Imágenes de páginas

Moves our free course by such fixed cause
As gives the poor mechanic laws?
Enough, I sought to drive away
The lazy hours of peaceful day;
Slight cause will then suffice to guide
A Knight's free footsteps far and wide,
A falcon flown, a greyhound strayed,
The merry glance of mountain maid;
Or, if a path be dangerous known,
The danger's self is lure alone."




"Thy secret keep, I urge thee not;-
Yet, ere again ye sought this spot,
Say, heard ye naught of Lowland war,
Against Clan-Alpine, raised by Mar?"
"No, by my word; - of bands prepared
To guard King James's sports I heard;
Nor doubt I aught, but, when they hear
This muster of the mountaineer,
Their pennons will abroad be flung,
Which else in Doune had peaceful hung."
"Free be they flung! for we were loath
Their silken folds should feast the moth.
Free be they flung! — as free shall wave
Clan-Alpine's pine in banner brave.
But, stranger, peaceful since you came,
Bewildered in the mountain-game,

[blocks in formation]

85. Lure. Enticement; that which invites by the prospect of advantage or pleasure. -93. Muster. Gathering. -94. Pennons. Flags or streamers. 95. Doune. Note, Canto V., line 492.

Whence the bold boast by which you show
Vich-Alpine's vowed and mortal foe?"
"Warrior, but yester-morn I knew
Naught of thy Chieftain, Roderick Dhu,
Save as an outlawed, desperate man,
The chief of a rebellious clan,
Who, in the Regent's court and sight,
With ruffian dagger stabbed a knight;
Yet this alone might from his part
Sever each true and loyal heart."


Wrathful at such arraignment foul,

Dark lowered the clansman's sable scowl.
A space he paused, then sternly said,

"And heardst thou why he drew his blade?
Heardst thou that shameful word and blow
Brought Roderick's vengeance on his foe?
What recked the Chieftain if he stood
On Highland heath or Holy-Rood?
He rights such wrong where it is given,
If it were in the court of heaven.”
"Still was it outrage; - yet, 'tis true,
Not then claimed sovereignty his due;
While Albany with feeble hand

Held borrowed truncheon of command,

The young King, mewed in Stirling tower,
Was stranger to respect and power.






112. Arraignment. Accusation. -113. Lowered. Frowned. 119. Holy Rood. Note, Canto II., line 221.124. Albany. Stewart, Duke of Albany, was regent or ruler during the minority of the king.125. Truncheon. Staff. 126. Mewed. Imprisoned.


127. Stranger to respect and power. There is scarcely a more dis

But then, thy Chieftain's robber life!
Winning mean prey by causeless strife,
Wrenching from ruined Lowland swain
His herds and harvest reared in vain, --
Methinks a soul like thine should scorn
The spoils from such foul foray borne."


The Gael beheld him grim the while,
And answered with disdainful smile:


Saxon, from yonder mountain high,
I marked thee send delighted eye
Far to the south and east, where lay,
Extended in succession gay,



Deep waving fields and pastures green,


With gentle slopes and groves between:

These fertile plains, that softened vale,

Were once the birthright of the Gael,
The stranger came with iron hand,
And from our fathers reft the land.
Where dwell we now? See, rudely swell
Crag over crag, and fell o'er fell.

Ask we this savage hill we tread

For fattened steer or household bread,
Ask we for flocks these shingles dry,
And well the mountain might reply,-
'To you, as to your sires of yore,

Belong the target and claymore!



orderly period in Scottish history than that which succeeded the battle of Flodden, and occupied the minority of James V. Feuds of ancient standing broke out like old wounds, and every quarrel among the independent nobility, which occurred daily, and almost hourly, gave rise to fresh bloodshed. SCOTT.

I give you shelter in my breast,

Your own good blades must win the rest.'
Pent in this fortress of the North,
Think'st thou we will not sally forth,
To spoil the spoiler as we may,
And from the robber rend the prey?
Ay, by my soul!— While on yon plain
The Saxon rears one shock of grain,
While of ten thousand herds there strays
But one along yon river's maze,
The Gael, of plain and river heir,
Shall with strong hand redeem his share.

[ocr errors]




Where live the mountain Chiefs who hold

That plundering Lowland field and fold
Is aught but retribution true?

Seek other cause 'gainst Roderick Dhu."


Answered Fitz-James: "And, if I sought,
Think'st thou no other could be brought?
What deem ye of my path waylaid?
My life given o'er to ambuscade?”


156. Pent. Shut up.-161. Shock. A pile of sheaves or bundles of grain. 163. Maze. Winding course.

169. Seek other cause 'gainst Roderick Dhu. So far, indeed, was a Creagh, or foray, from being held disgraceful, that a young chief was always expected to show his talents for command, so soon as he assumed it, by leading his clan on a successful enterprise of this nature, either against a neighboring sept, for which constant feuds usually furnished an apology, or against the Saxons, or Lowlanders, for which no apology was necessary. The Gael, great traditional historians, never forgot that the Lowlands had, at some remote period, been the property of their Celtic forefathers, which furnished an ample vindication of all the ravages that they could make on the unfortunate districts which lay within their reach. SCOTT.

173. Ambuscade. A concealed place where troops lie hidden.

"As of a meed to rashness due:
Hadst thou sent warning fair and true,-
I seek my hound or falcon strayed,
I seek, good faith, a Highland maid,
Free hadst thou been to come and
But secret path marks secret foe.

Nor yet for this, even as a spy,


Hadst thou, unheard, been doomed to die,
Save to fulfil an augury."



"Well, let it pass; nor will I now

Fresh cause of enmity avow,

To chafe thy mood and cloud thy brow.
Enough, I am by promise tied


To match me with this man of pride:
Twice have I sought Clan-Alpine's glen
In peace; but when I come again,
I come with banner, brand, and bow,
As leader seeks his mortal foe.
For love-lorn swain in lady's bower
Ne'er panted for the appointed hour,
As I, until before me stand

This rebel Chieftain and his band!"




"Have then thy wish!"-He whistled shrill,
And he was answered from the hill;

Wild as the scream of the curlew,

From crag to crag the signal flew.
Instant, through copse and heath, arose
Bonnets and spears and bended bows;


198. Curlew. Wading-bird frequenting the sea-shore in winter and the mountains in summer.

« AnteriorContinuar »