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XXVII.

But every jealous post of ward “ Bold stranger, no—'gainst claim like thine, Was now defenceless and unbarr'd, No bolt revolves by hand of mine,"

And all the passage free Though urged in tone that more express'd

To one low-brow'd and vaulted room, A monarch than a suppliant guest.

Where squire and yeoman, page and Be what ye will, Artornish Hall

groom, On this glad eve is free to all.

Plied their loud revelry. Though ye had drawn a hostile sword 'Gainst our ally, great England's Lord,

XXX. Or mail upon your shoulders borne,

And “ Rest ye here,” the Warder bade, To battle with the Lord of Lorn,

“ Till to our Lord your suit is said.Or, outlaw'd, dwelt by greenwood tree

And, comrades, gaze not on the maid, With the fierce Knight of Ellerslie,

And on these men who ask our aid, Or aided even the murderous strife,

As if ye ne'er had seen When Comyn fell beneath the knife

A damsel tired of midnight bark, Of that fell homicide The Bruce,

Or wanderers of a moulding stark, This night had been a term of truce.

And bearing martial micn.” Ho, vassals! give these guests your care,

But not for Eachin's reproof And show the narrow postern stair.”

Would page or vassal stand aloof,

But crowded on to stare,
XXVIII.

As men of courtesy untaught,
To land these two bold brethren leapt,

Till fiery Edward roughly caught, (The weary crew their vessel kept,)

From one the foremost there, And, lighted by the torches' Hare,

His chequer'd plaid, and in its shroud, That seaward fung their smoky glare,

To hide her from the vulgar crowd,
The younger knight that maiden bare

Involved his sister fair.
Half lifeless up the rock;

His brother, as the clansman bent
On his strong shoulder lean’d her head,

His sullen brow in discontent, And down her long dark tresses shed,

Made brief and stern excuse;As the wild vine in tendrils spread,

“ Vassal, were thine the cloak of pall Droops from the mountain oak.

That decks thy Lord in bridal hall, Him follow'd close that elder Lord,

"Twere honour'd by her use." And in his hand a sheathed sword, Such as few arms could wield;

XXXI. But when he boun'd him to such task,

Proud was his tone, but calm; his eye Well could it cleave the strongest casque,

Had that compelling dignity, And rend the surest shield.“

His mien that bearing haught and high,

Which common spirits fear! 8
XXIX.

Needed nor word nor signal more,
The raised portcullis' arch they pass,

Nod, wink, and laughter, all were o'er; The wicket with its bars of brass,

Upon each other back they bore, The entrance long and low,5

And gazed like startled deer. Flank'd at each turn by loop-holes strait,

But now appear'd the Seneschal, Where bowmen might in ambush wait,

Commission'd by his lord to call (If force or fraud should burst the gate,)

The strangers to the Baron's hall, To gall an entering foe.

Where feasted fair and free

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8“ Still sways their souls with that commanding art

That dazzles, leads, yet chills the vulgar heart.
What is that spell, that thus his lawless train
Confess and envy, yet oppose in vain ?
What should it be, that thus their faith can bind ?
The power of Thought--the magic of the Mind!
Link'd with success, assumed and kept with skill,
That moulds another's weakness to its will;
Wields with their hands, but, still to these unknown,
Makes even their mightiest deeds appear his own.
Such hath it been-shall be-beneath the sun
The many still must labour for the one!
'Tis Nature's doom."

BYRON's Corsair.

That Island Prince in nuptial tide,
With Edith there his lovely bride,
And her bold brother by her side,
And many a chief, the flower and pride

Of Western land and sea.

Here pause we, gentles, for a space;
And, if our tale hath won your grace,
Grant us brief patience, and again
We will renew the minstrel strain.2

The vacant brow, the unlistening ear,
They gave to thoughts of raptures near,
And his fierce starts of sudden glee
Seem'd bursts of bridegroom's ecstasy.
Nor thus alone misjudged the crowd,
Since lofty Lorn, suspicious, proud,
And jealous of his honour'd line,
And that keen knight, De Argentine,?
(From England sent on errand high,
The western league more firm to tie,) 8
Both deem'd in Ronald's mood to find
A lover's transport-troubled mind.
But one sad heart, one tearful eye,
Pierced deeper through the mystery,
And watch'd, with agony and fear,
Her wayward bridegroom's varied cheer.

The Lord of the Isles.

