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Then Roderick from the Douglas broke—
As flashes flame through sable smoke,
Kindling its wreaths, long, dark, and low,
To one broad blaze of ruddy glow.
So the deep anguish of despair
Burst, in fierce jealousy, to air—
With stalwart grasp his hand he laid
On Malcolm's breast and belted plaid:
"Back, beardless boy !" he sternly said,
"Back, minion! holdst thou thus at naught
The lesson I so lately taught?

This roof, the Douglas, and that maid,
Thank thou for punishment delay'd."-
Eager as greyhound on his game,
Fiercely with Roderick grappled Græme.
"Perish my name, if aught afford
Its chieftain safety, save his sword!"
Thus as they strove, their desperate hand
Griped to the dagger or the brand,
And death had been-but Douglas rose,
And thrust between the struggling foes
His giant strength :-" Chieftains, forego!
I hold the first who strikes, my foe.-
Madmen, forbear your frantic jar!
What is the Douglas fallen so far,
His daughter's hand is deem'd the spoil
Of such dishonourable broil !"-
Sullen and slowly, they unclasp,

As struck with shame, their desperate grasp,
And each upon his rival glared,

With foot advanced, and blade half bared.


Ere yet the brands aloft were flung,
Margaret on Roderick's mantle hung,
And Malcolm heard his Ellen's scream,
As falter'd through terrific dream.
Then Roderick plunged in sheath his sword,
And veil'd his wrath in scornful word.
"Rest safe till morning; pity 'twere
Such cheek should feel the midnight air!
Then mayst thou to James Stuart tell,
Roderick will keep the lake and fell,
Nor lackey, with his free-born clan,
The pageant pomp of earthly man.
More would he of Clan-Alpine know,
Thou canst our strength and passes show.-
Malise, what ho !"-his henchman came;
"Give our safe-conduct to the Græme."
Young Malcolm answer'd, calm and bold,
"Fear nothing for thy favourite hold.
The spot, an angel deign'd to grace,
Is bless'd, though robbers haunt the place;
Thy churlish courtesy for those
Reserve, who fear to be thy foes.
As safe to me the mountain way
At midnight, as in blaze of day,
Though, with his boldest at his back,
Even Roderick Dhu beset the track.-
Brave Douglas,-lovely Ellen,-nay,
Nought here of parting will I say.
Earth does not hold a lonesome glen,
So secret, but we meet agen.—
Chieftain we too shall find an hour"-
He said, and left the sylvan bower.


Old Allan follow'd to the strand,
(Such was the Douglas's command,)
And anxious told, how, on the morn,
The stern Sir Roderick deep had sworn,
The Fiery Cross should circle o'er
Dale, glen, and valley, down and moor.
Much were the peril to the Græme,
From those who to the signal came;
Far up the lake 'twere safest land,
Himself would row him to the strand.
He gave his counsel to the wind,
While Malcolm did, unheeding, bind,
Round dirk and pouch and broad-sword roll'd,
His ample plaid in tighten'd fold,
And stripp'd his limbs to such array,
As best might suit the watery way.


Then spoke abrupt: "Farewell to thee,
Pattern of old fidelity!"

The minstrel's hand he kindly press'd,
"O! could I point a place of rest!
My sovereign holds in ward my land,
My uncle leads my vassal band;
To tame his foes, his friends to aid,
Poor Malcolm has but heart and blade.
Yet, if there be one faithful Græme,
Who loves the Chieftain of his name,
Not long shall honour'd Douglas dwell,
Like hunted stag, in mountain cell;
Nor, ere yon pride-swollen robber dare,-
I may not give the rest to air!

Tell Roderick Dhu, I owed him nought,
Not the poor service of a boat,
To waft me to yon mountain side.”—
Then plunged he in the flashing tide.
Bold o'er the flood his head he bore,
And stoutly steer'd him from the shore;
And Allan strain'd his anxious eye,
Far mid the lake his form to spy,
Dark'ning across each puny wave,
To which the moon her silver gave.
Fast as the cormorant could skim,
The swimmer plied each active limb;
Then, landing in the moonlight dell,
Loud shouted of his weal to tell.
The minstrel heard the far halloo,
And joyful from the shore withdrew.




Note I.

Morn's genial influence waked a minstrel grey-St. I. p. 37. That Highland chieftains, to a late period, retained in their service the bard, as a family officer, admits of very easy proof. The author of the Letters from Scotland, an officer of engineers, quartered at Inverness about 1720, who certainly cannot be deemed a favourable witness, gives the following account of the office, and of a bard, whom he heard exercise his talent of recitation :

"The bard is skilled in the genealogy of all the Highland families, sometimes preceptor to the young laird, celebrates in Irish verse the original of the tribe, the famous warlike actions of the successive heads, and sings his own lyricks as an opiate to the chief, when indisposed for sleep; but poets are not equally esteemed and honoured in all countries. I happened to be a witness of the dishonour done to the muse, at the house of one of the chiefs, where two of these bards were set at a good distance, at the lower end of a long table, with a parcel of highlanders of no extraordinary appearance, over a cup of ale. Poor inspiration!

"They were not asked to drink a glass of wine at our table, though the whole company consisted only of the great man, one of his near relations, and myself.

"After some little time, the chief ordered one of them to sing me a highland song. The bard readily obeyed, and with a hoarse voice, and in a tone of few various notes, began, as I was told, one of his own lyricks; and when he had proceeded to the fourth or fifth stanza, I perceived by the names of several persons, glens, and mountains, which I had known or heard of before, that it was an account of some clan battle. But in his going on, the chief (who piques himself upon his school-learning), at some particular passage, bid him cease, and cryed out, There's nothing like that in Virgil or Homer.' I bowed, and told him I believed so. This you may believe was very edifying and delightful."-Letters from Scotland, ii. 167.

Note II.

The Grame,-St. VI. p. 40.

The ancient and powerful family of Graham (which, for metrical reasons, is here spelled after the Scottish pronunciation), held extensive

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