« AnteriorContinuar »
O'er hope and love and fear aloft
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.”—
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,
Contending tempests on his naked head,
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
Low seated on the ground.
His eyes in sorrow drown'd.
And wildly gazed around;
We never doff the plaid or sword,
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,
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,
1 MS.-"But on the clairshoch he can play,
And help a weary night away,
With those who love such glee.
Makes better melody."
2 MS.-"And we have sworn to me powers
While lasts this hallow'd task of ours,
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;
Then gazed awhile, where silent laid
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 form so slight as thine,
Of wayward lot like mine;
Nor rose in peace the Island Lord !
-O for a moment's aid,
Above his comrade laid !
And, ere he shook him loose,
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.
Lifts his mute face to heaven,"
For strange deliverance given.
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."
O'er terraces of granite black they go."
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
Where the proud Queen of Wilderness hath
Yes! 'twas sublime, but sad.—The loneliness
[green Or children whooping wild beneath the willows
Loud Edward shouts, " What make ye here,
When Scotland wants her King ?
These joyful news to bring-
Such are the scenes, where savage grandeur
But then his color rose :
And vengeance on thy foes !
My joy o'er Edward's bier;"
And well may vouch it here,
And to his people dear." —
Through such wild scenes the champion pass’d,
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.