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But hosts may in these wilds abound,
Such as are better miss'd than found;
To meet with Highland plunderers here
Were worse than loss of steed or deer.—
I am alone ;-my bugle-strain
May call some straggler of the train;
Or, fall the worst that may betide,
Ere now this falchion has been tried.'

Canto I

The Chase


But scarce again his horn he wound,
When lo! forth starting at the sound,
From underneath an aged oak,
That slanted from the islet rock,
A damsel guider of its way,
A little skiff shot to the bay,
That round the promontory steep
Led its deep line in graceful sweep,
Eddying, in almost viewless wave,
The weeping willow twig to lave,
And kiss, with whispering sound and slow,
The beach of pebbles bright as snow.

The boat had touched the silver strand,

Just as the hunter left his stand,

And stood conceal'd amid the brake,

To view this Lady of the Lake.
The maiden paused, as if again

She thought to catch the distant strain.
With head up-raised, and look intent,
And eye and ear attentive bent,

Canto I

The Chase

And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art,

In listening mood, she seem'd to stand,
The guardian Naiad of the strand.


And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace
A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,
Of finer form, or lovelier face!

What though the sun, with ardent frown,
Had slightly tinged her cheek with brown,—
The sportive toil, which, short and light,
Had dyed her glowing hue so bright,
Served too in hastier swell to show

Short glimpses of a breast of snow:
What though no rule of courtly grace
To measured mood had train'd her pace,—

A foot more light, a step more true,

Ne'er from the heath-flower dash'd the dew;
E'en the slight harebell raised its head,
Elastic from her airy tread:

What though upon her speech there hung
The accents of the mountain tongue,-
Whose silver sounds, so soft, so dear,
The list'ner held his breath to hear!


A Chieftain's daughter seem'd the maid;
Her satin snood, her silken plaid,

Her golden brooch such birth betray'd.
And seldom was a snood amid

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Such wild luxuriant ringlets hid,

Whose glossy black to shame might bring
The plumage of the raven's wing;
And seldom o'er a breast so fair,
Mantled a plaid with modest care,
And never brooch the folds combined
Above a heart more good and kind.
Her kindness and her worth to spy,
You need but gaze on Ellen's eye;

Not Katrine, in her mirror blue,

Gives back the shaggy banks more true,
Than every free-born glance confess'd
The guileless movements of her breast;
Whether joy danced in her dark eye,
Or woe or pity claim'd a sigh,
Or filial love was glowing there,
Or meek devotion pour'd a prayer,
Or tale of injury called forth
The indignant spirit of the North.
One only passion unreveal'd,

With maiden pride the maid conceal'd,
Yet not less purely felt the flame;-
O need I tell that passion's name!


Impatient of the silent horn,

Now on the gale her voice was borne:'Father!' she cried; the rocks around Loved to prolong the gentle sound.


A while she paused, no answer came,—
Malcolm, was thine the blast?' the name

Canto I

The Chase

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