[ocr errors][merged small]


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.

'-\uw published.



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;
Hoarser the wind, and deeper sounds the rill,

Yet lingering notes of sylvan music swell,
The deep-toned cushat, and the redbreast shrill;

And yet some tints of summer splendour tell
When the broad sun sinks down on Ellrick's western fell.

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 note the red leaf shivering on the ^pray,

To mark the last bright tints the mountain stain.
On the waste fields to trace the gleaner's way,

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;
In distant lauds, by the rough west reproved,

Still live some relics of the ancient lay.
For, when on Coolin's hills the lights decay,

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,
Wakes Nature's charms to vie with thine!
She bids the mottled thrush rejoice
To mate thy melody of voice;
The dew that on the violet lies
Hocks the dark lustre of thine eyes;
But, Edith, wake, and all we see
Of sweet aod fair shall yield to thcc!»—
*Sbe comes not yet,* gray Ferrand cried:

• Brethren, let softer spell be tried,

Those notes prolong'd, that soothing theme,
Which best may mix with beauty's dream,
And whisper, with their silvery tone,
The hope she loves, yet fears to own.»—
lie spoke, and on the harp-strings died
The strains of flattery and of pride;
More soft, more low, more tender fell
The lay of love he bade them tell.


• 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
In skill to deck the princely bride.
Her locks, in dark-brown length array'd,
Cathleen of Ulne, 'twas thine to braid;
Young Eva with meet reverence drew
On the light foot the silken shoe,
While on the ancle's slender round
Those strings of pearl fair Bertha wound,
That, blcach'd Lochryan's depths within,
Secm'd dusky still on Edith's skin.
But Kinion, of experience old.
Had weightiest task—the mantle's fold
In many an artful plait she tied,
To show the form it seem'd to hide,
Till on the floor descending roll'd
Its waves of crimson blent with gold.


O! lives there now so cold a maid,
Who thus in beauty's pomp array'd,
In beauty's proudest pitch of power,
And conquest won—the bridal hour—
With every charm that wins the heart,
By nature given, enhanced by art,
Could yet the fair reflection view,
In the bright mirror pictured true,
And not one dimple on her check
A tell-tale consciousness bespeak?—
Lives still such maid?—Fair damsels, say.
For further vouches not my lay,
Save that such lived in Itriiain's isle.
When Lorn's bright Edith scoru'd to smile.


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,
And listening to its own wild wind.
From where Miugarry, sternly placed,
O'erawes the woodland and the waste, (5)
To where Dunstaffnage hears the raging
Of Conual with his rocks engaging.
Thiuk'st thou, amid this ample round,
A single hrow but thine has frown tl,
To sadden this auspicious mora,
That bids the daughter of high Lorn
Impledgc her spousal faith to wed
The Heir of mighty Somcrled; (o)
Ronald, from many a hero sprung,
The fair, the valiant, and the youog,
Lord or Thk Islks, (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 Hung his task aside,
And claim'd this morn for holy-tide;
Yet, empress of this joyful day,
Edith is sad while all arc gay.»—


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
To call bin cold observance hive,
All blinded by the league that styled
Edith of Lorn,—while, yet a child,
She trtpp'd the heath by Morags 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.

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.
Yet on her destined course no more

She gato'd, 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,

Thai oft, before she wore,
Her bowsprit kiss'd the broken waves,
^bcrt in white foam the ocean raves

I poo the shelving shore.
Tri. to (heir destined purpose true,
I ("taunted toil'd her hardy crew,

Norlook'd where shelter lay,
Nor for Art Ornish Castle drew,

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:
S" chafes the war-horse in his might.
That fieldward bears some valiant knight,
Champ* till both bit and boss are white,

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

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

Gate wilder minstrelsy.
Full many a shrill triumphant note
Sili oe aod Sea 11 as tie bade float

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

Comedown the darksome Sound.


So We they on with mirth and pride,
And if tliat labouring bark they spied,

Twas with such idle eye
As nobles cast on lowly boor,
When, toiling in his task obscure,

They pass him careless by.
Let lliem sweep ou with heedless eyes!
fot, lud they known what mighty prize

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,
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!


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

With that armada gay
fie 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.

All day with fruitless strife they toil'd,
With eve the ebbing currents boild

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 battle 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, Aud the pale steersman stood aghast,

And gave the conflict o'er.


Twas 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 T
Didst thou uot mark the vessel reel,
With quivering planks and groaning keel,

At the last billow's shock?
Yet how of belter counsel tell,
Though here thou scest poor Isabel

Half dead with want and fear;
For look on sea, or look ou land,
Or yon dark sky, on every hand

Despair and death are near.
For her alone f grieve—on 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.»—

« 前へ次へ »