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I mark'd at morn how close they ride,
And think upon the harpings slow, Thick moor’d by the lone islet's side,
That presaged this approaching woe! Like wild-ducks couching in the fen,
Sooth was my prophecy of fear; When stoops the hawk upon the glen.
Believe it when it augurs cheer. Since this rude race dare not abide
Would we had left this dismal spot! The peril on the mainland side,
Ill luck still haunts a fairy grot. Shall not thy noble father's care
Of such a wondrous tale I knowSome safe retreat for thee prepare?”
Dear lady, change that look of woe,
My harp was wont thy grief to cheer.”-
Well, be it as thou wilt; I hear, My wakeful terrors could not blind.
But cannot stop the bursting tear.” When in such tender tone, yet grave,
The Minstrel tried his simple art,
But distant far was Ellen's heart,
ALICE BRAND. Reflects the invulnerable rock.
Merry it is in the good greenwood, He hears report of battle rife,
When the mavis 4 and merle 5 are singing, He deems himself the cause of strife.
When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are in cry, I saw him redden, when the theme
And the hunter's horn is ringing.
“O Alice Brand, my native land Which I, thou saidst, about him wound.
Is lost for love of you ; Think'st thou be trow'd thine omen aught?
And we must hold by wood and wold, Oh no! 'twas apprehensive thought
As outlaws wont to do. For the kind youth,—for Roderick too(Let me be just) that friend so true;
“O Alice, 'twas all for thy locks so bright, In danger both, and in our cause !
And 'twas all for thine eyes so blue, Minstrel, the Douglas dare not pause.
That on the night of our luckless flight, Why else that solemn warning given,
Thy brother bold I slew. • If not on earth, we meet in heaven !' Why else, to Cambus-kenneth's fane,
“ Now must I teach to hew the beech If eve return him not again,
The hand that held the glaive, Am I to hie, and make me known ?
For leaves to spread our lowly bed,
And stakes to fence our cave.
And for vest of pall, thy fingers small,
That wont on harp to stray,
A cloak must sheer from the slaughter'd deer, XI.
To keep the cold away.”— & Nay, lovely Ellen !-dearest, nay! If aught should his return delay,
“ O Richard ! if my brother died, He only named yon holy fane
'Twas but a fatal chance; As fitting place to meet again.
For darkling was the battle tried,
And fortune sped the lance.
“ If pall and vair no more I wear, Nor bode of ill to him or you.
Nor thou the crimson sheen, When did my gifted dream beguile ?
As warın, we'll say, is the russet grey, Think of the stranger at the isle,
As gay the forest-green.
3 See Appendix, Note 2 Y.
TAS.-"No, Allan, no! His words so kind
Were but pretexts my fears to blind.
Douglas a parting blessing gave."
Reflects the adamantine rock."
6 MS." "Twas but a midnight chance ;
For blindfold was the battle plied,
And fortune held the lance."
“ And, Richard, if our lot be hard,
Then forward stepp'd she, Alice Brand, And lost thy native land,
And made the holy sign, Still Alice has her own Richard,
“ And if there's blood on Richard's hand, And he his Alice Brand."
A spotless hand is mine.
The price of blood is on his head,
His martial step, his stately mien,
XVIII. Fitz-James knew every wily train A lady's fickle heart to gain; But here he knew and felt them vain. There shot no glance from Ellen's eye, To give her steadfast speech the lie; In maiden confidence she stood, Though mantled in her cheek the blood, And told her love with such a sigh Of deep and hopeless agony, As death had seal'd her Malcolm's doom, And she sat sorrowing on his tomb. Hope vanish'd from Fitz-James's eye, But not with hope fled sympathy. He proffer'd to attend her side, As brother would a sister guide.“ 0! little know'st thou Roderick's heart! Safer for both we go apart. O haste thee, and from Allan learn, If thou may'st trust yon wily kern." With hand upon his forehead laid, The conflict of his mind to shade, A parting step or two he made; Then, as some thought had cross'd his brain, He paused, and turn'd, and came again.
