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I'll listen, till my fancy hears

The clang of swords, the crash of spears!
These grates, these walls, shall vanish then,
For the fair field of fighting men,

And my free spirit burst away,

As if it soar'd from battle fray.'
The trembling Bard with awe obey'd,-
Slow on the harp his hand he laid;

But soon remembrance of the sight
He witness'd from the mountain's height,
With what old Bertram told at night,
Awaken'd the full power of song,
And bore him in career along ;-

As shallop launch'd on river's tide,
That slow and fearful leaves the side,

But, when it feels the middle stream,
Drives downward swift as lightning's beam.

Canto VI






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'The Minstrel came once more to view

The eastern ridge of Benvenue,

For, ere he parted, he would say
Farewell to lovely Loch Achray-
Where shall he find, in foreign land,
So lone a lake, so sweet a strand!
There is no breeze upon the fern,
Nor ripple on the lake,

Upon her eyry nods the erne,

The deer has sought the brake;

Canto VI

The Guard


The small birds will not sing aloud,
The springing trout lies still,
So darkly glooms yon thunder-cloud,
That swathes, as with a purple shroud,
Benledi's distant hill.

Is it the thunder's solemn sound
That mutters deep and dread,
Or echoes from the groaning ground
The warrior's measured tread?
Is it the lightning's quivering glance
That on the thicket streams,
Or do they flash on spear and lance,
The sun's retiring beams?

-I see the dagger-crest of Mar,

I see the Moray's silver star,

Wave o'er the cloud of Saxon war,

That up the lake comes winding far!
To hero bound for battle-strife,

Or bard of martial lay,

'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life, One glance at their array!


'Their light-arm'd archers far and near
Survey'd the tangled ground,

Their centre ranks, with pike and spear,
A twilight forest frown'd,

Their barbed horsemen, in the rear,

The stern battalia crown'd.

No cymbal clash'd, no clarion rang,

Still were the pipe and drum ;

Save heavy tread, and armour's clang,

The sullen march was dumb.

Canto VI


There breathed no wind their crests to shake, Guard

Or wave their flags abroad;

Scarce the frail aspen seem'd to quake,

That shadow'd o'er their road.

Their vanward scouts no tidings bring,

Can rouse no lurking foe,

Nor spy a trace of living thing,
Save when they stirr'd the roe:
The host moves, like a deep-sea wave,
Where rise no rocks its pride to brave,
High-swelling, dark, and slow,

The lake is pass'd, and now they gain
A narrow and a broken plain,
Before the Trosachs' rugged jaws;
And here the horse and spearmen pause,
While, to explore the dangerous glen,
Dive through the pass the archer-men.



'At once there rose so wild a yell
Within that dark and narrow dell,
As all the fiends, from heaven that fell,
Had peal'd the banner-cry of hell!

Forth from the pass in tumult driven,
Like chaff before the wind of heaven,

The archery appear:

For life! for life! their plight they ply-
And shriek, and shout, and battle-cry,

Canto VI

The Guard


And plaids and bonnets waving high,
And broadswords flashing to the sky,
Are maddening in the rear.
Onward they drive, in dreadful race,
Pursuers and pursued;

Before that tide of flight and chase,
How shall it keep its rooted place,

The spearmen's twilight wood?—
"Down, down," cried Mar, "your lances down!
Bear back both friend and foe!"

Like reeds before the tempest's frown,
That serried grove of lances brown
At once lay levell❜d low;

And closely shouldering side to side,
The bristling ranks the onset bide.
"We'll quell the savage mountaineer
As their Tinchel cows the game!

They come as fleet as forest deer,
We'll drive them back as tame."


'Bearing before them, in their course,
The relics of the archer force,

Like wave with crest of sparkling foam,
Right onward did Clan-Alpine come.

Above the tide, each broadsword bright
Was brandishing like beam of light,
Each targe was dark below;

And with the ocean's mighty swing,
When heaving to the tempest's wing,
They hurl'd them on the foe.

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