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CANTO FIRST.

THE CHASE.

HARP of the North! that mouldering long hast hung

On the witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's spring, And down the fitful breeze thy numbers flung,

Till envious ivy did around thee cling, Muffling with verdant ringlet every string,

O Minstrel Harp, still must thine accents sleep? Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring,

Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep, Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep?

Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon,

Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd, When lay of hopeless love, or glory won,

Aroused the fearful, or subdued the proud. At each according pause, was heard aloud

Thine ardent symphony sublime and high! Fair dames, and crested chiefs attention bow'd;

For still the burden of thy minstrelsy Was Knighthood's dauntless deed, and Beauty's match

less eye.

O wake once more! how rude soe'er the hand

That ventures o'er thy magic maze to stray; O wake once more! though scarce my skill command

Some feeble echoing of thine earlier lay: Though harsh and faint, and soon to die away,

And all unworthy of thy nobler strain, Yet if one heart throb higher at its sway,

The wizard note has not been touch'd in vain; Then silent be no more! Enchantress, wake again!

1.

The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade;
But, when the sun his beacon red
Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head,
The deep-mouth'd bloodhound's heavy bay
Resounded up the rocky way,
And faint, from farther distance borne,
Were heard the clanging hoof and horn.

II.

As Chief, who hears his warder call,
"To arms! the foemen storm the wall,”
The antler'd monarch of the waste
Sprung from his heathery couch in haste.
But, ere his fleet career he took,
The dew-drops from his flanks he shook ;
Like crested leader proud and high,
Toss'd his beam'd frontlet to the sky;
A moment gazed adown the dale,
A moment snuff’d the tainted gale,

A moment listen’d to the cry,
That thicken'd as the chase drew nigh;
Then, as the headmost foes appear’d,
With one brave bound the copse he clear’d,
And, stretching forward free and far,
Sought the wild heaths of Uam-Var.

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III. Yell'd on the view the opening pack; Rock, glen, and cavern, paid them back; To many a mingled sound at once The awaken'd mountain gave response. A hundred dogs bay'd deep and strong, Clatter'd a hundred steeds along, Their peal the merry horns rung out, A hundred voices join'd the shout; With bark and whoop and wild halloo, No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew. Far from the tumult fled the roe, Close in her covert cower'd the doe; The falcon, from her cairn on high, Cast on the rout a wondering eye, Till far beyond her piercing ken The hurricane had swept the glen. Faint, and more faint, its failing din Return’d from cavern, cliff, and linn, And silence settled, wide and still, On the lone wood and mighty hill.

IV.

Less loud the sounds of silvan war
Disturb'd the heights of Uam-Var,

And roused the cavern, where, 'tis told,
A giant made his den of old;
For ere that steep ascent was won,
High in his pathway hung the sun,
And many a gallant, stay'd perforce,
Was fain to breathe his faltering horse,
And of the trackers of the deer,
Scarce half the lessening pack was near;
So shrewdly on the mountain side,
Had the bold burst their mettle tried.

V.

The noble stag was pausing now
Upon the mountain's southern brow,
Where broad extended, far beneath,
The varied realms of fair Menteith.
With anxious eye he wander'd o'er
Mountain and meadow, moss and moor,
And ponder'd refuge from his toil,
By far Lochard or Aberfoyle.
But nearer was the copsewood grey,
That waved and wept on Loch Achray,
And mingled with the pine-trees blue
On the bold cliffs of Benvenue.
Fresh vigour with the hope returnd,
With flying foot the heath he spurn'd,
Held westward with unwearied race,
And left behind the panting chase.

VI.

'Twere long to tell what steeds gave o'er, As swept the hunt through Cambus-more;

What reins were tighten'd in despair,
When rose Benledi's ridge in air ;
Who flagg'd upon Bochastle's heath,
Who shunn'd to stem the flooded Teith,-
For twice that day, from shore to shore,
The gallant stag swam stoutly o'er.
Few were the stragglers, following far,
That reach'd the lake of Vennachar;
And when the Brigg of Turk was won,
The headmost horseman rode alone.

VII.

Alone, but with unbated zeal,
That horseman plied the scourge and steel;
For jaded now, and spent with toil,
Emboss'd with foam, and dark with soil,
While every gasp with sobs he drew,
The labouring stag strain'd full in view.
Two dogs of black Saint Hubert's breed,
Unmatch'd for courage, breath, and speed,
Fast on his flying traces came,
And all but won that desperate game;
For, scarce a spear's length from his haunch,
Vindictive toil'd the bloodhounds stanch;
Nor nearer might the dogs attain,
Nor farther might the quarry

strain.
Thus up the margin of the lake,
Between the precipice and brake,
O'er stock and rock their race they take.

VIII.

The Hunter mark'd that mountain high,
The lone lake's western boundary,

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