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How solemn on the ear would come

The holy matins' 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 cali
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.2
Yet pass we that; the war and chase
Give little choice of resting-place; -
A summer night, in greenwood spent,
Were but to-morrow's merriment :
But hosts may in these wilds abound,
Such as are better missed than found;
To meet with Highland plunderers here,
Were worse than loss of steed or deer.

MS.: "To hospitable feast and hall."

2 MS.: " And hollow trunk of some old tree,

My chamber for the night must be."


The clans who inhabited the romantic regions in the neigh borhood of Loch Katrine, were, even until a late period, much addicted to predatory excursions upon their Lowland neighbors.



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."


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,
A damsel guider of its way,

A little skiff shot to the bay,"

former times, those parts of this district, which are situated beyond the Grampian range, were rendered almost inaccessible by strong barriers of rocks, and mountains, and lakes. It was a border country, and though on the very verge of the low country, it was almost totally sequestered from the world, and, as it were, insulated with respect to society. "Tis well known that in the Highlands it was, in former times, accounted not only lawful, but honorable, among hostile tribes, to commit depredations on one another; and these habits of the age were perhaps strengthened in this district by the circumstances which have been mentioned. It bordered on a country, the inhabitants of which, while they were richer, were less warlike than they, and widely differenced by language and manners."

GRAHAM'S Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire, Edin. 1806, p. 97. The reader will therefore be pleased to remember, that the scene of this poem is laid in a time,

"When tooming faulds, or sweeping of a glen,
Had still been held the deed of gallant men."

1 MS.: "The bugle shrill again he wound,
And lo! forth starting at the sound."

2 MS.: "A little skiff shot to the bay,

The Hunter left his airy stand,

And when the boat had touch'd the sand,
Conceal'd he stood amid the brake,

To view this Lady of the Lake."

That round the promontory steep
Led its deep line in graceful sweep,
Eddying, in almost viewless wave,
The weeping willow twig to lave,

And kiss, with whispering sound and slow,
The beach of pebbles bright as snow.
The boat had touch'd this silver strand,

Just as the Hunter left his stand,
And stood conceal'd amid the brake,

To view this Lady of the Lake.
The maiden paused, as if again

She thought to catch the distant strain.
With head up-raised, and look intent,
And eye and ear attentive bent,
And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art,

In listening mood, she seem'd to stand
The guardian Naiad of the strand.


And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace'
A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,

Of finer form, or lovelier face!

What though the sun with ardent frown,
Had slightly tinged her cheek with brown,—
The sportive toil, which, short and light,
Had dyed her glowing hue so bright,

1 MS."A finer form, a fairer face,

Had never marble Nymph or Grace,
That boasts the Grecian chisel's trace."

Served too in hastier swell to show
Short glimpses of a breast of snow :
What though no rule of courtly grace
To measured mood had train'd her pace,

A foot more light, a step more true,
Ne'er from the heath-flower dash'd the dew;
E'en the slight harebell raised its head,
Elastic from her airy tread :


What though upon her speech there hung
The accents of the mountain tongue,
Those silver sounds, so soft, so clear,
The list'ner held his breath to hear!


A Chieftain's daughter seem'd the maid;
Her satin snood,2 her silken plaid,

Her golden brooch, such birth betray'd.
And seldom was a snood amid

Such wild luxuriant ringlets hid,

Whose glossy black to shame might bring
The plumage of the raven's wing;
And seldom o'er a breast so fair,
Mantled a plaid with modest care,
And never brooch the folds combined
Above a heart more good and kind.
Her kindness and her worth to spy,
You need but gaze on Ellen's eye:

1 MS. The accents of a stranger tongue." 2 See Note post. on Canto III. stanza 5.

Not Katrine, in her mirror blue,
Gives back the shaggy banks more true,
Than every free-born glance confess'd
The guileless movements of her breast;
Whether joy danced in her dark eye,
Or woe or pity claim'd 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 unreveal'd,

With maiden pride the maid conceal'd,
Yet not less purely felt the flame; —
O need I tell that passion'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 while she paused, no answer came, "Malcolm, was thine the blast?" the name Less resolutely utter'd fell,

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MS.: "A space she paused, no answer came,
'Alpine, was thine the blast?' the name
Less resolutely utter'd fell,

The echoes could not catch the swell.
'Nor foe nor friend,' the stranger said,
Advancing from the hazel shade.
The startled maid, with hasty oar,

Push'd her light shallop from the shore."


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