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Clan-Alpine's best are backward borne
Where, where, was Roderick then !
One blast upon his bugle-horn
Were worth a thousand men.
And refluent through the pass of fear
The battle's tide was poured ;
Vanished the Saxon's struggling spear,
Vanished the mountain sword.
As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and steep.
Receives her roaring linn,
As the dark caverns of the deep
Suck the wild whirlpool in,
So did the deep and darksome pass
Devour the battle's mingled mass ;
None linger now upon the plain,
Save those who ne'er shall fight again.
“ Now westward rolls the battle's din,
That deep and doubling pass within.
--Minstrel, away! the work of fate
Is bearing on: its issue wait,
Where the rude Trosach's dread defile
Opens on Katrine's lake and isle.-
Grey Ben-venue I soon repassed,
Loch-Katrine lay beneath me cast.
The sun is set ;-the clouds are met,
The lowering scowl of heaven
An inky hue of livid blue
To the deep lake has given ;
Strange gusts of wind from mountain glen
Swept o'er the lake, then sunk agen.
I heeded not the eddying surge,
Mine eye but saw the Trosach's gorge,
Mine ear but heard that sullen sound,
Which like an earthquake shook the ground,
And spoke the stern and desperate strite
That parts not but with parting life,
Seeining, to minstrel-ear, to toll
The dirge of many a passing soul.
Nearer it comes-the dim-wood glen
The martial flood disgorged agen,
But not in mingled tide:
The plaided warriors of the North
High on the mountain thunder forth,
And overbang its side;
While by the lake below appears
The dark’ning cloud of Saxon spears.
At weary bay each shattered band,
Eyeing their foemen, sternly stand ;
Their banners stream like tattered sail,
That flings its fragments to the gale,
And broken arms and disarray
Marked the fell havoc of the day.
“ Viewing the mountain's ridge askance,
The Saxons stood in sullen trance,
Till Moray pointed with his lance,
And cried-Behold yon isle !
See ! none are left to guard its strand,
But women weak, that wring the hand:
'Tis there of yore the robber band
Their booty wont to pile;-
My purse, with bonnet-pieces store,
To him will swim a bow-shot o'er,
And loose a shallop from the shore.
Lightly we'll tame the war-wolf then,
Lords of his mate, and brood, and den.'-
Forth from the ranks a spearman sprung,
On earth his casque and corslet rung,
He plunged him in the wave:
All saw the deed - the purpose knew,
And to their clamours Benvenue
A mingled echo gave;
The Saxons shout, their mate to cheer,
The helpless females scream for fear,
And yells for rage the mountaineer.
'Twas then. as by the outcry riven.
Poured down at once the lowering heaven;
A whirlwind swept Loch-Katrine's breast,
Her billows reared their snowy crest.
Well for the swimmer swelled they high,
To mar the Highland marksman's eye;
For round him showered. 'mid rain and bail.
The vengeful arrows of the Gael. -
In vain. -He nears the isle—and lo!
His hand is on a shallop's bow.
-Just then a flash of lightning came,
It tinged the waves and strand with flame;
I marked Duncraggan's widowed dame,
Behind an oak I saw her stand,
A naked dirk gleamed in her hand :-
It darkened, - but amid the moan
Of waves I heard a dying groan;-
Another flash !-the spearman floats
A weltering corse beside the boats,
And the stern Matron o'er him stood,
Her hand and dagger streaming blood.
«« Revenge! revenge !' the Saxons cried,
The Gaels' exulting shout replied.
Despite the elemental rage,
Again they hurried to engage;
But, ere they closed in desperate fight,
Bloody with spurring came a knight,
Sprung from his horse, and, from a crag,
Waved 'twixt the hosts a milk-white flag.
Clarion and trumpet by his side Rung forth a truce-note high and wide, Wbile, in the monarch's name, afar An herald's voice forbade the war, For Bothwell's lord, and Roderick bold, Were both, he said, in captive hold.” -But here the lay made sudden stand, The harp escaped the Minstrel's hand! Oft had he stolen a glance, to spy How Roderick brooked his minstrelsy: At first, the Chieftain, to the chime, With lifted hand, kept feeble time; That motion ceased, -yet feeling strong Varied his look as changed the song: At length, no more his deafened ear The minstrel melody can hear; His face grows sharp,-his hands are clenched, As if some pang bis heart-strings wrenched; Set are his teeth, his fading eye . Is sternly fixed on vacancy;Thus, motionless, and moanless, drew His parting breath, stout Roderick Dhu!Old Allan-bane looked on aghast, While grim and still his spirit passed; But when he saw that life was fled, He poured his wailing o'er the dead.
" And art thou cold, and lowly laid,
Thy foeman's dread, thy people's aid,
Breadalbane's boast, Clan-alpine's shade!
For thee shall none a requiem say?
-For thee,- who loved the minstrel's lay,
For thee, of Bothwell's house the stay,
The shelter of her exiled line,
E'en in this prison-house of thine,
I'll wail for Alpine's honoured pine!
“What groans shall yonder valleys fill !
What shrieks of grief shall rend yon hill !
What tears of burning rage shall thrill,
When mourns thy tribe thy battles done,
Thy fall before the race was won,
Thy sword ungirt ere set of sun !
There breathes not clansman of thy line,
But would have given his life for thine.-
O woe for Alpine's honoured pine!
“ Sad was thy lot on mortal stage !
The captive thrush may brook the cage,
The prisoned eagle dies for rage.
Brave spirit, do not scorn my strain!
And, when its notes awake again,