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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.”
And take them to the oar,
Of Skye's romantic shore.
The sun's arising gleam;
He shot a western beam.
No human foot comes here,
and strike a mountain-deer?
A shaft shall mend our cheer.”
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.
For rarely human eye has known
With its dark ledge* of barren stone.
Through the rude bosom of the hill,
Tells of the outrage still.
And copse on Cruchan-Ben;
On mountain or in glen, Nor tree, nor shrub, nor plant, nor flower, Nor aught of vegetative power,
The weary eye may ken.
As if were here denied
The bleakest 6 mountain-side.7
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,
For from the mountain hoar,9
Loose crags had toppled o'er;10
A mass no host could raise,
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."
deers have buds
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."
7 The Quarterly Reviewer says, “ This picture of barren desolation is admirably touched;" and if the opinion of Mr.
The evening mists, with ceaseless change,
Now left their foreheads bare,
Dispersed in middle air.
Pours like a torrent down,
Leap from the mountain's crown.3
May they not mark a Monarch's fate,–
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,
Which seam its shiver'd head ?”.-
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.”
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."
The lofticst peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow;
Must look down on the hate of those below,
Contending tempests on his naked head,
Childe Harold, Canto iii. 5 See Appendix, Note 2 H.
Goat-skins or deer-hides o'er tliem cast,
And there, on entering, found
Low seated on the ground.
His eyes in sorrow drown'd. “ Whence this poor boy?"-As Ronald
And wildly gazed around;
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.”—
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,
For those who love such glee;
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.
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.
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.
Makes better melody."
And, sworn to vigil and to fast,
Thus rank’d, to give the youthful page
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
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
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,
While o'er him stands the Bruce.
“ 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.
Then resting on his bloody blade,
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,
And clasps his hands, to testify
His gratitude to God on high,
For strange deliverance given.
His speechless gesture thanks hath paid,
Which our free tongues have left unsaid!”
He raised the youth with kindly word,
But mark'd him shudder at the sword:
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."