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« Now westward rolls the battle's din,
The louring scowl of heaven
To the deep lake has given;
But not in mingled tide;
And overhang its side;
«Viewing the mountain's ridge askance.
And cried—'Behold yon isle!—
Their booty wont to pile;—
He plunged him in the wave:—
A mingled echo gave;
Well for the swimmer sweird they high.
To mar the Highland marksman'; eye.;
For round him shower'd 'mid rain and bail.
The vengeful arrows of the Gael.—
In vain.—He nears the isle—and to!
His hand is on a shallop's bow.
—Just then a flash of lightning came.
It tinged the waves and strand with flame:—
I mark'd Duncraggao's widow'd dame,
Behind an oak I saw her stand,
A naked dirk gleam'd in her hand :—
It darken'd—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,
Moody 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.
While 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 brook'd bis minstrelsy:
At first, the chieftain, to the chime,
With lifted baud, kept feeble lime;
That motion ceased,—yet feeling strong
Varied his look as changed the* song;
At length no more his deafen'd ear
The minstrel melody can hear;
His face grows sharp,—his hands are clench'd.
As if some pang his heart-strings wrench'd;
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 look'd on aghast.
While grim and still his spirit jass'd;
But when he saw that life was fled.
He pour'd his walling o'er the dead.
• Aud art thou cold and lowly laid.
Thy foemau's dread, lliw people's aid,
Breadalbane's boast, Clan-Alpiue's shade!
For thee shall none a requiem say 1
—For thee—who loved the minstrel's lay.
For thee, of Bothwell s house the stay,
The shelter of her exiled line,
K eu in this prisou-house of thine,
I II wail for Alpiue's honour d pine!
« What groans shall yonder vallies Gil!
- Sad was tliy lot on mortal stage!—
LAT OF TaE IMPRISONED HUNTSMAN.
i M Hv hawk is tired of perch and hood, My idle greyhound loathes his food, Mv horse is weary of his stall,
1 And I am sick of captive thrall.
I wish I were as I have been,
The lark was wont my matins ring.
M. No more at dawning morn I rise,
The heart-sick lay was hardly said,
The list'ner had not turn'd her head,
It trickled still, the starling tear,
When light a footstep struck her ear.
And Snowdoun's graceful knight was near.
She turn'd the hastier, lest again
The prisoner should renew his strain.
« 0 welcome, brave Fitz-James!» she said;
« How may an almost orphan maid
Pay the deep dcbt» « O, say not sol
To me no gratitude you owe.
Not mine, alas! the boon to give,
And bid thy noble father live;
I can hut be thy guide, sweet maid.
With Scotland's king thy suit to aid.
No tyrant he, though ire and pride
May lead his better mood aside.
Come, Ellen, come!—'t is more than time,
He holds his court at morning prime.»—
With beating heart, and bosom wrung.
As to a brother's arm she clung.
Gently he dried the fulling tear,
And gently whisper'd hope and cheer;
Her faltering steps half led, half staid.
Through gallery fair and high arcade,
Till, at his touch, its wings of pride
A portal arch unfolded wide.
Within 'twas brilliant all and light,
Midst furs and silks and jewels sheen,
He stood, in simple Lincoln green,
The centre of the flittering ring,—
And Snowdoun's knight is Scotland's king! (5)
As wreath of snow, on mountain-breast.
Slides from the rock that gave it rest,
Poor Ellen glided from her slay,
And at the monarch's feci she lay;
No word her choking voice commands,—
She show'd the ring—she clasp'd her hands.
Oh! not a moment could he brook,
The generous prince, that suppliant look!
Gently he raised her,—and, the while,
Check'd with a glance the circle's smile;
Graceful, but grave, her brow he kiss'd.
And bade her terrors l)e dismissal:—
« Yes, fair, the-wandering poor Filz-Jamcs
The fealty of Scotlaud claims.
To him thy woes, thy wishes, bring;
lie will redeem his signet ring.
Ask nought for Douglas;—yester even.
His prince and be have much forgiven:
Wrong hath lie had from slanderous tongue,
I, from his rebel kinsmen, wrong.
We would not to the vulgar crowd
Yield what they craved with clamour loud;
Calmly we heard and judged his cause,
Our council aided, and our laws.
I staunch'd thy father's death-feud stern,
With stout Dc Vaux and gray Glencairn;
And Both well's lord henceforth we own
The friend and bulwark of our throne.—
But, lovely infidel, how now?
What clouds thy misbelieving hrowT
Lord James of Douglas, lend thine aid;
Thou must confirm this doubling maid.»
Then forth the noble Douglas sprung,
And on his neck his daughter hung.
