ページの画像
PDF
ePub

The shouting vassals man the oars,'.
Behind them sink Mull's mountain shores,
Onward their merry course they keep,
Through whistling breeze and foaming deep.
And mark the headmost, seaward cast,
Stoop to the freshening gale her mast,
As if she vail'd its banner'd pride,
To greet afar her prince's bride!
Thy Ronald comes, and while in speed

His galley mates the flying steed,
He chides her sloth !”-Fair Edith sigh’d,
Blush'd, sadly smiled, and thus replied :-

XIII.

6 Sweet thought, but vain !-No, Morag ! mark, Type of his course, yon lonely bark, That oft hath shifted helm and sail,

To win its way against the gale.

Since peep of morn, my vacant eyes,
Have view'd by fits the course she tries ;

Now, though the darkening scud comes on,

And dawn's fair promises be gone,

And though the weary crew may see
Our sheltering haven on their lee,
Still closer to the rising wind
They strive her shivering sail to bind,
Still nearer to the shelves' dread verge
At every tack her course they urge,
As if they fear'd Artornish more
Than adverse winds and breakers' roar."

XIV.

Sooth spoke the Maid.--Amid the tide

The skiff she mark'd lay tossing sore,
And shifted oft her stooping side,

In weary tack from shore to shore.
Yet on her destined course no more

She gain'd, of forward way,
Than what a minstrel may compare
To the poor meed which peasants share,

Who toil the live-long day;

And such the risk her pilot braves,

That oft, before she wore,
Her boltsprit kiss'd the broken waves,
Where in white foam the ocean raves

Upon the shelving shore.
Yet, to their destined purpose true,
Undaunted toil'd her hardy crew,

Nor look'd where shelter lay,
Nor for Artornish Castle drew,
Nor steer'd for Aros bay. Boleh

PW

[ocr errors]

Thus while they strove with wind and seas, Borne onward by the willing breeze,

Lord Ronald's fleet swept by, . Streamer'd with silk, and trick'd with gold, Mann'd with the noble and the bold

Of Island chivalry.
Around their prows the ocean roars,
And chafes beneath their thousand oars,

Yet bears them on their way :
So chafes the war-horse in his might,
That field-ward bears some valiant knight,
Champs till both bitt and boss are white,

But, foaming, must obey.
On each gay deck they might behold
Lances of steel and crests of gold, .
And hauberks with their burnish'd fold,

That shimmer'd fair and free; And each proud galley, as she pass’d, . To the wild cadence of the blast

Gave wilder minstrelsy.
Full many a shrill triumphant note
Saline and Scallastle bade float

Their misty shores around;
And Morven's echoes answer'd well,
And Duart heard the distant swell

Come down the darksome Sound.

. XVI. So bore they on with mirth and pride, And if that labouring bark they spied,

'Twas with such idle eye As nobles cast on lowly boor, When, toiling in his task obscure,

They pass him careless by. Let them sweep on with heedless eyes ! But, had they known what mighty prize

In that frail vessel lay, The famish'd wolf, that prowls the wold, Had scatheless pass'd the unguarded fold, Ere, drifting by these galleys bold,

Unchallenged were her way! And thou, Lord Ronald, sweep thou on, With mirth and pride and minstrel tone! But had'st thou known who sail'd so nigh, Far other glance were in thine eye !

« 前へ次へ »