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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

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 l'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 8
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."

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

deers have buds
MS.—"And
heather-bells

}in deep Glencoe.”
Wildest
MS."

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

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."

{ Barest.

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

Now left their foreheads bare,
And round the skirts their mantle furld,
Or on the sable waters curl'd,
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 strife and state,
Beyond life's lowlier pleasures placed,
His soul a rock, his heart a waste? 4
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?”.-

99

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 Liege 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 Hlag 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 be; I've faced worse odds than five to three -But the poor page can little aid ; 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 our 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's 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 ;' 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."

1

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

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

The loftiest 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 ül. 5 See Appendix, Note 2 H.

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