XVII. “Sweet Ellen, dear my life must be, Since it is worthy care from thee; Yet life I hold but idle breath, When love or honour's weigh'd with death. Then let me profit by my chance, And speak my purpose bold at once. I come to bear thee from a wild, Where ne'er before such blossom smiled; By this soft hand to lead thee far From frantic scenes of feud and war. Near Bochastle my horses wait;' They bear us soon to Stirling gate. l'll place thee in a lovely bower, I'll guard thee like a tender flower” “O! hush, Sir Knight ! 'twere female art, To say I do not read thy heart; Too much, before, my selfish ear Was idly soothed my praise to hear." That fatal bait hath lured thee back, In deathful hour, o'er dangerous track; And how, O how, can I atone The wreck my vanity brought on ! One way remains—I'll tell him allYes! struggling bosom, forth it shall ! Thou, whose light folly bears the blame, Buy thine own pardon with thy shame! But first-my father is a man Outlawd and exiled, under ban;
XIX. “ Hear, lady, yet, a parting word !-It chanced in fight that my poor sword Preserved the life of Scotland's lord. This ring the grateful Monarch gave,3 And bade, when I had boon to crave, To bring it back, and boldly claim The recompense that I would name. Ellen, I am no courtly lord, But one who lives by lance and sword, Whose castle is his helm and shield, His lordship the embattled field. What from a prince can I demand, Who neither reck of state nor land? Ellen, thy hand-the ring is thine;4 Each guard and usher knows the sign. Seek thou the king without delay;' This signet shall secure thy way; And claim thy suit, whate'er it be, As ransom of his pledge to me.”
• MS.-" By Cambusmore my horses wait." < 48.-" Was idly fond thy praise to hear." * M8.-" This ring of gold the monarch gave."
4 MS.—“ Permit this hand-the ring is thine.”
Put forth thy suit, whate'er it be,
He placed the golden circlet on,
XXII. Pauzed-kiss'd her hand-and then was gone.
Song. The aged Minstrel stood aghast,
They bid me sleep, they bid me pray, So hastily Fitz-James shot past.
They say my brain is warp'd and wrungHe join'd his guide, and wending down
I cannot sleep on Highland brae, The ridges of the mountain brown,
I cannot pray in Highland tongue. Across the stream they took their way,
But were I now where Allan3 glides, That joins Loch Katrine to Achray.
Or heard my native Devan's tides,
So sweetly would I rest, and pray
That Heaven would close my wintry day!
'Twas thus my hair they bade me braid, Sudden his guide whoop'd loud and high
They made me to the church repair ; “ Murdoch! was that a signal cry?”—
It was my bridal morn they said, He stammer'd forth," I shout to scare?
And my true love would meet me there. Yon raven from his dainty fare.”
But woe betide the cruel guile, He look’d-he knew the raver.'s prey,
That drown’d in blood the morning smile ! His own brave steed:—“Ah! gadlant grey!
And woe betide the fairy dream!
I only waked to sob and scream.
“ Who is this maid? what means her lay? Jealous and sullen on they fared,
She hovers o'er the hollow way, Each silent, each upon bis guard.
And flutters wide her mantle grey,
As the lone heron spreads his wing,
By twilight, o'er a haunted spring.”-
“ 'Tis Blanche of Devan,” Murdoch said, Around a precipice's edge,
“ A crazed and captive Lowland maid,* When lo! a wasted female form,
Ta'en on the morn she was a bride, Blighted by wrath of sun and storm,
When Roderick foray'd Devan-side. In tatter'd weeds and wild array,
The gay bridegroom resistance made, Stood on a cliff beside the way,
And felt our Chief's unconquer'd blade, And glancing round her restless eye,
I marvel she is now at large, Upon the wood, the rock, the sky,
But oft she 'scapes from Maudlin's charge.Seem'd nought to mark, yet all to spy.