The monarch drank, that happy hour,
The sweetest, holiest draught of power,—
When it can say, with godlike voice,
Arise, sad Virtue, and rejoice!
Yel would not James the general eye
On Nature's raptures long should pry;
He stepp'd between—« Nay, Douglas, nay.
Steal not my proselyte away!
The riddle 'l is my right to read.
That brought this happy chance to speed.
Yes, Ellen, when disguised I stray
In life's more low but happier way,
T is under name which veils my power.
Nor falsely veils—for Stirling's Tower
Of yore the name of Suowdoun claims, (G)
And Normans call me James Fiti-Jamcs.
Thus watch I o'er insulted laws,
Thus learn to right the injured caiise.»
Then, in a tone apart and low,
« Ab, little traitress! none must know
What idle dream, what lighter thought,
In dangerous hour, and all hut gave
Thy monarch's life to mountain glaiveV—
Aloud he spoke—«Thou still dost hold
That little talisman of gold.
Pledge of my faith, Filz-Jamess ring
What seeks fair Ellen of the king?*
Full well the conscious maiden guess'd He probed the weakness of her hrrast; But, with that consciousness, there came A lightning of her fears for Gra;me, And more she deem'd the monarch's ire Kindled 'gainst him, who, for her sire, Rebellious broadsword boldly drew; And, to her generous feeling true, She craved the grace of Roderick Dim.— « Forbear thy suit:—the King of kings Alone can stay life's parting wings. I know his heart, I know his hand, Have shared his cheer and proved his brand:— My fairest earldom would I give To hid Clan-Alpine's chieftain live!— Hast thou no other boon to crave? No other captive friend to save?»— Blushing, she turn'd her from the king, And to the Douglas gave the ring, As if she wish'd her sire to speak The suit that stain d her glowing cheek.— « Nay, then, my pledge has lost its force, And stubborn justice holds her course. Malcolm, come forth V—And, at the word, Down kneel'cl the Graeme to Scotland's lord. •« For thee, rash youth, no suppliant sues, From thee may Vengeance claim her dues, Who, nurtured underneath our stnile. Hast paid our care by treacherous wile, And sought, amid thy faithful clan, A refuge for an outlaw'd man, ■ Dishonouring thus thy loyal name.— Fetters and warder for the Graeme!"— His chain of gold the king unstrung, The links o'er Malcolm's neck be flung, Then gently drew the glittering band, And laid the clasp on Ellen's hand.
Harp of the North, farewell! The hills grow dart
On purple peaks a deeper shade descending; Iu twilight copse the glow-worm lights her spark.
The deer, half-seen, are to the covert wending. Resume thy wizard elm! the fountain lending.
And the wild breere, thy wilder roinsinhy; Thy numbers sweet with Natures vespers blending,
With distant echo from the fold and lea. ^
And herd-boys evening pipe, and hum of houuob
Yet, once again, farewell, thou minstrel harp
Yet, once again, forgive my feeble sway, And little reck I of the censure sharp
May idly cavil at au idle lay. Much have I owed thy strains on life's long «ay^
Through secret woes the world ha* never n When on the weary night dawn'd wearier *?>
And bitterer was the grief devonr'd «lw» ^ That I oVrlivc such voes, Enchantress! >» !m
Hark ' as my lingering footsteps slow retire,
Some spirit of the air lias waked thy string! 'T U now a seraph bold, with touch of tire,
T is now the brush of fairy's frolic wing. Receding now, the dying numbers ring
Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell, And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring
A wandering witch-note of the distant spell— And now, 'i is silent all!—Enchantress, fare thee well!
Note i. Stanza iv.
the brij'Iiti of I'ana-Var,
And roused the-cavera, when', *t it told,
t*a-Vw, as the name is pronounced, or more properly I niyh-wurr, is a mountain to the north-east of the village of 1..11 lender iu Menteith, deriving its name, which signifies the great den, or cavern, from a sort of retreat among the rocks on the south side, said, by tradition, to hare been the abode of a giant. In latter times, it was ii»»* refuge of robbers and banditti, who have been only rzarnated within these forty or lifly years. Strictly -r*jftiiij;. this strong-hold is not a cave, as the name •jotiki iniplv, but a sort of small inclosure, or recess, turrouoded with large rocks, and open above head. It Io.it hare been originally designed as a toil for deer, who might get in from the outside, but would find it difficult to return. This opinion prevails among the t'i 'portsmen and deer-stalkers in the neighbourhood.
Note a. Stanza vii.
