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Loose on the breeze their tresses flew,
And high their snowy arms they
As echoing back with shrill acclaim,
And chorus wild, the chieftain's name;
While, prompt to please, with mother's art,
The darling passion of his heart,
The Dame called Ellen to the strand,
To greet her kinsman ere he land:
“ Come, loiterer, come ! a Douglas thou,
And shun to wreathe a victor's brow?"-
Reluctantly and slow, the maid
The unwelcome summoning obeyed,
And, when a distant bugle rung,
In the mid-path aside she sprung:-
“ List, Allan-bane! From mainland cast,
I hear my father's signal blast.
Be our's,” she cried, "the skiff to guide,
And waft him from the mountain side.”—
Then, like a sun-beam, swift and bright,
She darted to her shallop light,
And, eagerly while Roderick scanned,
For her dear form, his mother's band,
The islet far behind her lay,
And she had landed in the bay.
XXII. Some feelings are to mortals given, With less of earth in them than heaven; And if there be a human tear From passion's dross refined and clear, A tear so limpid and so meek, It would not stain an angel's cheek, 'Tis that which pious fathers shed Upon a duteous daughter's head ! And as the Douglas to his breast His darling Ellen closely pressed, Such holy drops her tresses steeped, Though 'twas an hero's eye that weeped. Nor while on Ellen's faltering tongue Her filial welcomes crowded hung, Marked she, that fear (affection's proof), Still held a graceful youth aloof; No! not till Douglas named his name, Although the youth was Malcolm Grame.
Allan, with wistful look the while,
Marked Roderick landing on the isle;
His master piteously he eyed,
Then gazed upon the chieftain's pride,
Then dashed, with hasty hand, away
From his dimmed eye the gathering spray,
And Douglas, as his hand he laid
On Malcolm's shoulder, kindly said,
“Canst thou, young friend, no meaning spy
In my poor follower's glistening eye ?
I'll tell thee:-he recalls the day,
When in my praise he led the lay
O'er the arched gate of Bothwell proud,
While many a minstrel answered loud,
When Percy's Norman pennon, won
In bloody field, before me shone,
And twice ten knights, the least a name
As mighty as yon chief may claim.
Gracing my pomp, behind me came.
Yet trust me, Malcolm, not so proud
Was I of all that marshalled crowd,
Though the waned crescent owned my might,
And in my train trooped lord and knight,
Though Blantyre hymned her holiest lays,
And Bothwell's bards flung back my praise,
As when this old man's silent tear,”.
And this poor maid's affection dear,
A welcome give more kind and true,
Than aught my better fortunes knew.
Forgive, my friend, a father's boast;
0! it out-beggars all I lost !”-
Delightful praise !-like summer rose,
That brighter in the dew-drop glows,
The bashful maiden's cheek appeared.
For Douglas spoke, and Malcolm heard.
The flush of shame-faced joy to hide,
The hounds, the hawk, her cares divide;
The loved caresses of the maid
The dogs with crouch and whimper paid ;
And, at her whistle, on her hand
The falcon took his favourite stand,
Closed his dark wing, relaxed his eye,
Nor, though unhooded, sought to fly.
And, trust, while in such guise she stood,
Like fabled Goddess of the Wood,
That if a father's partial thought
O'erweighed her worth and beauty aught,
Well might the lover's judgment fail
To balance with a juster scale;
For with each secret glance he stole,
The fond enthusiast sent his soul.
Of stature fair, and slender frame,
But firmly knit, was Malcolm Græme.
The belted plaid and tartan hose
Did ne'er more graceful limbs disclose;
His flaxen hair, of sunny hue,
Curled closely round his bonnet blue.
Trained to the chase, his eagle eye
The ptarmigan in snow could spy;
Each pass, by mountain, lake, and beath,
He knew, through Lennox and Menteith;
Vain was the bound of dark-brown doe,
When Malcolm bent his sounding bow,
And scarce that doe. though winged with fear,
Out-stripped in speed the mountaineer;
Right up Ben-Lomond could he press,
And not a sob his toil confess.
His form accorded with a mind
Lively and ardent, frank and kind;
A blither heart, till Ellen came.
Did never love nor sorrow tame;
It danced as lightsome in his breast,
As played the feather on his crest.
Yet friends, who nearest knew the youth,
His scorn of wrong, his zeal for truth,
And bards, who saw his features bold,
When kindled by the tales of old,
Said, were that youth to manhood grown,
Not long should Roderick Dhu's renown
Be foremost voiced by mountain fame,
But quail to that of Malcolm Græme.
Now back they wend their watery way,
And,“O my sire!" did Ellen say,
“Why urge thy chase so far astray ?
