Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

XX.

“ Nor think you unexpected come Impatient of the silent horn,

To yon lone isle, our desert bome; Now on the gale her voice was borne :

Before the heath bad lost the dew, " Father!" she cried; the rocks around

This morn, a couch was pull'd for you ; Loved to prolong the gentle sound.

On yonder mountain's purple head A while she paused, no answer came,

Have ptarmigan and heath-cock bled, “ Malcolm, was thine the blast?" the name And our broad nets have swept the mere, Loss resolutely utter'd fell,

To furnish forth your evening cheer.”The echoes could not catch the swell.

“ Now, by the rood, my lovely maid, “ A stranger I,” the Huntsman said,

Your courtesy has err'd,” he said; Advancing from the hazel shade.

“No right have I to claim, misplaced, The maid, alarmed, with hasty oar,

The welcome of expected guest. Push'd her light shallop from the shore,

A wanderer, here by fortune tost, And when a space was gain'd between,

My way, my friends, my courser lost, Closer she drew her bosom's screen;

I ne'er before, believe me, fair, (So forth the startled swan would swing,

Have ever drawn your mountain air, So turn to prune his ruffled wing.)

Till on this lake's romantic strand,
Then safe, though flutter'd and amazed,

I found a fay in fairy land !”-
She paused, and on the stranger gazed.
Not his the form, nor his the eye,

XXIII.
That youthful maidens wont to fly.

“ I well believe," the maid replied,

As her light skiff approach'd the side,-
XXI.

“I well believe, that ne'er before On his bold visage middle age

Your foot has trod Loch Katrine’s shore; Had slightly press'd its signet sage

But yet, as far as yesternight, Yet had not quench'd the open truth

Old Allan-bane foretold your plight,And fiery vehemence of youth;

A grey-hair'd sire, whose eye intent Forward and frolic glee was there,

Was on the vision'd future bent.5 The will to do, the soul to dare,

He saw your steed, a dappled grey, The sparkling glance, soon blown to fire,

Lie dead beneath the birchen way; Of hasty love, or headlong ire.

Painted exact your form and mien, His limbs were cast in manly mould,

Your hunting suit of Lincoln green, For hardy sports or contest bold;

That tassell’d born so gaily gilt, And though in peaceful garb array'd,

That falchion's crooked blade and hilt, And weaponless, except his blade,

That cap with heron plumage trim, His stately mien as well implied

And yon two hounds so dark and grim. A high-born heart, a martial pride,

He bade that all should ready be, As if a Baron's crest he wore,

To grace a guest of fair degree; And sheathed in armour trode the shore.

But light I held his prophecy, Slighting the petty need he show'd,

And deem'd it was my father's horn,
He told of his benighted road;

Whose echoes o'er the lake were borne.”
His ready speech flow'd fair and free,
In phrase of gentlest courtesy;

XXIV.
Yet seem'd that tone, and gesture bland,

The stranger smiled :-“ Since to your home Less used to sue than to command.

A destined errant-knight I come,

Announced by prophet sooth and old,
XXII.

Doom'd, doubtless, for achievement bold,
A while the maid the stranger eyed,

I'll lightly front each high emprise, And, reassured, at length replied,

For one kind glance of those bright eyes. That Highland halls were open stills

Permit me, first, the task to guide To wilder'd wanderers of the hill.

Your fairy frigate o'er the tide."

MS.-" A space she paused, no answer came,

' Alpine, was thine the blast ?' the name
Less resolutely utter'd fell,
The echoes could not catch the swell.
Nor foe nor friend,' the stranger said,
Advancing from the hazel shade.
The stortled maid, with hasty oar,
Puslı'd her light sballop from the shore."

4 MS.—“ So o'er the lake the swan would spring,

Then turn to prune its ruffled wing."
a MS.--" Her father's hall was open still."
* MS." Till on this lake's enchanting strand."

