« 前へ次へ »
Tub Scene of this Poem lies, at first, in the Castle of Artornish, on the coast of Argyleshire; and afterwards in the Islands of Skye and Arran.aud upon the coast of Ayrshire. Finally, it is laid near Stirling. The story opens in the Spring of the year 13o;, when Bruce, who had been driven out of Scotland by the English, and the Barons who adhered to that j foreign interest, returned from the Island of Kachrin on the coast of Ireland, again to assert his claims to the Scottish crown. Many of the personages and incidents introduced are of historical celebrity. The authorities used are chiefly those of the venerable Lord Hailcs, as well entitled to be called the restorer of Scottish history, as Bruce the restorer of Scottish monarchy; and of Archdeacon Barbour, a correct edition of whose Metrical History of Robert Bruce will soon, I trust, appear, under the care of my learned friend, tbe Hev. Dr Jamieson.'
Abbotsfbrd, latii December, 1814.
LORD OF THE ISLES.
Autumn departs—but still his mantle's fold
Bests on the groves of noble Somerville, Beneath a shroud of russet dropp'd with gold,
Tweed and his tributaries mingle still;
Yet lingering notes of sylvan music swell,
And yet some tints of summer splendour tell
Autumn departs—from Gala's'fields no more
Come rural sounds our kindred banks to cheer; Blent with the stream, and gale that wafts it o'er,
No more the distant reaper's mirth we hear. The last blithe shout hath died upon our ear,
And harvest-home hath hush'd the clanging wain, On the waste hilt no forms of life appear,
Save where, sad laggard of the autumnal train, Some age-struck wanderer gleans few ears of scalter'd grain.
Dcem'st thou these sadden'd scenes have pleasure stiU 7
Lovcst thou through Autumn's fading realms to stray. To see the heath-flower wither'd 00 the hill,
To listen to the wood's expiring lay.
To mark the last bright tints the mountain stain.
And moralize on mortal joy and pain?— O! if such scenes thou lovest, scorn not the minstrel straiu!
No! do not scorn, although its hoarser note
Scarce with the cushat's homely song can vie. Though faint its beauties as the tints remote
That gleam through mist in autumn's evening sky. And few as leaves that tremble, scar and dry,
When wild November halh his bugle wound; Xor mock my toil—a lonely gleaner I,
Through fields time-wasted, on sad inquest bound. Where happier bards of yore have richer harvest foundSo shalt thou list, and haply not unmoved.
To a wild tale of Albyn's warrior day;
Still live some relics of the ancient lay.
With such the seer of Skye the eve beguiles; 1 is known amid the pathless wastes of Heay,
In Harries known, and in loua's piles, Where rest from mortal coil the Mighty of the lUes.
« Wake, Maid of Lorn !»"lhe minstrels sung.
Thy rugged halls, Artornish! rung, [1)
And the dark seas, thy lowers that lave.
Heaved on the beach a softer wave.
As mid the tuneful choir to keep
The diapason of the deep.
Lull d were the winds on Inninmore,
And green Loch-Allinc's woodland shore.
As if wild woods and waves had pleasure
In listing to the lovely measure.
And ne'er to symphony more sweet
Gave mount liu-celioes answer meet.
Since, met from maiu-Iand and from isle.
Boss, Arran, Hay, and Argyle,
Each minstrel's tributary lay
Paid homage to the festal day.
Dull and dishonour'*! were the (> ird,
Worthless of guerdon and regard.
Deaf to the hope of minsircl fame.
Or lady's smiles, his noblest aim.
Who on that morn's resistless call
Was silent in Artornish hall.
« Wake, Maid of Lorn!» 't was thus they sung,
And yet more proud the descant rung,
« Wake, Maid of Lorn! high right is ours,
To charm dull sleep from Beauty s bowers;
Earth, ocean, air, have nought so shy
But owns the power of minstrelsy.
In Lettermore the timid deer
Will pause, the harp's wild chime to hear;
Rude Heiskar's seal through surges dark
Will long pursue the minstrel's bark; (i)
To list his notes, the eagle proud
Will poUe him on Ben-Cailliach's cloud;
Then let not maiden's car disdain
The summons of the miustrel (rain,
But, while our harps wild music make,
Edith of Lorn, awake, awake!
«0 vake, while dawn, with dewy shine,
• Brethren, let softer spell be tried,
Those notes prolong'd, that soothing theme,
• Wake, Maid of Lorn! the moments fly,
Which yet that maiden name allow; Wake, Maiden, wake! the hour is nigh,
When Love shall claim a plighted vow. By Fear, thy bosom's fluttering guesi,
By Hope, that soon shall fears remove, We bid thee break the bonds of rest,
And wake thee at the call of Love!
■ Wake, Edith, wake! in yonder bay
Lies many a galley gaily ma nod, We hear the merry pibrochs play,
We see the streamers' silken band. W*ha( chieftain's praise these pibrochs swell,
What crest is on these banners wove, The harp, the minstrel, dare not tell—
The riddle must be read by Lovc.»
