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Nor think you unexpected come To yon lone isle, our desert home; Before the heath had lost the dew, This morn, a couch was pull'd for you ; On yonder mountain's purple head Have ptarmigan and heath-cock bled, And our broad nets have swept the mere, To furnish forth your evening cheer.”. "Now, by the rood, my lovely maid, Your courtesy has err'd," he said; "No right have I to claim, misplaced, The welcome of expected guest. 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!".


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

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 vision'd future bent.
He saw your steed, a dappled grey,
Lie dead beneath the birchen way;
Painted exact your form and mien,
Your hunting suit of Lincoln green,
That tassell'd horn so gaily gilt,

That falchion's crooked blade and hilt,

That cap with heron plumage trim,

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 deem'd it was my father's horn,

Whose echoes o'er the lake were borne.".


The Stranger smiled: "Since to your home
A destined errant-knight I come,

Announced by prophet sooth and old,
Doom'd, doubtless, for achievement bold,
I'll lightly front each high emprise,
For one kind glance of those bright eyes.
Permit me, first, the task to guide
Your fairy frigate o'er the tide."
The maid, with smile suppress'd and sly,
The toil unwonted saw him try;
For seldom sure, if e'er before,

His noble hand had grasp'd 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.


The Stranger view'd the shore around; 'Twas all so close with copsewood bound,

Nor track nor pathway might declare
That human foot frequented there.
Until the mountain-maiden show'd
A clambering unsuspected road,
That winded through the tangled screen,
And open'd on a narrow green,
Where weeping birch and willow round
With their long fibres swept the ground.
Here, for retreat in dangerous hour,
Some chief had framed a rustic bower.


It was a lodge of ample size,

But strange of structure and device;

Of such materials, as around

The workman's hand had readiest found.

Lopp'd of their boughs, their hoar trunks bared,

And by the hatchet rudely squared,

To give the walls their destined height,
The sturdy oak and ash unite;

While moss and clay and leaves combined
To fence each crevice from the wind,
The lighter pine-trees, over-head,
Their slender length for rafters spread.
And wither'd heath and rushes dry
Supplied a russet canopy.

Due westward, fronting to the green.
A rural portico was seen,

Aloft on native pillars borne,

Of mountain fir with bark unshorn,
Where Ellen's hand had taught to twine

The ivy and Idæan vine,

The clematis, the favour'd flower

Which boasts the name of virgin-bower,

And every hardy plant could bear
Loch Katrine's keen and searching air.
An instant in this porch she stay'd,
And gaily to the Stranger said,
"On heaven and on thy lady call,
And enter the enchanted hall!"


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"My hope, my heaven, my trust must be,
My gentle guide, in following thee"-
He cross'd the threshold-and a clang
Of angry steel that instant rang.
To his bold brow his spirit rush'd,
But soon for vain alarm he blush'd,
When on the floor he saw displayed,
Cause of the din, a naked blade

Dropp'd from the sheath, that careless flung
Upon a stag's huge antlers swung;
For all around, the walls to grace,
Hung trophies of the fight or chase:
A target there, a bugle here,

A battle-axe, a hunting spear.

And broadswords, bows, and arrows store,
With the tusk'd trophies of the boar.
Here grins the wolf as when he died,
And there the wild cat's brindled hide
The frontlet of the elk adorns,
Or mantles o'er the bison's horns;
Pennons and flags defaced and stain'd,
That blackening streaks of blood retain'd,
And deer-skins, dappled, dun, and white,
With otter's fur and seal's unite,
In rude and uncouth tapestry all,
To garnish forth the silvan hall.


The wondering Stranger round him gazed, And next the fallen weapon raised:

Few were the arms whose sinewy strength Sufficed to stretch it forth at length. And as the brand he poised and sway'd, "I never knew but one," he said, "Whose stalwart arm might brook to wield A blade like this in battle-field."

She sigh'd, then smiled, and took the word: "You see the guardian champion's sword; As light it trembles in his hand,

As in my grasp a hazel wand;

My sire's tall form might grace the part
Of Ferragus, or Ascabart;

But in the absent giant's hold

Are women now, and menials old."


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.

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