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Sublime but sad delight thy soul hath known,
Gazing on pathless glen 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 stera solemnity. Then hast thou wish'd some woodman's cottage nigh,
Something that showd 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 mute face to heaven,
And clasps his hands, to testify
His gratitude to God on high,
For strange deliv'rance given.
His speechless gesture thanks hath paid,
Which our free tongues have left unsaid !»-
He rais'd the youth with kindly word,
But mark'd lim 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 seant of friends the Bruce shall be,
But be '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 been 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 Rannoch'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.
U. Through such wild paths the champions pass'd, When bold halloo and 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..
XXXIJ. Yet ere they left that charnel-cell, The Island Lord bade sad farewell To Allan:- Who shall tell this tale, He said, « ia halls of Donagaile! Oh, who his widow'd mother tell, That, ere his bloom, her fairest fell ! Rest thee, poor youth! and trust my care, For mass and knell and funeral prayer; While o'er those caitiffs, where tbey lie, The wolf sball snarl, ibe 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.) Oer sheets of gravite, dark and broad, Rent and unequal lay the road. lo sad discourse the warriors wind, And the mute captive moves behind.
Loud Edward shouts, « What make ye here,
Warring upon the mountain-deer,
When Scotland wants her king ?
A bark from Leonox cross'd 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 lake and cataract, her lonely throne ;
IV. Still stood the Bruce-his steady cheek Was little wont his joy to speak,
But then his colour rose : « Now, Scotland! shortly shalt thou see, With God's high will, thy children free,
And vengeance on thy foes!
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.
Al 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,
Mourn d 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 potes, and died.
For never sounds, by mortal made,
Attain'd his high and haggard head,
That echoes but the tempest's moan,
Or the deep thunder's rending groan.
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 held of him, and land,
And well may vouch it here,
That, blot the story from his page,
Of Scotland ruind in his rage,
You read a monarch brave and sage,
And to his people dear.»-
« Let London burghers mourn her lord,
And Croydon 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 on 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,
Jf 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!»-
« 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 boist the sail.
Hold we our way for Arran first,
Where met in arms our friends dispersed;
Lennox the loyal, and De la llaye,
And Boyd the bold 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-oa-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 laugh'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,
Avd Slapin's cavero'd shore.
'T was then that warlike signals wake
Dunscaith's dark towers and Eisord's lake,
And soon from Cavilgarrigh'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 targe 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.
Sigoal of Ronald's bighi 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 vicw the turret scathed by time;
It is a task of doubt and fear
To aught but goat or mountain-deer.
But rest thee on the silver beach,
And let the aged herdsman teach
His tale of former day;
His cur's wild clamour he shall chide,
And for thy seat, by ocean's side,
His varied plajd display:
Then tell, how with their chieftain came,
In ancient times, a foreign dame
To yonder turret gray;
Stero was her lord's suspicious mind,
Who in so rude a jail confined
So soft and fair a thrall !
And oft when moon on ocean slept,
That lovely lady sate and wept
Cpon the castle wall,
And turn'd her eye to southern climes,
And thought perchance of happier times,
And touch'd her lute by fits, and sung
Wild ditties in her native tongue.
And still, when on the cliff and bay
Placid and pale the moon-beams play
And every breeze is mute,
Cpon the lone Hebridean's ear
Steals a strange pleasure mix'd with fear,
While from that cliff he seems to hear
The murmur of a lute,
And sounds, as of a captive lone,
That mourns her woes in tongue unknown.-
Strange is the tale-but all too long
Already hath it staid the song-
Yet who may pass them by,
That crag and tower in ruins gray,
Nor to their hapless tenant pay
The tribute of a sigh!
Then all unknown its columns rose,
Where dark and updisturb'd repose
The cormorant had found,
And the shy seal had quiet home,
And welter'd in that wondrous dome,
Where, as to shame the temples deck'd
By skill of earthly architect,
Nature herself, it seem'd, would raise
A minster to her Maker's praise !
Not for a meaner use ascend
Her columns, or her arches bend;
Nor of a theme less solemn tells
That mighty surge that ebbs and swells,
And still, between each awful pause,
From the high vault an answer draws,
In varied tone prolong'd and high,
That mocks the oryan's melody.
Nor doth its entrance front in vain
To old Jona's holy fane,
That Nature's voice might seem to say,
« Well hast thou done, frail child of clay!
Thy humble powers that stately shrine
Task'd high and hard-but witness mine !»-
Merrily, merrily, bounds the bark
O'er the broad ocean driven ;
ller path by Ronin's mountains dark
The steersman's hand hath given.
And Ronin's mountains dark have sent
Their hunters to the shore, (4)
And each his ashen bow unbeat,
And gave his pastime o'er, And at the Island Lord's command, For heating-spear took warrior's brand. On Scoor-Eigg next a waroing light Summop'd her warriors to the fight; A numerous race, ere stern Macleod Oer their bleak shores in vengeance strode, (5) When all in vain the ocean cave Its refuge to its victims gave. The chief, relentless in his wrath, With blazing heath blockades the path; In dense and stifling volumes rolld, The vapour 6ld the cavernd hold! The Warrior's threat, the infant's plain, The mother's screams, were beard in vain ; The vengeful chief maintains his fires, Till in the vault a tribe expires! The bones which strew that cavern's gloom, Too well attest their dismal doom.
