Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Canto III

-

The

Gathering

When lightly bounded to the land
The messenger of blood and brand.

XIII

Speed, Malise, speed! the dun deer's hide
On fleeter foot was never tied.

Speed, Malise, speed! such cause of haste
Thine active sinews never braced.

Bend 'gainst the steepy hill thy breast,
Burst down like torrent from its crest;
With short and springing footstep pass
The trembling bog and false morass;
Across the brook like roebuck bound,
And thread the brake like questing hound;
The crag is high, the scaur is deep,
Yet shrink not from the desperate leap:
Parch'd are thy burning lips and brow,
Yet by the fountain pause not now;
Herald of battle, fate, and fear,
Stretch onward in thy fleet career!
The wounded hind thou track'st not now,
Pursuest not maid through greenwood bough,
Nor pliest thou now thy flying pace,
With rivals in the mountain race;
But danger, death, and warrior deed,
Are in thy course-speed, Malise, speed!

XIV

Fast as the fatal symbol flies,

In arms the huts and hamlets rise;

From winding glen, from upland brown,
They pour'd each hardy tenant down.
Nor slack'd the messenger his pace;
He show'd the sign, he named the place,
And, pressing forward like the wind,
Left clamour and surprise behind.
The fisherman forsook the strand,
The swarthy smith took dirk and brand;
With changed cheer, the mower blithe
Left in the half-cut swathe the scythe;
The herds without a keeper stray'd,
The plough was in mid-furrow staid,
The falc'ner toss'd his hawk away,
The hunter left the stag at bay;
Prompt at the signal of alarms,
Each son of Alpine rush'd to arms;
So swept the tumult and affray
Along the margin of Achray.
Alas, thou lovely lake! that e'er
Thy banks should echo sounds of fear!
The rocks, the bosky thickets, sleep
So stilly on thy bosom deep,

The lark's blithe carol, from the cloud,
Seems for the scene too gaily loud.

Canto III

The

Gathering

XV

Speed, Malise, speed! the lake is past,
Duncraggan's huts appear at last,

And реер, like moss-grown rocks, half seen,
Half hidden in the copse so green;

Canto III

The Gathering

There mayst thou rest, thy labour done,
Their Lord shall speed the signal on.-
As stoops the hawk upon his prey,
The henchman shot him down the way.
-What woful accents load the gale?
The funeral yell, the female wail!
A gallant hunter's sport is o'er,
A valiant warrior fights no more.
Who, in the battle or the chase,
At Roderick's side shall fill his place!--
Within the hall, where torches' ray
Supplies the excluded beams of day,
Lies Duncan on his lowly bier,

And o'er him streams his widow's tear.
His stripling son stands mournful by,
His youngest weeps, but knows not why:
The village maids and matrons round
The dismal coronach resound.

XVI

CORONACH

He is gone on the mountain,
He is lost to the forest,
Like a summer-dried fountain,

When our need was the sorest.

The font, reappearing,

From the rain-drops shall borrow,

But to us comes no cheering,

To Duncan no morrow!

[blocks in formation]

Waft the leaves that are searest,

But our flower was in flushing,

When blighting was nearest.

Fleet foot on the correi,

Sage counsel in cumber,

Red hand in the foray,

How sound is thy slumber!
Like the dew on the mountain,
Like the foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
Thou art gone, and for ever!

XVII

See Stumah, who, the bier beside,
His master's corpse with wonder eyed,
Poor Stumah! whom his least hulloo
Could send like lightning o'er the dew,
Bristles his crest, and points his ears,
As if some stranger step he hears.
'Tis not a mourner's muffled tread,
Who comes to sorrow o'er the dead,
But headlong haste, or deadly fear,
Urge the precipitate career.
All stand aghast:-unheeding all,
The henchman bursts into the hall;

Canto III

The Gathering

Before the dead man's bier he stood;
Held forth the Cross besmear'd with blood;
'The muster-place is Lanrick mead;
Speed forth the signal! clansmen, speed!'

XVIII

Angus, the heir of Duncan's line,
Sprung forth and seized the fatal sign.
In haste the stripling to his side
His father's dirk and broadsword tied ;
But when he saw his mother's eye
Watch him in speechless agony,
Back to her open'd arms he flew,
Press'd on her lips a fond adieu—
'Alas!' she sobb'd,-' and yet, be gone,
And speed thee forth, like Duncan's son!"
One look he cast upon the bier,

Dash'd from his eye the gathering tear,
Breathed deep to clear his labouring breast,
And toss'd aloft his bonnet crest,

Then, like the high-bred colt, when, freed,
First he essays his fire and speed,
He vanish'd, and o'er moor and moss
Sped forward with the Fiery Cross.

Suspended was the widow's tear,

While yet his footsteps she could hear;
And when she mark'd the henchman's eye,
Wet with unwonted sympathy,

'Kinsman,' she said, 'his race is run,

That should have sped thine errand on;

« AnteriorContinuar »