Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ That highland halls were open still " To wildered wanderers of the hill. «« Nor think you dnexpected come “ To you lone isle, our desert hoine; “ Before the beath bad lost the dew, “ Tbis moru, a couch was pulled for you; “ On yonder mountain's purple head “Have ptarmigau and heath-cock bled, “ And our broad nets bave swept the mere, “ To furnish forth your evening cheer.' “Now, by the rood, my lovely maid, “ Your courtesy has erred,' he said; « « No right have I to claim, mis placed, “ The welcome of expected guest. “ A wanderer bere, by fortune tost,

My way, my friends, my courser lost, “I ne'er before, believe me, fair, “ Have ever drawn your mountain air, “ Till on this lake's romantic strand, “I found a fay in fairy land.'

“ Not Katrine, in ber mirror blue, “Gives back the shaggy banks more true, “ Than every free born glance confessed “ The guileless movements of her breast; " Whether joy danced in her dark eye, “Or woc or pity claimed a sigh, " Or filial love was glowing there, “ Or meek devotion poured a prayer, " Or tale of injury called forth “ The indignant spirit of the north. “ One only passion unrevcaled, “ With maiden pride the innid concealed, “ Yet not less purely felt the fame;“O need I tell that passiou's name! “ Impatient of the silent horn, “ Now on the gale her voice was borne :« « Father!' she cried; the rocks around “ Loved to prolong the gentle sound. « A wbile sbe paused, no answer came, “Malcolın, was thine the blast?' the naine “ Less resolutely uttered fell, 4 The echoes could not catch the swell. ""A stranger !,' the Huntsman said, “ Advancing from the hazel shade. “ The maid alarmned, with hasly oar, “Pushed her light shallop from the shore, “ And, when a space was gained betweeu, “ Closer she drew her bosum's screen;

(So forth the startled swan would swing, “ So turn to prune his ruffled wing.) “ Then safe, though fluttered and amazed, “She paused, and on the stranger gazed. “ Not his the form, nor his the eye, “That youthful maidens wont to fly. “ On his bold visage middle age “ Had slightly pressed its siguet sage, “ Yet had not quenched the open trutlı, “ And fiery vehemence of youth; “ Forward and frolic glee was there, “ The will to do, the soul to dare, “ The sparkling glance, soon blown to fire, “Of hasty love, or headlong ire. “ His limbs were cast in manly mould, “ For hardy sports, or contest bold; « And though in peaceful garb arrayed, “ And weapouless, except his blade, " His stately mien as well implied “ A bigb-born heart, a martial pride, “ As if a baron's crest he wore, « And sheathed in armour trod the shore. “ Slighting the petty need he showed, “ He told of his benighted road; “ His ready speech Aowed fair and free, “ In phrase of gentlest courtesy ; “ Yet seemed that tone, and gesture bland, « Less used to sue than to command. “ A while the maid the stranger eyed, “ And, reassured, at last replied,

“I well believe,' the maid replied, “ As her light skiff approached the side, «« I well believe, that ne'er before “ Your foot has trod Loch-Katrine's shore; “ But yet, as far as yesternight, « Old Alban-bane foretold your plight, “A grey-baired sire, whose eye intent « Was on the visioned future bent. “ He saw your steed, a dappled grey, “ Lie dead bene: t' the birchen way; “ Painted exact your form and mien, “ Your hunting suit of Lincoln green, “ That tassellid horn so gaily gilt, “ That faulchion's crooked blade and hilt, “ That cap with heron's plumage trim, “And yon two hounds so dark and grim. “ He bade that all should ready be, “To grace a guest of fair degree; “ But light I held this prophecy, “ And deemed it was my father's born, ( Whose echoes o'er the lake were born.'

“ The stranger smiled :- Since to your home “ A destined errant knight I come, “ Announced by prophet sootb and old, “ Doomed, doubtless, for achievement bold, “I'll lightly front each high emprize, “ For one kind glance of those bright eyes ; “ Permit me, first, the task to guide “ Your fairy frigate o'er the tide.' “ The maid, with smile suppressed and sly, “ The toil unwonted saw him try; “ For seldom, sure, if e'er before, “ His noble hand had grasped an oar: “ Yet with main strength his strokes he drew, ~ And o'er the lake the shallop dew; “ With heads erect, and whimpering cry, “ The hounds behind their passage ply.