Merrily, merrily, goes the bark,
Before the gale she bounds;
So darts the dolphin from the shark,
Or the deer before the hounds.
They left Loch Tua on their iee,
And they wakend the men of the wild Tiree,
And the chief of the sandy Coll;
They paused not at Columba's isle,
Though peald the bells from the holy pile
With long and measured toll;
No time for matin or for mass,
And the sounds of the holy summons pass
Away in the billows' roll.
Lochbuie's fierce and warlike lord
Their signal saw, and grasp'd his sword,
And verdant Ilay call'd her host,
And the clans of Jura's rugged coast
Lord Ronald's call obey,
And Scarba's isle, whose tortured shore
Still rings to Corrievrekin's roar,
And lonely Colonsay;
-Scenes sung by him who sings no more! (7)
His bright and brief career is o'er,
And mute liis tuneful strains;
Quench'd is his lamp of varied lore,
That loved the light of song to pour;
A distant and a deadly shore
Has Leyden's cold remains !
Merrily, merrily, goes the bark
On a breeze from the northward free,
So shoots through the morning sky the lark,
Or the swan through the summer sea.
The shores of Mull on the eastward lay,
And Clva dark and Colonsay,
And all the group of islets gay
That guard famed Staffa round. (6)
Ever the breeze blows merrily,
But the galley plouchs no more the sea.
Lest, rounding wild Cantire, they meet
The southern foemen's watchful fleet,
They held unwonted way;
C'p Tarbal's western lake they bore,
Then draged their bark the isthmus o'er, (8)
As far as Kilmaconnel's shore,”
Upon the eastern bay.
It was a wondrous sight to see
Topmast and pennon glitter free,
Higli 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 sign,
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 Beo-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 rollid
O'er the calm deep, where hues of gold
With azure strove and green,
The hill, the vale, the tree, the tower,
Glowd with the tints of evening's hour,
The beech was silver sheen,
The wind breath'd soft as lover's sigh,
And, oft renew'd, seem'd 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 eburch decide; Yet seems it hard, since rumours state Edith takes Clifford for her mate, The very tie, which she hath broke, To thee should still be binding yoke. But, for my sister Isabel The mood of woman who can tell ? I guess the Champioh of the Rock, Victorious in the lourney shock, That knight unknown, to whom the prize She dealt,-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 bide 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.
Is it of war Lord Ronald speaks?
The blush that dyes his manly choeks,
The timid look, and downcast eye,
And faltering voice the theme deny.
And 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-pitying glance and smile,
Which manhood's graver mood beguile,
When lovers talk of love.
Anxious his 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-1 claim no right
To blame her for her hasty flight;
Be joy and happiness her loi!--
But she hash tled the bridal-knot,
And Lora recall'd bis promised plight,
Io the assembled chieftains' sight.-
Wben, to fulfil our fatbers' band,
I proffer'd all I could-my hand-
I was repulsed with scorn;
Mine honour I should ill assert,
And 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 repressid, But seem'd to burst his youthful breast. His hands, against his forehead held, As if by force his tears repellid, But through bis fingers, long and slight, Fast trill'd the drops of crystal bright. Edward, who walk d the deck apart, First spied this conflict of the beart. Thouglitless as brave, with bluntness kind He sought to cheer the sorrower's mind; By force the slender hand be drew From those poor eyes that streamd with dew. 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 tongue Could tell me who hath wrought thee wrong! For, were he 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 bolt my boy shall bear, To hold my bow in hunting-grove, Or speed on errand to my love; For well I wot thou will not tell The temple where my wishes dwell.»
XVII. Bruce interposed, -« Gay Edward, no, This is no youth to hold thay 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 how apart he steals,
Keeps lonely couch, and lonely meals ?
Fitter 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 high 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 thrice aloud his bugle rung,
With note prolong'd, and varied strain,
Till bold Ben-ghoil replied again.
Good Douglas thea, and De la Haye,
Had in a glen a hart at bay,
And Lennox cheer'd the laegard hounds,
When waked that horn the green-wood bounds.
« It is the foe!» cried Boyd, who came
In breathless haste 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, por Douglas hear!
Each to Loch Ranza's margin spring;
That blast was winded by the king!»--(10)
Fast to their mates the tidings spread,
And fast to shore the warriors sped.
Barsting 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,
Whose helmets press'd their hoary hair,
Whose swords and axes bore a stain
From life-blood of the red-hair'd Dane;
And boys, whose hands scarce brook'd to wield
The heavy sword or bossy shield.
Men too were there, that bore the scars
Impress'd in Albyn's woful wars,
At Falkirk's fierce and fatal fight,
Teyodrumn's dread rout and Methven's flight,
The right 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 regalo'd they press'd,
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 peril 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, stero, 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 hail'd 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, while, ashamed,
With baughty 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 bad ceased its matin knell,
Within thy walls, Saint Bride! An aged sister sought the cell Assign'd 10 Lady Isabel,
And hurriedly 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, Is with the Lady Isabel.»The princess rose, --for on her knee Low bent, she told her rosary, « Let him by thee liis 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 ?n-
« No, lady! in old eyes like mine,
Gauds have no glitter, gems no shine!
Nor grace his rank attepdants vain,
One youthful page is all his train.