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But, by my halidome, A scene so rude, so wild as this, Yet so sublime in barrenness, Ne'er did my wandering footsteps press,

Where'er I happ'd to roam.”

XII.
With Bruce and Ronald bides the tale.
To favouring winds they gave the sail,
Till Mull's dark headlands scarce they knew,
And Ardnamurchan's hills were blue.
But then the squalls blew close and hard,
And, fain to strike the galley's yard,

And take them to the oar,
With these rude seas, in weary plight,
They strove the livelong day and night,
Nor till the dawning had a sight

Of Skye's romantic shore.
Where Coolin stoops him to the west,
They saw upon his shiver'd crest

The sun's arising gleam;
But such the labour and delay,
Ere they were moor'd in Scavigh bay,
(For calmer heaven compell?d to stay,)?

He shot a western beam.
Then Ronald said, “ If true mine eye,
These are the savage wilds that lie
North of Strathnardill and Dunskye; 3

No human foot comes here,
And, since these adverse breezes blow,
If my good Liege love hunter's bow,
What hinders that on land we go,

and strike a mountain-deer?
Allan, my page, shall with us wend;
A bow full deftly can he bend,
And, if we meet a herd, may send

A shaft shall mend our cheer.”
Then each took bow and bolts in hand,
Their row-boat launch'd and leapt to land,

And left their skiff and train, Where a wild stream, with headlong shock, Came brawling down its bed of rock,

To mingle with the main.

XIV.
No marvel thus the Monarch spake;

For rarely human eye has known
A scene so stern as that dread lake,

With its dark ledge* of barren stone.
Seems that primeval earthquake's sway
Hath rent a strange and shatter'd way

Through the rude bosom of the hill,
And that each naked precipice,
Sable ravine, and dark abyss,

Tells of the outrage still.
The wildest glen, but this, can show
Some touch of Nature's genial glow;
On high Benmore green mosses grow,
And heath-bells bud in deep Glencroe,

And copse on Cruchan-Ben;
But here,-above, around, below,

On mountain or in glen, Nor tree, nor shrub, nor plant, nor flower, Nor aught of vegetative power,

The weary eye may ken.
For all is rocks at random thrown,
Black waves, bare crags, and banks of stone,

As if were here denied
The summer sun, the spring's sweet dew,
That clothe with many a varied hue

The bleakest 6 mountain-side.7

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XIII.
A while their route they silent made,

As men who stalk for mountain-deer, Till the good Bruce to Ronald said,

“ St. Mary! what a scene is here! I've traversed many a mountain-strand, Abroad and in my native land, And it has been my lot to tread Where safety more than pleasure led; Thus, many a waste I've wander'd o'er, Clombe many a crag, cross'd many a moor,

XV.
And wilder, forward as they wound,
Were the proud cliffs and lake profound.
Huge terraces of granite black 3
Afforded rude and cumber'd track;

For from the mountain hoar,9
Hurl's headlong in some night of fear,
When yell’d the wolf and fled the deer,

Loose crags had toppled o'er;10
And some, chance-poised and balanced, lay,
So that a stripling arm might sway

A mass no host could raise,
In Nature's rage at random thrown,
Yet trembling like the Druid's stone

On its precarious base.

I MS._" Till Mull's dark isle no more they knew,

Nor Ardnamurchan's mountains blue."

& MS._" For favouring gales compellid to stay."
3 See Appendix, Note 2 G.
4 MS." Dark banks."

deers have buds
MS.—“And {
heather-bells

Jin deep Glencoe.” Wildest MS."

Turner be worth any thing, “No words could have given a truer picture of this, one of the wildest of Nature's landscapes." Mr. Turner adds, however, that he dissents in one particular; but for one or two tufts of grass he must have broken his neck, having slipped when trying to attain the best position for taking the view which embellishes volume tenth, edition 1833. 8 MS.-"And wilder, at each step they take,

Turn the proud cliffs and yawning lake;

Huge naked sheets of granite black," &c. 9 MS.-"For from the mountain's crown." 10 MS.-" Huge crags had toppled down."

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7 The Quarterly Reviewer says, “ This picture of barren desolation is admirably touched;" and if the opinion of Mr.