SONG.

BOAT SONG.

“ Nor frequent does the bright oar break Malcolm Græme arrive in the Island of Clan “The darkening mirror of the lake,

Alpine, and Roderick consults the Monk ag “Until the rocky isle they reach,

to the issue of the war, which his scouts in“ Aud moor their shallop on the beach." form him is preparing ly the King against

In the first Canto we cannot omit the extract them. ofthe following songs addressed to the Knigbt: The most striking part of this Canto is the

Boat Song, which is sung by the rowers of “ Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,

Roderick Dhu. It is wild, simple, and poctical, “Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking;

and even in the reading reminds us of the « Dream of battled fields no more,

peculiar strain of the Scottish melodies. “ Days of danger, nights of waking. “In our isle's enchanted hall,

“ Hail to the chief who in trimph advances, “ Hands uuseen thy couch are strewing, “ Honoured aud blessed be the ever-green “ Fairy strains of music fall,

pine ! “ Every sense in slumber dewing.

Long may the tree in bis banner that glances, « Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,

“Flourish, the shelter the grace of our live! “ Dream of fighting fields no more ;

“ Heaven send it happy dew, “ Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,

“ Earth lend it sap anew, “ Morn of toil, nor night of waking.

« Gayly to bourgeon, and broadly to grow, " Nu rude sound shall reach thine ear,

“ While every highland glen “Armour's clang, or war-steed champing,

“ Sends our shout back agen, " Trump nor pibroch summon bere

“ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! jeroe!” “ Mustering clan, or squadrop tramping.

“Ours is no sapling, chance sowu by the foun. “ Yet the lark's shrill fife may come

tain, “ At the day break from the fallow,

“ Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade; « And tbe bitiern sound bis drum,

“ When the whirlwind has stripped every leaf “ Booming from the sedgy sballow.

« on the mountain, « Ruder sounds shall pone be near,

“ The more shall Clan-Alpine exult in her “ Guards nor warders challenge here,

shade. “ Here's no war steed's neigh and champing,

“ Moored in the rifted rock, “ Shouting clans or squadrous stamping."

« Proof to the tempest's shock, " She paused-then, blushing, led the lay “ Firmer he roots bim the ruder it blow; To grace the stranger of the day;

« Menteith and Breadalbane, then, “ Her mellow votes awhile prolong

« Echoe liis praise agen, “ The cadence of tbe flowing song,

“ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe !" “ Till to her lips in measured frame

“ Proudly our pibroch has thrilled in Glen “ The minstrel verse spontaneous came.

Fruin, “ Huntsman, rest' thy chase is done,

“ And Banochar's groans to our slogan re“ While our slumbrous spells assail ye,

plied ; “ Dream not with the rising sun,

“ Glen Luss and Ross-dhu, they are smoking “ Bugles here shall sound reveillie.

in ruin, Sleep! the deer is in his den;

« And the best of Loch Lomond lie dead on "S!«ep! thy hounds are by thee lying;

her side. « Sleep! nor dream in yonder glen,

"Widow and Saxon maid “ How thy gallant staed lay dying.

“ Long shall lament our raid, “Hintimar, rest! thy chase is done,

“ Think of Clan.Alpine with fear aud with « Think not of the rising sun, “For at dawning to assai! ve,

« Lennox and Leven-glen “ Here no bugles sound reveillie."

“ Shake when they hear agen, Nothing can possibly be more elegant and

“ Roderigt Vich Alpin dhu, hu! ieroe !" more picturesque than this description, Un- ! “Row, vassals, row, for the pride of the Highquestionably it appears to us to be the finest

lands! part of the Poem, and if Mr Scott had written “Stretch to your oars for the ever-green nothing else, we should not have hesitated to

pine! have characterized him, for this only, as the « O! that the rose-bud that graces yon islands, first descriptive Poet of the day.

“ Were wreathed in a ga:laud arouud him In the second Cauto, Roderick Dhu and

to twine!

woe :

[ocr errors]

« () that some seedling gem,

“ Worthy such noble stein,
« Honoured and blessed in their shadow

might grow!
“ Lond should Clan-:Alpine tien

« Ring from her deep most glen,
“ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, lo! ieroe!"