And why so late returned? And why”-
The rest was in her speaking eye.
“My child, the chase I follow far,
'Tis mimicry of noble war;
And with that gallant pastime reft
Were all of Douglas I have left.
I met young Malcolm as I strayed
Far eastward, in Glenfinlas' chade,
Nor straved I safe: for, all around.
Hunters and horsemen scoured the ground.
This youth, though still a royal ward,
Risked life and land to be my guard,
And through the passes of the wood
Guided my steps, not unpursued;
And Roderick shall his welcome make,
Despite old spleen, for Douglas' sake.
Then must he seek Strath-Endrick glen,
Nor peril aught for me agen.”-
Sir Roderick, who to meet them came,
Reddened at sight of Malcolm Græme,
Yet, not in action, word, or eye,
Failed aught in hospitality:
In talk and sport they whiled away
Tbe morning of that summer day;
But at high noon a courier light
Held secret parley with the knight,
Whose moody aspect soon declared,
That evil were the news he heard.
Deep thought seemed toiling in his head;
Yet was the evening banquet made.
Ere he assembled round the flame,
His mother, Douglas, and the Grame,
And Ellen, too; then cast around
His eyes, then fixed them on the ground,
As studying phrase that might avail
Best to convey unpleasant tale.
Long with his dagger's hilt he played,
Then raised his haughty brow, and said:
XXVIII. “Short be my speech;-nor time affords, Nor my plain temper, glozing words. Kinsman and father,-if such name Douglas vouchsafe to Roderick's claim; Mine honoured mother; Ellen-why, My cousin, turn away thine eye ?-And Græme; in whom I hope to know Full soon a noble friend or foe, When age shall give thee thy command, And leading in thy native land, List all !-The King's vindictive pride Boasts to have tamed the Border-side, Where chiefs, with hound and hawk who came To share their monarch's sylvan game, Themselves in bloody toils were snared, And when the banquet they prepared, And wide their loyal portals flung, O’er their own gate-way struggling hung. Loud cries their blood from Meggat's mead, From Yarrow braes, and banks of Tweed, Where the lone streams of Ettricke glide, And from the silver Teviot's side; The dales, where martial clans did ride, Are now one sheep-walk waste and wide. This tyrant of the Scottish throne, So faithless, and so ruthless known, Now hither comes; his end the same, The same pretext of sylvan game. What grace for Highland chiefs judge ye, By fate of Border chivalry. Yet more; amid Glenfinlas green, Douglas, thy stately form was seen. This by espial sure I know : Your counsel in the streight 1 show."-
Ellen and Margaret fearfully.
Sought comfort in each other's eye,
Then turned their ghastly look, each one,
This to her sire, that to her son.
The basty colour went and came
In the bold cheek of Malcolm Græne;
But from his glance it well appeared,
'Twas but for Ellen that he feared;
While sorrowful, but undismayed,
The Douglas thus his counsel said :
“ Brave Roderick, though the tempest roar,
It may but thunder and pass o'er;
Nor will I here remain an hour,
To draw the lightning on thy bower;
For well thou know'st, at this grey head
The royal bolt were fiercest sped.
For thee, who, at thy King's command,
Canst aid him with a gallant band.
Submission, homage, humbled pride,
Shall turn the monarch's wrath aside.
Poor remnants of the Bleeding Heart,
Ellen and I will seek, apart,
The refuge of some forest cell;
There, like the hunted quarry, dwell,
Till, on the mountain and the moor,
The stern pursuit be passed and o'er."-
“No, by mine honour,” Roderick said,
“So help me heaven, and my good blade!
No, never ! Blasted be yon pine,
My father's ancient crest, and mine,
If from its shade in danger part
The lineage of the Bleeding Heart !
Hear my blunt speech : grant me this maid
To wife, thy counsel to mine aid;
To Douglas, leagued with Roderick Dhu,
Will friends and allies flock enow;
Like cause of doubt, distrust, and grief,
Will bind to us each Western Chief.
When the loud pipes my bridal tell,
The Links of Forth shall hear the knell,
The guards shall start in Stirling's porch;
And, when I light the nuptial torch,
A thousand villages in flames,
Shall scare the slumbers of King James !
-Nay, Ellen, blench not thus away,
And, mother. cease these signs. I pray:
I meant not all my heat might say. -
Small need of inroad, or of fight,
When the sage Douglas may unite
Each mountain clan in friendly band,
To guard the passes of their land,
Till the foiled King, from pathless glen,
Shall bootless turn him home agen.”—
There are who have, at midnight hour,
In slumber scaled a dizzy tower,