6 MS." Is often on the future bent."- See Appendix Note F.

The maid, with smile suppress'd and sly,

« On heaven and on thy lady call, The toil unwonted saw him try;

And enter the enchanted hall !”
For seldom sure, if e'er before,
His noble hand had grasp'd an oar:1

XXVII.
Yet with main strength his strokes he drew, “My hope, my heaven, my trust must be,
And o'er the lake the shallop flew;

My gentle guide, in following thee." With heads erect, and whimpering cry,

He cross'd the threshold-and a clang The hounds behind their passage ply.

Of angry steel that instant rang. Nor frequent does the bright oar break

To his bold brow his spirit rush'd, The dark’ning mirror of the lake,

But soon for vain alarm he blush’d, Until the rocky isle they reach,

When on the floor he saw display'd, And moor their shallop on the beach.

Cause of the din, a naked blade

Dropp'd from the sheath, that careless flung XXV.

Upon a stag's huge antlers swung; The stranger view'd the shore around;

For all around, the walls to grace, 'Twas all so close with copsewood bound,

Hung trophies of the fight or chase : Nor track nor pathway might declare

A target there, a bugle here, That human foot frequented there,

A battle-axe, a hunting-spear, Until the mountain-maiden show'd

And broadswords, bows, and arrows store, A clambering unsuspected road,

With the tusk'd trophies of the boar. That winded through the tangled screen,

Here grins the wolf as when he died, 3 And open'd on a narrow green,

And there the wild-cat's brindled hide Where weeping birch and willow round

The frontlet of the elk adorns, With their long fibres swept the ground.

Or mantles o'er the bison's horns; Here, for retreat in dangerous hour,

Pennons and flags defaced and stain'd, Some chief bad framed a rustic bower.

That blackening streaks of blood retain'd,

And deer-skins, dappled, dun, and white, XXVI.

With otter's fur and seal's unite, It was a lodge of ample size,

In rude and uncouth tapestry all,
But strange of structure and device;

To garnish forth the silvan ball.
Of such materials, as around
The workman's hand had readiest found.

XXVIII.
Lopp'd off their boughs, their hoar trunks bared, The wondering stranger round him gazed,
And by the hatchet rudely squared,

And next the fallen weapon raised To give the walls their destined height,

Few were the arms whose sinewy strength The sturdy oak and ash unite;

Sufficed to stretch it forth at length, While moss and clay and leaves combined

And as the brand he poised and sway'd, To fence each crevice from the wind.

“I never knew but one,” he said, The lighter pine-trees, over-head,

“ Whose stalwart arm might brook to wield Their slender length for rafters spread,

A blade like this in battle-field.” And wither'd heath and rushes dry

She sigh’d, then smiled and took the word; Supplied a russet canopy.

“ You see the guardian champion's sword : Due westward, fronting to the green,

As light it trembles in his hand, A rural portico was seen,

As in my grasp a hazel wand; Aloft on native pillars borne,

My sire's tall form might grace the part Of mountain fir, with bark unshorn,

Of Ferragus or Ascabart;* Where Ellen's hand had taught to twine

But in the absent giant's hold
The ivy and Idæan vine,

Are women now, and menials old."
The clematis, the favour'd flower
Which boasts the name of virgin-bower,

XXIX.
And every hardy plant could bear

The mistress of the mansion came, Loch Katrine's keen and searching air.

Mature of age, a graceful dame; An instant in this porch she staid,

Whose easy step and stately port And gaily to the stranger said,

Had well become a princely court,

Above the elk's branch'd brow and skull,
And frontlet of the forest bull."

'MS.—“ This gentle hand had grasp'd an oar :

Yet with main strength the oars he drew." * See Appendix, Note G. • M8.-" Here grins the wolf as when he died,

There hung the wild-cat's brindled hide,

+ See Appendix, Note H.

To whom, though more than kindred knew, Dream of battled fields no more,
Young Ellen gave a mother's due.'

Days of danger, nights of waking.
Meet welcome to her guest she made,

In our isle’s enchanted hall, And every courteous rite was paid,

Hands unseen thy couch are strewing, That hospitality could claim,

Fairy strains of music fall, Though all unask'd his birth and name.

