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XV.

"What think I of him ?—woe the while

That brought such wanderer to our isle!

Thy father's battle-brand, of yore

For Tine-man forged by fairy lore,

What time he leagued, no longer foes,

His Border spears with Hotspur's bows,

Did, self-unscabbarded, fore-show

The footstep of a secret foe.

If courtly spy, and harboured here,

What may we for the Douglas fear?

What for this island, deemed of old

Clan-Alpine's last and surest hold!

If neither spy nor foe, I pray

What yet may jealous Roderick say?

—Nay, wave not thy disdainful head!

Bethink thee of the discord dread,

That kindled when at Beltane game

Thou ledst the dance with Malcolm Graeme;

Still, though thy sire the peace renewed,
Smoulders in Roderick's breast the feud;
Beware !—But hark, what sounds are these
My dull ears catch no faultering breeze,
No weeping birch, nor aspens wake,
Nor breath is dimpling in the lake,
Still is the canna's * hoary beard,
Yet, by my minstrel faith, I heard—
And hark again! some pipe of war
Sends the bold pibroch from afar."—

XVI.

Far up the lengthened lake were spied
Four darkening specks upon the tide,
That, slow enlarging on the view,
Four manned and masted barges grew,
And bearing downwards from Glengyle,
Steered full upon the lonely isle;

* Cotton-grass.

E

The point of Brianchoil they passed, And, to the windward as they cast, Against the sun they gave to shine The bold Sir Roderick's bannered Pine. Nearer and nearer as they bear, Spears, pikes, and axes flash in air. Now might you see the tartans brave, And plaids and plumage dance and wave; Now see the bonnets sink and rise, As his tough oar the rower plies; See, flashing at each sturdy stroke, . The wave ascending into smoke; See the proud pipers on the bow, And mark the gaudy streamers flow From their loud chanters * down, and sweep The furrowed bosom of the deep, As, rushing through the lake amain, They plied the ancient highland strain.

• The drone of the bag-pipe.

XVII.

Ever, as on they bore, more loud

And louder rung the pibroch proud.

At first the sound, by distance tame,

Mellowed along the waters came,

And, lingering long by cape and bay,

Wailed every harsher note away;

Then bursting bolder on the ear,

The clan's shrill Gathering they could hear

Those thrilling sounds, that call the might

Of old Clan-Alpine to the fight.

Thick beat the rapid notes, as when

The mustering hundreds shake the glen,

And, hurrying at the signal dread,

The battered earth returns their tread.

Then prelude light, of livelier tone,

Expressed their merry marching on,

Ere peal of closing battle rose,

With mingled out-cry, shrieks, and blows;

And mimic din of stroke and ward,
As broad-sword upon target jarred;
And groaning pause, ere yet again,
Condensed, the battle yelled amain;
The rapid charge, the rallying shout,
Retreat borne headlong into rout,
And bursts of triumph, to declare
Clan-Alpine's conquest—all were there.
Nor ended thus the strain; but slow,
Sunk in a moan prolonged and low,
And changed the conquering clarion swell,
For wild lament o'er those that fell.

XVIII.

The war-pipes ceased; but lake and hill
Were busy with their echoes still;
And, when they slept, a vocal strain
Bade their hoarse chorus wake again,
While loud a hundred clans-men raise
Their voices in their Chieftain's praise.

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