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And minstrels, that in measures vied
Before the young and bonny bride,
Whose downcast eye and cheek disclose
The tear and blush of morning rose.
With virgin step, and bashful hand,
She held the 'kerchief's snowy band;
The gallant bridegroom, by her side,
Beheld his prize with victor's pride,
And the glad mother in her ear
Was closely whispering word of cheer.


Who meets them at the churchyard gate?
The messenger of fear and fate!
Haste in his hurried accent lies,
And grief is swimming in his eyes.
All dripping from the recent flood,
Panting and travel-soil'd he stood,
The fatal sign of fire and sword

Held forth, and spoke the appointed word:
'The muster-place is Lanrick mead;
Speed forth the signal! Norman, speed!'
And must he change so soon the hand,
Just link'd to his by holy band,

For the fell Cross of blood and brand?
And must the day, so blithe that rose,
And promised rapture in the close,
Before its setting hour, divide

The bridegroom from the plighted bride?
O fatal doom!-it must! it must!

Clan-Alpine's cause, her Chieftain's trust,

Canto III

The Gathering

Canto III


Her summons dread, brook no delay;
Stretch to the race-away! away!



Yet slow he laid his plaid aside,
And, lingering, eyed his lovely bride,
Until he saw the starting tear
Speak woe he might not stop to cheer;
Then, trusting not a second look,
In haste he sped him up the brook,
Nor backward glanced, till on the heath
Where Lubnaig's lake supplies the Teith.
-What in the racer's bosom stirr'd?
The sickening pang of hope deferr'd,
And memory, with a torturing train
Of all his morning visions vain.
Mingled with love's impatience, came
The manly thirst for martial fame;
The stormy joy of mountaineers,
Ere yet they rush upon the spears;

And zeal for Clan and Chieftain burning,

And hope, from well-fought field returning,

With war's red honours on his crest,

To clasp his Mary to his breast.

Stung by such thoughts, o'er bank and


Like fire from flint he glanced away,
While high resolve, and feeling strong,
Burst into voluntary song.



The heath this night must be my bed,
The bracken curtain for my head,
My lullaby the warder's tread,

Far, far, from love and thee, Mary;
To-morrow eve, more stilly laid,
My couch may be my bloody plaid,
My vesper song, thy wail, sweet maid!
It will not waken me, Mary!

I may not, dare not, fancy now,
The grief that clouds thy lovely brow,
I dare not think upon thy vow,

And all it promised me, Mary.
No fond regret must Norman know;
When bursts Clan-Alpine on the foe,
His heart must be like bended bow,

His foot like arrow free, Mary.
A time will come with feeling fraught,
For, if I fall in battle fought,
Thy hapless lover's dying thought

Shall be a thought on thee, Mary.
And if return'd from conquer'd foes,
How blithely will the evening close,
How sweet the linnet sing repose,

To my young bride and me, Mary.

Canto III

The Gathering


Not faster o'er thy heathery braes,
Balquidder, speeds the midnight blaze,


Canto III

The Gathering

Rushing, in conflagration strong,
Thy deep ravines and dells along,
Wrapping thy cliffs in purple glow,
And reddening the dark lakes below;
Nor faster speeds it, nor so far,
As o'er thy heaths the voice of war.
The signal roused to martial coil
The sullen margin of Loch Voil,

Waked still Loch Doine, and to the source,
Alarm'd, Balvaig, thy swampy course;
Thence southward turn'd its rapid road
Adown Strath-Gartney's valley broad,
Till rose in arms each man might claim
A portion in Clan-Alpine's name,

From the grey sire, whose trembling

Could hardly buckle on his brand,

To the raw boy, whose shaft and bow
Were yet scarce terror to the crow.
Each valley, each sequester'd glen,
Muster'd its little horde of men,
That met as torrents from the height
In Highland dales their streams unite,
Still gathering, as they pour along,
A voice more loud, a tide more strong,
Till at the rendezvous they stood

By hundreds, prompt for blows and blood;
Each train'd to arms since life began,

Owning no tie but to his clan,

No oath, but by his chieftain's hand,

No law, but Roderick Dhu's command.

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