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The evening mists, with ceaseless change,
Now clothed the mountains' lofty range,

Now left their foreheads bare,
And round the skirts their mantle furl'd,
Or on the sable waters curd,
Or on the eddying breezes whirl'd,

Dispersed in middle air.
And oft, condensed, at once they lower,
When, brief and fierce, the mountain shower

Pours like a torrent down,
And when return the sun's glad beams,
Whiten’d with foam a thousand streams

Leap from the mountain's crown.3

May they not mark a Monarch's fate,–
Raised high ’mid storms of strise and state,
Beyond life's lowlier pleasures placed,
His soul a rock, his heart a waste?
O'er hope and love and fear aloft
High rears his crowned head-But soft!
Look, underneath yon jutting crag
Are hunters and a slaughter'd stag.
Who may they be? But late you said
No steps these desert regions tread !”.

XVI. “This lake," said Bruce, " whose barriers drear Are precipices sharp and sheer, Yielding no track for goat or deer,

Save the black shelves we tread, How term you its dark waves ? and how Yon northern mountain's pathless brow,

And yonder peak of dread,
That to the evening sun uplifts
The griesly gulfs and slaty rifts,

Which seam its shiver'd head ?”.-
“ Coriskin call the dark lake's name,
Coolin the ridge, as bards proclaim,
From old Cuchullin, chief of fame.
But bards, familiar in our isles
Rather with Nature's frowns than smiles,
Full oft their careless humours please
By sportive names from scenes like these.
I would old Torquil were to show
Ilis maidens with their breasts of snow,
Or that my noble Liego were nigh
To hear his Nurse sing lullaby!
(The Maids—tall cliffs with breakers white,
The Nurse-a torrent's roaring might,)
Or that your eye could see the mood
Of Corryvrekin’s whirlpool rude,
When dons the Hag her whiten’d hood-
"Tis thus our islesmen's fancy frames,
For scenes so stern, fantastic names.”

XVIII. “ So said I-and believed in sooth,” Ronald replied, “I spoke the truth. Yet now I spy, by yonder stone, Five men-they mark us, and come on; And by their badge on bonnet borne, I guess them of the land of Lorn, Foes to my Liege.”—“ So let it le; I've faced worse odds than five to three - But the poor page can little aiu; Then be our battle thus array'd, If our free passage they contest; Cope thou with two, I'll match the rest. “ Not so, my Liege-for, by my life, This sword shall meet the treble strife; My strength, my skill in arms, more small, And less the loss should Ronald fall. But islesmen soon to soldiers grow, Allan has sword as well as bow, And were my Monarch's order given, Two shafts should make number

even.”“ No! not to save my life!” he said; “ Enough of blood rests on my head, Too rashly spill d—we soon shall know, Whether they come as friend or fue.”

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XVII. Answer'd the Bruce, “ And musing mind Might here a graver moral find. These mighty cliffs, that heave on high Their naked brows to middle sky, Indifferent to the sun or snow, Where nought can fade, and nought can blow,

XIX. Nigh came the strangers, and more nigh;Still less they pleased the Monarch's eye. Men were they all of evil mien, Down-look'd, unwilling to be seen;5 They moved with half-resolved pace, And bent on earth each gloomy face. The foremost two were fair array'd, With brogue and bonnet, trews and plaid, And bore the arms of mountaineers, Daggers and broadswords, bows and spears. The three, that laggd small space behind, Seem'd serfs of more degraded kind;

1 MS.-"Oft closing too, at once they lower."

2 MS." Pour'd like a torrent dread."

3 MS.--"Leap from the mountain's head."
4 “He who ascends to mountain-topy, shall find

The lofticst peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow;
He who surpasses or subdues mankind,

Must look down on the hate of those below,
Though high above the sun of glory glow,
And far beneath the earth and ocean spread,
Round him are icy rocks, and loudly blow

Contending tempests on his naked head,
And thus reward the toils which to those summits led."

Childe Harold, Canto iii. 5 See Appendix, Note 2 H.

