then through the dell his horn resounds,
The hunter mark'd that mountain high, The lone lake's western boundary,
Shooting abruptly from the dell
XIV. And now, to issue from the gien, No pathway meets the wanderer's ken, Unless he climb, with footing nice, A far-projecting precipice. (4) The broom's tough roots his ladder made, The hazel saplings lent their aid; And thus an airy point he won, Where, gleaming with the setting sun, One burnish'd sheet of living gold, Loch Katrine lay beneath him rolld, Jo all her length far winding lay, Witli promontory, creek, and bay, And islands that, empurpled bright, Floated amid the livelier light, And mountains, that like giants stand, To sentinel enchanted land. High on the south, huge Ben-venue Down on the lake in masses threw Crags, knolls, and mounds, confusedly hurla, The fragments of an earlier world; A wildering forest feather'd o'er His ruin'd sides and summit hoar, While on the north, through middle air, Ben-an heaved high his forehead bare.
XII. Boon nature scatter'd, free and wild, Each plant, or flower, the mountain's child. Here eglantine embalm'd the air, llawtborn and hazel mingled there; The primrose pale, and violet flower, Found in each cliff a narrow bower; Fox-glove and night-shade, side by side, Emblems of punishment and pride, Group'd their dark hues with every stain The weather-beaten crags retain. With boughs that quaked at every breath, Gray birch and aspen wept beneath; Aloft, the ash and warrior oak Cast anchor in the rifted rock; And, higher yet, the pine-tree hung His sbatter'd trunk, and frequent flung, Where seem'd the cliffs to meet on high, His boughs athwart the narrow'd sky. Highest of all, where white peaks glanced, Where glist'ning streamers waved'and danced, The wanderer's eye could barely view The summer heaven's delicious blue;' So wondrous wild, the whole might seem The scenery of a fairy dream.
XV. From the steep promontory gazed The stranger, raptured and amazed. And «What a scene were here,» he cried, « For princely pomp or churchman's pride! On this bold brow, a lordly tower; In that soft vale, a lady's bower; On yonder meadow, far away, The lurrets of a cloister gray. How blithely might the bugle-horn Chide, on the lake, the lingering morn! How sweet, at eve, the lover's lute Chime, when the groves were still and mute! And, when the midnight moon should lave Her forehead in the silver wave, How solemn on the ear would come The holy matin's distant hum, While the deep peal's commanding tone Should wake, in yonder islet lone, A sainted hermit from his cell, To drop a bead with every knellAnd bugle, lute, and bell, and all, Should each bewilder'd stranger call To friendly feast, and lighted hall.
XIII. Oavard, amid the copse 'gan peep A narrow inlet, still and deep, Affording scarce such breadth of brim, As served the wild-duck's brood to swim. Lost for a space, through thickets veering, Bat broader when again appearing, Tall rocks and tufted knolls their face Could on the dark-blue mirror trace; And farther as the hunter stray'd, Still broader sweep its channels made. The shaggy mounds no longer stood, Emerging from entangled wood, Bai, wave-encircled, seemd to float, Like castle girdled wiih its moat; Yet broader floods extending still, Divide them from their parent hill, Till each, retiring, claims to be to islet in an inlagd sea.
XVI. « Blithe were it then to wander here! But now,-beshrew yon nimble deer, Like that same hermits, thin and spare, The copse must give my evening fare; Some mossy bank my couch must be, Some rustling oak my canopy. Yet pass we that;-the war and chase Give little choice of resting-place;A summer night, in green-wood spent, Were but to-morrow's merriment: But hosts may in these wilds abound, Such as are better miss'd than found; To meet with Highland plunderers here Were worse than loss of steed or deer.