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Of guarded pass?'-No, by my faith!
Nor saw I aught could augur scathe.'
'O haste thee, Allan, to the kern,
-Yonder his tartans I discern;
Learn thou his purpose, and conjure
That he will guide the stranger sure!—
What prompted thee, unhappy man?
The meanest serf in Roderick's clan
Had not been bribed by love or fear,
Unknown to him to guide thee here.'-

Canto IV

The Prophecy


'Sweet Ellen, dear my life must be,
Since it is worthy care from thee;
Yet life I hold but idle breath,

When love or honour's weigh'd with death.
Then let me profit by my chance,

And speak my purpose bold at once.

I come to bear thee from a wild,

Where ne'er before such blossom smiled;

By this soft hand to lead thee far
From frantic scenes of feud and war.

Near Bochastle my horses wait;
They bear us soon to Stirling gate.

I'll place thee in a lovely bower,
I'll guard thee like a tender flower'
'O! hush, Sir Knight! 'twere female art,
To say I do not read thy heart;

Too much, before, my selfish ear

Was idly soothed my praise to hear.

Canto IV

The Prophecy

That fatal bait hath lured thee back,
In deathful hour, o'er dangerous track;
And how, O how, can I atone
The wreck my vanity brought on!—
One way remains-I'll tell him all-
Yes! struggling bosom, forth it shall!
Thou, whose light folly bears the blame,
Buy thine own pardon with thy shame!
But first-my father is a man

Outlaw'd and exiled, under ban;

The price of blood is on his head,

With me 'twere infamy to wed.—

Still wouldst thou speak?-then hear the truth!

Fitz-James, there is a noble youth,

If yet he is!-exposed for me
And mine to dread extremity-
Thou hast the secret of my heart;
Forgive, be generous, and depart!'


Fitz-James knew every wily train
A lady's fickle heart to gain,

But here he knew and felt them vain.
There shot no glance from Ellen's eye,
To give her steadfast speech the lie;
In maiden confidence she stood,
Though mantled in her cheek the blood,
And told her love with such a sigh
Of deep and hopeless agony,

As death had sealed her Malcolm's doom,
And she sat sorrowing on his tomb.
Hope vanish'd from Fitz-James's eye,
But not with hope fled sympathy.
He proffer'd to attend her side,

As brother would a sister guide.

'O! little know'st thou Roderick's heart!
Safer for both we go apart.

O haste thee, and from Allan learn,
If thou may'st trust yon wily kern.'
With hand upon his forehead laid,
The conflict of his mind to shade,
A parting step or two he made;

Then, as some thought had cross'd his brain,
He paused, and turn'd, and came again.


'Hear, lady, yet a parting word!

It chanced in fight that my poor sword
Preserved the life of Scotland's lord.
This ring the grateful Monarch gave,
And bade, when I had boon to crave,
To bring it back, and boldly claim
The recompense that I would name.
Ellen, I am no courtly lord,

But one who lives by lance and sword,
Whose castle is his helm and shield,
His lordship the embattled field.
What from a prince can I demand,
Who neither reck of state nor land?

Canto IV

The Prophecy

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Ellen, thy hand-the ring is thine;
Each guard and usher knows the sign.
Seek thou the king without delay;
This signet shall secure thy way;
And claim thy suit, whate'er it be,
As ransom of his pledge to me.'
He placed the golden circlet on,
Paused-kiss'd her hand-and then was gone.
The aged Minstrel stood aghast,

So hastily Fitz-James shot past.

He join'd his guide, and wending down
The ridges of the mountain brown,
Across the stream they took their way,
That joins Loch Katrine to Achray.


All in the Trosachs' glen was still,
Noontide was sleeping on the hill:
Sudden his guide whoop'd loud and high-
'Murdoch! was that a signal cry?'
He stammer'd forth,- I shout to scare
Yon raven from his dainty fare.'
He look'd-he knew the raven's prey,
His own brave steed:- Ah! gallant grey!
For thee--for me, perchance 'twere well
We ne'er had seen the Trosachs' dell.-
Murdoch, move first-but silently;
Whistle or whoop, and thou shalt die!'
Jealous and sullen on they fared,

Each silent, each upon his guard.

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