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Coriskin dark and Coolin high
From Canna's tower, that, steep and grey, Echoed the dirge's doleful cry.
Like falcon-nest o'erhangs the bay. Along that sable lake pass'd slow,
Seek not the giddy crag to climb, Fit scene for such a sight of woe,
To view the turret scathed by time; The sorrowing islesmen, as they bore
It is a task of doubt and fear The murder'd Allan to the shore.
To aught but goat or mountain-deer. At every pause, with dismal shout,
But rest thee on the silver beach, Their coronach of grief rung out,
And let the aged herdsman teach And ever, when they moved again,
His tale of former day; The pipes resumed their clamorous strain,
His cur's wild clamour he shall chide, And, with the pibroch's shrilling wail,
And for thy seat by ocean's side, Mourn’d the young heir of Donagaile.
His varied plaid display; Round and around, from cliff and cave,
Then tell, how with their Chieftain came, His answer stern old Coolin gave,
In ancient times, a foreign danie Till high upon his misty side
To yonder 3 turret grey.* Languish'd the mournful notes, and died.
Stern was her Lord's suspicious mind, For never sounds, by mortal made,
Who in so rude a jail confined Attain’d his high and haggard head,
So soft and fair a thrall! That echoes but the tempest's moan,
And oft, when moon on ocean slept, Or the deep thunder's rending groan.
That lovely lady sate and wept
Upon the castle-wall,
And turn’d her eye to southern climes,
And thought perchance of happier times, She bounds before the gale,
And touch'd her lute by fits, and sung The mountain breeze from Ben-na-darch
Wild ditties in her native tongue. Is joyous in her sail !
And still, when on the cliff and bay With fluttering sound like laughter hoarse,
Placid and pale the moonbeams play, The cords and canvass strain,
And every breeze is mute, The waves, divided by her force,
Upon the lone Hebridean's ear In rippling eddies chased her course,
Steals a strange pleasure mix'd with fear, As if they laugh'd again.
While from that cliff he seems to hear Not down the breeze more blithely flew,
The murmur of a lute, Skimming the wave, the light sea-mew,
And sounds, as of a captive lone, Than the gay galley bore
That mourns her woes in tongue unknown.Her course upon that favouring wind,
Strange is the tale—but all too long And Coolin's crest has sunk behind,
Already hath it staid the songAnd Slapin's cavern'd shore.'
Yet who may pass them by, 'Twas then that warlike signals wake
That crag and tower in ruins grey,s Dunscaith's dark towers and Eisord's lake,
Nor to their hapless tenant pay
The tribute of a sigh!
Merrily, merrily bounds the bark And, ready at the sight,
O'er the broad ocean driven, Each warrior to his weapons sprung,
Her path by Ronin's mountains dark
The steersman's hand hath given.
And Ronin's mountains dark have sent
Their hunters to the shore, Had charge to muster their array,
And each his ashen bow unbent, And guide their barks to Brodick-Bay.
And gave his pastime o’er,
And at the Island Lord's command,
For hunting spear took warrior's brand.
On Scooreigg next a warning light A beacon gleam'd o'er sea and land,
Summon'd her warriors to the fight;
perfectly suitable to the sad tale which they record."-(7.86
“ mountain-shore." 2 See Appendix, Note 2 M. a MS._" To Canna's turret grey."
4 « The stanzas which follow are, we think, touchingly beautiful, and breathe a exeet and melancholy tenderness,
6 MS.-" That crag with crest of ruins grey."
A numerous race, ere stern MacLeod
In varied tone prolong'd and high, O'er their bleak shores in vengeance strode,' That mocks the organ's melody. When all in vain the ocean-cave
Nor doth its entrance front in vain Its refuge to his victims gave.
To old Iona's holy fane, The Chief, relentless in his wrath,
That Nature's voice might seem to say, With blazing heath blockades the path;
“ Well hast thou done, frail Child of clay! In dense and stifling volumes rollid,
Thy humble powers that stately shrine
Task'd high and hard-but witness mine!”
Merrily, merrily goes the bark,
Before the gale she bounds;
Or the deer before the hounds.
They left Loch-Tua on their lee,
And they waken'd the men of the wild
And the Chief of the sandy Coll;
They paused not at Columba's isle,
Though peal’d the bells from the holy pile
With long and measured toll;8 And Ulva dark and Colonsay,
No time for matin or for mass,
And the sounds of the holy summons pass
Away in the billows' roll.
