Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

“ Arouse thee from thy moody dream!

All melodies to thee are known, I'll give thy harp heroic theme,

That harp has rung, or pipe has blown, And warm thee with a noble name;

In Lowland vale or Highland glen, Pour forth the glory of the Græme!”

From Tweed to Spey—what marvel, then, Scarce from her lip the word had rush'd,

At times, unbidden notes should rise, When deep the conscious maiden blush'd;

Confusedly bound in memory's ties, For of his clan, in hall and bower,

Entangling, as they rush along,
Young Malcolm Græme was held the flower. The war-march with the funeral song?

Small ground is now for boding fear;
VII.

Obscure, but safe, we rest us here.
The Minstrel waked his harp-three times

My sire, in native virtue great, Arose the well-known martial chimes,

Resigning lordship, lands, and state, And thrice their high heroic pride

Not then to fortune more resign'd, In melancholy murmurs died.

Than yonder oak might give the wind; “ Vainly thou bid'st, 0 noble maid,”

The graceful foliage storms may reave, Clasping his wither'd hands, he said,

The noble stem they cannot grieve. “ Vainly thou bid'st me wake the strain,

For me,”—she stoop'd, and, looking round, Though all unwont to bid in vain.

Pluck'd a blue hare-bell from the ground, Alas! than mine a mightier hand

“ For me, whose memory scarce conveys Has tuned my harp, my strings has spann'd! An image of more splendid days, I touch the chords of joy, but low

This little flower, that loves the lea, And mournful answer notes of woe;

May well my simple emblem be; And the proud march, which victors tread,

It drinks heaven's dew as blithe as rose Sinks in the wailing for the dead.

That in the king's own garden grows; O well for me, if mine alone

And when I place it in my hair, That dirge's deep prophetic tone!

Allan, a bard is bound to swear If, as my tuneful fathers said,

He ne'er saw coronet so fair.” This harp, which erst Saint Modan sway'd, Then playfully the chaplet wild Can thus its master's fate foretell,

She wreath'd in her dark locks, and smiled. Then welcome be the minstrel's knell !

X.
VIII.

Her smile, her speech, with winning sway, “ But ah! dear lady, thus it sigh'd

Wiled the old harper's mood away. The eve thy sainted mother died;

With such a look as hermits throw, And such the sounds which, while I strove

When angels stoop to soothe their woe, To wake a lay of war or love,

He gazed, till fond regret and pride Came marring all the festal mirth,

Thrill’d to a tear, then thus replied: Appalling me who gave them birth,

“Loveliest and best! thou little know'st And, disobedient to my call,

The rank, the honours, thou hast lost!
Wail'd loud through Bothwell's banner'd hall, O might I live to see thee grace,
Ere Douglasses, to ruin driven,

In Scotland's court, thy birth-right place, Were exiled from their native heaven.

To see my favourite's step advance, Oh ! if yet worse mishap and woe,

The lightest in the courtly dance, My master's house must undergo,

The cause of every gallant's sigh, Or aught but weal to Ellen fair,

And leading star of every eye, Brood in these accents of despair,

And theme of every minstrel's art,
No future bard, sad Harp! shall fling

The Lady of the Bleeding Heart !”_6
Triumph or rapture from thy string;
One short, one final strain shall flow,

XI.
Fraught with unutterable woe,

“ Fair dreams are these," the maiden Then shiver'd shall thy fragments lie,

cried, Thy master cast him down and die!”

(Light was her accent, yet she sigh’d;)

“ Yet is this mossy rock to me IX.

Worth splendid chair and canopy;? Soothing she answer'd him, “ Assuage,

Nor would my footsteps spring more gay Mine honour'd friend, the fears of age;

In courtly dance than blithe trathspey,

| See Appendix, Note M.
? Seo Appendix, Note N
3 See Appendix, Note 0.
* M8 -"No blither dew-drop cheers the rose."

This couplet is not in the MS. 6 The well-known cognizance of the Douglas family. 7 MS.-" This mossy rock, my friend, to me

is worth gay chair and canopy."