Retired her maiden train among,
Edith of Lorn received the song,
But tamed the minstrel's pride had been
That had her cold demeanour seen;
For not upon her cheek awoke
The glow of pride when Mattery spoke,
Nor could their tenderest numbers bring
One sigh responsive to the string.
As vainly had her maidens vied
O! lives there now so cold a maid,
But Morag, to whose fostering care
Proud Lorn had given his daughter fair,
Morag, who saw a mother's aid
By all a daughter's love repaid,
(Strict was that bond—most kind of all—
Inviolate in Highland hall—)
Gray Morag sate a space apart
In Edith's eyes to read her heart.
In vain the attendants' fond appeal
To Morag's skill, to Morag's zeal;
She mark'd her child receive their care.
Cold as the image sculptured fair
(Form of some sainted patroness)
Which cloister'd maids combine to dress;
She mark'd—and kin*\v her nursing's heart
In the vain pomp look little part.
Wistful awhile she gazed—then press'd
The maiden to her anxious breast
lo fiimh'd loveliness-—and led
To where a turret's airy head,
Slcmler and steep, and battled round,
O'crlook'd, dark Mull! thy mighty sound, (3)
Where thwarting tides, with mingled roar,
Part thy swarth hills from Morven's shore.
« Daughter," she said, « these seas behold. Bound twice an hundml islands roll'd. From Ilirt, that hears their northern roar, i To the green Hay's fertile shore ; (4) Or main-land turn, where many a tower Owns thy bold brother s feudal power.
Each on its own dark cape reclined,
Proud Edith's soul came to her eye,
Resentment check'd the struggling sigh,
Her hurrying hand 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,
Crownlets and gauds of rare device.
But thou, experienced1 as thou art,
Thiuk'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'—lie loves her not!
« Debate it not—too long 1 strove
Wli.it pilgrim sought onr halls, nor told
Of Ronald's deeds in battle bold?
Who touch'd the harp to heroes' praise.
Rut his achievements swell'd the lays?
Even Morag—not a tale of fame
Was hers, 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!
u Since then, what thought had Edith's heart.
And gave not plighted love its part! —
And what requital? cold delay—
Excuse that shunn'd the spousal day—
It dawns, and Ronald is not here!
Hunts he Bontalla's nimble deer.
Or loiters he in secret dell
To bid some lighter love farewell.
And swear, that though be may not scorn
A daughter of the house of Lorn, (8)
Yet, when these formal rites are o'er,
Again they meet, to part no more?**—
—«Hush, daughter, hush! thy doubts 1
More nobly think of Ronald's love.
Look, where beneath the castle gray
His fleet unmoor from Aros-hay!
Scest not each galley's topmast beiuL,
As ou the yards the sails ascend?
Hiding the dark-hlue land they rise.
Like the white clouds on April skies;
The shouting vassals man the oars,
Behind them sink Mull's mountain slio
Onward their merry course thev keep.
Through whistling breeze and foaming deep.
Aud mark the headmost, seaward cast.
Stoop to the freshening 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 males the Hying steed.
He chides her sloth!«—Fair Edith sigli'd,
Blush'd, sadly smiled, and thus replied :—
« Sweet thought, but vain !—No, Morag ! oi.irk.
Type of his course, yon lonely hark.
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 tr'xts;
Now, though the darkening scud ionics 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 her course they urge,
As if they feard Art Ornish more
Than adverse winds and breakers' roar.* —
Sooth spoke the maid.—Amid the tide
The skiff she mark'd lay tossing sore, And shifted oft her stooping side,
In weary Lick from shore to shore.
She gato'd, of forward way.
Who toil the livelong day;
Thai oft, before she wore,
I poo the shelving shore.
Norlook'd where shelter lay,
Nor steer d for Aros-hay.
Thu< while they strove with wind and seas, borne onward by the willing breeze,
Lord Ronald's fleet swept by, Strramerd with silk, and trick d with gold, Manad with the noble and the bold
'tf Uhad chivalry. Around their prows the ocean roars, And chafes beneath their thousand oars,
Vet bears them on their way:
But. foaming, must obey.
That shimmer'd fair and free;
Gate wilder minstrelsy.
Their misty shores around;
Comedown the darksome Sound.
So We they on with mirth and pride,
Twas with such idle eye
They pass him careless by.
In that frail vessel lay, The famish d wolf, that prowls the wold, "ad scathlcss pass'd the unguarded fold, Ere, drifting by these galleys bold,
Unchallenged were her way! Aod thou, I,ord Ronald, sweep thou on. With mirth and pride and minstrel tone!
Dut hadst thou known who sail'd so nigh,
Yes, sweep they on!—We will not leave, For them that triumph, those who grieve.
With that armada gay
With tale, romance, and lay;
For one loud busy day.
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.
More fierce from streight and lake;
Spring upward as they break.
On rocks of Inninmore; Rent was the sail, and strain'd the mast, And many a leak was gaping fast, Aud the pale steersman stood aghast,
And gave the conflict o'er.
Twas then that one, whose lofty look
Thus to the leader spoke:
Until the day has broke T
At the last billow's shock?
Half dead with want and fear;
Despair and death are near.
I follow where thou wilt;
And die with hand on hilt.»—