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Not so had Malcolm strained his eye,
Another step than thine to spy.--
Wake, Allan-bane," aloud she cried,
To the old Minstrel by her side,
“ Arouse thee from thy moody dream!
I'll give thy heart heroic theme,
And warm thee with a noble name;
Pour forth the glory of the Græme.”-
Scarce from her lip the word bad rushed,
When deep the conscious maiden blushed;
For of his clan, in hall and bower,
Young Malcolm Græme was held the flower.
The Minstrel waked bis harp-three times
A rose the well-known martial chimes,
And thrice their high heroic pride
In melancholy murmurs died.
“ Vainly tħou bidst, O noble maid,”
Clasping his withered hands, he said,
“ Vainly thou bidst me wake the strain,
Though all unwont to bid in vain.
Alas! than mine a mightier band
Has tuned my harp, my strings has spanned !
I touch the chords of joy, but low
And mournful answer notes of woe;
And the proud march which victors tread,
Sinks in the wailing for the dead.-
O well for me, if mine alone
That dirge's deep prophetic tone!
If, as my tuneful fathers said,
This harp, which erst Saint Modan swayed,
Can thus its master's fate foretell,
Then welcome be the minstrel's knell ! .
VIII. “ But ah ! dear lady, thus it sighed The eve thy sainted mother died; And such the sounds which, while I strove To wake a lay of war or love, Caine marring all the festal mirth, Appalling me who gave them birth, And, disobedient to my call, Wailed loud through Bothwell's bannered hall, Ere Douglasses, to ruin driven, Were exiled from their native heaven. Oh! if yet worse mishap and woe My master's honse must undergo, Or aught but weal to Ellen fair, Brood in these accents of despair, No future bard, sad Harp! shall fling Triumph or rapture from thy string; One short, one final strain shall flow, Fraught with unutterable woe,
Then shivered shall thy fragments lie,
Thy master cast him down and die."-
Soothing she answered him, “ Assuage,
Mine honoured friend, the fears of age;
All melodies to thee are known,
That harp has rung, or pipe has blown,
In Lowland vale or Highland glen,
From Tweed to Spey—what marvel, then,
At times, unbidden notes should rise,
Confusedly bound in memory's ties,
Entangling, as they rush along,
The war-march with the funeral song ?-
Small ground is now for boding fear;
Obscure, but safe, we rest us here.
My sire, in native virtue great,
Resigning lordship, lands, and state,
Not then to fortune more resigned,
Than yonder oak might give the wind;
The graceful foliage storms may reave,
The noble stem they cannot grieve.
For me,"—she stooped, and, looking round,
Plucked a blue hare-bell from the ground,
“For me, whose memory scarce conveys
An image of more splendid days,
This little flower, that loves the lea,
May well my simple emblem be;
It drinks heaven's dew as blithe as rose
That in the King's own garden grows,
And when I place it in my hair,
Allan, a bard is bound to swear
He ne'er saw coronet so fair."-
Then playfully the chaplet wild
She wreathed in her dark locks, and smiled.
Her smile, her speech, with winning sway,
Wiled the old harper's mood away,
With such a look as hermits throw
When angels stoop to soothe their woe,
IIe gazed, till fond regret and pride
Thrilled to a tear, then thus replied :
“ Loveliest and best !-thou little know'st
The rank, the honours thou hast lost!
O might I live to see thee grace,
In Scotland's court, thy birth-right place,
To see my favourite's step advance,
The lightest in the courtly dance,
The cause of every gallant's sigh,
And leading star of every eye,
And theme of every minstrel's art,
The Lady of the Bleeding Heart!"*-
* The well-known cognizance of the Douglas family.
“ Fair dreams are these,” the maiden cried,
(Light was her accent, yet she sighed,)
16 Yet is this mossy rock to me
Worth splendid chair and canopy;
Nor would my footstep spring more gay
In courtly dance than blithe strathspey,
Nor half so pleased mine ear incline
To royal minstrel's lay as thine;
And then for suitors proud and high,
To bend before iny conquering eye,
Thou, flattering bard ! thyself wilt say,
That grim Sir Roderick owns its sway.