Nor half so pleased mine ear irelme

Allan! Sir Roderick should command To royal minstrel's lay as thine.

My blood, my life,- but not my hand. And then for suitors proud and high,

Rather will Ellen Douglas dwell To bend before my conquering eye,

A votaress in Maronnan's cell ;8 Thou, flattering bard! thyself wilt say,

Rather through realms beyond the sea, That grim Sir Roderick owns its sway.

Seeking the world's cold charity, The Saxon scourge, Clan-Alpine's pride,

Where ne'er was spoke a Scottish word, The terror of Loch Lomond's side,

And ne'er the name of Douglas beard, Would, at my suit, thou know'st, delay

An outcast pilgrim will she rove, A Lennox foray-for a day."

Than wed the man she cannot love.

[ocr errors]

XII. The ancient bard his glee repressid: “ III hast thou chosen theme for jest ! For who, through all this western wild, Named Black Sir Roderic' e'er, and smiled! In Holy-Rood a knight he slew;' I saw, when back the dirk he drew, Courtiers give place before the stride Of the undaunted homicide ; And since, though outlaw'd, hath his hand Full sternly kept his mountain land. Who else dared give-ah! woe the day, That I such hated truth should say-The Douglas, like a striken deer, Disown'd by every noble peer, 4 Even the rude refuge we have here! Alas, this wild marauding Chief Alone might hazard our relief, And now thy maiden charms expand, Looks for his guerdon in thy hand; Full soon may dispensation sought, To back his suit, from Rome be brought. Then, though an exile on the hill, Thy father, as the Douglas, still Be held in reverence and fear; And though to Roderick thou’rt so dear, That thou mightst guide with silken thread, Slave of thy will, this chieftain dread; Yet, O loved maid, thy mirth refrain! Thy hand is on a lion's mane.”

XIV. “ Thou shakest, good friend, thy tresses grey,-That pleading look, what can it say But what I own!-I grant him brave, But wild as Bracklinn's thundering wave;? And generous-save vindictive mood, Or jealous transport, chafe his blood: I grant him true to friendly band, As his claymore is to his hand; But 0! that very blade of steel More mercy for a foe would feel: I grant him liberal, to fling Among his clan the wealth they bring, When back by lake and glen they wind, And in the Lowland leave behind, Where once some pleasant hamlet stood, A mass of ashes slaked with blood. The hand that for my father fought, I honour, as his daughter ought; But can I clasp it reeking red, From peasants slaughter'd in their shed No! wildly while his virtues gleam, They make his passions darker seem, And fash along his spirit high, Like lightning o'er the midnight sky. While yet a child,-and children know, Instinctive taught, the friend and foe,I shudder'd at his brow of gloom, His shadowy plaid, and sable plume; A maiden grown, I ill could bear His haughty mien and lordly air: But, if thou join'st a suitor's claim, In serious mood, to Roderick's name, I thrill with anguish! or, if e'er A Douglas knew the word, with fear. To change such odious theme were best,What think'st thou of our stranger guest!"

XIII.
“ Minstrel,” the maid replied, and high
Her father's soul glanced from her eye,
“My debts to Roderick's house I know:
All that a mother could bestow,
To Lady Margaret's care I owe,
Since first an orphan in the wild
She sorrow'd o'er her sister's child;
To her brave chieftain son, from ire
Of Scotland's king who shrouds my sire,
A deeper, holier debt is owed;
And, could I pay it with my blood,
I See Appendix, Note P.
2 MS.-" Courtiers give place with heartless stride

of the retiring homicide."
3 MS.-" Who else dared own the kindred claim

That bound him to thy mother's name?

Who else dared give," &c. 4 See Appendix, Note Q. 6 See Appendix, Note R.

XV. “ What think I of him woe the while That brought such wanderer to our isle! Thy father's battle-brand, of yore For Tine-man forged by fairy lore, 8 6 " Ellen is most exquisitely drawn, and could not have bun improved by contrast. She is beautiful, frank, affcctionata, rational, and playful, combining the innocence of a child with the elevated sentiments and courage of a heroine." - Quarterly Revicu.

