Imágenes de páginas

But, ere she followed, with the grace
And open bounty of her race,

She bade her slender purse be shared
Among the soldiers of the guard.

The rest with thanks their guerdon took,
But Brent, with shy and awkward look,
On the reluctant maiden's hold

Forced bluntly back the proffered gold:-
"Forgive a haughty English heart,
And O, forget its ruder part!

The vacant purse shall be my share,
Which in my barret-cap I'll bear,

Perchance, in jeopardy of war,

Where gayer crests may keep afar."

With thanks 'twas all she could- the maid
His rugged courtesy repaid.

[ocr errors]


When Ellen forth with Lewis went,
Allan made suit to John of Brent:
"My lady safe, O let your grace
Give me to see my 'master's face!
His minstrel I, - to share his doom
Bound from the cradle to the tomb.
Tenth in descent, since first my sires
Waked for his noble house their lyres,
Nor one of all the race was known
But prized its weal above their own.
With the Chief's birth begins our care;
Our harp must soothe the infant heir,
Teach the youth tales of fight, and grace
His earliest feat of field or chase;
In peace, in war, our rank we keep,




We cheer his board, we soothe his sleep,
Nor leave him till we pour our verse
A doleful tribute! - o'er his hearse.
Then let me share his captive lot;
It is my right-deny it not!"
"Little we reck," said John of Brent,
"We Southern men, of long descent;
Nor wot we how a name a word-
Makes clansmen vassals to a lord:
Yet kind my noble landlord's part,
God bless the house of Beaudesert!
And, but I loved to drive the deer
More than to guide the laboring steer,
I had not dwelt an outcast here.
Come, good old Minstrel, follow me;
Thy Lord and Chieftain shalt thou see."


Then, from a rusted iron hook,
A bunch of ponderous keys he took,
Lighted a torch, and Allan led

Through grated arch and passage dread.
Portals they passed, where, deep within,
Spoke prisoner's moan and fetters' din;
Through rugged vaults, where, loosely stored,
Lay wheel, and axe, and headsman's sword,
And many a hideous engine grim,

For wrenching joint and crushing limb,
By artists formed who deemed it shame

And sin to give their work a name.
They halted at a low-browed porch,
And Brent to Allan gave the torch,

While bolt and chain he backward rolled




And made the bar unhasp its hold.
They entered:-'twas a prison-room
Of stern security and gloom,
Yet not a dungeon; for the day
Through lofty gratings found its way,
And rude and antique garniture
Decked the sad walls and oaken floor,
Such as the rugged days of old
Deemed fit for captive noble's hold.
"Here," said De Brent, "thou mayst remain
Till the 'Leech visit him again.
Strict is his charge, the warders tell,
To tend the noble prisoner well."
Retiring then the bolt he drew,
And the lock's murmurs growled anew.
Roused at the sound, from lowly bed
A captive feebly raised his head;

The wondering Minstrel looked, and knew-
Not his dear lord, but Roderick Dhu!
For, come from where Clan-Alpine fought,
They, erring, deemed the Chief he sought


As the tall ship, whose lofty prore
Shall never stem the billows more,
Deserted by her gallant band,
Amid the breakers lies astrand, -
So on his couch lay Roderick Dhu!
And oft his fevered limbs he threw
In toss abrupt, as when her sides
Lie rocking in the advancing tides,
That shake her frame with ceaseless beat,
Yet cannot heave her from her seat;

O, how unlike her course at sea!
Or his free step on hill and lea!
Soon as the Minstrel he could scan,
"What of thy lady? of my clan?
My mother? Douglas? tell me all!
Have they been ruined in my fall?
Ah, yes! or wherefore art thou here?
Yet speak, speak boldly, do not fear."___
For Allan, who his mood well knew,

[ocr errors]

Was choked with grief and terror too.
"Who fought?-who fled? - Old man, be brief;
Some might, for they had lost their Chief.
Who basely live who bravely died?"

O, calm thee, Chief!" the Minstrel cried, "Ellen is safe!" "For that thank Heaven!" 339 “And hopes are for the Douglas given;The Lady Margaret, too, is well;

And, for thy clan,

on field or fell,

Has never harp of minstrel told

Of combat fought so true and bold.
Thy stately "Pine is yet unbent,
Though many a goodly bough is rent."


The Chieftain reared his form on high,
And fever's fire was in his eye;
But ghastly, pale, and livid streaks
Checkered his swarthy brow and cheeks.
"Hark, Minstrel! I have heard thee play,
With measure bold on festal day,
In yon lone isle, — again where ne'er
Shall harper play or warrior hear!-
That stirring air that peals on high,


Cer Dermid's race our victory.

[ocr errors]

Strike it! and then, for well thou canst, -
Free from thy minstrel-spirit glanced,
Fling me the picture of the fight,

When met my clan the Saxon might.
I'll listen, till my fancy hears

The clang of swords, the crash of spears!
These grates, these walls, shall vanish then
For the fair field of fighting men,
And my free spirit burst away,
As if it soared from battle fray."
The trembling Bard with awe obeyed,-
Slow on the harp his hand he laid;
But soon remembrance of the sight
He witnessed from the mountain's height,
With what old Bertram told at night,
Awakened the full power of song,
And bore him in career along;

As shallop launched on river's tide,
That slow and fearful leaves the side,
But, when it feels the middle stream,
Drives downward swift as lightning's beam.



"The Minstrel came once more to view
The eastern ridge of Benvenue,
For ere he parted he would say
Farewell to lovely Loch Achray-
Where shall he find, in foreign land,
So lone a lake, so sweet a strand!
There is no breeze upon the fern,
No ripple on the lake,

« AnteriorContinuar »