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X. Then through the dell his horn resounds, From vain pursuit to call the hounds. Back limp’d, with slow and crippled pace, The sulky leaders of the chase; Close to their master's side they press'd, With drooping tail and humbled crest; But still the dingle's hollow throat Prolong'd the swelling bugle-note. The owlets started from their dreain, The eagles answer'd with their scream, Round and around the sounds were cast, Till echo seem'd an answering blast; And on the hunter hied his pace, To join some comrades of the chase; Yet often paused, so strange the road, So wondrous were the scenes it show'd.
XI. The western waves of ebbing day Rollid o'er the glen their level way; Each purple peak, each flinty spire, Was bathed in floods of living fire. But not a setting beam could glow Within the dark ravines below, Where twined the path, in shadow hid, Round many a rocky pyramid, Shooting abruptly from the dell Its thunder-splinter'd pinnacle; Round many an insulated mass, The native bulwarks of the pass, Huge as the tower which builders vain Presumptuous piled on Shinar's plain.
Their rocky summits, split and rent,
Form'd turret, dome, or battlement,
Or seem'd fantastically set
With cupola or minaret,
Wild crests as pagod ever deck’d,
Or mosque of eastern architect.
Nor were these earth-born castles bare,
Nor lack'd they many a banner fair ;
For, from their shiver'd brows display'd,
Far o'er the unfathomable glade,
All twinkling with the dew-drop sheen,
The briar-rose fell in streamers green,
And creeping shrubs, of thousand dyes,
Waved in the west-wind's summer sighs.
XII. Boon nature scatter'd, free and wild, Each plant or flower, the mountain's child ! Here eglantine embalm'd the air, Hawthorn and hazel mingled there ; The primrose pale, and violet flower, Found in each clift a narrow bower; Foxglove and nightshade, side by side, Emblems of punishment and pride, Group'd their dark hues with every stain The weather-beaten crags retain ; With boughs that quaked at every breath, Grey birch and aspen wept beneath ; Aloft, the ash and warrior oak Cast anchor in the rifted rock ; And, higher yet, the pine-tree bung His shatter'd trunk, and frequent flung, Where seem'd the cliffs to meet on high, His boughs athwart the narrow'd sky.
Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,
Where glistening streamers waved and danced,
The wanderer's eye could barely view
The summer heaven's delicious blue;
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream,
Onward, amid the copse 'gan peep
A narrow inlet, still and deep,
Affording scarce such breadth of brim,
As served the wild-duck's brood to swim ;
Lost for a space, through thickets veering,
But broader when again appearing,
Tall rocks and tufted knolls their face
Could on the dark-blue mirror trace;
And farther as the hunter stray'd,
Still broader sweep its channels made.
The shaggy mounds no longer stood,
Emerging from entangled wood,
But, wave-encircled, seem'd to float,
Like castle girdled with its moat;
Yet broader floods extending still,
Divide them from their parent hill,
Till each, retiring, claims to be
An islet in an inland sea.
And now, to issue from the glen,
No pathway meets the wanderer's ken,
Unless he climb, with footing nice,
A far-projecting precipice.
The broom's tough roots his ladder made.
The hazel saplings lent their aidi
And thus an airy point he won,
Where, gleaming with the setting sun,
One burnish'd sheet of living gold,
Loch-Katrine lay beneath him rollid;
In all her length far winding lay,
With promontory, creek, and bay,
And islands that, empurpled bright,
Floated amid the livelier light;
And mountains, that like giants stand,
To centinel enchanted land.
High on the south, huge Ben-venue
Down to the lake in masses threw
Crags, knolls, and mounds, confusedly hurl'd,
The fragments of an earlier world ;
A wildering forest feather'd o'er
His ruin'd sides and summit hoar,
While on the north, through middle air,
Ben-an heaved high his forehead bare.
XV. From the steep promontory gazed The stranger, raptured and amazed. And, “What a scene were here," he cried, “ For princely pomp or churchman's pride ! On this bold brow, a lordly tower; In that soft vale, a lady's bower ; On yonder meadow, far away, The turrets of a cloister grey ; How blithely might the bugle horn Chide, on the lake, the lingering morn! How sweet, at eve, the lover's lute Chime, when the groves were still and mute ! And, when the midnight moon did lave Her forehead in the silver wave,
How solemn on the ear would come
The holy mattin's distant hum,
While the deep peal's commanding tone
Should wake, in yonder islet lone,
A sainted hermit from his cell,
To drop a bead with every knell-
And bugle, lute, and bell, and all,
Should each bewilder'd stranger call
To friendly feast, and lighted hall.
“ Blithe were it then to wander here!
But now,-beshrew yon nimble deer,-
Like that same hermit's, thin and spare,
The copse must give my evening fare ;
Some mossy bank my couch must be,
Some rustling oak my canopy.
Yet pass we that ;—the war and chase
Give little choice of resting-place ;-
A summer night, in green-wood spent,
Were but to-morrow's merriment;-
But hosts may in these wilds abound,
Such as are better miss'd than found;
To meet with highland plunderers here
Were worse than loss of steed or deer.-
I am alone ;-my bugle strain
May call some straggler of the train ;
Or, fall the worst that may betide,
Ere now this falchion has been tried.”
XVII. But scarce again his horn he wound, When lo! forth starting at the sound, From underneath an aged oak, That slanted from the islet rock,