7 See Appendix, Note S. 8 See Appendix, Note T.

What time he leagued, no longer foes,
His Border spears with Hotspur's bows,
Did, self-unscabbarded, foreshow
The footstep of a secret foe.
If courtly spy hath harbour'd here,
What may we for the Douglas fear?
What for this island, deem'd of old
Clan-Alpine's last and surest hold?
If neither spy nor foe, I pray
What yet may jealous Roderick say?
-Nay, wave not thy disdainful head,
Bethink thee of the discord dread
That kindled, when at Beltane game
Thou ledst the dance with Malcolm Graeme;
Still, though thy sire the peace renew'd,
Smoulders in Roderick's breast the feud;
Beware!

But hark, what sounds are these??
My dull ears catch no faltering breeze,
No weeping birch, nor aspens wake,
Nor breath is dimpling in the lake,
Still is the canga's 3 hoary beard,
Yet, by my minstrel faith, I heard-
And hark again! some pipe of war
Sends the bold piproch from afar."

And, lingering long by cape and bay,
Wail'd every harsher note away;
Then bursting bolder on the ear,
The clan's shrill Gathering they could hear;
Those thrilling sounds, that call the might
Of old Clan-Alpine to the fight.5
Thick beat the rapid notes, as when
The mustering hundreds shake the glen,
And, hurrying at the signal dread,
The batter'd earth returns their tread.
Then prelude light, of livelier tone,
Express d their merry marching on,
Ere peal of closing battle rose,
With mingled outcry, shrieks, and blows;
And mimic din of stroke and ward,
As broad sword upon target jarr’d;
And groaning pause, ere yet again,
Condensed, the battle yell’d amain;
The rapid charge, the rallying shout,
Retreat borne headlong into rout.
And bursts of triumph, to declaro
Clan-Alpine's conquest-all were there.
Nor ended thus the strain; but slow,
Sunk in a moan prolong’d and low,
And changed the conquering clarion swell,
For wild lament o'er those that fell.

XVI. Far up the lengthen’d lake were spicd Four darkeung specks upon the tide, That, slow enlarging on the view, Four mann'd and masted barges grew, And, bearing downwards from (lengylc, Steer'd full upon the lonely isle; The point of Brianchoil they pasa’d, And, to the windward as they cast, Against the sun they gave to shine The bold Sir Roderick's banner'd Pine. Nearer and nearer as they bear, Spear, pikes, and axes flash in air. Now might you see the tartans brave, And plaids and plumage dance and wave: Now see the bonnets sink and rise, As his tough oar the rower plies; See, flashing at each sturdy stroke, The wave ascending into smoke; See the proud pipers on the bow, Aud mark the gaudy streamers flow From their loud chanters* down, and sweep The furrow'd bosom of the deep, As, rushing through the lake amain, They plied the ancient Highland strain.

XVIII. The war-pipes ceased; but lake and hill Were busy with their echoes still; And, when they slept, a vocal strain Bade their hoarse chorus wake again, While loud a hundred clansmen raise Their voices in their Chieftain's praise. Each boatman, bending to his oar, With measured sweep the burden bore, In such wild cadence, as the breeze Makes through December's leafless trees. The chorus first could Allan know, “ Roderick Vich Alpine, ho! iro!" And near, and nearer as they row'd, Distinct the martial ditty flow'd.

XIX.

Boat song.
Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances!

Honour'd and bless'd be the ever-green Pine ! Long may the tree, in his banner that glances, Flourish, the shelter and grace of our line!

Heaven send it happy dew,

Earth lend it sap anew,
Gayly to bourgeon, and broadly to grow,

While every Highland glen

Sends our shout back agen, “ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe !”

XVII. Ever, as on they bore, more loud And louder rung the pibroch proud. At first the sound, by distance tame, Mellow'd along the waters came,

| See Appendix. Note V.

? " The moving picture-the effect of the sounds-and the wild character and strong peculiar nationality of the whole

procession, are given with inimitable spirit and power of expression."-JEFFREY. 3 Cotton-grass.

• The pipe of the bagpipe. 8 See Appendix, Note V. 6 See Appendix, Note W.

Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain, * List, Allan-bane! From mainland cast, Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade;

I hear my father's signal blast. When the whirlwind has stripp'd every leaf on the Be ours," she cried, “ the skiff to guide, mountain,

And waft him from the mountain side.” The more shall Clan-Alpine exult in her shade. Then, like a sunbeam, swift and bright, Moor'd in the rifted rock,

She darted to her shallop light,
Proof to the tempest's shock,

And, eagerly while Roderick scann'd,
Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow;

For her dear form, his mother's band,
Menteith and Breadalbane, then,

The islet far behind her lay,
Echo his praise agen,

And she had landed in the bay. “ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe !"

XXII.
XX.

Some feelings are to mortals given, Proudly our pibroch has thrill'd in Glen Fruin, With less of earth in them than heaven :

And Bannochar's groans to our slogan replied; And if there be a human tear
Glen Luss and Ross-dhu, they are smoking in ruin, From passion's dross refined and clear,
And the best of Loch Lomond lie dead on her side.' A tear so limpid and so meek,
Widow and Saxon maid

It would not stain an angel's cheek,
Long shall lament our raid,

'Tis that which pious fathers shed Think of Clan-Alpine with fear and with woe; Upon a duteous daughter's head! Lennox and Leven-glen

And as the Douglas to his breast
Shake when they hear agen,

His darling Ellen closely press'd, “ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!”

Such holy drops her tresses steep'd,

Though 'twas an hero's eye that weep'd. Row, vassals, row, for the pride of the Highlands! Nor while on Ellen's faltering tongue

Stretch to your oars, for the ever-green Pine! Her filial welcomes crowded hung, 0! that the rose-bud that graces yon islands,

Mark'd she, that fear (affection's proof) Were wreathed in a garland around him to twine! Still held a graceful youth aloof; O that some seedling gem,

No! not till Douglas named his name, Worthy such noble stem,

Although the youth was Malcolm Græme.
Honour'd and bless’d in their shadow might grow!
Loud should Clan-Alpine then

XXIII.
Ring from the deepmost glen,

Allan, with wistful look the while, “ Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe !"

Mark'd Roderick landing on the isle ;

His master piteously he eyed,
XXI.

Then gazed upon the Chieftain's pride. With all her joyful female band,

Then dash’d, with hasty hand, away Had Lady Margaret sought the strand.

From his dimm'd eye the gathering spray; Loose on the breeze their tresses flew,

And Douglas, as his hand he laid And high their snowy arms they threw,

On Malcolm's shoulder, kindly said, As echoing back with shrill acclaim,

“ Canst thou, young friend, no meaning And chorus wild, the Chieftain's name ; 8

spy While, prompt to please, with mother's art, In my poor follower's glistening eye? The darling passion of his heart,

I'll tell thee:-he recalls the day, The Dame callid Ellen to the strand,

When in my praise he led the lay To greet her kinsman ere he land:

O'er the arch'd gate of Bothwell proud, “ Come, loiterer, come! a Douglas thou,

While many a minstrel answer'd loud, And shun to wreathe a victor's brow?”—

When Percy's Norman pennon, won Reluctantly and slow, the maid

In bloody field, before me shone, The unwelcome summoning obey'd,

And twice ten knights, the least a name And, when a distant bugle rung,

As mighty as yon Chief may claim, In the mid-path aside she sprung:

Gracing my pomp, behind me came. I See Appendix, Note X.

3 MS." The chorus to the chieftain's fame."

4 MS.-"Nor while on Ellen's faltering tongue 2 “ However we may dislike the geographical song and

Her filial greetings eager hung, chorus, half English and half Erse, which is sung in praise of

Mark'd not that aroe (affection's proof) the warrior, we must allow that, in other respects, the hero

Still held yon gentle youth aloof; of a poem has seldom, if ever, been introduced with finer ef

No! not till Douglas named his name, fect, or in a manner better calculated to excite the expecta

Although the youth was Malcolm Græme. tions of the reader, than on the present occasion."-Critical

Then with flush'd cheek and downcast eye, Rerie.