The Saxon scourge, Clan-Alpine's pride,
The terror of Loch-Lomond's side,
Would, at my suit, thou know'st, delay
A Lennox foray- for a day."-
XII. The ancient bard his glee repressed: “Ill hast thou chosen theme for jest ! For who, through all this western wild, Named Black Sir Roderick e'er, and smiled ! In Holy-Rood a knight be slew; I saw, when back the dirk he drew, Courtiers gave place before the stride Of the undaunted homicide; And since, though outlawed, hath his hand Full sternly kept his mountain land. Who else dared give,-ah! woe the day, That I such hated truth should sayThe Douglas, like a stricken deer, Disowned by every noble peer, Even the rude refuge we have here? Alas, this wild marauding chief Alone might hazard our relief, And now thy maiden charms expand, Looks for his guerdon in thy hand: Full soon may dispensation sought, To back his suit, from Rome be brought. Then, though an exile on the hill, Thy father, as the Douglas, still Be held in reverence and fear; And though to Roderick thou’rt so dear, That thou might'st guide with silken thread, Slave of thy will, this chieftain dread; Yet, O loved maid, thy mirth refrain! Thy hand is on a lion's mane."
ΧΙΙΙ. “Minstrel,” the maid replied, and high Her father's soul glanced from her eye,
See the proud pipers on the bow,
And mark the gaudy streamers flow
From their loud chanters * down, and sweep
The furrowed bosom of the deep,
As, rushing through the lake amain,
They plied the ancient Highland strain.
Ever, as on they bore, more loud
And louder rung the pibroch proud.
At first the sound, by distance tame,
Mellowed along the waters came,
And, lingering long by cape and bay,
Wailed every harsher note away;
Then bursting bolder on the ear,
The clan's shrill Gathering they could hear;
Those thrilling sounds, that call the might
Of old Clan-Alpine to the fight.
Thick beat the rapid notes, as when
The mustering hundreds shake the glen,
And, hurrying at the signal dread,
The battered earth returns their tread.
Then prelude light, of livelier tone,
Expressed their merry marching on,
Ere peal of closing battle rose,
With mingled out-cry, shrieks, and blows;
And mimic din of stroke and ward,
As broad-sword upon target jarred;
And groaning pause, ere yet again,
Condensed, the battle yelled ainain;
The rapid charge, the rallying shout,
Retreat borne headlong into rout,
And bursts of triumph, to declare
Clan-Alpine's conquest—all were there.
Nor ended thus the strain; but slow,
Sunk in a moan prolonged and low,
And changed the conquering clarion swell,
For wild lament o'er those that fell.
The war-pipes ceased; but lake and hill
Were busy with their echoes still;
And, when they slept, a vocal strain
Bade their hoarse chorus wake again,
While loud a hundred clansmen raise
Their voices in their Chieftain's praise.
Each boatman, bending to his oar,
With measured sweep the burthen bore,
In such wild cadence, as the breeze
Makes through December's leafless trees.
The chorus first could Allan know,
“ Roderigh Vich Alpine, ho! iro!”
* The drone of the bag-pipe.
And near, and nearer as they rowed,
Distinct the martial ditty flowed.
Hail to the chief who in triumph advances !
Honoured and blessed be the ever-green Pine !
Long may the Tree in his banner that glances,
Flourish, the shelter and grace of our line !
Heaven send it happy dew,
Earth lend it sap anew,
Gaily to bourgeon, and broadly to grow,
While every Highland gleu
Sends our shout back agen, “Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho ! ieroe !" Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain,
Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade; When the whirlwind has stripped every leaf on the moun
tain, The more shall Clan-Alpine exult in her shade.
Moored in the rifted rock,
Proof to the tempest's shock, Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow;
Menteith and Breadalbane, then,
Echo his praise agen,
“Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho ! ieroe !"
Proudly our pibroch has thrilled in Glen Fruin,
And Banochar's groans to our slogan replied;
Glen Luss and Ross-dhu, they are smoking in ruin,
And the best of Loch Lomond lie dead on her side.
Widow and Saxon maid
Long shall lament our raid,
Think of Clan-Alpine with fear and with woe;
Lennox and Leven-glen
Shake when they hear agen,
“Roderigh Vich Ålpine dhu, ho! ieroe !"
Row, vassals, row, for the pride of the Highlands !
Stretch to your oars, for the ever-green Pine!
0! that the rose-bud that graces yon islands,
Were wreathed in a garland around him to twine !
O that some seedling gem,
Worthy such noble stem,
Honoured and blessed in their shadow might grow !
Loud should Clan-Alpine then
Ring from her deepmost gler, “Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe !"
With all her joyful female band,
Had Lady Margaret sought the strand.