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Canto I

The Chase

Less resolutely utter'd fell,

The echoes could not catch the swell.
'A stranger I,' the huntsman said,
Advancing from the hazel shade.
The maid, alarm'd, with hasty oar,
Push'd her light shallop from the shore,
And when a space was gain'd between,
Closer she drew her bosom's screen;
(So forth the startled swan would swing,
So turn to prune his ruffled wing.)
Then safe, though flutter'd and amazed,
She paused, and on the stranger gazed.
Not his the form, nor his the eye,
That youthful maidens wont to fly.


On his bold visage middle age
Had slightly press'd its signet sage,
Yet had not quench'd the open truth
And fiery vehemence of youth;
Forward and frolic glee was there,
The will to do, the soul to dare,
The sparkling glance, soon blown to fire,
Of hasty love, or headlong ire.
His limbs were cast in manly mould,
For hardy sports or contest bold;
And though in peaceful garb array'd,
And weaponless, except his blade,
His stately mien as well implied
A high-born heart, a martial pride,

As if a baron's crest he wore,

And sheathed in armour trode the shore.
Slighting the petty need he show'd,
He told of his benighted road;

His ready speech flow'd fair and free,
In phrase of gentlest courtesy ;

Yet seem'd that tone, and gesture bland,
Less used to sue than to command.

Canto I

The Chase


A while the maid the stranger eyed,
And, reassured, at length replied,
That Highland halls were open still
To wilder'd wanderers of the hill.
'Nor think you unexpected come
To yon lone isle, our desert home;
Before the heath had lost the dew,
This morn, a couch was pull'd for you;
On yonder mountain's purple head
Have ptarmigan and heath-cock bled,
And our broad nets have swept the mere,
To furnish forth your evening cheer.'—
'Now, by the rood, my lovely maid,
Your courtesy has err'd,' he said;
'No right have I to claim, misplaced,
The welcome of expected guest.
A wanderer, here by fortune tost,
My way, my friends, my courser lost,
I ne'er before, believe me, fair,

Have ever drawn your mountain air,


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Till on this lake's romantic strand,
I found a fay in fairy land!'


I well believe,' the maid replied,
As her light skiff approach'd the side,-
'I well believe, that ne'er before

Your foot has trod Loch Katrine's shore;
But yet, as far as yesternight,

Old Allan-bane foretold your plight,—
A grey-hair'd sire, whose eye intent
Was on the vision'd future bent.

He saw your steed, a dappled grey,
Lie dead beneath the birchen way;
Painted exact your form and mien,
Your hunting suit of Lincoln green,
That tassell'd horn so gaily gilt,
That falchion's crooked blade and hilt,
That cap with heron plumage trim,
And yon two hounds so dark and grim.
He bade that all should ready be,
To grace a guest of fair degree;
But light I held his prophecy,

And deem'd it was my father's horn,

Whose echoes o'er the lake were borne.'—


The stranger smiled: 'Since to your home
A destined errant-knight I come,

Announced by prophet sooth and old,
Doom'd, doubtless, for achievement bold,

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