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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 ;
the lake 'twere safest land,
Himself would row him to the strand,
his counsel to the wind, While Malcolm did, unheeding, bind, Round dirk and pouch and broadsword rolld, 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 honoured Douglas dwell,
Like hunted stag in mountain cell ;
Nor, ere yond pride-swoll'n robber dare,
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.
Darkening 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 balloo,
And joyful from the shore withdrew.
1 [MS.—“He spoke, and plunged into the tide."]
TIME rolls his ceaseless course. The race of
yore, Who danced our infancy upon their knee, And told our marvelling boyhood legends store,
Of their strange ventures happ'd by land or sea, How are they blotted from the things that be!
How few, all weak and wither'd of their force,
1 [" There are no separate introductions to the cantos of this poem: but each of them begins with one or two stanzas in the measure of Spenser, usually containing some reflections connected with the subject about to be entered on; and written, for the most part, with great tenderness and beauty. The following we think, is among the most striking."-JEFFREY.]