Every sense in slumber dewing. Such then the reverence to a guest,

Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er, That fellest foe might join the feast,

Dream of fighting fields no more: And from his deadliest foeman's door

Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking, l'nquestion'd turn, the banquet o'er.

Morn of toil, nor night of waking. At length his ranh the stranger names, “ The Knight of Snowdoun, James Fitz-James; "No rude sound shall reach thine ear, Lord of a barren heritage,

Armour's clang, or war steed champing, Which his brave sires, from age to age,

Trump por pibroch summon here By their good swords had held with toil ;

Mustering clan, or squadron tramping. His sire had fallen in such turmoil,

Yet the lark's shrill fife may come And he, God wot, was forced to stand

At the day-break from the fallow, Oft for his right with blade in hand.

And the bittern sound his drun. This morning, with Lord Moray's train,

Booming from the sedgy shallow. He chased a stalwart stag in vain,

Ruder sounds shall none be near Outstripp'd his comrades, miss'd the deer,

Guards nor warders challenge here, Lost his good steed, and wanderd here."

Here's no war-steed's neigh and champing,

Shouting clans, or squadrons stamping." XXX. Fain would the Knight in turn require

XXXII. The name and state of Ellen's sire.

She paused—then, blushing, led the lay? Well show'd the elder lady's mien,

To grace the stranger of the day. That courts and cities she had seen;

Her mellow notes awhile prolong Ellen, though more her looks display'de

The cadence of the flowing song, The simple grace of silvan maid,

Till to her lips in measured frame In speech and gesture, form and face,

The minstrel verse spontaneous came. Show'd she was come of gentle race. 'Twere strange, in ruder rank to find,

Song continued. Such looks, such manners, and such mind.

“ Huntsman, rest! thy chase is done, Each hint the Knight of Snowdoun gave,

While our slumbrous spells assail ye, s Dame Margaret heard with silence grave;

Dream not, with the rising sun, Or Ellen, innocently gay,

Bugles here shall sound reveille. Turn'd all inquiry light away

Sleep! the deer is in his den; “Weird women we ! by dale and down

Sleep! thy hounds are by thee lying; We dwell, afar from tower and town.

Sleep ! nor dream in yonder glen, We stem the flood, we ride the blast,

How thy gallant steed lay dying. On wandering knights our spells we cast;

Huntsman, rest ! thy chase is done, While viewless minstrels touch the string,

Think not of the rising sun, 'Tis thus our charmed rhymes we sing."

For at dawning to assail ye, She sung, and still a harp unseen

Here no bugles sound reveillé.”
Fill'd up the nymphony between.”

XXXIII.
XXXI.

The ball was cleard-the stranger's bed
Song.

Was there of mountain heather spread, “ Soldier, rest ! thy warfare o'er,

Where oft a hundred guests had lain, Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking;

And dream'd their forest sports again.

MS.-" To whom, though more remote her claim,

Young Ellen gave a mother's Dame."
? See Appendix, Note I.
8 MS._"Well show'd the mother's easy mien."
• MS.--" Ellen, though more her looks betray'd

The simple heart of mountain maid,
In speech and gesture, form and grace,
Show'd she was come of gentle race ;
"Twas strange, in birth so rude, to find
Such fruce, such manners, and such mind.

Each anxious hint the stranger gare,

The mother heard with silence grave." 8 See Appendix, Note K. 6 MS.-" Yoon of hunger, night of waking.

No rude sound shall rouse thine ear." 7 MS." She paused—but raked again the lay."

“Slumber sweet our spells shall deal ye, 8 MS.

Let our slumbrous spells i beguile ye." JMS.--"And dream'd their mountain chase again."

avail ye,

But vainly did the heath-flower shed

And thoughts on thoughts, a countless throng, Its moorland fragrance round his head;

Rush’d, chasing countless thoughts along, Not Ellen's spell had lullid to rest

Until, the giddy whirl to cure,
The fever of his troubled breast.

