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But then, thy Chieftain's robber life!
Winning mean prey by causeless strife,
Wrenching from ruin'd Lowland gwain
His herds and harvest rear'd in vain.-
Methinks a soul, like thine, should scorn
The spoils from such foul foray borne."
The Gael beheld him grim the while,
And answered with disdainful smile,
“ Saxon, from yonder mountain high,
I mark'd thee send delighted eye,
Far to the south and east, where lay,
Extended in succession gay,
bloodshed. “ There arose,” says Pitscottie, “great trouble and deadly feuds in many parts of Scotland, both in the north and west parts. The Master of Forbes, in the north, slew the Laird of Meldrum, under tryst;" (i. e. at an agreed and secure meeting:) “Likewise, the Laird of Drummelzier slew the Lord Fleming at the hawking; and, likewise, there was slaughter among many other great lords." P. 121. Nor was the matter much mended under the government of the Earl of Angus: for though he caused the King to ride through all Scotland, “under the pretence and colour of justice, to punish thief and traitor, none were found greater than were in their own company. And none at that time durst strive with a Douglas, nor yet a Douglas's man; for if they would, they got the worst. Therefore, none durst plainzie of no extortion, theft, reiff, nor slaughter, done to them by the Douglasses, or their men; in that cause they were not heard, so long as the Douglas had the court in guiding."-Ibid. p. 133.
Deep waving fields and pastures green,
With gentle slopes and groves between :-
These fertile plains, that soften'd vale,
Were once the birthright of the Gael ;
The stranger came with iron hand,
And from our fathers reft the land.
Where dwell we now ! See rudely swell
Crag over crag, and fell o'er fell.
Ask we this savage hill we tread,
For fatten'd steer or household bread;
Ask we for flocks these shingles dry,
And well the mountain might reply,-
To you, as to your sires of yore,
Belong the target and claymore!
I give you shelter in my breast,
Your own good blades must win the rest.'
Pent in this fortress of the North,
Think’st thou we will not sally forth,
To spoil the spoiler as we may,
And from the robber rend the prey ?
Ay, by my soul !—While on yon plain
The Saxon rears one shock of grain;
While, of ten thousand herds, there strays
But one along yon
maze, The Gael, of plain and river heir, Shall, with strong hand, redeem his share. Where live the mountain Chiefs who hold, That plundering Lowland field and fold
Is aught but retribution true ?
Seek other cause 'gainst Roderick Dhu.”.
1 The ancient Highlanders verified in thoir practice the lines of Gray:
“An iron race the mountain cliffs maintain,
Foes to the gentler genius of the plain;
For where unwearied sinews must be found,
With side-long plough to quell the tinty ground;
To turn the torrent's swift descending flood;
To tame the savage rushing from the wood ;
What wonder if, to patient valour train'd,
They guard with spirit what by strength they gain'd:
And while their rocky ramparts round they see
The rough abode of want and liberty,
(As lawless force from confidence will grow),
Insult the plenty of the vales below ?"
Fragment on the Alliance of Edwrition
So far, indeed, was a Creagh, or foray, from being held disgraceful, that a young chief was always expected to show his talents for command so soon as he assumed it, by leading his clan on a successful enterprise of this nature, either against a neighbouring sept, for which constant feuds usually furnished an apology, or against the Sassenach, Saxons, or Lowlanders, for which no apology was necessary. The Gael, great traditional bistorians, never forgot that the Lowlands had, at some remote period, been the property of their Celtic forefathers, which furnished an ample vindication of all the ravages that they could make on the unfortunate districts which lay within their reach. Sir James Grant of Grant is in possession of a letter of apology from Cameron of Lochiel, whose men had committed some depredation upon a farm called Moines, occupied by one of the Grants. Lochiel assures Grant, that, however the mistake had happened, his instructions were precise, that the party should foray the province of Moray (a Lowland district). where, as he coolly observes, "all mer take their prey."
Answer'd Fitz-James," And, if I sought,
Think'st thou no other could be brought?
What deem ye of my path waylaid ?
My life given o'er to ambuscade ?"-
" As of a meed to rashness due :
Hadst thou sent warning fair and true,--
I seek my hound, or falcon stray'd,
I seek, good faith, a Highland maid, -
Free hadst thou been to come and go ;
But secret path marks secret foe.
Nor yet, for this, even as a spy,
Hadst thou, unheard, been doom'd to die,
Save to fulfil an augury.”-
Well, let it pass; nor will I now
Fresh cause of enmity avow,
To chafe thy mood and cloud thy brow.
Enough, I am by promise tied
To match me with this man of pride :
Twice have I sought Clan-Alpine's glen
but when I come agen,
I come with banner, brand, and bow,
As leader seeks his mortal foe.
For love-lorn swain, in lady's bower,
Ne'er panted for the appointed hour,
As I, until before me stand
This rebel Chieftain and his band !!!
"Have, then, thy wish!"-he whistled shrill,
And he was answer'd from the hill;
Wild as the scream of the curlew,
From crag to crag the signal flew.
Instant, through copse and heath, arose
Bonnets and spears and bended bows:
On right, on left, above, below,
Sprung up at once the lurking foe ;
From shingles gray their lances start,
The bracken bush sends forth the dart,
The rushes and the willow-wand
Are bristling into axe and brand,
And every tuft of broom gives life
To plaided warrior arm'd for strife.
That whistle garrison'd the glen
At once with full five hundred men,
As if the yawning hill to heaven
A subterranean host had given.
1 [MS.-“From copse to copse the signal few.
Instant, through copse and crags arose."]
2 (MS.—“The bracken bush shoots forth the dart."]
3 [MS." And each lone tuft of broom gives life
To plaided warrior arm'd for strife.
That whistle manned the lonely glen
With full five hundred armed men.”] 4 [The Monthly reviewer says"We now come to the chot d'ouvre of Walter Scott, a scene of more vigour, nature, and animation, than any other in all his poetry." Another anonymous critic
poem is not afraid to quote, with reference to