Imágenes de páginas
PDF

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 !”—

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 foe."

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 shutWill 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 glowd I"“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.”—

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
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."

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

And there, on entering, found

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 ;1 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 lagg'd small space behind, Seem'd serfs of more degraded kind; Goat-skins or deer-hides o'er them 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.

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. 1 See Appendix, Note 2 H.

2 MS.-"Our boat and vessel cannot stay." 3 MS.-"Deep in the bay when evening glow'd." 4 MS." Yet rugged brows have bosoms kind;

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

A slender boy, whose form and mien
Il 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 scream,

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

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.”

XXIII. “Whose is this 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 favoring 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.

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 gray. 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.“

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. And, sworn to vigil and to fast, Long as this hallow'd task shall last,

XXVI. Not in his dangerous host confides The King, but wary watch provides. Ronald keeps ward till midnight past,

gainted powers

1 MS.-"But on the clairshoch he can play,

And help a weary night away,

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

Makes better melody."

2 MS.-"And we have sworn to me powers

While lasts this hallow'd task of ours,
Never to doff the plaid or sword,

Nor feast us at a stranger's board." 8 MS.

-"an ill foreboding ray." * MS.-" But seems in senseless slumber laid."

Then wakes the King, young Allan last;
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 favoring 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- 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.

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,
And, if to manhood he arrive,
May match the boldest knight alive.
Then thought he of his mother's tower,
His little sisters' greenwood bower,
How there the Easter-gambols pass,
And of Dan Joseph's lengthen'd mass.
But still before his weary eye
In rays prolong'd the blazes die-
Again he roused him-on the lake
Look'd forth, where now the twilight-flake
Of pale cold dawn began to wake.
On Coolin's cliffs the mist lay furl'd,
The morning breeze the lake had curld,
The short dark waves, heaved to the land,
With ceaseless plash kiss'd cliff or sand;
It was a slumbrous sound-he turn'd
To tales at which his youth had burn'd,
Of pilgrim's path by demon cross'd,
Of sprightly elf or yelling ghost,
Of the wild witch's baneful cot,
And mermaid's alabaster grot,
Who bathes her limbs in sunless well,
Deep in Strathaird's enchanted cell.'
Thither in fancy rapt he flies,
And on his sight the vaults arise;
That hut's dark walls he sees no more,
His foot is on the marble floor,
And o'er his head the dazzling spars
Gleam like a firmament of stars!
-Hark! hears he not the sea-nymph speak
Her anger in that thrilling shriek !
No! all too late, with Allan's dream
Mingled the captive's warning scream."
As from the ground he strives to start,
A ruffian's dagger finds his heart!
Upward he casts his dizzy eyes, ...
Murmurs his master's name,... and dies!

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, 'mid such musings high,
Sleep shunn'd the Monarch's thoughtful eye.
Now over Coolin's eastern head
The grayish light' begins to spread,
The otter to his cavern drew,
And clamor'd shrill the wakening mew;
Then watch'd the page--to needful rest
The King resign'd his anxious breast.

(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;

XXIX. Not so awoke the King ! his hand Snatch'd from the flame a knotted brand, The nearest weapon of his wrath; With this he cross'd the murderer's path,

And venged young Allan well! The spatter'd brain and bubbling blood Hiss'd on the half-extinguish'd wood,

The miscreant gasp'd and fell i

1 MS.-"Must she alone his musings share.

They turn to his betrothed bride." 2 MS." The cold blue light.” 9 See Appendix, Note 2 I. 4 MS.

"with empty dream, Mingled the captive's real scream." 5“ Young Allan's turn (to watch) comes last, which gives

the poet the opportunity of marking, in the most natural and happy manner, that insensible transition from the reality of waking thoughts, to the fanciful visions of slumber, and that delusive power of the imagination which so blends the confines of these separate states, as to deceive and sport with the efforts eyes of determined vigilance."'-- British Critic, February, 1815.