Their greeting was confused and shy."

Yet trust me, Malcolm, not so proud

Yet friends, who nearest knew the youth Was I of all that marshall’d crowd,

His scorn of wrong, his zeal for truth, Though the waned crescent own'd my might, And bards, who saw his features bold, And in my train troop'd lord and knight,

When kindled by the tales of old, Though Blantyre hymn'd her holiest lays,

Said, were that youth to manhood growr And Bothwell's bards Aung back my praise, Not long should Roderick Dhu's renown As when this old man's silent tear,

Be foremost voiced by mountain fame, And this poor maid's affection dear,

But quail to that of Malcolm Græme.
A welcome give more kind and true,
Than aught my better fortunes knew.

XXVI.
Forgive, my friend, a father's boast,

Now back they wend their watery way. 0! it out-beggars all I lost!”

And,“O my sire !" did Ellen say,

“Why urge thy chase so far astray? XXIV.

And why so late return'd ? And why".. Delightful praise !-Like summer rose,

The rest was in her speaking eye. That brighter in the dew-drop glows,

“My child, the chase I follow far, The bashful-maiden's cheek appeard,

'Tis mimicry of noble war; For Douglas spoke, and Malcolm heard.

And with that gallant pastime reft The flush of shame-faced joy to hide,

Were all of Douglas I have left. The hounds, the hawk, her cares divide;

I met young Malcolm as I stray'd, The loved caresses of the maid

Far eastward, in Glenfinlas' shade, The dogs with crouch and whimper paid ;'

Nor stray'd I safe ; for, all around, And, at her whistle, on her hand

Hunters and horsemen scour'd the ground. The falcon took her favourite stand,

This youth, though still a royal ward, Closed his dark wing, relax'd his eye,

Risk'd life and land to be my guard, Nor, though unhooded, sought to fly.

And through the passes of the wood, And, trust, while in such guise she stood,

Guided my steps, not unpursued; Like fabled Goddess of the wood,

And Roderick shall his welcome make, That if a father's partial thought

Despite old spleen, for Douglas' sake. O'erweigh’d her worth and beauty aught,

Then must he seek Strath-Endrick glen, Well might the lover's judgment fail

Nor peril ought for me agen.”
To balance with a juster scale;
For with each secret glance he stole,

XXVII.
The fond enthusiast sent his soul.

Sir Roderick, who to meet them came,

Redden'd at sight of Malcolm Græme, XXV.

Yet, not in action, word, or eye, Of stature tall, and slender frame,

Fail'd aught in hospitality. But firmly knit, was Malcolm Græme.

In talk and sport they whiled away, The belted plaid and tartan hose

The morning of that summer day; Did ne'er more graceful limbs disclose;

But at high noon a courier light His flaxen hair of sunny hue,

Held secret parley with the knight, Curld closely round his bonnet blue.

Whose moody aspect soon declared, Train’d to the chase, his eagle eye

That evil were the news he heard. The ptarmigan in snow could spy:

Deep thought seem'd toiling in his Each pass, by mountain, lake, and heath,

head; He knew, through Lennox and Menteith;

Yet was the evening banquet made, Vain was the bound of dark-brown doe,

Ere he assembled round the flame, When Malcolm bent his sounding bow,

His mother, Douglas, and the Græme, And scarce that doe, though wing‘d with fear, And Ellen, too; then cast around Outstripp'd in speed the mountaineer:

His eyes, then fix'd them on the ground, Right up Ben-Lomond could he press,

As studying phrase that might avail And not a sob his toil confess.

Best to convey unpleasant tale. His form accorded with a mind

Long with his dagger's hilt he play'd, Lively and ardent, frank and kind;

Then raised his haughty brow, and said :A blither heart, till Ellen came, Did never love nor sorrow tame;

XXVIII. It danced as lightsome in his breast,

“ Short be my speech ;-nor time affords, As play'd the feather on his crest.

Nor my plain temper, glozing words.

I MS.-" The dogs with whimpering notes repaid."

2 MS. -" Like fabled huntress of the wood

« AnteriorContinuar »