Lochbuie's fierce and warlike Lord
Their signal saw, and grasp'd his sword,
And verdant Ilay call’d her host,
And the clans of Jura's rugged coast And welter'd in that wondrous dome,
Lord Ronald's call obey, Where, as to shame the temples deck'd
And Scarba's isle, whose tortured shore By skill of earthly architect,
Still rings to Corrievreken's roar, Nature herself, it seem'd, would raise
And lonely Colonsay; A Minster to her Maker's praise !6
--Scenes sung by him who sings no more !" Not for a meaner use ascend
His bright and brief 10 career is o’er, Her columns, or her arches bend;
"And mute his tuneful strains; Nor of a theme less solemn tells
Quench'd is his lamp of varied lore, That mighty surge that ebbs and swells,
That loved the light of song to pour; And still, between each awful pause,
A distant and a deadly shore From the high vault an answer draws,
Has LEYDEN's cold remains !
I See Appendix, Note 20.
7 The MS. adds. 2 MS.-" Till in their smoke," &c.
“ Which, when the ruins of thy pile 3“ And so also merrily, merrily, goes the bard,' in a suc
Cumber the desolated isle, cession of merriment, which, like Dogberry's tediousness, he
Firm and immutable shall stand, finds it in his heart to bestow wholly and entirely on us, 'Gainst winds, and waves, and spoiler's hand." through page after page, or wave after wave of his voyage. 8“We were now treading that illustrious island, which was We could almost be tempted to believe that he was on his re once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage tum from Skye when he wrote this portion of his poem ;—from clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge, Skye, the depository of the mighty cup of royal Somerled,' and the blessings of religion. To abstract the mind from all as well as of Rorie More's' comparatively modern · horn'- local emotion would be impossible, if it were endeavoured, and that, as he says himself of a minstrel who celebrated the and would be foolish, if it were possible. Whatever withdraws hospitalities of Dunvegan-castle in that island, “it is pretty us from the power of our senses ; whatever makes the past, plain, that when this tribute of poetical praise was bestowed, the distant, or the future predominate over the present, adthe horn of Rorie More had not been inactive.'"- Monthly vances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me and Rerice. See Appendix, Note M.
from my friends be such frigid philosophy, as may conduct us 4 “Of the prominent beauties which abound in the poem, indifferent and unmoved over any ground which has been digthe most magnificent we consider to be the description of the nified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That man is little to be celebrated Cave of Fingal, which is conceived in a mighty envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain mind, and is expressed in a strain of poetry, clear, simple, of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among and sublime."— British Crilic.
the ruins of Iona."-JOHNSON. 5 MS.-“Where niched, his undisturb'd repose."
9 See Appendix, Note 2 Q. • See Appendix, Note 2 P.
10 MS." His short but bright," &c.
XII. Ever the breeze blows merrily, But the galley ploughs no more the sea. Lest, rounding wild Cantyre, they meet The southern foeman's watchful fleet,
They held unwonted way ;-
Upon the eastern bay.
O'er Kilmaconnel moss,
Before her silver Cross.
And good King Robert's brow expressid,
As doubtful to approve;
When lovers talk of love.
When, to fulfil our fathers' band,
I was repulsed with scorn;
Again, to pleasure Lorn.”
XIII. Now launch'd once more, the inland sea They furrow with fair
augury, And steer for Arran's isle; The sun, ere yet he sunk behind Ben-Ghoil," the Mountain of the Wind," Gave his grim peaks a greeting kind,
And bade Loch Ranza smile.
The ocean so serene;
With azure strove and green.
The beach was silver sheen,
With breathless pause between.
Of such enchanting scene!
XV. “ Young Lord,” the Royal Bruce * replied, “ That question must the Church decide; Yet seems it hard, since rumours state Edith takes Clifford for her mate, The very tie, which she hath broke, To thee should still be binding yoke. But, for my sister Isabel The mood of woman who can tell? I guess the Champion of the Rock, Victorious in the tourney shock, That knight unknown, to whom the prize She dealt,-had favour in her eyes; But since our brother Nigel's fate, Our ruin'd house and hapless state, From worldly joy and hope estranged, Much is the hapless mourner changed. Perchance,” here smiled the noble King, 66 This tale may other musings bring. Soon shall we know-yon mountains hide The little convent of Saint Bride; There, sent by Edward, she must stay, Till fate shall give more prosperous day;" And thither will I bear thy suit, Nor will thine advocate be mute."
XIV. Is it of war Lord Ronald speaks ! The blush that dies his manly cheeks, The timid look and downcast eye, And faltering voice the theme deny.
XVI. As thus they talk'd in earnest mood, That speechless boy beside them stood.
4 MS.-" The princely Bruce."
1 See Appendix, Note 2 R. 2 See Appendix, Note 2 S. 8 MS.
" po tongue is mine To blame her," &c.
6 MS.-" Thither, by Edward sent, she stays
Tul fate shall lend more prosperous days