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I saw his plume and bonnet drop,
When hurrying from the mountain top;
To his bright eyes new lustre gave,
As if his pinions waved unseen!"
Spoke he with none?"-" With none-one word Burst when he saw the Island Lord,
Returning from the battle field."
"What answer made the Chief?"-" He kneeled,
Some mingled sounds that none might know,
Even upon Bannock's bloody plain,
Such noble front, such waving hair?
Go forth, my Song, upon thy venturous way;
And graced thy numbers with no friendly name,
All angel now-yet little less than all, While still a pilgrim in our world below! What 'vails it us that patience to recall, Which hid its own, to soothe all other woe; What 'vails to tell, how VIRTUE's purest glow Shone yet more lovely in a form so fair;And, least of all, what 'vails the world should know, That one poor garland, twined to deck thy hair, is hung upon thy hearse, to droop and wither there!
Contributions to Border Minstrelsy.
LORD RONALD'S CORONACH.a
(This ballad first appeared in Lewis's Tales of Wonder.)
THE simple tradition, upon which the following stanzas are founded, runs thus: While two Highland hunters were passing the night in a solitary bothy (a hut built for the purpose of hunting), and making merry over their venison and whisky, one of them expressed a wish, that they had pretty lasses to complete their party. The words were scarcely uttered, when two beautiful young women, habited in green, entered the hut, dancing and singing. One of the hunters was seduced, by the syren who attached herself particularly to him, to leave the hut; the other remained, and, suspicious of the fair seducers, continued to play upon a trump, or Jew's-harp, some strain, consecrated to the Virgin Mary. Day at length came, and the temptress vanished. Searching in the forest, he found the bones of his unfortunate friend, who had been torn to pieces and devoured by the fiend, into whose toils he had fallen. The place was from thence called, The Glen of the Green Women.
Glenfinlas is a tract of forest-ground, lying in the Highlands of Perthshire, not far from Callender, in Menteith. It was formerly a royal forest, and now belongs to the Earl of Moray. This country, as well as the adjacent district of Balquidder, was, in times of yore, chiefly inhabited by the Macgregors. To the west of the Forest of Glenfinlas lies Loch Katrine, and its romantic avenue, called the Trosachs. Benledi, Benmore, and Benvoirlich, are mountains in the same district, and at no great distance from Glenfinlas. The river Teith passes Callender and the Castle of Doune, and joins the Forth near Stirling. The Pass of Lenny is immediately above Callender, and is the principal access to the Highlands from that town. Glenartney is a forest, near Benvoirlich. The whole forms a sublime tract of Álpine scenery.
a Coronach is the lamentation for a deceased warrior, sung by the aged of the clan.
"For them the viewless forms of air obey,
Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair;
"O HONE a rie'! O hone a rie' !"b
O, sprung from great Macgillianore,
The chief that never feared a foe,
How, on the Teith's resounding shore,
As down from Lenny's pass you bore.
How blazed Lord Ronald's Beltane tree,
O ne'er to see Lord Ronald more!
The seer's prophetic spirit found,e
He waked his harp's harmonious sound.
Which wandering spirits shrink to hear;
Was never meant for mortal ear.
For there, 'tis said, in mystic mood,
High converse with the dead they hold,
bO hone a rie' signifies—" Alas for the prince, or chief."
The term Sassenach, or Saxon, is applied by the Highlanders to their Low-country neighbours.
d The fires lighted by the Highlanders, on the first of May, in compliance with a custom derived from the Pagan times, are termed The Beltane-tree. It is a festival celebrated with various superstitious rites, both in the north of Scotland and in Wales.
e An allusion to the second-sight.
And oft espy the fated shroud,
O so it fell, that on a day,
To rouse the red deer from their den, The chiefs have ta'en their distant way,
And scoured the deep Glenfinlas glen. No vassals wait their sports to aid,
To watch their safety, deck their board; Their simple dress, the Highland plaid,
Their trusty guard, the Highland sword. Three summer days, through brake and dell, Their whistling shafts successful flew ; And still, when dewy evening fell, The quarry to their hut they drew.
In grey Glenfinlas' deepest nook
Which murmurs through that lonely wood.
Soft fell the night, the sky was calm,
When three successive days had flown; And summer mist in dewy balm
Steeped heathy bank, and mossy stone. The moon, half hid in silvery flakes,
Afar her dubious radiance shed, Quivering on Katrine's distant lakes,
And resting on Benledi's head. Now in their hut, in social guise,
Their sylvan fare the chiefs enjoy; And pleasure laughs in Ronald's eyes,
As many a pledge he quaffs to Moy."What lack we here to crown our bliss,
While thus the pulse of joy beats high? What, but fair woman's yielding kiss,
Her panting breath, and melting eye? "To chase the deer of yonder shades,
This morning left their father's pile The fairest of our mountain maids,
The daughters of the proud Glengyle. "Long have I sought sweet Mary's heart,
And dropped the tear, and heaved the sigh; But vain the lover's wily art,
Beneath a sister's watchful eye.
"But thou mayst teach that guardian fair,
And find it hard to guard her own.