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This morn a couch was pulled for you; On yonder mountain's purple head Have ptarmigan and heath-cock bled, And our broad nets have swept the mere, To furnish forth your evening cheer.” “Now, by the rood, my lovely maid, Your courtesy has erred,” he said; "No right have I to claim, misplaced, The welcome of expected guest. A wanderer here, by fortune tost, My way, my friends, my courser lost, I ne'er before, believe me, fair, Have ever drawn your mountain air, Till on this lake's romantic strand, I found a fay in fairy land.” “I well believe,” the maid replied, As her light skiff approached the side, " I well believe that ne'er before Your foot has trod Loch-Katrine shore ; But yet, as far as yesternight, Old Allan-bane foretold your plight, A grey-haired sire, whose eye intent, Was on the visioned future bent. He saw your steed, a dappled grey, Lie dead beneath the birchen way; Painted exact your form and mien, Your hunting suit of Lincoln green, That tasseld horn so gayly gilt, 'That falchion's crooked blade and hilf, That cap with heron's plumage trim, And yon two hounds so dark and grima He bade that all should ready be, . To grace a guest of fair degree; But light I held his prophecy, And deemed it was my father's horn, Whose echoes o'er the lake were borne." . The stranger smiled : Since to your kome A destined errant knight I come,
Announced by prophet sooth and old, - Doomed, doubtless, for achievement bold: I'll lightly front each high emprize, For one kind glance of those bright eyes ; Permit me, first, the task to guide Your fairy frigate o’er the tide.” The maid, with smiles suppressed and sly, The toil unwonted saw him try; For seldom sure, if e'er before, . His noble hand had grasped an oar; Yet with main strength his strokes he drew, And o'er the lake the shallop flew; With heads erect, and whimpering cry, The hounds behind their passage ply. Nor frequent does the bright oar break. The darkening mirror of the lake, Until the rocky isle they reach, And moor their shallop on the beach. The stranger viewed the shore around; 'Twas all so close with copse-wood bound, Nor track nor pathway might declare
That human foot frequented there, Until the mountain maiden showed A clambering unsuspected road, That winded through the tangled screen, And opened on a narow green. Here, for retreat in dangerous hour, Some chief had framed a rustic bower.
It was a lodge of ample size,
And every hardy plant could bear
ROKEBY. Rokeby is an English story ; the scene is in the north of England, and the date 1644. The most interesting characters in Rokeby are Redinond O'Neale, a young Irishman trained by the lord of Rokeby, and Matilda, the only daughter of Rokeby.
There was a soft and pensive grace,
To mark their maiden queen of heaven.,
But days of war, and civil crime,
To darken her dejection's shade.” Some years before the time of the poem of Rokeby, the Irish had rebelled against the English government in Ireland, and the Earl of Essex was employed to crush the rebellion; but O'Neale, a descendant of the ancient Irish princes, assumed the sovereignty of the province of Ulster, and for a while was acknowledged king. While O'Neale held out against the English, the author of the poem supposes that the Knight of Rokeby, with his confederate Mortham, was employed in the English military service in Ireland, and that falling into the power of O'Neale, they were treated with generosity and hospitality, and sent safe and unransomed home. On account of the friendship thus commenced, on the reverse of his fortune, the grandson of Rokeby's preserver was sent to his protection, was afterwards trained under his roof. and in due time married to his daughter Matilda,
It chanced upon a wintry night,
His plaited hair in elf-locks spread ..