Goat-skins or deer-hides o'er tliem cast,
Made a rude fence against the blast;
Their arms and feet and heads were bare,
Matted their beards, unshorn their hair;
For arms, the caitiffs bore in hand,
A club, an axe, a rusty brand.

XXII.
They reach'd the dreary cabin, made
Of sails against a rock display'd,

And there, on entering, found
A slender boy, whose form and mien
Ill suited with such savage scene,
In cap and cloak of velvet green,

Low seated on the ground.
His garb was such as minstrels wear,
Dark was his hue, and dark his hair,
His youthful cheek was marr’d by care,

His eyes in sorrow drown'd. “ Whence this poor boy?"-As Ronald

spoke,
The voice his trance of anguish broke;
As if awaked from ghastly dream,
He raised his head with start and screan,

And wildly gazed around;
Then to the wall his face he turn'd,
And his dark neck with blushes burn'd.

XX. Onward, still mute, they kept the track ;“ Tell who ye be, or else stand back," Said Bruce; “In deserts when they meet, Men pass not as in peaceful street.” Still, at his stern command, they stood, And proffer'd greeting brief and rude, But acted courtesy so ill, As seem'd of fear, and not of will. “ Wanderers we are, as you may be ; Men hither driven by wind and sea, Who, if you list to taste our cheer, Will share with you this fallow deer.”— “ If from the sea, where lies your bark?"“ Ten fathom deep in ocean dark ! Wreck'd yesternight: but we are men, Who little sense of peril ken. The shades come down--the day is slutWill you go with us to our hut?”– “ Our vessel waits us in the bay;? Thanks for your proffer-have good-day.”“ Was that your galley, then, which rode Not far from shore when evening glow'd ?”_2 " It was." “ Then spare your needless pain, There will she now be sought in vain. We saw her from the mountain head, When, with St. George's blazon red, A southern vessel bore in sight, And yours raised sail, and took to flight.”—

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XXIII. “ Whose is the boy?” again he said. “ By chance of war our captive made ; He may be yours, if you should hold That music has more charms than gold; For, though from earliest childhood mute, The lad can deftly touch the lute,

And on the rote and viol play,
And well can drive the time away

For those who love such glee;
For me, the favouring breeze, when loud
It pipes upon the galley's shroud,

Makes blither melody.”_ “ Hath he, then, sense of spoken sound!”—

“ Aye; so his mother bade us know, A crone in our late shipwreck drown'd,

And hence the silly stripling's woe.
More of the youth I cannot say,
Our captive but since yesterday;
When wind and weather wax'd so grim,
We little listed think of him.-
But why waste time in idle words?
Sit to your cheer-unbelt your swords.”
Sudden the captive turn'd his head,
And one quick glance to Ronald sped.
It was a keen and warning look,
And well the Chief the signal took.

XXI. “ Now, by the rood, unwelcome news!” Thus with Lord Ronald communed Bruce; “ Nor rests there light enough to show If this their tale be true or no. The men seem bred of churlish kind, Yet mellow nuts have hardest rind; We will go with them--food and fire 3 And sheltering roof our wants require. Sure guard 'gainst treachery will we keep, And watch by turns our comrades' sleep.-Good fellows, thanks; your guests we'll be, And well will pay the courtesy. Come, lead us where your lodging lies,- Nay, soft! we mix not companies.Show us the path o'er crag and stone, And we will follow you ;-lead on.”

XXIV. “ Kind host," he said, “ our needs require A separate board and separate fire; For know, that on a pilgrimage Wend I, my comrade, and this page.

4

MS.-" Our boat and vessel cannot stay." 2 MS.--" Deep in the bay when evening glow'd." 3 MS.-"Yet rugged brows have bosoms kind;

Wend we with them--for food and fire." * M18.—"Wend you the first o'er stock and stone." 6 MS. -" Entrance."

6 MS.—“ But on the clairshoch he can play,

And help a weary night away,

With those who love such glee.
To me, the favouring breeze, when loud
It pipes through on my galley's shroud,

Makes better melody."