CAXTO SECOND

Fill the bright goblet, spread the festive board!
Summon the gay, the noble, and the fair!
Through the loud hall in joyous concert pour’d,
Let mirth and music sound the dirge of Care !
But ask thou not if Happiness be there,
If the loud laugh disguise convulsive throe,
Or if the brow the heart's true livery wear;

Lift not the festal mask !-enough to know,
No scene of mortal life but teems with mortal woe.3

IV. She watch'd-yet fear'd to meet his glance, And he shunn'd hers;—till when by chance They met, the point of foeman's lance

Had given a milder pang!
Beneath the intolerable smart
He writhed-then sternly mann'd his heart
To play his hard but destined part,

And from the table sprang.
“ Fill me the mighty cup!” he said,
“ Erst own’d by royal Somerled: 9
Fill it, till on the studded brim
In burning gold the bubbles swim,
And every gem of varied shine
Glow doubly bright in rosy wine!
To you, brave lord, and brother mine,

Of Lorn, this pledge I drink--
The union of Our House with thine,

By this fair bridal-link!"

II.
With beakers' clang, with harpers' lay,
With all that olden time deem'd gay,
The Island Chieftain feasted high;
But there was in his troubled eye
A gloomy fire, and on his brow
Now sudden flush'd, and faded now,
Emotions such as draw their birth
From deeper source than festal mirth.
By fits he paused, and harper's strain
And jester's tale went round in vain,
Or fell but on his idle ear
Like distant sounds which dreamers hear.
Then would he rouse him, and employ
Each art to aid the clamorous joy,

And call for pledge and lay,
And, for brief space, of all the crowd,
As he was loudest of the loud,

Seem gayest of the gay.s

V. “ Let it pass round!” quoth He of Lorn, “ And in good time-that winded horn

Must of the Abbot tell;
The laggard monk is come at last.”
Lord Ronald heard the bugle-blast,
And on the floor at random cast,

The untasted goblet fell.
But when the warder in his ear
Tells other news, his blither cheer

Returns like sun of May,
When through a thunder-cloud it beams!--
Lord of two hundred isles, he seems

As glad of brief delay,

III. Yet nought amiss the bridal throng Mark'd in brief mirth, or musing long;

1 MS.—“ Of mountain chivalry."

2 “ The first Canto is full of business and description, and the scenes are such as Mr. Scott's muse generally excels in. The scene between Edith and her nurse is spirited, and contains many very pleasing lines. The description of Lord Ronald's ficet, and of the bark endeavouring to make her way against the wind, more particularly of the last, is executed with extraordinary beauty and fidelity."-Quarterly Rivieur.

*“ Eren in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is hcaviness."- Proverbs, xiv. 13.

4 MS.

" and give birth To jest, to wassail, and to mirth." 5 MS.-" Would seem the loudest of the loud,

And gayest of the gay." 6 MS. --“Since Lorn, the proudest of the proud.” 7 MS.--" And since the keen De Argentine." 8 See Appendix, Note L. ? See Appendix, Note M.

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As some poor criminal might feel,

Mark'd ye the younger stranger's eye,
When, from the gibbet or the wheel,

My mates, how quick, how keen, how high,
Respited for a day.

How fierce its flashes fell,

Glancing among the noble rout 8
VI.

As if to seek the noblest out, “ Brother of Lorn,” with hurried voice

Because the owner might not brook
He said, “ And you, fair lords, rejoice!

On any save his peers to look?
Here, to augment our glee,

And yet it moves me more,
Come wandering knights from travel far,

That steady, calm, majestic brow,
Well proved, they say, in strife of war,

With which the elder chief even now
And tempest on the sea.-

Scann’d the gay presence o'er,
Ho! give them at your board such place

Like being of superior kind, As best their presences may grace,

In whose high-toned impartial mind And bid them welcome free!”

Degrees of mortal rank and state With solemn step, and silver wand,

Seem objects of indifferent weight. The Seneschal the presence scann'd

The lady too_though closely tied Of these strange guests ;? and well he

The mantle veil both face and eye, knew

Her motions' grace it could not hide,
How to assign their rank its due ;3

Nor could 9 her form’s fair symmetry.”
For though the costly furs
That erst had deck'd their caps were torn,

IX.
And their gay robes were over-worn,

Suspicious doubt and lordly scorn
And soild their gilded spurs,

Lourd on the haughty front of Lorn.
Yet such a high commanding grace

From underneath his brows of pride, Was in their mien and in their face,

The stranger guests he sternly eyed,
As suited best the princely dais,

And whisper'd closely what the ear
And royal canopy;

Of Argentine alone might hear;
And there marshall’d them their place,

Then question’d, ligh and brief,
First of that company.

