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Watching their leader's beck and will, 1
the effect of this passage, the sublime language of the Prophet
Watching their leader's beck and will,
He mann'd himself with dauntless air,
XI. Fitz-James look'd round-yet scarce believed The witness that his sight received ;
Such apparition well might seem
1 [MS.--"For aid against one brave man's hand."]
2 [“ This scene is excellently described. The frankness and high-souled courage of the two warriors,—the reliance which the Lowlander places on the word of the Highlander to guide him safely on his way the next morning, although he has spoken threatening and violent words against Roderick, whose kinsman the mountaineer professes himself to be,-these circumstances are all admirably imagined and related."-Monthly Review.]
3 This incident, like some other passages in the poem, illustrative of the character of the ancient Gael, is not imaginary, but borrowed from fact. The Highlanders, with the inconsistency of most nations in the same state, were alternately capable of great exertions of generosity, and of cruel revenge and perfidy. The following story I can only quote from tradition, but with such an assurance from those by whom it was communicated, as per. mits me little doubt of its authenticity. Early in the last cen.
They moved :-I said Fitz-James was brave,
Kept on its wont and temper'd flood, tury, John Gunn, a noted Cateran, or Highland robber, infested Inverness-shire, and levied black-mail up to the walls of the provincial capital. A garrison was then maintained in the castle of that town, and their pay (country banks being unknown) was usually transmitted in specie, under the guard of a small escort. It chanced that the officer who commanded this little party was unexpectedly obliged to halt, about thirty miles from Inverness, at a miserable inn. About nightfall, a stranger, the Highland dress, and of very prepossessing appearance, entered the same house. Separate accommodation being impossible, the Englishman offered the newly-arrived guest a part of his supper, which was accepted with reluctance. By the conversation he found his new acquaintance knew well all the passes of the country, which induced him eagerly to request his company on the ensuing morning. He neither disguised his business and charge, nor his apprehensions of that celebrated freebooter John Gunn.The Highlander hesitated a moment, and then frankly consented to be his guide. Forth they set in the morning; and, in travelling through a solitary and dreary glen, the discourse again turned on John Gunn. “Would you like to see him ?" said the guide; and, without waiting an answer to this alarming question, he whistled, and the English officer, with his small party, were surrounded by a body of Highlanders, whose numbers put resistance out of question, and who were all well armed. “Stranger," resumed the guide, “I am that very John Gunn by whom you feared to be intercepted, and not without cause: for I came to the inn last night with the express purpose of learning your route, that I and my followers might ease you of your charge by the road. But I am incapable of betraying the trust you reposed in me, and having convinced you that you were in my power, I can only dismiss you unplundered and unipjured." He then gave the officer directions for his journey, and disappeared with his party as suddenly as they had presented themselves.
As, following Roderick’s stride, he drew
XII. The Chief in silence strode before, And reach'd that torrent's sounding shore, Which, daughter of three mighty lakes, From Vennachar in silver breaks, Sweeps through the plain, and ceaseless mines On Bochastle the mouldering lines,
· [MS.-"And still from copse and heather bush,
Fancy saw spear and broadsword rush.*] *MS.-" On Bochastle the martial lines."