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THE LADY OF THE LAKE.
CANTO THE FIRST.
HARP of the North! that mouldering long hast hung
On the witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's
And down the fitful breeze thy numbers flung, Till envious ivy did around thee cling,
Muffling with verdant ringlet every string, — O Minstrel Harp, still must thine accents sleep? Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring, Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep, Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep?
Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon,
Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd, When lay of hopeless love, or glory won, Aroused the fearful, or subdued the proud.
At each according pause was heard aloud Thine ardent symphony sublime and high! Fair dames and crested chiefs attention
For still the burden of thy minstrelsy
Was Knighthood's dauntless deed and Beauty's matchless eye.
O wake once more! how rude soe'er the hand That ventures o'er thy magic maze to stray; O wake once more! though scarce my skill command
Some feeble echoing of thine earlier lay: Though harsh and faint, and soon to die
And all unworthy of thy nobler strain,
Yet if one heart throb higher at its sway, The wizard note has not been touch'd in vain. Then silent be no more! Enchantress, wake again!
THE stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
The deep-mouth'd bloodhound's heavy bay
And faint, from farther distance borne,
As Chief, who hears his warder call,
The dew-drops from his flanks he shook;
That thicken'd as the chase drew nigh;
Yell'd on the view the opening pack;