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But hark! what mingles in the strain?
It is the harp of Allan-Bane,
That wakes its measure slow and high,
Attuned to sacred minstrelsy.
What melting voice attends the strings ?
'Tis Ellen, or an angel, sings.
HYMN TO THE VIRGIN.
Ave Maria! maiden mild!
Listen to a maiden's prayer!
Thou canst hear though from the wild,
Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,
Though banish'd, outcast, and reviled Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer! Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria! Ave Maria! undefiled!
The flinty couch we now must share, Shall seem with down of eider piled,
If thy protection hover there. The murky cavern's heavy air
Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled; Then, Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer! Mother, list a suppliant child!
Ave Maria! Ave Maria! Stainless styled !
Foul demons of the earth and air, From this their wonted haunt exiled,
Shall flee before thy presence fair. We bow us to our lot of care,
Beneath thy guidance reconciled; Hear for a maid a maiden's prayer! And for a father hear a childi
Died on the harp the closing hymn –
Unmoved in attitụde and limb,
As listening still, Clan-Alpine's lord
Stood leaning on his heavy sword,
Until the page, with humble sign,
Twice pointed to the sun's decline.
Then while his plaid he round him cast, "It is the last time 'tis the last,"
He mutter'd thrice, “the last time e'er
That angel-voice shall Roderick hear!”
It was a goading thought — his stride
Hied hastier down the mountain-side;
Sullen he flung him in the boat,
And instant 'cross the lake it shot.
They landed in that silvery bay,
And eastward held their hasty way,
Till, with the latest beams of light,
The band arrived on Lanrick height,
Where muster'd, in the vale below,
Clan-Alpine's men in martial show.
A various scene the clansmen made;
Some sate, some stood, some slowly stray'd;
But most, with mantles folded round,
Were couch'd to rest upon the ground.
Scarce to be known by curious eye,
From the deep heather where they lie,
So well was match'd the tartan screen
With heath-bell dark and brackens green;
Unless where, here and there, a blade,
Or lance's point, a glimmer made,
Like glow-worm twinkling through the shade.
But when, advancing through the gloom,
They saw the Chieftain's eagle plume,
Their shout of welcome, shrill and wide,
Shook the steep mountain's steady side.
Thrice it arose, and lake and fell
Three times return'd the martial yell;
It died upon Bochastle's plain,
And Silence claim'd her evening reign.
“The rose is fairest when 'tis budding new,
And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears; The rose is sweetest wash'd with morning dew,
And love is loveliest when embalm'd in tears.
O wilding rose, whom fancy thus endears,
I bid your blossoms in my
Emblem of hope and love through future years!”.
Thus spoke young Norman, heir of Armandave, What time the sun arose on Vennachar's broad wave.
Such fond conceit, half said half sung,
Love prompted to the bridegroom's tongue.
All while he stripp'd the wild-rose spray,
His axe and bow beside him lay,
For on a pass 'twixt lake and wood,
A wakeful sentinel he stood.
Hark! on the rock a footstep rung,
And instant to his arms he sprung.
“Stand, or thou diest! — What, Malise?
Art thou return'd from Braes of Doune.
By thy keen step and glance I know,
Thou bring'st us tidings of the foe.”
(For while the Fiery Cross hied on,
On distant scout had Malise gone.)
“Where sleeps the Chief?” the henchman said. -
“Apart, in yonder misty glade;
To his lone couch be
your guide.” Then call'd a slumberer by his side, And stirr'd him with his slacken'd bow “Up, up, Glentarkin! rouse thee, hol We seek the Chieftain; on the track, Keep eagle watch till I come back.”
Together up the pass they sped: “What of the foeman?” Norman said.
“Varying reports from near and far; This certain,
that a band of war
Has for two days been ready boune,
At prompt command, to march from Doune;
King James, the while, with princely powers,
Holds revelry in Stirling towers.
Soon will this dark and gathering cloud
Speak on our glens in thunder loud.
Inured to bide such bitter bout,
The warrior's plaid may bear it out;
But, Norman, how wilt thou provide
A shelter for thy bonny bride?”.
6. What! know ye not that Roderick's care
To the lone isle hath caused repair
Each maid and matron of the clan,
And every child and aged man
Unfit for arms; and given his charge,
Nor skiff nor shallop, boat nor barge,
Upon these lakes shall float at large,
But all beside the islet moor,
Tha uch dear pledge may rest secure?”.
4?Tis well advised - the Chieftain's plan
Bespeaks the father of his clan.
But wherefore sleeps Sir Roderick Dhu
Apart from all his followers true?”
“It is, because last evening-tide
Brian an augury hath tried,
Of that dread kind which must not be
Unless in dread extremity,
The Taghairm call'd; by which, afar,
Our sires foresaw the events of war.
Duncraggan's milk-white bull they slew."
“Ah! well the gallant brute I knew!
The choicest of the prey we had,
When swept our merry-men Gallangad.
His hide was snow, his horns were dark,
His red eye glow'd'like fiery spark;
So fierce, so tameless, and so fleet,
Sore did he cumber our retreat,
And kept our stoutest kernes in awe,
Even at the pass of Beal’maha.
But steep and flinty was the road,
And sharp the hurrying pikemen's goad,
And when we came to Dennan's Row,
A child might scatheless stroke his brow.”
6 Thát bull was slain: his reeking hide
They stretch'd the cataract beside,
Whose waters their wild tumult toss
Adown the black and craggy boss
Of that huge cliff, whose
Tradition calls the Hero's Targe.
Couch'd on a shelve beneath its brink,
Close where the thundering torrents sink,
Rocking beneath their headlong sway,
And drizzled by the ceaseless spray,
Midst groan of rock, and roar of stream,
The wizard waits prophetic dream.
Nor distant rests the Chief; – but hush!
See, gliding slow through mist and bush,
The hermit gains yon rock, and stands
To gaze upon our slumbering bands.
Seems he not, Malise, like a ghost,
That hovers o'er a slaughter'd host?
Or raven on the blasted oak,
That, watching while the deer is broke, *
His morsel claims with sullen croak?"
“Peace! peace! to other than to me, Thy words were evil augury; But still I hold Sir Roderick's blade Clan-Alpine's omen and her aid, Not aught that, glean'd from heaven or hell, Yon fiend-begotten Monk can tell. The Chieftain joins him, see Together they descend the brow."