If, in their voyage, aught they knew

Of the rebellious Scottish crew,
VII.

Who to Rath-Erin's shelter drew,
Then lords and ladies spake aside,

With Carrick's outlaw'd Chief ? 10 And angry looks the error chide,5

And if, their winter's exile o’er, That gave to guests unnamed, unknown,

They harbour'd still by Ulster's shore,
A place so near their prince's throne;

Or launch'd their galleys on the main,
But Owen Erraught said,

To vex their native land again?
“ For forty years a seneschal,
To marshal guests in bower and hall

X.
Has been my honour'd trade.

That younger stranger, fierce and high,
Worship and birth to me are known,

At once confronts the Chieftain's By look, by bearing, and by tone,

With look of equal scorn; Not by furr'd robe or broider'd zone;

“ Of rebels have we nought to show; And 'gainst an oaken bough

But if of Royal Bruce thou’dst know, I'll gage my silver wand of state,

I warn thee he has sworn,l?
That these three strangers oft have sate

Ere thrice three days shall come and go,
In higher place than now.”_6

His banner Scottish winds shall blow,

Despite each mean or mighty foe,
VIII.

From England's every bill and bow, “ I, too,” the aged Ferrand said,

To Allaster of Lorn.” “ Am qualified by minstrel trade 7

Kindled the mountain Chieftain's ire,
Of rank and place to tell ;-

But Ronald quench'd the rising fire;

5

eye

12

8 MS.

1 MS.—“As may their presence fittest grace." 3 MS.-“With solemn pace, and silver rod,

The Seneschal the entrance show'd

To these strange guests." * See Appendix, Note N.

4 Dais--the great hall-table--elevated a step or two above the rest of the room. 6 MS.--"Aside then lords and ladies spake,

And ushers censured the mistake." " The first entry of the illustrious strangers into the castle

of the Celtic chief, is in the accustomed and peculiar style ot
the poet of chivalry."-JEFFREY.
7 MS." I, too,' old Ferrand said, and laughid,

‘Am qualified by minstrel craft.'"

-" the festal rout." 9 M$._" Nor hide," &c. 10 See Appendix, Note 0. 11 MS.-" That younger stranger, nought out-dared,

Was prompt the haughty Chief to beard." 12 MS.-"Men say that he has sworn."

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“ Gem ! ne'er wrought on Highland mountain,
Did the fairy of the fountain,
Or the mermaid of the wave,
Frame thee in some coral cave?
Did, in Iceland's darksome mine,
Dwarf's swart hands thy metal twine?
Or, mortal-moulded, comest thou here,
From England's love, or France's fear?

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XII.

Song continued.
“No!-thy splendours nothing tell
Foreign art or faëry spell.
Moulded thou for monarch's use,
By the overweening Bruce,
When the royal robe he tied
O'er a heart of wrath and pride;
Thence in triumph wert thou torn,
By the victor hand of Lorn!

XIV.
As glares the tiger on his foes,
Hemm'd in by hunters, spears, and bowa,
And, ere he bounds upon the ring,
Selects the object of his spring,-
Now on the bard, now on his Lord,
So Edward glared and grasp'd his sword-
But stern his brother spoke,-—“ Be still.
What! art thou yet so wild of will,
After high deeds and sufferings long,
To chafe thee for a menial's song?-
Well hast thou framed, Old Man, thy strains,
To praise the hand that pays thy pains ! 9
Yet something might thy song have told
Of Lorn's three vassals, true and bold,
Who rent their Lord from Bruce's hold,
As underneath his knee he lay,
And died to save him in the fray.
I've heard the Bruce's cloak and clasp
Was clench'd within their dying grasp,
What time a hundred foemen more
Rush'd in, and back the victor bore,
Long after Lorn had left the strite,
Full glad to 'scape with limb and life.--

10

" When the gem was won and lost,
Widely was the war-cry toss'd !
Rung aloud Bendourish fell,
Answer'd Douchart's sounding dell,

11

1 " The description of the bridal feast, in the second Canto, tions. In the struggle, however, the brooch which fastened has several animated lines; but the real power and poetry of his royal mantle had been torn off by the assailants; and it the author do not appear to us to be called out until the occa- is on the subject of this trophy that the Celtic poet pours sion of the Highland quarrel which follows the feast."- forth this wild, rapid, and spirited strain."—Jeffrey. Honthly Reviere, March, 1815.