And, sworn to vigil and to fast,
Long as this hallow'd task shall last,
We never doff the plaid or sword,
Or feast us at a stranger's board;'
And never share one common sleep,
But one must still his vigil keep.
Thus, for our separate use, good friend,
We'll hold this hut's remoter end.”-
“ A churlish vow," the eldest said,
“ And hard, methinks, to be obey’d.
How say you, if, to wreak the scorn
That pays our kindness harsh return,
We should refuse to share our meal ?”-
“ Then say we, that our swords are steel!
And our vow binds us not to fast,
Where gold or force may buy repast.”—
Their host's dark brow grew keen and fell,
His teeth are clench’d, his features swell;
Yet sunk the felon's moody ire
Before Lord Ronald's glance of fire,
Nor could his craven courage brook
The Monarch's calm and dauntless look.
With laugh constrain’d,-“ Let every man
Follow the fashion of his clan!
Each to his separate quarters keep,
And feed or fast, or wake or sleep.”

Thus rank’d, to give the youthful page
The rest required by tender age.
What is Lord Ronald's wakeful thought,
To chase the languor toil had brought-
(For deem not that he deign'd to throw
Much care upon such coward foe,)
He thinks of lovely Isabel,
When at her foeman's feet she fell,
Nor less when, placed in princely selle,
She glanced on him with favouring eyes,
At Woodstocke when he won the prize.
Nor, fair in joy, in sorrow fair,
In pride of place as ’mid despair,
Must she alone engross his care.
His thoughts to his betrothed bride,
To Edith, turn-0 how decide,
When here his love and heart are given,
And there his faith stands plight to Heaven!
No drowsy ward 'tis his to keep,
For seldom lovers long for sleep.
Till sung his midnight hymn the owl,
Answer'd the dog-fox with his howl,
Then waked the King--at his request,
Lord Ronald stretch'd himself to rest.

XXVII. What spell was good King Robert's, say, To drive the weary night away? His was the patriot's burning thought, Of Freedom's battle bravely fought, Of castles storm'd, of cities freed, Of deep design and daring deed, Of England's roses reft and torn, And Scotland's cross in triumph worn, Of rout and rally, war and truce,As heroes think, so thought the Bruce. No marvel, ʼmid such musings high, Sleep shunnid the Monarch's thoughtful eye. Now over Coolin's eastern head The greyish lights begins to spread, The otter to his cavern drew, And clamour'd shrill the wakening mew; Then watch'd the page-to needful rest The King resign’d his anxious breast.

XXV. Their fire at separate distance burns, By turns they eat, keep guard by turns; For evil seem'd that old man's eye, Dark and designing, fierce yet shy. Still he avoided forward look, But slow and circumspectly took A circling, never-ceasing glance, By doubt and cunning mark'd at once, Which shot a mischief-boding ray, From under eyebrows shagg'd and grey. The younger, too, who seem'd his son, Had that dark look the timid shun; The half-clad serfs behind them sate, And scowld a glare 'twixt fear and hateTill all, as darkness onward crept, Couch'd down, and seem'd to sleep, or slept. Nor he, that boy, whose powerless tongue Must trust his eyes to wail his wrong, A longer watch of sorrow made, But stretch'd his limbs to slumber laid.3

2

XXVI. Not in his dangerous host confides The King, but wary watch provides. Ronald keeps ward till midnight past, Then wakes the King, young Allan last;

XXVIII. To Allan's eyes was harder task, The weary watch their safeties ask. He trimm'd the fire, and gave to shine With bickering light the splinter'd pine; Then gazed awhile, where silent laid Their hosts were shrouded by the plaid. But little fear waked in his mind, For he was bred of martial kind,

MS.--" And we have sworn to

ssainted

powers

Uholy
While lasts this hallow'd task of ours,
Nover to doff the plaid or sword,
Nor feast us at a stranger's board."

2 MS.

an ill foreboding ray." 3 MS." But seems in senseless slumber laid." 4 MS.-“ Must she alone his musings share.

They turn to his betrothed bride." 5 MS.--" The cold blue light."

And, if to manhood he arrive,

And one beneath his grasp lies prone, May match the boldest knight alive.

In mortal grapple overthrown. Then thought he of his mother's tower,

But while Lord Ronald's dagger drank His little sisters' greenwood bower,

The life-blood from his panting flank, How there the Easter-gambols pass,

The Father-ruffian of the band And of Dan Joseph's lengthen’d mass.

