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Ave Maria! undefiled!

The flinty couch we now must share' Shall seem with down of eider piled,

If thy protection hover there.

The murky cavern's heavy air 2

Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled; Then, Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer,

Mother, list a suppliant child!

Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! stainless styled!
Foul demons of the earth and air,
From this their wonted haunt exiled,
Shall flee before thy presence fair.
We bow us to our lot of care,

Beneath thy guidance reconciled;
Hear for a maid a maiden's prayer,

And for a father hear a child!

Ave Maria!

XXX.

Died on the harp the closing hymn -
Unmoved in attitude and limb,
As list'ning still, Clan-Alpine's lord
Stood leaning on his heavy sword,
Until the page, with humble sign,
Twice pointed to the sun's decline.

1 MS.: “The flinty couch my sire must share.” 2 MS. "The murky grotto's noxious air.”

Then while his plaid around him cast,
"It is the last time-'tis the last,"
He muttered thrice,-"the last time e'er
That angel-voice shall Roderick hear!"
It was a goading thought—his stride
Hied hastier down the mountain-side;
Sullen he flung him in the boat,
And instant 'cross the lake it shot.
They landed in that silvery bay,
And eastward held their hasty way,
Till, with the latest beams of light,
The band arrived on Lanrick height,
Where muster'd, in the vale below,'
Clan-Alpine's men in martial show.

XXXI.

A various scene the clansmen made,
Some sate, some stood, some slowly stray'd;

But most with mantles folded round,

Were couch'd to rest upon the ground,
Scarce to be known by curious eye,
From the deep heather where they lie,
So well was match'd the tartan screen
With heath-bell dark and brackens green;
Unless where, here and there, a blade,
Or lance's point, a glimmer made,

Like glow-worm twinkling through the shade,

'MS.: "Where broad extending far below,

Muster'd Clan-Alpine's martial show."

But when, advancing through the gloom,
They saw the Chieftain's eagle plume,
Their shout of welcome, shrill and wide,
Shook the steep mountain's steady side.
Thrice it arose, and lake and fell
Three times return'd the martial yell;
It died upon Bochastle's plain,

And silence claimed her evening reign.

CANTO FOURTH.

THE PROPHECY.

I

"THE rose is fairest when 'tis budding new,
And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears
The rose is sweetest wash'd with morning dew,
And love is loveliest when embalm'd in tears.
O wilding rose, whom' fancy thus endears,

I bid your blossoms in my bonnet wave,
Emblem of hope and love through future years!"
Thus spoke young Norman, heir of Armandave,
What time the sun arose on Vennachar's broad wave,

II.

Such fond conceit, half said, half sung,

Love prompted to the bridegroom's tongue.

All while he stripp'd the wild-rose spray,

His axe and bow beside him lay,

For on a pass 'twixt lake and wood,

A wakeful sentinel he stood.

Hark! on the rock a footstep rung,
And instant to his arms he sprung.

1 MS.: "And rapture dearest when obscured by fears."

66

Stand, or thou diest!—What, Malise?—soon Art thou return'd from Braes of Doune.

By thy keen step and glance I know, 'Thou bring'st us tidings of the foe."

(For while the Fiery Cross hied on,

On distant scout had Malise gone.) "Where sleeps the Chief?" the henchman said. "Apart in yonder misty glade;

To his lone couch I'll be your guide."

'Then call'd a slumberer by his side,

And stirr'd him with his slacken'd bow-
"Up, up, Glentarkin! rouse thee, ho!
We seek the Chieftain; on the track,
Keep eagle watch till I come back."

III.

Together up the pass they sped:
"What of the foemen?" Norman said.
"Varying reports from near and far;
This certain,-that a band of war
Has for two days been ready boune,

At prompt command, to march from Doune;
King James, the while, with princely powers,
Holds revelry in Stirling towers.

Soon will this dark and gathering cloud
Speak on our glens in thunder loud.
Inured to bide such bitter bout,

The warrior's plaid may bear it out;

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