There are in this Song, indeed, two or three of those old words of which we have before complained, and the inversions in language are perhaps unnecessary. But with these deductions it posseses much merit. Mr. Scott, indeed, seems peculiarly to excel in these Songs

In the third Canto is the assembling of the army-We regret to say, that this Canto appears to as the most defective of the whole. The language is a jargon, and fo. page after page is almost unintelligible. Ivanity is still inanity, whether in a modern dress or an anitiquated one. This nonsense is not a whit the more sufferable because it is given in the Scottish dialect. The best part of this Canto is the description of Brian, the Monk, whom Roderick consults as to the event of the expected batile: “Of Brian's birth strange tales were told, “ His mother watchd a midnight fold, “ Buiit deep within a dreary glen, “Where scatter'd lay the bones of men, “In some forgotten battle slain, “ And bleached by drifting wind and rain. “ It might have tam'd a warrior's heart, “ To view such mockery of liis art: “ The knot grass fetter'd there the band, “ Which once could burst an iron band; “ Beneath the broad and ample bope, “ That burklered heart to fear auknown, “ A feeble and a timorous guest, “The field-fare framed her lowly rest; « There the slow bliud worm left his slime « On the fleet limbs that mock'd at time; " And there too lay the leader's skull, “ Still wreath'd with chaplet fushed and full, “ For bearth bell, with her purple blooill,

Supplied the bonnet anıl the plume. All night, in this sad glen, the maid “ Sate shrouded in her mantie's shade: “She said, lo shepherd sought her side, “No bunter's land her snood untied, " Yet ne'er again to briid her hair « The virgin snood did Alice wear ; «Gone was her maiden glee and sport, “ Her maiden girdie all too sljort, “ Nor sought she from that fatal night, « Or holy church or blessed rite, << But lock d her secret in her breast, “ Aud died in traril unconfessed.

“ Alone, among his young comprers, “ Wlas Brian from his infant year's; “ A moody and heart-broken boy, “Estraugd from sympathy andjie, “ Bearing each taunt which careless tongoe “ On his mysterious linage fluvg. “ Whole nights he spent by moonlight pale, “ To wood and stream his hap to wail, “Till frantic, he as truth receiv'd « What of his birth the crowd believ'il, “And sought, in mistani meteor fire, “To meet and know his Phantom Sire! “In vain to sooth his wayward fute, " The cloister oped her pitying gate “ bu rain the learning of the age “ l'nclasped the sable.leiterud page; “ Eren in its treasures he could lud “ Food for the fever of the mind. “Eager to read whatever tells “Of magic, ciabala, and spells, “And every dark pursuit allied “ To curious and presumptious pride, « Till with fired brain and nerves o'erstraag, “And heart with mystic borrors wrong, “ Desperate be sought Beuharrow's den, “ And bid lim from the haunts of men. “ The desert gave bim risious wild, “ Surli as might suit the Spretre's cloild: “ Where with black cliff's the torrents 1001, “ He watch'd the wheeline edities foil, “ Till, from their foam, bis dazzling eyes “ Belield the river-damen rise ; “ The mountain mist took form and limb, « Of noontide bag or goblin grim; “ The midụight wind came wild and dread, “ Swelled with the voices of the dead; “ Far on the future-battle heath

“ His eyes belield the ranks of death : .“ Thus the lone Seer, from mankind lurled, “Shap'il förth a disc mohodied world. ' One lingering sympathy of mind “ Still bound bim to the mortal kind; “ The only parent he could claim " Of ancient Alpinie's lipage came. “ Late had he beard, in prophet's dream, “The fatal Ben-Shie's boding scream; “ Sounds, too, bad coine in midnight blast, « Of charging steeds, careering fast “ Along Benharrow's shingly side,

Where mortal horseman ner miglot ide : « The thunder too had split the pine',“ Allaugur'd ill to Alpine's line. “ He girt his loins, and came to show “ The signals of impending woe, « And now stood prompt to bless or bann, “ As bade the Chieftain of his clan."

We cannot fo bear iving anothe extract from this Cantv.-Tle messenger sent to as.