• The hounds which wc call Saint Hubert's hounds »rr commonly all blacke, yet neuerthcless, their rice is -'. mingled at these days, that we find them of all coWurv These are the hounds which the abbots of St Hubert Uaue always kept some of their race or kind, in labour or remembrance of the saint, which was a hunt'T with St Eustace. Whereupon we may concciue that
''T the grace of God) all good huntsmen shall follow i^-m into paradise. To rcturne vuto my former pur; "*--. tin- kind of dogges hath heeuc dispersed through
*■ ■ ountries of Hcuaull, Lorayne, Flaumlers, and Uur
<\\w. They are mighty of body, neuerthcless their
,', arc low and short, likewise they arc not swift,
-ihhough they be very good of sent, hunting chases
■ Inch are farre straggled, fearing neither water nor
iid, and doe more couet the chases that smell, as foxes, We, and such like, than other, because they findthem**!ue* neither of swiftuess nor courage to hunt and kill '■'*r cttases that are lighter and swifter. The bloodl.oazid« of this colour proouc good, especially those that '<>■ role-blacke, but I made no great account to breede •a them, or to keepe the kind, and yet I found a book ».,n he a hunter did dedicate to a prince of Lorayne, » 'irh sremed to loue huuting much, wherein was a '■uion, which the same hunter gauc to his blood-hound, .-'itd Suuyllard, which was white:
My name come first from holy IIu! ert'i rare,
Whereupon we may presume that some of the kind prooue white sometimes, but they arc not of the kind of the Grcffiers or Bouxes, which we haue at these days.» The noble art of Fenevie or Hunting, translated and collected for the Use of all Noblemen and Gentlemen. Lond. idii. 4* ['■ lJ>
Note 3. Stanza viii.
For the death-wound and death-halloo,
When the stag turned to bay, the ancient hunter had the perilous task of going in upon, and killing or disabling the desperate animal. At certain times of the year this was held particularly dangerous, a wound received from a stag's horns being then deemed poisonous, and more dangerous than one from the tusks of a boar, as the old rhyme testifies:
If thou br bnrt with hart, It bring* dice to thy bier:
Ilul barber'* hand will boar'* hurt heal, therefore thou needtt not
At all times, however, the task was dangerous, and to he adventured upon wisely and warily, either by getting behind the stag while he was gazing on the houuds, or by watching an opportunity to gallop roundly in upon him, and kill him with the sword. See many directions to this purpose in the Booke of Hunting, chap. 41. Wilson the historian has recorded a providential escape which hefel him iu this hazardous sport, while a youth and follower of the Karl of Essex.
« Sir Peter Lee, of Lime, iu Cheshire, iuvitcd my lord one summer, to hunt the stagg. And having a great stag in chase, and many gentlemen in the pursuit, the stagg took soyle. And divers, whereof I was one, alighted, and stood with swords drawnc, to have a cut at him, at his coming out of the water. The staggs there being wonderfully fierce aud dangerous, made us youths more eager to be at him. But he escaped us all; and it was my misfortune to be hindered of my coming nere him, the way being sfippcric, by a fall; which gave occasion to some, who did not know mee, to speak as if I had falne for fcare. Which being told me, 1 left the stagg, and followed the gentleman who [first] spake it. But 1 found him of that cold temper, that it seems his words made an escape from him; as by his denial and repentance it appeared. But this made mee more violent in the pursuit of the stagg, to recover my reputation. And I happened'to be the only horsemen iu when the doggs sett him up at hay; aud approaching near him on hor.tcbarke, he broke through the dogs and ran at nice, and tore my horse's side with his homes, close by my thigh. Then I quitted my horse, and grew more cunning (for the doggs had scttc him up againe), stealing behind him with my sword, and cut his hain-striugs; and then got upon his back, and cut Ins throate ; which, as I was doing, the company came in, and blamed my rashness for running such a hazard.>• Puck's Desiderata Curiosa, II, 4*>4
Note 4. Stanza xiv.
And now, to issue from ibe ([lea,
[Sn pathway n»<-el» the wanderer's kt*»,
I nh-M be climb, will) ftwtioj; nit*,
A tar-|trojcetinj: yrtn i|>ice.
I'ntil the present road was made through the romantic pass which I have presumptuously attempted to describe in the preceding stanzas, there was no mode of issuing out of the defile, called the Trosachs, excepting by a sort of ladder, composed of the branches and roots of the trees.
Note 5. Stanza xvi.
To meal w iih Highland plunderers here
The clans who inhabited the romantic regions in the neighbourhood of Loch Katrine, were, even until a late period, much addicted to predatory excursions upon their Lowland neighbours.
