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115

THE

LADY OF THE LAKE.

CANTO THIRD.

The Kathering.

I.
TIME rolls his ceaseless course. The race of yore,'

Who danced our infancy upon their knee,
And told our marvelling boyhood legends store,

Of their strange ventures happ'd by land or sea, How are they blotted from the things that be!

How few, all weak and wither'd of their force, Wait on the verge of dark eternity,

Like stranded wrecks, the tide returning hoarse, To sweep them from our sight! Time rolls his cease

less course.

1 [- There are no separate introductions to the cantos of this poem; but each of them begins with one or two stanzas in the measure of Spenser, usually containing some reflections connected with the subject about to be entered on; and written, for the most part, with great tenderness and beauty. The follosing, we think, is among the most striking."--JEFFREY.]

Yet live there still who can remember well,

How, when a mountain chief his bugle blew, Both field and forest, dingle, cliff, and dell,

And solitary heath, the signal knew; And fast the faithful clan around him drew,

What time the warning note was keenly wound, What time aloft their kindred banner flew, While clamorous war-pipes yell'd the gathering

sound, And while the Fiery Cross glanced, like a meteor,

round.

1

II.
The summer dawn's reflected hue
To purple changed Loch Katrine blue;
Mildly and soft the western breeze
Just kiss'd the Lake, just stirr'd the trees,
And the pleased lake, like maiden coy,
Trembled but dimpled not for joy;
The mountain-shadows on her breast
Were neither broken nor at rest;
In bright uncertainty they lie,
Like future joys to Fancy's eye.
The water-lily to the light
Her chalice rear'd of silver bright;
The doe awoke, and to the lawn,
Begemm'd with dewdrops, led her fawn;

? [See Appendix, Note F.]

The grey mist left the mountain side,
The torrent show'd its glistening pride;
Invisible in flecked sky,
The lark sent down her revelry;
The blackbird and the speckled thrush
Good-morrow gave from brake and bush ; *:
In answer coo'd the cushat dove
Her notes of peace, and rest, and love.

III.
No thought of peace, no thought of rest,
Assuaged the storm in Roderick's breast.
With sheathed broadsword in his hand,
Abrupt he paced the islet strand,
And eyed the rising sun, and laid
His hand on his impatient blade.
Beneath a rock, his vassals' care 3
Was prompt the ritual to prepare,
With deep and deathful meaning fraught;
For such Antiquity had taught

? [MS.-" The doe awoke, and to the lawn,

Begemm'd with dewdrops, led her fawn;
Invisible in fleecy cloud,
The lark sent down her matins loud;

The light mist left," &c.] 3 [- -" The green hills Aro clothed with early blossoms; through the grass The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills Of summer birds sing welcome as ye pass.”—Childe Harold.) 3 [MS.-"Hard by, his vassals' early care

The mystic ritual prepare."}

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