Behind him rears a coward hand! But still before his weary eye

-O for a moment's aid, In rays prolong'd the blazes die

Till Bruce, who deals no double blow,5 Again he roused him-on the lake

Dash to the earth another foe, Look’d forth, where now the twilight-flake

Above his comrade laid ! Of pale cold dawn began to wake.

And it is gain'd—the captive sprung On Coolin's cliffs the mist lay furld,

On the raised arm, and closely clung, The morning breeze the lake had curld,

And, ere he shook him loose, The short dark waves, heaved to the land,

The master'd felon press’d the ground, With ceaseless plash kiss'd cliff or sand;

And gasp'a beneath a mortal wound,
It was a slumbrous sound-he turn'd

While o'er him stands the Bruce.
To tales at which his youth had burn'd,
Of pilgrim's path by demon crossid,

XXX.
Of sprightly elf or yelling ghost,

“ Miscreant! while lasts thy flitting spark, Of the wild witch's baneful cot,

Give me to know the purpose dark, And mermaid’s alabaster grot,

That arm'd thy hand with murderous knife, Who bathes her limbs in sunless well,

Against offenceless stranger's life?"Deep in Strathaird's enchanted cell."

“ No stranger thou !" with accent fell, Thither in fancy rapt he flies,

Murmur'd the wretch; “ I know thee well; And on his sight the vaults arise;

And know thee for the foeman sworn That hut's dark walls he sees no more,

Of my high chief, the mighty Lorn.”— His foot is on the marble floor,

“ Speak yet again, and speak the truth And o'er his head the dazzling spars

For thy soul's sake!—from whence this youth? Gleam like a firmament of stars !

His country, birth, and name declare, -Hark! hears he not the sea-nymph speak

And thus one evil deed repair."Her anger in that thrilling shriek !

-“ Vex me no more!... my blood runs cold ... No! all too late, with Allan's dream

No more I know than I have told. Mingled the captive's warning scream.?

We found him in a bark we sought As from the ground he strives to start,

With different purpose ... and I thought" ... A ruffian's dagger finds his heart!

Fate cut him short; in blood and broil, Upward he casts his dizzy eyes,

As he had lived, died Cormac Doil.
Murmurs his master's name, and dies !3

XXXI.
XXIX.

Then resting on his bloody blade,
Not so awoke the King! his hand

The valiant Bruce to Ronald said, Snatch'd from the flame a knotted brand,

“ Now shame upon us both !-that boy The nearest weapon of his wrath ;

Lifts his mute face to heaven,
With this he cross'd the murderer's path,

And clasps his hands, to testify
And venged young Allan well!

His gratitude to God on high,
The spatter'd brain and bubbling blood

For strange deliverance given.
Hiss’d on the half-extinguish'd wood,

His speechless gesture thanks hath paid,
The miscreant gasp'd and fell! 4

Which our free tongues have left unsaid!”
Nor rose in peace the Island Lord;

He raised the youth with kindly word,
One caitiff died

upon
his sword,

But mark'd him shudder at the sword:

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3

I See Appendix, Note 2 1.

4 MS.-" What time the miscreant fell." 9 MS. -“ with empty dream,

5 “On witnessing the disinterment of Bruce's remains at Mingled the captive's real scream.' · Young Allan's turn (to watch) comes last, which gives tears; for there was the wasted skull, which once was the

Dunfermline, in 1822," says Sir Walter," many people shed the poet the opportunity of marking, in the most natural and

head that thought so wisely and boldly for his country's dehappy manner, that insensible transition from the reality of liverance; and there was the dry bone, which had once been waking thoughts, to the fanciful visions of slumber, and that

the sturdy arm that killed Sir Henry de Bohun, between the delusive power of the imagination which so blends the con

two armies, at a single blore, on the evening before the battle fines of these separate states, as to deceive and sport with the efforts even of determined vigilance."-British Critic, Fit

of Bannockburn."Tales of a Granufutier. ruary, 1815.

6 MS.—"Holds up his speechless face to heaven."

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