Hence, brain-sick fool!”-He raised his bow : Her brow was wreath'd with gaudy broom;
“ Now, if thou strikest her but one blow, With gesture wild she waved a plume
I'll pitch thee from the cliff as far Of feathers, which the eagles fling
As ever peasant pitch'd a bar!” – To crag and cliff fro dusky wing;
“ Thanks, champion, thanks!” the Maniac Such spoils her desperate step had sought,
cried, Where scarce was footing for the goat.
And press'd her to Fitz-James's side. The tartan plaid she first descried,
“ See the grey pennons I prepare, And shriek'd till all the rocks replied ;
To seek my true-love through the air? As loud she laugh'd when near they drew,
I will not lend that savage groom, For then the Lowland garb she knew;
To break his fall, one downy plume! And then her hands she wildly wrung,
No!-deep amid disjointed stones, And then she wept, and then she sung
The wolves shall batten on his bones, She sung !--the voice, in better time,
And then shall his detested plaid, Perchance to harp or lute might chime;
By bush and brier in mid air staid, And now, though strain’d and roughen'd, still Wave forth a banner fair and free, Rung wildly sweet to dale and hill.
Meet signal for their revelry.”
My name and this shall make thy way.'
1 MS.--" He stammer'd forth confused reply:
Sir Knight, }1 shouted but to scare
Yon raven from his dainty fare.'" MS.--"Wrapp'd in a tatter'd mantle grey," * The Alan and Devan are two beautiful strcams, the latter
celebrated in the poetry of Burns, which descend from the
Tis Blanche of Devan,' Murdoch said."
Then seek my true love through the air.
To break his fall, one downy plume!
XXIV. € flush thee, poor maiden, and be still !”–
0! thou look’st kindly, and I will.Mine eye has dried and wasted been, But still it loves the Lincoln green; And, though mine ear is all unstrung, Still, still it loves the Lowland tongue.
" For O my sweet William was forester true,'
He stole poor Blanche's heart away! His coat it was all of the greenwood hue,
And so blithely he trill’d the Lowland lay!
“ It was not that I meant to tell ...
Not like a stag that spies the snare,
XXV. “ The toils are pitch'd, and the stakes are sct,
Ever sing merrily, merrily;
" It was a stag, a stag of ten,
Bearing its branches sturdily; He came stately down the glen,
Ever sing hardily, hardily.
“ It was there he met with a wounded doe,
She was bleeding deathfully; She warn'd him of the toils below,
0, so faithfully, faithfully!
XXVII. She sate beneath the birchen-tree, Her elbow resting on her knee; She had withdrawn the fatal shaft, And gazed on it, and feebly laughd; Her wreath of broom and feathers grey, Daggled with blood, beside her lay. The Knight to stanch the life-stream tried, “ Stranger, it is in vain!” she cried. “ This hour of death has given me more Of reason's power than years before; For, as these ebbing veins decay, My frenzied visions fade away. A helpless injured wretch I die,? And something tells me in thine eye, That thou wert mine avenger born.-Seest thou this tress ?-0! still I've worn This little tress of yellow hair, Through danger, frenzy, and despair ! It once was bright and clear as thine, But blood and tears have dimm d its shine.
I MS.-"Sweet William was a woodsman true,
He stole poor Blanche's heart away!
And sweet he sung the Lowland lay." • Having ten branches on his antlers.
3 "No machinery can be conceived more clumsy for effectIng the deliverance of a distressed hero, than the introduction of a mad woman, who, without knowing or caring about the wanderer, warns him by a song, to take care of the ambush that was set for him. The maniacs of poetry have indeed had a prescriptive right to be musical, since the days of Ophelia dosowards; but it is rather a rash extension of this privilege
to make them sing good sense, and to make sensible peopre
But in his race his bow he bent,
" It may not be
The thrust betwixt his shoulder came. 6 MS.-" Then o'er him hung, with falcon eye
And grimly smiled to see him die." * MS. -"A guiltless injured wretch I die.“