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LADY OF THE LAKE.
CANTO THE FIRST.
HARP of the North! that mouldering long hast
On the witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's
And down the fitful breeze thy numbers flung, Till envious ivy did around thee cling, Muffling with verdant ringlet every string,- 5 O minstrel Harp, still must thine accents sleep?
Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring, Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep,
Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep?
Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon,
Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd, When lay of hopeless love, or glory won, Aroused the fearful, or subdued the proud.
At each according pause was heard aloud
Thine ardent symphony sublime and high! 15 Fair dames and crested chiefs attention bow'd; For still the burthen of thy minstrelsy Was Knighthood's dauntless deed, and Beauty's matchless eye.
Oh wake once more! how rude soe'er the hand That ventures o'er thy magic maze to stray; 20 Oh wake once more! though scarce my skill command
Some feeble echoing of thine earlier lay : Though harsh and faint, and soon to die away, And all unworthy of thy nobler strain,
Yet if one heart throb higher at its sway,
The wizard note has not been touched in vain. Then silent be no more! Enchantress, wake
THE Stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade;
But, when the sun his beacon red
Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head,
The deep-mouthed blood-hound's heavy bay
And faint, from farther distance borne,
As Chief, who hears his warder call,
That thickened as the chase drew nigh;
Yelled on the view the opening pack,
With hark and whoop and wild halloo,
No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew.
Close in her covert cowered the doe,
Less loud the sounds of sylvan war
For ere that steep ascent was won,
Scarce half the lessening pack was near;
The noble Stag was pausing now
Where broad extended, far beneath,
But nearer was the copse-wood grey,
'Twere long to tell what steeds gave o'er,