3 See Appendix, Note P.

4 Ibid, Note Q. 9 “In a very different style of excellence (from that of the 6 See Appendix, Note R.

6 Ibid, Note S. first three stanzas) is the triumphant and insulting song of the 7 See Appendix, Note T. bard of Lorn, commemorating the pretended victory of his 8 MS.-" Left his followers to the sword." chief over Robert Bruce, in one of their rencontres. Bruce, 9 See Appendix, Note U. in truth, had been set on by some of that clan, and had extri- 10 The MS. has not this couplet. tated himself from a fearful overmatch by stupendous exer- 11 MS.--"When brcathless Lorn had left the strifo."

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Enough of this—And, Minstrel, hold,
As minstrel-hire, this chain of gold,
For future lays a fair excuse,
To speak more nobly of the Bruce.”-

Fergus, of Canna's castled oay,
Mac-Duffith, Lord of Colonsay,
Soon as they saw the broadswords glance,
With ready weapons rose at once,
More prompt, that many an ancient feud,
Full oft suppress’d, full oft renew'd,
Glow'd 'twixt the chieftains of Argyle,
And many a lord of ocean's isle.
Wild was the scene-each sword was bare,
Back stream'd each chieftain's shaggy hair,
In gloomy opposition set,
Eyes, hands, and brandish'd weapons met;
Blue gleaming o'er the social board,
Flash'd to the torches many a sword;
And soon those bridal lights may shine
On purple blood for rosy wine.

XV. “Now, by Columba's shrine, I swear, And every saint that's buried there, 'Tis he himself !” Lorn sternly cries, “ And for my kinsman's death he dies.” As loudly Ronald calls,-“ Forbear ! Not in my sight while brand I wear, O’ermatch'd by odds, shall warrior fall, Or blood of stranger stain my hall! This ancient fortress of my race Shall be misfortune's resting-place, Shelter and shield of the distress'd, No slaughter-house for shipwreck’d guest.”“Talk not to me,” fierce Lorn replied, “ Of odds or match !-when Comyn died, Three daggers clash'd within his side ! Talk not to me of sheltering hall, The Church of God saw Comyn fall ! On God's own altar stream'd his blood, While o'er my prostrate kinsman stood The ruthless murderer-e'en as nowWith armed hand and scornful brow! Up, all who love me ! blow on blow ! And lay the outlaw'd felons low !”

XVIII. While thus for blows and death prepared, Each heart was up, each weapon bared, Each foot advanced,-a surly pause Still reverenced hospitable laws. All menaced violence, but alike Reluctant each the first to strike, (For aye accursed in minstrel line Is he who brawls 'mid song and wine,) And, match'd in numbers and in might, Doubtful and desperate seem'd the fight. Thus threat and murmur died away, Till on the crowded hall there lay Such silence, as the deadly still, Ere bursts the thunder on the hill. With blade advanced, each Chieftain bold Show'd like the Sworder's form of old, 3 As wanting still the torch of life, To wake the marble into strife.*

XVI. Then up sprang many a mainland Lord, Obedient to their Chieftain's word. Barcaldine's arm is high in air, And Kinloch-Alline's blade is bare, Black Murthok's dirk has left its sheath, And clench'd is Dermid's hand of death. Their mutter'd threats of vengeance

swell Into a wild and warlike yell; Onward they press with weapons high, The affrighted females shrick and fly, And, Scotland, then thy brightest ray Had darken'd ere its noon of day,-But every chief of birth and fame, That from the Isles of Ocean came, At Ronald's side that hour withstood Fierce Lorn's relentless thirst for blood.

XIX. That awful pause the stranger maid, And Edith, seized to pray for aid. As to De Argentine she clung, Away her veil the stranger flung, And, lovely ’mid her wild despair, Fast stream'd her eyes, wide flow'd her hair, “O thou, of knighthood once the flower, Sure refuge in distressful hour, Thou, who in Judah well hast fought For our dear faith, and oft hast sought Renown in knightly exercise, When this poor hand has dealt the prize, Say, can thy soul of honour brook On the unequal strife to look, When, butcher'd thus in peaceful hall, Those once thy friends, my brethren, fall ! ”

XVII. Brave Torquil from Dunvegan high, Lord of the misty hills of Skye, Mac-Niel, wild Bara's ancieat thane, Duart, of bold Clan-Gillian's strain,

i For these four lines the MS. has,

" But stern the Island Lord withstood

The vengeful Chieftain's thirst of blood." i 1!. --" While thus for blood and blows prepared

Raised was each hand,“ &c.

3 MS.

"each Chieftain rude, Like that famed Swordsman's statue stood."

4 MS.--" To waken him to deadly strife."

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