He rose, and sought the moonshine pure.
In broken dreams the image rose
Of varied perils, pains, and woes:

XXXV.
His steed now flounders in the brake,

The wild-rose, eglantine, and broom, Now sinks his barge upon the lake;

Wasted around their rich perfume: Now leader of a broken bost,

The birch-trees wept in fragrant balm, His standard falls, his honour's lost.

The aspens slept beneath the calm ; Then,-from my couch may heavenly might The silver light, with quivering glance, Chase that worst phantom of the night !

Play'd on the water's still expanse,Again return'd the scenes of youth,

Wild were the heart whose passions' sway Of confident undoubting truth;

Could rage beneath the sober ray!
Again his soul he interchanged

He felt its calm, that warrior guest,
With friends whose hearts were long estranged. While thus he communed with his breast:-
They come, in dim procession led,

“ Why is it, at each turn I trace The cold, the faithless, and the dead;

Some memory of that exiled race? As warm each hand, each brow as gay,

Can I not mountain-maiden spy, As if they parted yesterday.

But she must bear the Douglas eye? And doubt distracts him at the view,

Can I not view a Highland brand, O were his senses false or true!

But it must match the Douglas hand? Dream'd he of death, or broken vow,

Can I not frame a fever'd dream,
Or is it all a vision now !

But still the Douglas is the theme?
I'll dream no more-

—by manly mind
XXXIV.

Not even in sleep is will resign'd. At length, with Ellen in a grove

My midnight orisons said o'er, He seem'd to walk, and speak of love;

I'll turn to rest, and dream no more." She listen'd with a blush and sigh,

His midnight orisons he told, His suit was warm, his hopes were high.

A prayer with every bead of gold, He sought her yielded hand to clasp,

Consign'd to heaven his cares and woes, And a cold gauntlet met his grasp:

And sunk in undisturb'd repose; The phantom's sex was changed and gone,

Until the heath-cock shrilly crew,
Upon its head a helmet shone;

And morning dawn'd on Benvenue.
Slowly enlarged to giant size,
With darken'd cheek and threatening eyes,

The Lady of the Lake.
The grisly visage, stern and hoar,
To Ellen still a likeness bore.--
He woke, and, panting with affright,
Recall’d the vision of the night.

The Island.
The bearth’s decaying brands were red,
And deep and dusky lustre shed,

I.
Half showing, half concealing, all

At morn the black-cock trims his jetty wing, The uncouth trophies of the hall.

'Tis morning prompts the linnet's blithest lay, Mid those the stranger fix'd his eye,

All Nature's children feel the matin spring Where that huye falchion hung on high,

Of life reviving, with reviving day;

CANTO SECOND.

1 “Ye guardian spirits, to whom man is dear,

From these foul demons shield the midnight gloom : Angels of fancy and of love, be near,

And o'er the blank of sleep diffuse a bloom: Evoke the sacred shades of Greece and Rome,

And let them virtue with a look impart; But chief, awhile, 0! lend us from the tomb

Those long-lost friends for whom in love we smart, And fill with pious awe and joy-mixt woe the heart.

The woods, the mountains, and the warbling maze

Of the wild brooks!"--Castle of Indolence, Canto I
2 "Such a strange and romantic dream as may be naturally
expected to flow from the extraordinary events of the past
day. It might, perhaps, be quoted as one of Mr. Scott's most
successful efforts in descriptive poetry. Some few lines of it
are indeed unrivalled for delicacy and melancholy tender-
ness."-Critical Revieuc.

the bosom of the lake,
3 MS.-“ Play'd on Loch Katrine's still expanse ;

The birch, the wild-rose, and the broom,
Wasted around their rich perfume .....
The birch-trees wept in balmy dew;
The asjien slept on Benvenue ;
Wild were the heart whose passinns' power
Detied the influence of the hour."

