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Soothing she answer'd him, 'Assuage,
Mine honour'd friend, the fears of age;
All melodies to thee are known,

That harp has rung, or pipe has blown,
In Lowland vale or Highland glen,
From Tweed to Spey-what marvel,

At times, unbidden notes should rise,
Confusedly bound in memory's ties,
Entangling, as they rush along,

The war-march with the funeral song?-
Small ground is now for boding fear;
Obscure, but safe, we rest us here.
My sire, in native virtue great,
Resigning lordship, lands, and state,
Not then to fortune more resign'd,
Than yonder oak might give the wind;
The graceful foliage storms may reave,
The noble stem they cannot grieve.
For me,' she stoop'd, and, looking round,
Pluck'd a blue hare-bell from the ground,-
'For me, whose memory scarce conveys
An image of more splendid days,
This little flower, that loves the lea,
May well my simple emblem be;

It drinks heaven's dew as blithe as rose
That in the King's own garden grows;
And when I place it in my hair,
Allan, a bard is bound to swear
He ne'er saw coronet so fair.'

Canto II


The Island

Canto II

The Island

Then playfully the chaplet wild

She wreath'd in her dark locks, and smiled.


Her smile, her speech, with winning sway,
Wiled the old harper's mood away.

With such a look as hermits throw,
When angels stoop to soothe their woe,
He gazed, till fond regret and pride
Thrill'd to a tear, then thus replied:
'Loveliest and best! thou little know'st
The rank, the honours, thou hast lost!
O might I live to see thee grace,
In Scotland's court, thy birth-right place,
To see my favourite's step advance,
The lightest in the courtly dance,
The cause of every gallant's sigh,
And leading star of every eye,

And theme of every minstrel's art,
The Lady of the Bleeding Heart!'


'Fair dreams are these,' the maiden cried,
(Light was her accent, yet she sigh'd,)
'Yet is this mossy rock to me

Worth splendid chair and canopy;

Nor would my footsteps spring more gay
In courtly dance than blithe strathspey,
Nor half so pleased mine ear incline
To royal minstrel's lay as thine.

And then for suitors proud and high,
To bend before my conquering eye,
Thou, flattering bard! thyself wilt say,
That grim Sir Roderick owns its sway.
The Saxon scourge, Clan-Alpine's pride,
The terror of Loch Lomond's side,
Would, at my suit, thou know'st, delay
A Lennox foray-for a day.'-


The ancient bard his glee repress'd:
'Ill hast thou chosen theme for jest!
For who, through all this western wild,
Named Black Sir Roderick e'er, and smiled!
In Holy-Rood a knight he slew;

I saw, when back the dirk he drew,
Courtiers give place before the stride
Of the undaunted homicide;

And since, though outlaw'd, hath his hand
Full sternly kept his mountain land.
Who else dared give-ah! woe the day,
That I such hated truth should say--
The Douglas, like a stricken deer,
Disown'd by every noble peer,

Even the rude refuge we have here?
Alas, this wild marauding chief
Alone might hazard our relief,

And now thy maiden charms expand,
Looks for his guerdon in thy hand;
Full soon may dispensation sought,
To back his suit, from Rome be brought.

Canto II


The Island

Canto II

The Island

Then, though an exile on the hill,
Thy father, as the Douglas, still
Be held in reverence and fear;

And though to Roderick thou'rt so dear,
That thou might'st guide with silken thread,
Slave of thy will, this chieftain dread;
Yet, O loved maid, thy mirth refrain !
Thy hand is on a lion's mane.'-


'Minstrel,' the maid replied, and high
Her father's soul glanced from her eye,
'My debts to Roderick's house I know:
All that a mother could bestow,
To Lady Margaret's care I owe,
Since first an orphan in the wild
She sorrow'd o'er her sister's child;
To her brave chieftain son, from ire
Of Scotland's king who shrouds my sire,
A deeper, holier debt is owed;

And, could I pay it with my blood,
Allan! Sir Roderick should command
My blood, my life, but not my hand.
Rather will Ellen Douglas dwell
A votaress in Maronnan's cell;
Rather through realms beyond the sea,
Seeking the world's cold charity,

Where ne'er was spoke a Scottish word,
And ne'er the name of Douglas heard,
An outcast pilgrim will she rove,
Than wed the man she cannot love.


Canto II

"Thou shak'st, good friend, thy tresses grey- The Island

That pleading look, what can it say

But what I own?—I grant him brave,
But wild as Bracklinn's thundering wave;
And generous-save vindictive mood,
Or jealous transport, chafe his blood:
I grant him true to friendly band,
As his claymore is to his hand;
But O! that very blade of steel
No mercy for a foe would feel:
I grant him liberal, to fling

Among his clan the wealth they bring,
When back by lake and glen they wind,
And in the Lowland leave behind,
Where once some pleasant hamlet stood,
A mass of ashes slaked with blood.
The hand that for my father fought,
I honour, as his daughter ought;

But can I clasp it reeking red,

From peasants slaughter'd in their shed?
No! wildly while his virtues gleam,
They make his passions darker seem,
And flash along his spirit high,

Like lightning o'er the midnight sky.
While yet a child,—and children know,
Instinctive taught, the friend and foe,-
I shudder'd at his brow of gloom,
His shadowy plaid, and sable plume;
A maiden grown, I ill could bear
His haughty mien and lordly air:

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