Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

XIII. Speed, Malise, speed! the dun deer's hide On fleeter foot was never tied. Speed, Malise, speed ! such cause of haste Thine active sinews never braced. Bend 'gainst the steepy hill thy breast, Burst down like torrent from its crest; With short and springing footstep pass The trembling bog and false morass; Across the brook like roebuck bound, And thread the brake like questing hound; The crag is high, the scaur is deep, Yet shrink not from the desperate leap : Parch'd are thy burning lips and brow, Yet by the fountain pause Herald of battle, fate, and fear, Stretch onward in thy fleet career! The wounded hind thou track'st not now, Pursuest not maid through greenwood bougn, Nor pliest thou now thy flying pace, With rivals in the mountain race; But danger, death, and warrior deed, Are in thy course-speed, Malise, speed !

not now;

1

*[MS.—“Dread messenger of fate and fear, L

Herald of danger, fate, and fear,
Stretch onward in thy fleet career!
hou track'gt not now the stricken doe,
Nor maiden coy through greenwood bough.")

XIV.
Fast as the fatal symbol flies,
In arms the huts and hamlets rise ;
From winding glen, from upland brown,
They pour'd each hardy tenant down.
Nor slack'd the messenger

his

pace;
He show'd the sign, he named the place,
And, pressing forward like the wind,
Left clamour and surprise behind.
The fisherman forsook the strand,
The swarthy smith took dirk and brand;
With changed cheer, the mower blithe
Left in the half-cut swathe the scythe;
The herds without a keeper stray'd,
The plough was in mid-furrow staid,
The falc'ner toss'd his hawk away,
The hunter left the stag at bay;
Prompt at the signal of alarms,
Each son of Alpine rush'd to arms;
So swept the tumult and affray
Along the margin of Achray.
Alas, thou lovely lake! that e'er
Thy banks should echo sounds of fear !
The rocks, the bosky thickets, sleep
So stilly on thy bosom deep,

1 [“The description of the starting of the 'fiery cross' bears more marks of labour than most of Mr Scott's poetry, and bor. ders, perhaps, upon straining and exaggeration ; yet is shown great power."-JEFFREY.]

The lark's blithe carol, from the cloud,
Seems for the scene too gaily loud."

XV.
Speed, Malise, speed! the lake is past,
Duncraggan's huts appear at last,
And peep, like moss-grown rocks, half seen,
Half hidden in the copse so green ;
There mayest thou rest, thy labour done,
Their Lord shall speed the signal on.-
As stoops the hawk upon his prey,
The henchman shot him down the way

- What woeful accents load the gale?
The funeral yell, the female wail!
A gallant hunter's sport is o’er,
A valiant warrior fights no more.
Who, in the battle or the chase,
At Roderick's side shall fill his place!
Within the hall, where torches’ ray
Supplies the excluded beams of day,
Lies Duncan on his lowly bier,
And o'er him streams his widow's tear.
His stripling son stands mournful by,
His youngest weeps, but knows not why!
The village maids and matrons round
The dismal coronach resound.3

1[MS.--"Seems all too lively and too loud."] ? (MS.-“ 'Tis woman's scream, 'tis childhood's wail."] The Coronach of the Highlanders, like the Ulalatus of the XVI.

Coronach.
He is gone on the mountain,

He is lost to the forest,

Romans and the Ululoo of the Irish, was a wild expression of lamentation, poured forth by the mourners over the body of a departed friend. When the words of it were articulate, they expressed the praises of the deceased, and the loss the clan would sustain by his death. The following is a lamentation of this kind, literally translated from the Gaelic, to some of the ideas of which the text stands indebted. The tune is so popular, that it has sin ce become the war-march, or Gathering of the clan.

Coronach on Sir Lauchlan, Chief of Maclean.

" Which of all the Senachies
Can trace thy line from the root up to Paradise,
But Macvuirih, the son of Fergus !
No sooner had thine ancient stately tree
Taken firm root in Albion,
Than one of thy forefathers fell at Harlaw.-
'Twas then we lost a chief of deathless name

“ 'Tis no base weed-no planted tree,

Nor a seedling of last Autumn;
Nor a sapling planted at Beltain ; 1
Wide, wide around were spread its lofty branches
But the topmost bough is lowly laid !
Thou hast forsaken us before Sawaine. 2

“Thy dwelling is the winter house ;

Loud, sad, sad, and mighty is thy death-song!
Oh! courteous champion of Montrose !
Oh! stately warrior of the Celtic Isles !
Thou shalt buckle thy harness on no more !”

The coronach has for some years past been superseded at funerals by the use of the bagpipe; and that also is, like many other Highland peculiarities, falling into disuse, unless in remote districts.

Bell's fire, or Whitsunday.

3 Hallowe'en.

Like a summer-dried fountain,

When our need was the sorest.
The font, reappearing,

From the rain-drops shall borrow,
But to us comes no cheering,

To Duncan uw morrow!
The hand of the reaper

Takes the ears that are hoary,
But the voice of the weeper

Wails manhood in glory.
The autumn winds rushing

Waft the leaves that are searest,
But our flower was in flushing,

When blighting was nearest.

Fleet foot on the correi,

Sage counsel in cumber,
Red hand in the foray,

How sound is thy slumber!
Like the dew on the mountain,

Like the foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,

Thou art gone, and for ever!2

1 Or corri. The hollow side of the hill, where game usually lies.

2 [“Mr Scott is such a master of versification, that the most complicated metre does not for an instant arrest the progress of his imagination; its difficulties usually operate as a salutary

« AnteriorContinuar »