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"Thanks, Brian, for thy zeal and care!
Good is thine augury, and fair.
Clan-Alpine ne'er in battle stood
But first our broadswords tasted blood.
A surer victim still I know,
"Self-offered to the auspicious blow:
A spy has sought my land this morn,
No eve shall witness his return!
My followers guard each pass's mouth,
To east, to westward, and to south;
Red Murdoch, bribed to be his guide,
Has charge to lead his steps aside,
Till in deep path or dingle brown
He light on those shall bring him down.
But see, who comes his news to show!
Malise! what tidings of the foe?"
"At Doune, o'er many a spear and 'glaive
Two Barons proud their banners wave.
I saw the Moray's silver star,
And marked the sable pale of Mar."
"Ay Alpine's soul, high tidings those!
I love to hear of worthy foes.
When move they on?"
Will see them here for battle boune."
"Then shall it see a meeting stern!
But, for the place, say, couldst thou learn
Nought of the friendly clans of Earn?
Strengthened by them, we well might bide
The battle on Benledi's side.
Thou couldst not? - well! Clan-Alpine's men
Shall man the Trosachs' shaggy glen;
Within Loch Katrine's gorge we'll fight,
All in our maids' and matrons' sight,
Each for his hearth and household fire,
Father for child, and son for sire,
Lover for maid beloved!- But why-
Is it the breeze affects mine eye?
Or dost thou come, ill-omened tear!
A messenger of doubt or fear?
No! sooner may the Saxon lance
Unfix Benledi from his stance,
Than doubt or terror can pierce through
The unyielding heart of Roderick Dhu!
"Tis stubborn as his trusty targe.
Each to his post! — all know their charge."
The pibroch sounds, the bands advance,
The broadswords gleam, the banners dance,
Obedient to the Chieftain's glance.·
I turn me from the martial roar,
And seek Coir-Uriskin once more.
And Ellen sits on the gray stone
Fast by the cave, and makes her moan
While vainly Allan's words of cheer
Are poured on her unheeding ear.
Well was it time to seek afar
Some refuge from impending war,
When e'en Clan-Alpine's rugged swarm
Are cowed by the approaching storm.
I saw their boats with many a light,
Floating the livelong yesternight,
Shifting like flashes darted forth
By the red streamers of the north;
I marked at morn how close they ride,
Thick moored by the lone islet's side,
Like wild ducks couching in the fen
When stoops the hawk upon the glen.
Since this rude race dare not abide
The peril on the mainland side,
Shall not thy noble father's care
Some safe retreat for thee prepare?"
"No, Allan, no! Pretext so kind
My wakeful terrors could not blind.
When in such tender tone, yet grave,
Douglas a parting blessing gave,
The tear that glistened in his eye
Drowned not his purpose fixed and high.
'My soul, though feminine and weak,
Can image his; e'en as the lake,
Itself disturbed by slightest stroke,
Reflects the invulnerable rock.
He hears report of battle rife,
He deems himself the cause of strife,
I saw him redden when the theme
Turned, Allan, on thine idle dream
Of Malcolm Græme in fetters bound, cha
Which I, thou saidst, about him wound.
Think'st thou he 'trowed thine omen aught?
O no! 'twas apprehensive thought
For the kind youth, for Roderick too-
Let me be just
that friend so true;
In danger both, and in our cause! Roerick &
Minstrel, the Douglas dare not pause. Malo
Why else that solemn warning given,
"If not on earth, we meet in heaven!"
Why else, to °Cambus-kenneth's fane,
If eve return him not again,
Am I to hie and make me known?
Alas! he goes to Scotland's throne,
Buys his friends' safety with his own; to the bog d
He goes to do what I had done, Malco
Had Douglas' daughter been his son!"derick.
"Nay, lovely Ellen!-dearest, nay!
If aught should his return delay,
He only named yon holy fane
As fitting place to meet again.
Be sure he's safe; and for the Græme,
Heaven's blessing on his gallant name!
My visioned sight may yet prove true,
Nor 'bode of ill to him or you.
When did my gifted dream beguile?
Think of the stranger at the isle,
And think upon the harpings slow
That presaged this approaching woe!
Sooth was my prophecy of fear
Believe it when it augurs cheer.
Would we had left this dismal spot!
Ill luck still haunts a fairy grot.
Of such a wondrous tale I know
Dear lady, change that look of woe,
My harp was wont thy grief to cheer."
"Well, be it as thou wilt; I hear,
But cannot stop the bursting tear.”
The Minstrel tried his simple art,
But distant far was Ellen's heart.
Merry it is in the good greenwood,
When the 'mavis and merle are singing,
When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are in cry, And the hunter's horn is ringing.
"O Alice Brand, my native land
Is lost for love of you;
And we must hold by wood and wold,
As outlaws wont to do.
"O Alice, 'twas all for thy locks so bright,
And 'twas all for thine eyes so blue,
That on the night of our luckless flight
Thy brother bold I slew.
"Now must I teach to hew the beech
For leaves to spread our lowly bed,
And stakes to fence our cave.