Imágenes de páginas



"Fair dreams are these," the maiden cried,
(Light was her accent, yet she sigh'd,)
"Yet is this mossy rock to me
Worth splendid chair and canopy;
Nor would my footsteps spring more gay
In courtly dance than blithe strathspey,
Nor half so pleased mine ear incline
To royal minstrel's lay as thine.
And then for suitors proud and high,
To bend before my conquering eye,
Thou, flattering bard! thyself with say,
That grim Sir Roderick owns its sway.
The Saxon scourge, Clan-Alpine's pride,
The terror of Loch Lomond's side,
Would, at my suit, thou know'st, delay
A Lennox foray-for a day."-


The ancient bard his glee repress'd :
"Ill hast thou chosen theme for jest!
For who, through all this western wild,
Named Black Sir Roderick e'er, and smiled!
In Holy-Rood a knight he slew ;'


I saw, when back the dirk he drew,

[MS.-"This mossy rock, my friend, to me

Is worth gay chair and canopy."]

2 [See Appendix, Note C.]



Courtiers give place before the stride
Of the undaunted homicide; '


And since, though outlaw'd, hath his hand
Full sternly kept his mountain land.
Who else dared give-ah! woe the day,
That I such hated truth should say—


The Douglas, like a stricken deer,
Disown'd by every noble peer,
Even the rude refuge we have here?


[MS." Courtiers give place with heartless stride
Of the retiring homicide."]

[MS." Who else dared own the kindred claim
That bound him to thy mother's name?
Who else dared give," etc.]

3 The exiled state of this powerful race is not exaggerated in this and subsequent passages. The hatred of James against the race of Douglas was so inveterate, that numerous as their allies were, and disregarded as the regal authority had usually been in similar cases, their nearest friends, even in the most remote parts of Scotland, durst not entertain them, unless under the strictest and closest disguise. James Douglas, son of the banished Earl of Angus, afterwards well known by the title of Earl of Morton, lurked, during the exile of his family, in the north of Scotland, under the assumed name of James Innes, otherwise James the Grieve, (i. e. Reve or Bailiff.) "And as he bore the name," says Godscroft, "so did he also execute the office of a grieve or overseer of the lands and rents, the corn and cattle of him with whom he lived." From the habits of frugality and observation, which he acquired in his humble situation, the historian traces that intimate acquaintance with popular character, which enabled him to rise so high in the state, and that honourable economy by which he repaired and established the shattered estates of Angus and Morton.-History of the House of Douglas, Edinburgh, 1745, vol. ii. p. 460.

Alas, this wild marauding Chief
Alone might hazard our relief,
And, now thy maiden charms expand,
Looks for his guerdon in thy hand;
Full soon may dispensation sought,
To back his suit, from Rome be brought.
Then, though an exile on the hill,
Thy father, as the Douglas, still
Be held in reverence and fear;

And though to Roderick thou'rt so dear,
That thou mightst guide with silken thread,
Slave of thy will, this chieftain dread;
Yet, O loved maid, thy mirth refrain !
Thy hand is on a lion's mane."


"Minstrel," the maid replied, and high
Her father's soul glanced from her eye,
"My debts to Roderick's house I know :
All that a mother could bestow,
To Lady Margaret's care I owe,
Since first an orphan in the wild
She sorrow'd o'er her sister's child;
To her brave chieftain son, from ire
Of Scotland's king who shrouds my sire,
A deeper, holier debt is owed;
And, could I pay it with my blood,
Allan! Sir Roderick should command
My blood, my life,-but not my hand.
Rather will Ellen Douglas dwell

A votaress in Maronnan's cell; '
Rather through realms beyond the sea,
Seeking the world's cold charity,
Where ne'er was spoke a Scottish word,
And ne'er the name of Douglas heard,
An outcast pilgrim will she rove,
Than wed the man she cannot love,'


"Thou shakest, good friend, thy tresses grey-
That pleading look, what can it say
But what I own?—I grant him brave,

But wild as Bracklinn's thundering wave; 3

The parish of Kilmaronock, at the eastern extremity of LochLomond, derives its name from a cell or chapel, dedicated to Saint Maronoch, or Marnoch, or Maronnan, about whose sanctity very little is now remembered. There is a fountain devoted to him in the same parish; but its virtues, like the merits of its patron, have fallen into oblivion.

2 ["Ellen is most exquisitely drawn, and could not have been improved by contrast. She is beautiful, frank, affectionate, rational, and playful, combining the innocence of a child with the elevated sentiments and courage of a heroine."—Quarterly Review.]

3 This is a beautiful cascade made by a mountain stream called the Keltie, at a place called the Bridge of Bracklinn, about a mile from the village of Callender, in Menteith. Above a chasm, where the brook precipitates itself from a height of at least fifty feet, there is thrown, for the convenience of the neighbourhood, a rustic foot-bridge, of about three feet in breadth, and without ledges, which is scarcely to be crossed by a stranger without awe and apprehension.

And generous-save vindictive mood,
Or jealous transport, chafe his blood :
I grant him true to friendly band,
As his claymore is to his hand;
But O! that very blade of steel
More mercy for a foe would feel:
I grant him liberal, to fling

Among his clan the wealth they bring,
When back by lake and glen they wind,
And in the Lowland leave behind,
Where once some pleasant hamlet stood,
A mass of ashes slaked with blood.
The hand that for my father fought,
I honour, as his daughter ought;
But can I clasp it reeking red,

From peasants slaughter'd in their shed?
No! wildly while his virtues gleam,
They make his passions darker seem,
And flash along his spirit high,
Like lightning o'er the midnight sky.
While yet a child,--and children know,
Instinctive taught, the friend and foe,--
I shudder'd at his brow of gloom,
His shadowy plaid, and sable plume;
A maiden grown, I ill could bear
His haughty mien and lordly air :
But, if thou join'st a suitor's claim,
In serious mood, to Roderick's name,
I thrill with anguish ! or, if e'er
A Douglas knew the word, with fear.

« AnteriorContinuar »