6 MS.-"What time the miscreant fell."

He cleansed it from its hue of death,
And plunged the weapon in its sheath.
“Alas, poor child! unfitting part
Fate doom'd, when with so soft a heart,

And form so slight as thine,
She made thee first a pirate's slave,
Then, in his stead, a patron gave,

Of wayward lot like mine;
A landless prince, whose wandering life
Is but one scene of blood and strife-
Yet scant of friends the Bruce shall be,
But he'll find resting-place for thee.
Come, noble Ronald! o'er the dead
Enough thy generous grief is paid,
And well has Allan's fate been wroke!
Come, wend we hence--the day has broke.
Seek we our bark-I trust the tale
Was false, that she had hoisted sail.”

Nor rose in peace the Island Lord !
One caitiff died upon his sword,
And one beneath his grasp lies prope,
In mortal grapple overthrown.
But while Lord Ronald's dagger drank
The life-blood from his panting flank,
The Father-ruffian of the band
Behind him rears a coward hand !

-O for a moment's aid,
Till Bruce, who deals no double blow,
Dash to the earth another foe,

Above his comrade laid !
And it is gain'd—the captive sprung
On the raised arm, and closely clung,

And, ere he shook him loose,
The master'd felon press'd the ground,
And gasp'd beneath a mortal wound,
While o'er him stands the Bruce.

Xxx.
“ Miscreant! while lasts thy flitting spark,
Give me to know the purpose dark,
That arm'd thy hand with murderous knife,
Against offenceless stranger's life !"-
“No stranger thou !" with accent fell,
Murmur'd the wretch; " I know thee well;
And know thee for the foeman sworn
Of my high chief, the mighty Lorn." -
“Speak yet again, and speak the truth
For thy soul's sake !—from whence this youth?
His country, birth, and name declare,
And thus one evil deed repair."-
--" Vex me no more!... my blood runs cold ...
No more I know than I have told.
We found him in a bark we sought
With different purpose ... and I thought" ....
Fate cut him short; in blood and broil,
As he had lived, died Cormac Doil.

XXXII. Yet, ere they left that charnel-cell, The Island Lord bade sad farewell To Allan :-“Who shall tell this tale," He said, “in halls of Donagaile ! Oh, who his widow'd mother tell, That, ere his bloom, her fairest fell !-Rest thee, poor youth, and trust my care For mass and knell and funeral prayer; While o'er those caitiffs, where they lie, The wolf shall snarl, the raven cry !" And now the eastern mountain's head On the dark lake threw lustre red; Bright gleams of gold and purple streak Ravine and precipice and peak(So earthly power at distance shows; Reveals his splendor, hides his woes). O'er sheets of granite, dark, and broad, Rent and unequal, lay the road. In sad discourse the warriors wind, And the mute captive moves behind."

The Lord of the Isles.

XXXI.
Then resting on his bloody blade,
The valiant Bruce to Ronald said,
“Now shame upon us both !—that boy

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 bave left unsaid !"
He raised the youth with kindly word,
But mark'd him shudder at the sword:

CANTO FOURTH.

STRANGER ! if e'er thine ardent step hath traced The northern realms of ancient Caledon,

I "On witnessing the disinterment of Bruce's remains at 3 MS.-" Holds up his speechless face to heaven."
Danfermline, in 1822," says Sir Walter, “many people shed 3 MS.--"Along the lake's rade margin slow,
lears; for there was the wasted skull, which once was the

O'er terraces of granite black they go."
head that thought so wisely and boldly for his country's de-
liverance; and there was the dry bone, which had once been

4 MS.—"And the mute page moves slow behind." the sturdy arm that killed Sir Henry de Bohun, between the " This canto is full of beauties; the first part of it, contain two armies, at a single blow, on the evening before the battle ing the conference of the chiefs in Bruce's chamber, might of Bannockburn."- Tales of' a Grandfather.

| perhaps have been abridged, because the discussion of a mere

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Where the proud Queen of Wilderness hath

placed,
By lake and cataract, her lonely throne ;
Sublime but sad delight thy soul hath known,
Gazing on pathless glen and mountains high,
Listing where from the cliffs the torrents thrown
Mingle their echoes with the eagle's cry, [sky.
And with the sounding lake, and with the moaning

[ocr errors]

