Imágenes de páginas


The western waves of ebbing day
Roll'd o'er the glen their level way;
Each purple peak, each flinty spire,
Was bathed in floods of living fire.
But not a setting beam could glow
Within the dark ravines below,
Where twined the path in shadow hid,
Round many a rocky pyramid,
Shooting abruptly from the dell,
Its thunder-splinter'd pinnacle;
Round many an insulated mass,
The native bulwarks of the
Huge as the tower which builders vain
Presumptuous piled on Shinar's plain,'
The rocky summits, split and rent,
Form'd turret, dome, or battlement
Or seem'd fantastically set
With cupola or minaret,

Wild crests as pagod ever deck'd,
Or mosque of Eastern architect.


[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Boon nature scatter'd, free and wild,
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child.
Here eglantine embalm'd the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingled there;
The primrose pale and violet flower,
Found in each cliff a narrow bower;
Fox-glove and night-shade, side by side,
Emblems of punishment and pride,
Group'd their dark hues with every stain
The weather-beaten crags retain.

[MS. "The mimic castles of the pass."]

The Tower of Babel.-Genesis, xi. 1–9.

3 [ MS.-" Nor were these mighty bulwarks bare."]
4 [MS.-"Bright glistening with the dewdrops sheen." ]

With boughs that quaked at every breath,
Grey birch and aspen wept beneath;

Aloft, the ash and warrior oak


Cast anchor in the rifted rock;
And, higher yet, the pine-tree hung
His shatter'd trunk, and frequent flung, '
Where seem'd the cliffs to meet on high,
His boughs athwart the narrow'd sky.
Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,
Where glist'ning streamers waved and danced,
The wanderer's eye could barely view
The summer heaven's delicious blue;
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream.


Onward, amid the copse 'gan peep
A narrow inlet, still and deep,


Affording scarce such breadth of brim,
As served the wild-duck's brood to swim.
Lost for a space, through thickets veering,
But broader when again appearing,
Tall rocks and tufted knolls their face
Could on the dark-blue mirror trace;
And farther as the hunter stray'd,
Still broader sweep its channels made.
The shaggy mounds no longer stood,
Emerging from entangled wood,
But, wave-encircled, seem'd to float,
Like castle girdled with its moat ;
Yet broader floods extending still
Divide them from their parent hill,
Till each, retiring, claims to be
An islet in an inland sea.



[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

[MS.-" Affording scarce such breadth of flood,

As served to float the wild-duck's brood."]

[MS.-" Emerging dry-shod from the wood."]

[blocks in formation]

And mountains, that like giants stand,
To sentinel enchanted land.

High on the south, huge Benvenue 3
Down on the lake in masses threw

Crags, knolls, and mounds, confusedly hurl'd,
The fragments of an earlier world;
A wildering forest feather'd o'er

His ruin'd sides and summit hoar, 4

While on the north, through middle air,
Ben-an heaved high his forehead bare. '


From the steep promontory gazed

The stranger, raptured and amazed.

And, "What a scene were here," he cried,

"For princely pomp, or churchman's pride!

On this bold brow, a lordly tower;

In that soft vale, a lady's bower;

On yonder meadow, far away,

Until the present road was made through the romantic pass which I have presumptuously attempted to describe in the preceding stanzas, there was no mode of issuing out of the defile, called the Trosachs, excepting by a sort of ladder, composed of the branches and roots of trees.

2 [Loch-Ketturin is the Celtic pronunciation. In his Notes to The Fair Maid of Perth, the Author has signified his belief that the lake was named after the Catterins, or wild robbers, who haunted its shores.]

3 [Benvenue-is literally the little mountain-i. e. as contrasted with Benledi and Benlomond.]


MS. His ruined sides and fragments hoar,

While on the north to middle air."]

5 [According to Graham, Ben-an, or Bennan, is a mere diminutive of Ben-Mountain.] 6 [Perhaps the art of Landscape-painting in poetry, has never been displayed in higher perfection than in these stanzas, to which rigid criticism might possibly object that the picture is somewhat too minute, and that the contemplation of it detains the traveller somewhat too long from the main purpose of his pilgrimage, but which it would be an act of the greatest injustice to break into fragments, and present by piecemeal. Not so the magnificent scene which bursts upon the bewildered hunter as he emerges at length from the dell, and commands at one view the beautiful expanse of Loch Katrine."-Critical Review, August, 1820.]


[MS." From the high promontory-gazed

The stranger, awe-struck and amazed."]



The turrets of a cloister grey;

How blithely might the bugle-horn

Chide, on the lake, the lingering morn!
How sweet, at eve, the lover's lute

Chime, when the groves were still and mute!
And, when the midnight moon should lave
Her forehead in the silver wave,

How solemn on the ear would come
The holy matins' distant hum,
While the deep peal's commanding tone
Should wake in yonder islet lone,
A sainted hermit from his cell,
To drop a bead with every knell—
And bugle, lute, and bell, and all,
Should each bewilder'd stranger call
To friendly feast, and lighted hall.'



"Blithe were it then to wander here!
But now, beshrew yon nimble deer,—
Like that same hermit's, thin and spare,
The copse must give my evening fare;
Some mossy bank my couch must be,
Some rustling oak my canopy.
Yet pass we that; the war and chase
Give little choice of resting-place ;-
A summer night, in greenwood spent,
Were but to-morrow's merriment ;
But hosts may in these wilds abound,
Such as are better miss'd than found;
To meet with Highland plunderers here
Were worse than loss of steed or deer.-3

[ocr errors][merged small]

3 The clans who inhabited the romantic regions in the neighbourhood of Loch Katrine, were, even until a late period, much addicted to predatory excursions upon their Lowland neighbours." In former times, those parts of this district, which are situated beyond the Grampian range, were rendered almost inaccessible by strong barriers of rocks, and mountains, and lakes. It was a border country, and though on the very verge of the low country, it was almost totally sequestered from the world, and, as it were, insulated with respect to society. 'Tis well known that in the Highlands, it was, in former times, accounted not only lawful, but honourable, among hostile tribes, to commit depredations on one another; and these habits of the age were perhaps strengthened in this district, by the circumstances which have been mentioned. It bordered on a country, the inhabitants of which, while they were richer, were less warlike than they, and widely differenced by language and manners."-GRAHAM'S Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire. Edinburgh, 1806, p. 97. The reader will therefore be pleased to remember, that the scene of this poem is laid in a time,

"When tooming faulds, or sweeping of a glen,
Had still been held the deed of gallant men."

I am alone;-my bugle-strain

May call some straggler of the train ;
Or, fall the worst that may betide,
Ere now this falchion has been tried."



But scarce again his horn he wound,
When lo! forth starting at the sound,
From underneath an aged oak,
That slanted from the islet rock,
A damsel guider of its way,
A little skiff shot to the bay,'
That round the promontory steep
Led its deep line in graceful sweep,
Eddying, in almost viewless wave,
The weeping willow twig to lave,
And kiss, with whispering sound and slow,
The beach of pebbles bright as snow.
The boat had touch'd this silver strand,

Just as the Hunter left his stand,
And stood conceal'd amid the brake,

To view this Lady of the Lake.
The maiden paused, as if again

She thought to catch the distant strain.
With head up-raised, and look intent,
And eye and ear attentive bent,
And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art,

In listening mood, she seem'd to stand,
The guardian Naiad of the strand.


And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace 3

A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,

Of finer form, or lovelier face!

What though the sun, with ardent frown, Had slightly tinged her cheek with brown,The sportive toil, which, short and light,

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »