Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

And seldom was a snood amid

365

Such wild luxuriant ringlets hid,

Whose glossy black to shame might bring
The plumage of the raven's wing;
And seldom o'er a breast so fair
Mantled a plaid with modest care,

And never brooch the folds combined
Above a heart more good and kind.
Her kindness and her worth to spy,
You need but gaze on Ellen's eye;
Not Katrine in her mirror blue
Gives back the shaggy banks more true,
Than every free-born glance confessed
The guileless movements of her breast;
Whether joy danced in her dark eye,
Or woe or pity claimed a sigh,
Or filial love was glowing there,
Or meek devotion poured a prayer,
Or tale of injury called forth
The indignant spirit of the North.
One only passion unrevealed

With maiden pride the maid concealed,
Yet not less purely felt the flame; -
O, need I tell that passion's name?

XX.

Impatient of the silent horn,

Now on the gale her voice was borne:
"Father!" she cried; the rocks around
Loved to prolong the gentle sound.

368. Raven. A bird like the crow.

381. Filial love. The love of son or daughter for a parent.

370

375

380

385

390

Awhile she paused, no answer came;
"Malcolm, was thine the blast?" the name
Less resolutely uttered fell,

The echoes could not catch the swell.
"A stranger I," the Huntsman said,
Advancing from the hazel shade.
The maid, alarmed, with hasty oar

Pushed her light shallop from the shore,
And when a space was gained between,
Closer she drew her bosom's screen;-
So forth the startled swan would swing,
So turn to prune his ruffled wing.
Then safe, though fluttered and amazed,
She paused, and on the stranger gazed.
Not his the form, nor his the eye,
That youthful maidens wont to fly.

XXI.

395

400

405

On his bold visage middle age
Had slightly pressed its signet sage,
Yet had not quenched the open truth
And fiery vehemence of youth;

410

Forward and frolic glee was there,

The will to do, the soul to dare,

The sparkling glance, soon blown to fire,

415

Of hasty love or headlong ire.

His limbs were cast in manly mould

For hardy sports or contest bold;

And though in peaceful garb arrayed,

And weaponless except his blade,

420

404. Prune. To trim and arrange the feathers with the bill.-408. Wont. Are accustomed.—410. Signet sage. Seal of wisdom; impression of gravity.

His stately mien as well implied

A high-born heart, a martial pride,
As if a baron's crest he wore,

And sheathed in armor trode the shore.
Slighting the petty need he showed,
He told of his benighted road;
His ready speech flowed fair and free,
In phrase of gentlest courtesy,

425

Yet seemed that tone and gesture bland
Less used to sue than to command.

430

XXII.

Awhile the maid the stranger eyed,
And, reassured, at length replied,
That Highland halls were open still
To wildered wanderers of the hill.
"Nor think you unexpected come
To yon lone isle, our desert home;
Before the heath had lost the dew,

This morn, a couch was pulled for you;
On yonder mountain's purple head
Have ptarmigan and heath-cock bled,

435

440

And our broad nets have swept the mere,

To furnish forth your evening cheer.".

66

Now, by the rood, my lovely maid,

Your courtesy has erred," he said;

"No right have I to claim, misplaced,
The welcome of expected guest.

[ocr errors]

445

425. Slighting the need. Treating lightly his lack of food and shelter. 426. Benighted. Overtaken by night.-440. Ptarmigan. White grouse. - Heath-cock. Black grouse. -441. Mere. Lake.

443. By the rood. By the cross. A phrase formerly used in swearing.

A wanderer, here by fortune tost,
My way, my friends, my courser lost,
I ne'er before, believe me, fair,
Have ever drawn your mountain air,
Till on this lake's romantic strand
I found a fay in fairy land!".

66

XXIII.

"I well believe," the maid replied,
As her light skiff approached the side, -
"I well believe, that ne'er before

[ocr errors]

Your foot has trod Loch Katrine's shore;
But yet, as far as yesternight,

Old Allan-bane foretold your plight, -
A gray-haired sire, whose eye intent
Was on the visioned future bent.
He saw your steed, a dappled gray,
Lie dead beneath the birchen way;
Painted exact your form and mien,
Your hunting-suit of Lincoln green,
That tasselled horn so gayly gilt,

[ocr errors]

That falchion's crooked blade and hilt,
That cap with heron plumage trim,

452. Fay. An imaginary spirit; a fairy.

450

455

460

465

460. On the visioned future bent. If force of evidence could authorize us to believe facts inconsistent with the general laws of nature, enough might be produced in favor of the existence of the Second-sight. "The second-sight is a singular faculty of seeing an otherwise invisible object without any previous means used by the person that used it for that end: the vision makes such a lively impression upon the seers, that they neither see nor think of anything else, except the vision, as long as it continues; and then they appear pensive or jovial, according to the object that was represented to them." SCOTT.-463. Mien. Look. 464. Lincoln green. The color of cloth formerly made in Lincoln and worn by the Lowland huntsmen.467. Heron. A wading bird with long bill, neck, and legs.

And

yon

two hounds so dark and grim.

He bade that all should ready be

To grace a guest of fair degree;
But light I held his prophecy,

And deemed it was my father's horn
Whose echoes o'er the lake were borne."

XXIV.

The stranger smiled: "Since to your home
A destined errant-knight I come,
Announced by prophet sooth and old,
Doomed, doubtless, for achievement bold,
I'll lightly front each high emprise

470

475

For one kind glance of those bright eyes.
Permit me first the task to guide

480

Your fairy frigate o'er the tide."

The maid, with smile suppressed and sly,
The toil unwonted saw him try;

For seldom, sure, if e'er before,

His noble hand had grasped an oar:

Yet with main strength his strokes he drew,
And o'er the lake the shallop flew;

With heads erect and whimpering cry,
The hounds behind their passage ply.

Nor frequent does the bright oar break
The darkening mirror of the lake,
Until the rocky isle they reach,

And moor their shallop on the beach.

485

490

475. Errant-knight. A knight wandering in search of adventure. 476. Sooth. True.-478. Emprise. A dangerous undertaking. 492. Rocky isle. Ellen's Isle, situated at the foot of the beautiful Loch Katrine, is a small island containing two or three acres of land rising abruptly from the water to a height of from twenty-five to fifty feet. It is

« AnteriorContinuar »