Yes! 'twas sublime, but sad.—The loneliness
Loaded thy heart, the desert tired thine eye;
And strange and awful fears began to press
Thy bosom with a stern solemnity. [nigh,
Then bast thou wish'd some woodman's cottage
Something that show'd of life, though low and

mean;
Glad sight, its curling wreath of smoke to spy,
Glad sound, its cock's blithe carol would have
been,

[green Or children whooping wild beneath the willows

Loud Edward shouts, " What make ye here,
Warring upon the mountain-deer,

When Scotland wants her King ?
A bark from Lennox cross'd our track,
With her in speed I hurried back,

These joyful news to bring-
The Stuart stirs in Teviotdale,
And Douglas wakes his native vale;
Thy storm-toss'd fleet hath won its way
With little loss to Brodick-Bay,
And Lennox, with a gallant band,
Waits but thy coming and command
To waft them o'er to Carrick strand.
There are blithe news !—but mark the close!
Edward, the deadliest of our foes,
As with his host he northward passid,
Hath on the Borders breathed his last."

Such are the scenes, where savage grandeur

wakes
An awful thrill that softens into sighs;
Such feelings rouse them by dim Rannoch's

lakes,
In dark Glencoe such gloomy raptures rise:
Or farther, where, beneath the northern skies,
Chides wild Loch-Eribol his caverns hoar-
But, be the minstrel judge, they yield the prize
Of desert dignity to that dread shore,
That sees grim Coolin rise, and hears Coriskin roar.?

IV.
Still stood the Bruce—his steady cheek
Was little wont his joy to speak,

But then his color rose :
“Now, Scotland ! shortly shalt thou see,
With God's high will, thy children free,

And vengeance on thy foes !
Yet to no sense of selfish wrongs,
Bear witness with me, Heaven, belongs

My joy o'er Edward's bier;"
I took my knighthood at his hand,
And lordship held of him, and land,

And well may vouch it here,
That, blot the story from his page,
Of Scotland ruin'd in his rage,
You read a monarch brave and sage,

And to his people dear." —
“Let London's burghers mourn her lord,
And Croydon monks his praise record,"

II.

Through such wild scenes the champion pass’d,
When bold halloo and bugle-blast
Upon the breeze came loud and fast.
" There," said the Bruce, “rung Edward's horn!
What can have caused such brief return?
And see, brave Ronald, -see him dart
O'er stock and stone like hunted hart,
Precipitate, as is the use,

matter of business is unsuited for poetry; but the remainder diately here discover the powerful hand that has so often pre of the canto is unobjectionable; the scenery in which it is laid sented them with descriptions calculated at once to exalt and excites the imagination, and the cave scene affords many op animate their thoughts, and to lower and deaden the language portunities for the poet, of which Mr. Scott has very success which is their vehicle ; but, as we have before observed again fully availed himself. The description of Allan's watch is and again, we believe Mr. Scott is inaccessible even to the particularly pleasing ; indeed, the manner in which he is made mildest and the most just reproof on this subject. We really to fall asleep, mingling the scenes of which he was thinking, believe that he cannot write correct English ; and we therefore with the scene around him, and then mingling with his dreams dismiss him as an incurable, with unfeigned compassion for the captive's sudden scream, is, we think, among the most this one fault, and with the highest admiration of his many happy passages of the whole poem."- Quarterly Review. redeeming virtues."'-- Monthly Review.

“We scarcely know whether we could have selected a passage from the poem that will more fairly illustrate its general

1 “That Mr. Scott can occasionally clothe the grandeur of merits and pervading blemishes than the one which we have

his thought in the majesty of expression, unobscured with the just quoted (stanzas xxxi. and xxxii.) The same happy mix

jargon of antiquated ballads, and unencumbered by the awk ture of moral remark and vivid painting of dramatic situations,

wardness of rugged expression, or harsh involution, we ca. frequently occurs, and is as frequently debased by prosaic ex

with pleasure acknowledge ; a finer specimen cannot perhaps pressions and couplets, and by every variety of ungrammatical

be exhibited than in this passage."-British Critic. license, or even barbarism. Our readers, in short, will imme- ! ? See Appendix, Note 2 K.

bot perhaps

« AnteriorContinuar »