“Or are you sportive ?-bid the morn of youth

Rise to new light, and beam afresh the days Of innocence, simplicity, and trutlı;

To cares estranged, and manhood's thorny ways. What transport, to retrace our boyish plays,

Our easy bliss, when each thing joy supplied.

And while yon little bark glides down the bay, Reclined against a blighted tree,
Wafting the stranger on his way again,

As wasted, grey, and worn as he.
Morn's genial influence roused a minstrel grey, To minstrel meditation given,

And sweetly o'er the lake was heard thy strain, His reverend brow was raised to heaven, Mix'd with the sounding barp, 0 white hair'd Allan As from the rising sun to claim bane!)

A sparkle of inspiring flame.

His hand, reclined upon the wire,
II.

Seem'd watching the awakening fire;
Song.

So still he sate, as those who wait “ Not faster yonder rowers' might

Till judgment speak the doom of fate; Flings from their oars the spray,

So still, as if no breeze might dare Not faster yonder rippling bright,

To lift one lock of hoary hair; That tracks the shallop's course in light,

So still, as life itself were fled,
Melts in the lake away,

In the last sound his harp had sped.
Than men from memory erase
The benefits of former days;

V.
Then, stranger, go! good speed the while,

Upon a rock with lichens wild, Nor think again of the lonely isle.

Beside him Ellen sate and smiled.

Smiled she to see the stately drake “ High place to thee in royal court,

Lead forth his fleet upon the lake, High place in battle line,

While her vex'd spaniel, from the beac), Good hawk and hound for silvan sport,

Bay'd at the prize beyond his reach! Where beauty sees the brave resort,

Yet tell me, then, the maid who knows, The honour'd meed be thine!

Why deepend on her cheek the rose True be thy sword, thy friend sincere,

Forgive, forgive, Fidelity! Thy lady constant, kind, and dear,

Perchance the maiden smiled to see And lost in love and friendship's smile

Yon parting lingerer wave adieu, Be memory of the lonely isle.

And stop and turn to wave anew;

And, lovely ladies, ere your ire
III.

Condemn the heroine of my lyre,
Hong continued.

Show me the fair would scorn to spy, “ But if beneath yon southern sky

And prize such conquest of her eye !
A plaided stranger roam,
Whose drooping crest and stifled sigh,
And sunken cheek and heavy eye,

While yet he loiter'd on the spot,
Pine for his Highland home;

It seem'd as Ellen mark'd him not; Then, warrior, then be thine to show

But when he turn'd him to the glade, The care that soothes a wanderer's woe;

One courteous parting sign she made; Remember then thy hap ere while,

And after, oft the knight would say, A stranger in the lonely isle.

That not when prize of festal day

Was dealt him by the brightest fair, “ Or if on life's uncertain main

Who e'er wore jewel in her hair, Mishap shall mar thy sail;

So highly did his bosom swell, If faithful, wise, and brave in vain,

As at that simple mute farewell. Woe, want, and exile thou sustain

Now with a trusty mountain-guide, Beneath the fickle gale;

And his dark stag-hounds by his side, Waste not a sigh on fortune changed,

He parts—the maid, unconscious stili, On thankless courts, or friends estranged,

Watch'd him wind slowly round the hill; But come where kindred worth shall smile,

But when his stately form was hid, To greet thee in the lonely isle."

The guardian in her bosom chid

“ Thy Malcolm! vain and selfish maid !" IV.

'Twas thus upbraiding conscience said, As died the sounds upon the tide,

“ Not so had Malcolm idly hung The shallop reach'd the mainland side,

On the smooth phrase of southern tongue; And ere his onward way he took,

Not so had Malcolm strain'd his eye, The stranger cast a lingering look,

Another step than thine to spy.3 Where easily his eye might reach

Wake, Allan-Bane," aloud she cried, The Harper on the islet beech,

To the old Minstrel by her side,

VI.

See Appendix, Note L. 2 MS.-"At tourneys where the brave resort."

3 MS.-" The loveliest Lowland fair to spy."

« AnteriorContinuar »