- In former times, those parts of this district, which are situated beyond the Grampian range, were rendered almost inaccessible by strong barriers of rocks, and mountains, and lakes. It was a border country, and though on the very verge of the low country, it was almost totally sequestered from the world, and, as it were, insulated with respect to society.
u 'T is well known, thai in the Highlands, it was, in former times, accounted not only lawful, but honourable, among hostile tribes, to commit depredations on one another; and these habits of the age were perhaps strengthened inthis district, by the circumstances which have been mentioned. It bordered on a country, the inhabitants of which, while they were richer, were less warlike than they, aod widely differenced by language and manners.!)—Graham's Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire. Edin. 1806. p. 97.
The reader will therefore be pleased to remember, that the scene of this poem is laid in a time,
When looming fauldi, or tweeting of 11 glen.
Note 6. Stanza xxiii.
A hray-bair'd tiro, who**- eye intent
If force of evidence could authorise us to believe facts inconsistent with the general law* of nature, enough might be produced iu favour of the existence of the second-sight. It is called in Gaelic Taishitarattgh, from Taish, an unreal or shadowy appearance; and those possessed of the faculty are called Tniihatrin, which may be aptly translated visionaries. Martin, a steady believer in the second-sight, gives the following accouut of it 1
K The second-sight is ft singular faculty, of seeing an otherwise invisible object, without any previous means used by the person that used it, for that cud; the vision makes such a lively impression upon the seers, that they neither sec, nor think of auy thing else, except the vision, as long as it continues; and then they appear pensive or jovial, according to the object which was represented to them.
« At the sight of a vision, (he eye-lids of the person are erected, and the eyes continue staring until the object vanish. This is obvious to others who are by, when the persons happen to sec a vision, and occurred more than once to my own observation, and to others that were with me.
M There is one in Skie, of whnni his acquaintance observed, that when he sees a vision, the inner part of his eye-lids turns so far upwards, that after the object disappears, he must draw them down with his lingers, and sometimes employ others lo draw them down, which he finds to he the much easier way.
« This faculty of the second-sight does, not lineally
descend in a family, as some imagine, for I know several parents who are endowed with it, but their children not, and vice versa; neither is it acquired by unv previous compact. And after a strict inquiry. I could never learn that this faculty was communicable am way whatsoever.
« The seer knows neither the object, time, nor place of a vision, before it appears; and the same object toften seen by differeut persons, living at a considerable distance from one another. The true way of judging as to the time and circumstance of an object, is br observation; for several persons of judgment, without this faculty, are more capable to judge of the design of a vision, than a novice that is a seer. If an object .i[»pear in the day or night, it will come to pass sooner or later accordingly.
« If an object is seen early in the morning (which is not frequent), it will be accomplished in a few hourafterwards. If at noon, it will commonly be accomplished that very day. If in the evening, perhaps that night: if after candles be lighted, it will be accomplished that night: the later always in accomplishim m. by weeks, mouths, and sometimes years, according to the time of night the vision is seen.
t> When a shroud is perceived about one, it is a sure prognostic of death: the time is judged according to \h' height of it about the person; for if it is seen above ti*r middle, death is not to be expected for the space of a year, and perhaps some mouths longer; and as it is frequently seeu to ascend higher towards the head, deaiti is concluded to be at baud within a few days, if not hours, as daily experience confirms. Examples of this kind were shown me, when the persous of whom tor observations were then made, enjoyed perfect be a I lit « Oue instance was lately foretold by a seer thai was a novice, concerning the death of one of my acquaintance; this was communicated to a few only, and with great confidence: I being one of the number, did aM in the least regard it, until the death of the person, aboutthe time foretold, did confirm mc of the certaum of the prediction. The novice mentioned above is uo* a skilful seer, as appears from many late instancrs h* lives in the parish of St Mary's, the most northern Id Skie.
« If a woman is seen standing at a man's left bant. it is a presage that she will be bis wife, whether tin--. !► married to others, or unmarried, at the time of the ajparition.
« If two or three women arc seen at ouce near a Oud> left hand, she th.it is next him will undoubtedly be b:» wife first, and so on, whether all three, or tl»e man, b-single or married at the time of lh« vision or not, ■•! which there are several late instances among those ot my acquaintance. It is an ordinary thing for ibem t« see a man that is to come to tlie house shortly after; and if he is not of the seer's acquaintance, yet he £t*^» such a lively description of his stature, complexion. habit, etc. that upon his arrival be answer* the chin, ter given him in al! respects.
« If the person so appearing be one of ihe «eer'« acquaintance, he will tell hrs name, as well us olli>-r j-.»: ticulars; and he can tell by his countenance »li<U.. < he comes in a good or bad humour.
« I have been seen thus myself by seers of both w. at some hundred miles' distance: some thai saw me in this manner hid never seen me personally, and il haj