[ocr errors]

seinble the Clan, amongst others, summons a bridegroom « A blithsome ront that morning tide “ Haul songht the chapel of Saint Bride. u Her trotb Tombea's Mary gave " To Norman, beir of Ardmaudave, “ And issuing from the Gothic arch, * The bridal now resuned their mareb. “In rude, but glad procession, came “ Bonneted sire and coif-clad dame; “ And plaided youth, with jest and jeer, " Which snouded maiden would not hear; “ And child, en, that, unwitting why, “ Lent the gay shout their tbrilly cry; " Aud minstrels that ju measure vied “ Before the young and bonny bride,

Whose downcast eye and cheek disclose “ The tear and blush of' morning rose. " With virgin step and basbrul bani, " She held the kerchief's suowy band ; The gallant bridegroom, by her side, “ Bebeld bis prize with victor's pride, " And the glad inother in her ear “Was closly whispering word of cheer. “ ''ho meets them at the church-yard gate? “ The messenger of fear and fate! “ Haste in his hurried accent lies, “ And griet is swimming in his eyes. “ All dripping from the recent food, “ Panting and travil-soiled he stood,

The fatal sign of fire and sword “Held forth, and spoke the appointed word; «« The mustering place is Lanrick mead. “ Speed for the signal! Norman, speed!'“ And must he change so soon the hand, ~ Just linked to his by lioly band, “ For the fell Cross of blood aud brand ? u Aud must the day, so blithe that ruse, " And promised rapture in the close, “ Before its setting hour, divide “ The brjilegroom from the plighted bride? “O fatal doom ! mit must! it must! Clan- Alpine's cause, her Chieftian's trust, “ Her suminous d. ead, brooks no delay; “ Stretch to the race-away! away! “ Yet slow be laid his plaid aside, “ 410, lingering, eyed his lovely bride, "Until he saw the starting tear “ Speak woe be might not stop to cheer; “ Then trusting not a second look, “ In haste be sped him up the brook, “ Nor backward glanc'd till on the heath “ Where Lubnaig's lakes supplies the Teith. “ What in the racer's bosom stirr'd? “ The sickening pang of hope deferred, " And memory, with a torturing train • Of all his morning visions vain.

Mingled with love's impatience, came
“ The manly thirst for martial fame;

The stormy joy of mountaineers,
“ Ere yet they rush upon the spears;

Apd zeal for clan and chieftain berping,
“ Aud hope, from well-fought field returuing,
“ With war's red honours on his crest,
“ To clasp bis Mary to his breast.
“ Stung by such thoughts, o'er bank and brae,
“ Like fire from Aint be glauced away,
" While high resolve, and feeling strong,
“ Buist iu to voluntary soug.

SONG.
“ The beath this night must be my bed,
“ The bracker curtain for my head,
My lullaby the warder's tread,

“ Far, far, from love and thice, Mary
“ To-morrow eve, more stilly laid,
“My couch may be my bloody plaid,
“My vesper song, thy wail, sweet inaid!

“ It will vot waken mne, Mary!
“I may not, dare net, fancy now
“ The grief that clouds thy lovely brow,
“ I dare not think upon thy vow,

“And all it promised me, Mary.
“No fond regret must Norman know;
“ Wheo bursts Clan-Alpine on the foe,
“ His heart must be like bevded bow,

“ His foot like arrow free, Mary.
“ A time will come with feeling fraught!
“ For, if I in battle fought,
“ Tly hapless lover's dying thoughi

“ Shall be a thooght on thee, Mary.
"And if returned from conquered fues,
“ How blithely will the evening close,
“ How sweet the linnet sing repose,

“ To my young bride and me, Mary!
In the fourth Canto James Fitz-James,endea
vooring to escape from the island Clan-Alpine,
falls in with Roderick Dhu, as a shepherd.

The following Song may give a good specimen of this Canto:

BALLAD.-ALICE BRAND. “Merry it is in the good green wood,

«« When the mavis and merle are singing,
“ When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds

are in cry,
« And the hunter's horn is ringing.
“ ( Alice Brand, my native land

“ Is lost for love of you;
“ And we must hold by wood and wold,

“ As outlaws wont to do.
“O Alice, 'twas all for thy locks so bright,

“ And 'twas all for thine eyes so blue, “ That on the night of our luckless flight,

“ Thy brother bold I slow.

