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The mistress of the mansion came,
Mature of age, a graceful dame;
Whose easy step and stately port
Had well become a princely court,

To whom, though more than kindred knew,
Young Ellen gave a mother's due.'

Meet welcome to her guest she made,
And every courteous rite was paid,
That hospitality could claim,

Though all unask'd his birth and name. "
Such then the reverence to a guest,
That fellest foe might join the feast,
And from his deadliest foeman's door
Unquestion'd turn, the banquet o'er.
At length his rank the stranger names,
"The Knight of Snowdoun, James Fitz-James;
Lord of a barren heritage,

Which his brave sires, from age to age,

By their good swords had held with toil;
His sire had fall'n in such turmoil,

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[MS.-" To whom, though more remote her claim,
Young Ellen gave a mother's name."]

2 The Highlanders, who carried hospitality to a punctilious excess, are said to have considered it as churlish, to ask a stranger his name or lineage before he had taken refreshment. Feuds were so frequent among them, that a contrary rule would in many cases have produced the discovery of some circumstance, which might have excluded the guest from the benefit of the assistance he stood in need of.

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And he, God wot, was forced to stand
Oft for his right with blade in hand.
This morning with Lord Moray's train
He chased a stalwart stag in vain,
Outstripp'd his comrades, miss'd the deer,
Lost his good steed, and wander'd here."


Fain would the Knight in turn require
The name and state of Ellen's sire.
Well show'd the elder lady's mien, '
That courts and cities she had seen;
Ellen, though more her looks display'd2
The simple grace of silvan maid,
In speech and gesture, form and face,
Show'd she was come of gentle race;
"Twere strange in ruder rank to find
Such looks, such manners, and such mind.
Each hint the Knight of Snowdoun gave,
Dame Margaret heard with silence grave;
Or Ellen, innocently gay,

Turn'd all enquiry light away :—

[MS.-"Well show'd the mother's easy mien."]
[MS.-" Ellen, though more her looks betray'd
The simple heart of mountain maid,
In speech and gesture, form and grace,
Show'd she was come of gentle race;
'Twas strange, in birth so rude to find
Such face, such manners, and such mind.
Each anxious hint the stranger gave,
The mother heard with silence grave."]

"Weird women we! by dale and down
We dwell, afar from tower and town.
We stem the flood, we ride the blast,
On wandering knights our spells we cast;
While viewless minstrels touch the string,
'Tis thus our charmed rhymes we sing."
She sung, and still a harp unseen
Fill'd up the symphony between. '

I 6 "They" (meaning the Highlanders) "delight much in musicke, but chiefly in harps and clairschoes of their own fashion. The strings of the clairschoes are made of brass wire, and the strings of the harps of sinews; which strings they strike either with their nayles, growing long, or else with an instrument appointed for that use. They take great pleasure to decke their harps and clairschoes with silver and precious stones; the poore ones that cannot attayne hereunto, decke them with christall. They sing verses prettily compound, contayning( for the most part) prayses of valiant men. There is not almost any other argument whereof their rhymes intreat. They speak the ancient French language, altered a little."*"The harp and clairschoes are now only heard of in the Highlands in ancient song. At what period these instruments ceased to be used, is not on record; and tradition is silent on this head. But, as Irish harpers occasionally visited the Highlands and Western Isles till lately, the harp might have been extant so late as the middle of the present century. Thus far we know, that from remote times down to the present, harpers were received as welcome guests, particularly in the Highlands of Scotland; and so late as the latter end of the sixteenth century, as appears by the above quotation, the harp was in common use among the natives of the Western Isles. How it happened that the noisy and inharmonious bagpipe banished

* Vide "Certayne Matters concerning the Realme of Scotland, etc. as they were Anno Domini 1597. Lond. 1603." 4to.



"Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,

Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking: Dream of battled fields no more,

Days of danger, nights of waking. In our isle's enchanted hall,

Hands unseen thy couch are strewing,

Fairy strains of music fall,

Every sense in slumber dewing.
Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Dream of fighting fields no more:
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking
Morn of toil, nor night of waking. '

"No rude sound shall reach thine ear,

Armour's clang, or war-steed champing,

the soft and expressive harp, we cannot say; but certain it is, that the bagpipe is now the only instrument that obtains universally in the Highland districts."-CAMPBELL'S Journey through North Britain. Lond. 1808. 4to. I. 175.

Mr. Gunn, of Edinburgh, has lately published a curious Essay upon the Harp and Harp Music of the Highlands of Scotland. That the instrument was once in common use there, is most certain. Cleland numbers an acquaintance with it among the few accomplishments which his satire allows to the Highlanders :"In nothing they're accounted sharp, Except in bagpipe or in harp."

[MS.-"Noon of hunger, night of waking.

No rude sound shall rouse thine ear."}

Trump nor pibroch summon here
Mustering clan, or squadron tramping.
Yet the lark's shrill fife may come
At the day-break from the fallow,
And the bittern sound his drum,
Booming from the sedgy shallow.
Ruder sounds shall none be near,
Guards nor warders challenge here,
Here's no war-steed's neigh and champing,
Shouting clans or squadrons stamping."


She paused-then, blushing, led the lay
To grace the stranger of the day.
Her mellow notes awhile prolong

The cadence of the flowing song,

Till to her lips in measured frame
The minstrel verse spontaneous came.



"Huntsman, rest! thy chase is done,
While our slumbrous spells assail ye, '
Dream not, with the rising sun,
Bugles here shall sound reveillé.

Sleep! the deer is in his den;

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[MS." She paused-but waked again the lay."]

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