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That to the evening sun uplifts
The griesly gulphs and slaty rifts,
Which seam its shiver'd head ?". “ Coriskin call the dark lake's
Coolin the ridge, as bards proclaim,
From old Cuchullin, chief of fame.
But bards, familiar in our isles
Rather with Nature's frowns than smiles;
Full oft their careless humours please
By sportive names for scenes like these.
I would old Torquil were to show
His maidens with their breasts of snow,
noble Liege were nigh To hear his Nurse sing lullaby (The Maids-tall eliffs with breakers white, The Nurse-a torrent's roaring might) Or that your eye could see the mood Of Corryvrekin's whirlpool rude, When dons the Hag her whiten'd hood
'Tis thus our islesmen's fancy frames, For scenes so stern, fantastic names.”.
Answer'd The Bruce, " And musing mind
Might here a graver moral find.
These mighty cliffs, that heave on high
Their naked brows to middle sky,
Indifferent to the sun or snow,
Where nought can fade, and nought can blow,
May they not mark a Monarch's fate,
Raised high ’mid storms of strife and state,
Beyond life's lowlier pleasures placed,
His soul a rock, his heart a waste ?
O'er hope and love and fear aloft
High rears his crowned head-But soft!
Look, underneath yon jutting crag
Are hunters and a slaughter'd stag:
Who may they be? But late you said
No steps these desart regions tread ?”
“ So said I--and believed in sooth,”
Ronald replied, “I spoke the truth.
Yet now I spy, by yonder stone,
Five men they mark us, and come on ;
And by their badge on bonnet borne,
I guess them of the land of Lorn,
Foes to my Liege."-" So let it be ;
I've faced worse odds than five to three-
-But the poor page can little aid ;
Then be our battle thus array'd,
If our free passage they contest;
Cope thou with two, I'll match the rest.”-
“ Not so, my Liege—for by my life,
This sword shall meet the treble strife;
My strength, my skill in arms, more small,
And less the loss should Ronald fall.
But islesmen soon to soldiers grow,-
Allan has sword as well as bow,
And were my Monarch's order given, Two shafts should make our number even.". “ No ! 'not to save my life !” he said ;
Enough of blood rests on my head, Too rashly spill'd—we soon shall know, Whether they come as friend or foe.”
Nigh came the strangers, and more nigh ;-
Still less they pleased the Monarch's eye.
Men were they all of evil mien,
Down-look’d, unwilling to be seen;
They moved with half-resolved pace,
And bent on earth each gloomy face.
The foremost two were fair array'd,
With brogue and bonnet, trews and plaid,
And bore the arms of mountaineers,
Daggers and broadswords, bows and spears.
The three, that lagg’d small space behind,
Seem'd serfs of more degraded kind;
Goat-skins or deer-hides o'er them cast, Made a rude fence against the blast ; Their arms and feet and heads were bare, Matted their beards, unshorn their hair; For
arms, the caitiffs bore in hand, A club, an axe, a rusty brand.
Onward, still mute, they kept the track ;-
“ Tell who ye be, or else stand back,”
Said Bruce; “ In desarts when they meet,
Men pass not as in peaceful street:”-
Still, at his stern command, they stood;
And proffer'd greeting brief and rude,
But acted courtesy so ill,
As seem'd of fear, and not of will.
« Wanderers we are, as you may be ;
Men hither driven by wind and sea,
Who, if you list to taste our cheer,
Will share with you this fallow deer.".