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Canto IV

The Prophecy

Each maid and matron of the clan,
And every child and aged man

Unfit for arms; and given his charge,
Nor skiff nor shallop, boat nor barge,
Upon these lakes shall float at large,
But all beside the islet moor,

That such dear pledge may rest secure?'—


"Tis well advised-the Chieftain's plan
Bespeaks the father of his clan.

But wherefore sleeps Sir Roderick Dhu
Apart from all his followers true?'-
'It is, because last evening-tide
Brian an augury hath tried,

Of that dread kind which must not be
Unless in dread extremity,

The Taghairm call'd; by which, afar,
Our sires foresaw the events of war.
Duncraggan's milk-white bull they slew.'


'Ah! well the gallant brute I knew!
The choicest of the prey we had,
When swept our merry-men Gallangad.
His hide was snow, his horns were dark,
His red eye glow'd like fiery spark;
So fierce, so tameless, and so fleet,
Sore did he cumber our retreat,

And kept our stoutest kernes in awe,
Even at the pass of Beal 'maha.

But steep and flinty was the road,

And sharp the hurrying pikeman's goad,
And when we came to Dennan's Row,

A child might scatheless stroke his brow.'--

Canto IV





'That bull was slain: his reeking hide
They stretch'd the cataract beside,
Whose waters their wild tumult toss
Adown the black and craggy boss
Of that huge cliff, whose ample verge
Tradition calls the Hero's Targe.
Couch'd on a shelve beneath its brink,
Close where the thundering torrents sink,
Rocking beneath their headlong sway,
And drizzled by the ceaseless spray,
Midst groan of rock, and roar of stream,
The wizard waits prophetic dream.
Nor distant rests the Chief;-but hush!
See, gliding slow through mist and bush,
The hermit gains yon rock, and stands
To gaze upon our slumbering bands.
Seems he not, Malise, like a ghost,
That hovers o'er a slaughter'd host?
Or raven on the blasted oak,

That, watching while the deer is broke,
His morsel claims with sullen croak?'

Canto IV




'Peace! peace! to other than to me,
Thy words were evil augury;

But still I hold Sir Roderick's blade
Clan-Alpine's omen and her aid,

Not aught that, glean'd from heaven or hell,
Yon fiend-begotten monk can tell.

The Chieftain joins him, see-and now,
Together they descend the brow.'


And, as they came, with Alpine's Lord
The Hermit Monk held solemn word:
'Roderick! it is a fearful strife,

For man endow'd with mortal life,
Whose shroud of sentient clay can still
Feel feverish pang and fainting chill,
Whose eye can stare in stony trance,
Whose hair can rouse like warrior's lance,—
'Tis hard for such to view, unfurl'd,

The curtain of the future world.

Yet, witness every quaking limb,
My sunken pulse, mine eyeballs dim,
My soul with harrowing anguish torn,
This for my Chieftain have I borne !-
The shapes that sought my fearful couch,
An human tongue may ne'er avouch;
No mortal man,-save he, who, bred
Between the living and the dead,
Is gifted beyond nature's law,---
Had e'er survived to say he saw.

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