« Now must I teach to hew the beech,

“ The band that held the glaive, " For leaves to spread our lowly bed,

“ And stakes to fence our cave. “ And for ibe vest of pall, thy fingers small, " That wont ou barp to stray,

[deer, “ A cloak must shear from the slaughtered

“ To keep the cold away.'«« () Richard! if my brother died,

“ 'Twas but a fatal cbance; “For darkling was the battle tried,

“ And Fortune sped the lance. “ If pall and vair no more I wear,

“ Nor thou the crimson sheen, “As warm, we'll say, is the russet gray,

“ As gay the forest green. “'And, Richard, if our lot be hard,

“ And lost thy native land, u Still Alice has her own Richard,

“ Aud he his Alice Brand.' “'Tis merry, 'tis merry, in good green wood,

“ So blithe Lady Alice is singing; "Ou the beech'spride, and the vali's brown side,

“ Lord Richard's axe is ringing. “Up spoke the moody Elfin King,

“ Who won'd within the hill, “ Like wind in the porch of a ruined church,

“ His voice was ghostly sbrill. “ Why sounds yon stroke ou beech and oak,

“Qar moonlight circle's screen? “Or who comes here tu chace the dcer,

« Beloved of our Ellin Queen ? “ Or who may dare on wold to wear

" The fairic's fatal green; “Up, Urgan, up! to yon mortal bie,

u For thou wert christened man ; « For cross or sign thou wilt not fly,

" For mutter'd word or ban. “ Lay on him the curse of the withered heart

“ The curse of the sleepless eye; [part, “ Till he wish and pray that his life would

“ Nor yet fiud leave to die.' "'Tis merry, 'tis merry, in good green wooll,

Thongh the birds bave stilled i beir siuging; “ The evening blaze doth Alice raise,

“ And Richard is faggots bringing.
Up Urgan starts, that bideous dwarf,

" Before Lord Richard stands,
“ And, as he crossed and blessed himself,

“I fear not sign,' quoth the grisly elt,

“ That is made with bloody hauds.'« But out and spoke sbe, Alice Brand,

“ That woman void of fear,
And if there's blood upon his band,
"'Tis but the blood of deer.

“Now loud thou liesi, though bold of mood!

“Il cleaves unto his hand, “ The stain of thine owo kindly blood,

“ The blood of Ethert Brawl.'“ Then forward stept she, Alice Brand,

" 4:1d made the holy sign, “ Aud if there's blood on Ricbard's hand,

" A spotless hand is mine. “ And I coujure thee, Dæmon elf,

“ By Ilir whom Dæmoos fear, “ To shew us whence thou art thyself?

" And what tbine errand bere?' “ 'Tis merry, 'tis nicrry, in Fairy land,

“ When fairy birds are singing, “ When the court doth ride by their monarcha's

side, “ With bit and bridle ringing: “ And grily shines the Fairy land

“ But all its glisleving show, “ Like the idle gleam that December's beam

“ Can dart on ice and snow. “ And fading, like that varied gleam,

“ Is our inconstant shape, “ Who now like knight and ladly seem,

“ And now like dwarf and ape. “It was between the night and day,

“ When the Fairy hing has power, “ That I sunk down in a sinful fray, “ And, 'twixt life and death, was snatched

away, “To the joyless Elgy bower. « But wist I of a woman bold,

“ Who thrice my brow durst sign, “ I migbt regaiu my mortal mold,

“ As fair a form as thine." « She crossed him once she crossed him

twice“ That lady was so brave; “ The fouler grew his goblin hue,

“ The darker grew the cave. "She crossed him thrice, that lady bolol:

“ He rose beneath her hand " The fairest knight on Scottish mold,

“ Her brother, Ethert Brand ! “Merry it is in the good green wood,

" When the mavis and merle are singing, “ But merrier were they in Dumferline gley,

" When all the bells were ringing."

We shall make no extract from the fifth Canto, as it contains no peculiar beauties. It is wbully occupied with the Combat.

In the sixth Cavto the Lady of the Lake and Douglas throw themselves on the merry of King James, and and find him to be the same as

« PreviousContinue »