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“ 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 "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) prayscs 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.

XXXI.

SONG.

“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 barp.”
[MS. -"Noon of hunger, pight of waking.

No rude sound sball 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.”

XXXII.

1

She paused—then, blushing, led the lay
To grace the stranger of the day.

mellow notes awhile prolong
The cadence of the flowing song,
Till to her lips in measured frame
The minstrel verse spontaneous came.

SONG CONTINUED.

“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 ;

[ MS." She paused - but waked again the lay." ]
[MS. -1
“Slumber sweet our spells shall deal ye,

avail ye,

Let our slumbrous spells beguile ye." ]

Sleep! thy hounds are by thee lying;
Sleep! nor dream in yonder glen,

How thy gallant steed lay dying.
Huntsman, rest; thy chase is done,
Think not of the rising sun,
For at dawning to assail ye,
Here no bugles sound reveillé."

XXXIII.

The ball was clear'd—the stranger's bed
Was there of mountain heather spread,
Where oft a hundred guests had lain,
And dream'd their forest sports again.'
But vainly did the heath-flower shed
Its moorland fragrance round his head;
Not Ellen's spell had luild to rest
The fever of his troubled breast.
In broken dreams the image rose
Of varied perils, pains, and woes;
His steed now flounders in the brake,
Now sinks his barge upon the lake;
Now leader of a broken host,
His standard falls, his honour's lost.
Then,- from my couch may heavenly might
Chase that worst phantom of the night !-
Again return’d the scenes of youth,
Of confident undoubting truth;

' (MS." And dream'd their mountain chase again."]

Again his soul he interchanged
With friends whose hearts were long estranged.
They come, in dim procession led,
The cold, the faithless, and the dead;
As warm each hand, each brow as gay,
As if they parted yesterday.
And doubt distracts him at the view,
O were his senses false or true !
Dream'd he of death, or broken vow,
Or is it all a vision now !!

XXXIV.

At length, with Ellen in a grove
He seem'd to walk, and speak of love ;
She listen’d with a blush and sigh,
His suit was warm, his hopes were high.

1

["Ye guardian spirits, to whom map is dear,

From these foul demons shield the midnight gloom :
Angels of fancy and of love, be near,

And o'er the blank of sleep diffuse a bloom :
Evoke the sacred shades of Greece and Rome,

And let them virtue with a look impart;
But chief, awhile, 01 lend us from the tomb

Those long-lost friends for whom in love we smart,
And all with pious awe and joy-mixt woe the heart.
" Or are you sportive ?-bid the morn of youth

Rise to new light, and beam afresh the days
of innocence, simplicity, and truth;

To cares estranged, and manhood's thorny ways.
What transport, to retrace our boyish plays,

Our easy bliss, when each thing joy supplied;
The woods, the mountaios, and the warbling maze

of the wild brooks !"-Castle of Indolence, Canto 1. )

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