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The Lady Margaret too is well,
And, for thy clan,-on field or fell,
Has never harp of minstrel told,
Of combat fought so true and bold.
Thy stately pine is yet unbent,
Though many a goodly bough is rent."-
The Chieftain reared his form on high,
And fever's fire was in his eye;
But ghastly, pale, and livid streaks
Chequered his swarthy brow and cheeks. .
-“Hark, Minstrel ! have heard thee play,
With measure bold on festal day,
In yon lone isle, ... again where ne'er
Shall harper play, or warrior hear!...
That stirring air that peals on high,'
O'er Dermid's race our victory. -
Strike it !-and then, (for well thou canst,)
Free from thy minstrel-spirit glanced,
Fling me the picture of the fight,
When met my clan the Saxon might.
I'll listen, till my fancy hears
The clang of swords, the crash of spears!
These grates, these walls, shall vanish then,
For the fair field of fighting men,
And my free spirit burst away,
As if it soared from battle-fray."-
The trembling bard with awe obeyed,
Slow on the harp his hand he laid ;
But soon remembrance of the sight
He witnessed from the mountain's height,
With what old Bertram told at night,
Awakened the full power of song,
And bore him in career along ;
As shallop launched on river's tide,
That slow and fearful leaves the side,
But, when it feels the middle stream,
Drives downward swift as lightning's beam.
Battle of Beal an Duine.
“The Minstrel came once more to view
The eastern ridge of Ben-venue,
For, ere he parted, he would say
Farewell to lovely Loch-Achray-
Where shall he find, in foreign land,
So lone a lake, so sweet a strand !
There is no breeze upon the fern,
No ripple on the lake,
Upon her eyrie nods the erne,
The deer has sought the brake;
The small birds will not sing aloud,
The springing trout lies still,
So darkly glooms yon thunder cloud,
That swathes, as with a purple shroud,
Benledi's distant hill."
Is it the thunder's solemn sound
That mutters deep and dread,
Or echoes from the groaning ground
The warrior's measured tread ?
Is it the lightning's quivering glance
That on the thicket streams,
Or do they flash on spear and lance
The sun's retiring beams?
- I see the dagger-crest of Mar,
I see the Moray's silver star,
Wave o'er the cloud of Saxon war,
That up the lake comes winding far!
To hero boune for battle-strife,
Or bard of martial lay,
"Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,
One glance at their array !
“ Their light-armed archers far and near
Surveyed the tangled ground,
Their centre ranks, with pike and spear,
A twilight forest frowned,
Their barded horsemen, in the rear,
The stern battalia crowned.
No cymbal clashed, no clarion rang,
Still were the pipe and drum;
Save heavy tread, and armour's clang,
The sullen march was dumb.
There breathed no wind their crests to shake,
Or wave their flags abroad;
Scarce the frail aspen seemed to quake,
That shadowed o'er their road.
Their vaward scouts no tidings bring,
Can rouse no lurking foe.
Nor spy a trace of living thing,
Save when they stirred the roe;
The host moves, like a deep-sea wave,
Where rise no rocks its pride to brave,
High-swelling, dark, and slow.
The lake is passed, and now they gain
A narrow and a broken plain,
Before the Trosach's rugged jaws;
And here the horse and spear-ioen pause,
While, to explore the dangerous glen,
Dive through the pass the archer-men,
" At once there rosc so wild a yell
Within that dark and narrow dell,
As all the fiends, from heaven that fell,
Had pealed the banner-cry of hell !
Forth from the pass in tumult driven,
Like chaff before the wind of heaven,
The archery appear:
For life! for life their flight they ply-
And shriek, and shout, and battle-cry,
And plaids and bonnets waving high,
And broad-swords flashing to the sky,
Are maddening in the rear.
Onward they drive, in dreadful race,
Pursuers and pursued;
Before that tide of flight and chase,
How shall it keep its rooted place,
The spearmen's twilight wood ?' -Down, down,' cried Mar, 'your lances down!
Bear back both friend and foe!'
Like reeds before the tempest's frown,
That serried grove of lances brown
At once lay levelled low;.
And closely shouldering side to side,
The bristling ranks the onset bide. —
- We'll quell the savage mountaineer,
As their Tinchel * cows the game!
They come as fleet as forest deer,
We'll drive them back as tame.'-
“Bearing before them, in their course,
The relics of the archer force,
Like wave with crest of sparkling foam,
Right onward did Clan-Alpine come.
Above the tide, each broad-sword bright
Was brandishing like beam of light,
Each targe was dark below;
And with the ocean's mighty swing,
When heaving to the tempest's wing,
They hurled them on the foe.
I heard the lance's shivering crash,
As when the whirlwind rends the ash;
I heard the broad-sword's deadly clang,
As if an hundred anvils rang!
But Moray wheeled his rear-ward rank
Of horsemen on Clan.Alpine's flank,
- My banner-man, advance !
I see,' he cried, their column shake.-
Now, gallants ! for your ladies' sake,
Upon them with the lance !' —
The horsemen dashed among the route,
As deer break through the broom;
Their steeds are stout, their swords are out,