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"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,
Far up the lengthened lake were spied
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.
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,
The war-pipes ceased; but lake and hill