Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

And solitary heath, the signal knew;
And fast the faithful clan around him drew,

What time the warning note was keenly wound, What time aloft their kindred banner flew, [sound,

While clamorous war-pipes yell'd the gathering And while the Fiery Cross glanced, like a meteor,

round.

[ocr errors]

II.

The summer dawn's reflected hue
To purple changed Loch Katrine blue;
Mildly and soft the western breeze
Just kiss'd the lake, just stirr’d the trees,
And the pleased lake, like maiden coy,
Trembled but dimpled not for joy ;
The mountain-shadows on her breast
Were neither broken nor at rest;
In bright uncertainty they lie,
Like future joys to Fancy's eye.
The water-lily to the light
Her chalice rear'd of silver bright;
The doe awoke, and to the lawn,'
Begemm’d with dewdrops, led her fawn;
The grey mist left the mountain side,
The torrent show'd its glistening pride;

1

2

(See Appendix, Note F.]
[MS.-" The doe awoke, and to the lawn,

Begemm'd with dewdrops, led her fawn;
Invisible in fleecy cloud,
The lark sent down her matins loud;
The light mist left," etc. ]

Invisible in flecked sky,
The lark sent down her revelry;
The blackbird and the speckled thrush
Good-morrow gave from brake and bush;'
In answer coo'd the cushat dove
Her notes of peace, and rest, and love.

III.

No thought of peace, no thought of rest,
Assuaged the storm in Roderick's breast.
With sheathed broadsword in his hand,
Abrupt he paced the islet strand,
And eyed the rising sun, and laid
His hand on his impatient: blade.
Beneath a rock, his vassals' care:
Was prompt the ritual to prepare,
With deep and deathful meaning fraught;
For such Antiquity had taught
Was preface meet, ere yet abroad
The Cross of Fire should take its road.
The shrinking band stood oft aghast
At the impatient glance he cast;—
Such glance the mountain eagle threw,
As, from the cliffs of Benvenue,

[ocr errors]

[

-“The green bills Are clotbed with early blossoms; through the grass The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills or summer-birds sing welcome as ye pašs."-Childe Harold. ]

[ MS."Hard by, bis vassals' early care

The mystic ritual prepare.")

She spread her dark sails on the wind,
And, high in middle heaven reclined,
With her broad shadow on the lake,
Silenced the warblers of the brake.

IV.

A heap of wither’d boughs was piled,
Of juniper and rowan wild,
Mingled with shivers from the oak,
Rent by the lightning's recent stroke.
Brian, the Hermit, by it stood,
Barefooted, in his frock and hood.
His grisled beard and matted hair
Obscured a visage of despair;
His naked arms and legs, seam'd o'er,
The scars of frantic penance bore.
That monk, of savage form and face,'
The impending danger of his race
Had drawn from deepest solitude,
Far in Benbarrow's bosom rude.
Not his the mien of Christian priest,
But Druid's, from the grave released,
Whose harden'd heart and eye might brook
On human sacrifice to look;
And much, 'twas said, of heathen lore
Mix'd in the charms he mutter'd o'er.
The hallow'd creed gave only worse?

1

(See Appendix, Note G.]

(MS.-"While the bless'd creed gave only worse." )

2

And deadlier emphasis of curse;
No peasant sought that Hermit's prayer,
His cave the pilgrim shunn'd with care,
The eager huntsman knew his bound,
And in mid chase callid off his hound;
Or if, in lonely glen or strath,
The desert-dweller met his path,
He pray'd, and sign'd the cross between,
While terror took devotion's mien.'

V.

Of Brian's birth strange tales were told.»
His mother watch'd a midnight fold,
Built deep within a dreary glen,

1

[MS - -"He pray'd, with many a cross between,

And terror took devotion's mien."] • The legend which follows is not of the author's invention. It is possible he may differ from modern critics, in supposing that the records of human superstition, if peculiar to, and characteristic of, the country in which the scene is laid, are a legitimate subject of poetry. He gives, however, a ready assent to the narrower proposition which condemns all attempts of an irreglar and disordered fancy to excite terror, by accumulating a train of fantastic and incoherent horrors, whether borrowed from all countries, and patched upon a narrative belonging to one wliich knew them not, or derived from the author's own imagination. In the present case, therefore, I appeal to the record which I have transcribed, with the variation of a very few words, from the geographical collections made by the Laird of Macfarlane. I know not whether it be necessary to remark, that the miscellaneous concourse of youths, and maidens on the night and on the spot where the miracle is said to have taken place, might, even in a credulous

Where scatter'd lay the bones of men,
In some forgotten battle slain,
And bleach'd by drifting wind and rain.
It might have tamed a warrior's heart,'

age, have somewhat diminished the wonder which accompanied the conception of Gilli-Doir-Magrevollich.

“There is bot two myles from Inverloghie, the church of Kilmalee, in Loghyeld. In ancient tymes there was ane church builded upon ane hill, which was above this church, which doeth now stand in this toune; and ancient men doeth say, that there was a battell foughten on ane litle hill not the tenth part of a myle from this church, be certaine men which they did not know what they were. And long tyme thereafter, certaine herds of that toune, and of the next toune, called Unnatt both wenches and youthes, did on a tyme conveen with others on that hill; and the day being somewhat cold, did gather the bones of the dead men that were slayne long tyme before in that place, and did make a fire to warm them. At last they did all remove from the fire, except one maid or wench, which was verie cold, and she did remaine there for a space. She being quyetlie her alone, without anie other companie, took up her cloaths above her knees, or thereby, to warm her; a wind did come and caste the ashes upon her, and she was conceived of ane man-chyld. Severall tymes thereafter she was verie sick, and at last she was knowne to be with chyld. And then her parents did ask at her the matter heiroff, which the wench could not weel answer which way to satisfie them. At last she resolved them with ane answer. As fortune fell upon her concerning this marvellous miracle, the chyld being borne, his name was called Gili-doir Maghrevollich. That is to say, the Black Child, Son to the Bones. So called, his grandfather sent him to schooll, and so he was a good schollar, and godlie. He did build this church which doeth now stand in Lochyeld, called Kilmalie.”—MACFARLANE, ut supra, ii. 188.

p"There is something of pride in the perilous hour,

Wbate'er be the shape to which death may lower ;

1

« AnteriorContinuar »