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And cursed be the meanest shed

That e'er shall hide the houseless head
We doom to want and woe!"
A sharp and shrieking echo gave,
Coir-Uriskin, thy goblin cave!

And the gray pass where birches wave
On Beala-nam-bo.


Then deeper paused the priest anew,
And hard his laboring breath he drew,
While, with set teeth and clenched hand,
And eyes that glowed like fiery brand,
He meditated curse more dread,
And deadlier, on the clansman's head
Who, summoned to his chieftain's aid,
The signal saw and disobeyed.

The crosslet's points of sparkling wood
He quenched among the bubbling blood,
And, as again the sign he reared,

Hollow and hoarse his voice was heard :
"When flits this Cross from man to man,
Vich-Alpine's summons to his clan,
Burst be the ear that fails to heed!
Palsied the foot that shuns to speed!
May ravens tear the careless eyes,
Wolves make the coward heart their prize!
As sinks that blood-stream in the earth,
So may his heart's-blood drench his hearth!
As dies in hissing gore the spark,
Quench thou his light, Destruction dark!
And be the grace to him denied,
Bought by this sign to all beside!"
He ceased; no echo gave again
The murmur of the deep Amen.









Then Roderick with impatient look
From Brian's hand the symbol took :
"Speed, Malise, speed!" he said, and gave
The crosslet to his henchman brave.
"The muster-place be Lanrick mead.
Instant the time-speed, Malise, speed!"
Like heath-bird, when the hawks pursue,
A barge across Loch Katrine flew :
High stood the henchman on the prow;
So rapidly the barge-men row,

The bubbles, where they launched the boat,
Were all unbroken and afloat,
Dancing in foam and ripple still,

When it had neared the mainland hill;

And from the silver beach's side Still was the prow three fathom wide, When lightly bounded to the land The messenger of blood and brand.


Speed, Malise, speed! the dun deer's hide
On fleeter foot was never tied.
Speed, Malise, speed! such cause of haste
Thine active sinews never braced.
Bend 'gainst the steepy hill thy breast,
Burst down like torrent from its crest;
With short and springing footstep pass
The trembling bog and false morass;
Across the brook like roebuck bound,
And thread the brake like questing hound;
The crag is high, the scaur is deep,
Yet shrink not from the desperate leap:
Parched are thy burning lips and brow,
Yet by the fountain pause not now;







Herald of battle, fate, and fear,

Stretch onward in thy fleet career!

The wounded hind thou track'st not now,
Pursuest not maid through greenwood bough,
Nor pliest thou now thy flying pace

With rivals in the mountain race;
But danger, death, and warrior deed
- speed, Malise, speed!

Are in thy course

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Fast as the fatal symbol flies,

In arms the huts and hamlets rise;
From winding glen, from upland brown,
They poured each hardy tenant down.
Nor slacked the messenger his pace;
He showed the sign, he named the place,
And, pressing forward like the wind,
Left clamor and surprise behind.
The fisherman forsook the strand,

The swarthy smith took dirk and brand;
With changed cheer, the mower blithe
Left in the half-cut swath his scythe;
The herds without a keeper strayed,
The plough was in mid-furrow stayed,
The falconer tossed his hawk away,
The hunter left the stag at bay;
Prompt at the signal of alarms,
Each son of Alpine rushed to arms;
So swept the tumult and affray
Along the margin of Achray.
Alas, thou lovely lake! that e'er

Thy banks should echo sounds of fear!
The rocks, the bosky thickets, sleep
So stilly on thy bosom deep,








The lark's blithe carol from the cloud
Seems for the scene too gayly loud.


Speed, Malise, speed! The lake is past,
Duncraggan's huts appear at last,

And peep, like moss-grown rocks, half seen,


Half hidden in the copse so green;

There mayst thou rest, thy labor done,

Their lord shall speed the signal on.
As stoops the hawk upon his prey,
The henchman shot him down the way.
What woful accents load the gale?
The funeral yell, the female wail!
A gallant hunter's sport is o'er,
A valiant warrior fights no more.
Who, in the battle or the chase,



At Roderick's side shall fill his place! —

Within the hall, where torch's ray

Supplies the excluded beams of day,

Lies Duncan on his lowly bier,

And o'er him streams his widow's tear.


His stripling son stands mournful by,

His youngest weeps, but knows not why;

The village maids and matrons round
The dismal coronach resound.

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But to us comes no cheering,
To Duncan no morrow!

The hand of the reaper

Takes the ears that are hoary,
But the voice of the weeper
Wails manhood in glory.
The autumn winds rushing

Waft the leaves that are searest,
But our flower was in flushing,

When blighting was nearest.

Fleet foot on the correi,

Sage counsel in cumber,

Red hand in the foray,

How sound is thy slumber! Like the dew on the mountain,

Like the foam on the river, Like the bubble on the fountain, Thou art gone, and forever!


See Stumah, who, the bier beside,
His master's corpse with wonder eyed,
Poor Stumah! whom his least halloo
Could send like lightning o'er the dew,
Bristles his crest, and points his ears,
As if some stranger step he hears.
'Tis not a mourner's muffled tread,
Who comes to sorrow o'er the dead,
But headlong haste or deadly fear
Urge the precipitate career.
All stand aghast : unheeding all,
The henchman bursts into the hall;







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