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THE

LORD OF THE ISLES.

CANTO SECOND.

I. Fill the bright goblet, spread the festive board! Summon the

gay,

the noble, and the fair ! Through the loud hall in joyous concert pour'd,

Let mirth and music sound the dirge of Care ! But ask thou not if Happiness be there,

If the loud laugh disguise convulsive throe, Or if the brow the heart's true livery wear ;

Lift not the festal mask !-enough to know, No scene of mortal life but teems with mortal woe.

II.

With beakers' clang, with harpers' lay,
With all that olden time deem'd

gay,
The Island Chieftain feasted high;
But there was in his troubled eye
A gloomy fire, and on his brow
Now sudden flush'd, and faded now,
Emotions such as draw their birth
From deeper source than festal mirth.
By fits he paused, and harper's strain
And jester's tale went round in vain,
Or fell but on his idle ear

Like distant sounds which dreamers hear.

Then would he rouse him, and employ
Each art to aid the clamorous joy,

And call for pledge and lay,
And, for brief space, of all the crowd,
As he was loudest of the loud,

Seem gayest of the gay.

III.

Yet nought amiss the bridal throng
Mark'd in brief mirth, or musing long;
The vacant brow, the unlistening ear,
They gave to thoughts of raptures near,
And his fierce starts of sudden glee
Seem'd bursts of bridegroom's extacy.
Nor thus alone misjudged the crowd,
Since lofty Lorn, suspicious, proud,
And jealous of his honour'd line,
And that keen knight, De Argentine,
(From England sent on errand high,
The western league more firm to tie,)
Both deem'd in Ronald's mood to find
A lover's transport-troubled mind,
But one sad heart, one tearful eye,
Pierced deeper through the mystery,
And watch’d, with agony and fear,
Her wayward bridegroom's varied cheer.

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IV.

She watch'd

yet fear'd to meet his glance, And he shunn'd her's ;-till when by chance They met, the point of foeman's lance

Had given a milder pang!
Beneath the intolerable smart
He writhed ;-then sternly mann'd his heart
To play his hard but destined part,

And from the table sprang.
“ Fill me the mighty cup!" he said,
“ Erst own'd by royal Somerled.
Fill it, till on the studded brim
In burning gold the bubbles swim,
And every gem of varied shine
Glow doubly bright in rosy wine !
To you, brave lord, and brother mine,

Of Lorn, this pledge I drink
The union of Our House with thine,

By this fair bridal-link !"

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