« AnteriorContinuar »
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,
Upon her eyry nods the erne,
The deer has sought the brake;
The small birds will not sing aloud
The springing trout lies still,
So darkly glooms yon thunder-cloud,
That swathes, as with a purple shroud
Benledi's distant hill.
Is it the thunder's solemn sound
That mutters deep and dread,
Or echoes from the groaning ground
The warrior's measured tread ?
Is it the lightning's quivering glance
That on the thicket streams,
Or do they flash on spear and lance
The sun's retiring beams?
-I see the dagger-crest of Mar,
I see the Moray's silver star,
Wave o'er the cloud of Saxon war,
up the lake comes winding far! To hero bound for battle-strife,
Or bard of martial lay,
zon's great-grandson lives at Bridge of Turk, wko, besides others, attests the anecdote."-Sketch of the Scenery near Callender, Stirling, 1806, p. 20. I have only to add to this account, that the heroine's name was Helen Stuart.
'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,
One glance at their array !
“Their light-arm'd archers far and near
Survey'd the tangled ground,
Their centre ranks, with pike and spear,
A twilight forest frown'd,
Their barbed horsemen, in the rear,
The stern battalia crown'd.
No cymbal clash'd, no clarion rang,
Still were the pipe and drum;
Save heavy tread, and armour's clang,
The sullen march was dumb.
There breathed no wind their crests to shake,
Or wave their flags abroad;
Scarce the frail aspen seem'd to quake,
That shadow'd o'er their road.
Their vaward scouts no tidings bring,
Can rouse no lurking foe,
Nor spy a trace of living thing
Save when they stirr'd the roe;
The host moves, like a deep-sea wave,
Where rise no rocks its pride to brave,
High-swelling, dark, and slow.
The lake is pass'd, and now they gain
A narrow and a broken plain,
Before the Trosach's rugged jaws :
And here the horse and spearmen pause,
While, to explore the dangerous glen,
Dive through the pass the archer-men.
• At once there rose so wild a yell
Within that dark and narrow dell,
As all the fiends, from heaven that fell,
Had peal'd the banner-cry of hell!
Forth from the pass in tumult driven,
Like chaff before the wind of heaven,
The archery appear;
For life! for life ! their plight they ply-
And shriek, and shout, and battle-cry,
And plaids and bonnets waving high,
And broadswords flashing to the sky,
Are maddening in the rear.
Onward they drive, in dreadful race,
Pursuers and pursued;
Before that tide of flight and chase,
How shall it keep its rooted place,
The spearmen's twilight wood ?—
Down, down,' cried Mar, ' your lances down |
Bear back both friend and foe!
Like reeds before the tempest's frown,
That serried grove of lances brown
At once lay levell’d low;
And closely shouldering side to side,
The bristling ranks the onset bide.-!
1 ['The MS. has not this couplet.]
• We'll quell the savage mountaineer,
As their Tinchel? cows the game!
They come as fleet as forest deer,
We'll drive them back as tame.'
Bearing before them, in their course,
The relics of the archer force,
Like wave with crest of sparkling foam,
Right onward did Clan-Alpine come.
Above the tide each broadsword bright
Was brandishing like beam of light,
Each targe was dark below;
And with the ocean's mighty swing,
When heaving to the tempest's wing,
They hurl'd them on the foe.
I heard the lance's shivering crash,
As when the whirlwind rends the ash,
I heard the broadsword's deadly clang,
As if an hundred anvils rang!
But Moray wheel'd his rearward rank
Of horsemen on Clan-Alpine's flank,
– My banner-man, advance !
I see,' he cried, their column shake.-
Now, gallants ! for your ladies' sake,
Upon them with the lance !1 A circle of sportsmen, who, by surrounding a great space, and gradually narrowing, brought immense quantities of deer together, which usually made desperate efforts to break through the Tinchel.
The horseinen dashed among the rout,
As deer break through the broom ;
Their steeds are stout, their swords are out,
They soon make lightsome room.
Clan-Alpine's best are backward borne-
Where, where was Roderick then!
One blast upon his bugle horn
Were worth a thousand men.
And refluent through the pass of fear
The battle's tide was pour'd ;
Vanish'd the Saxon's struggling spear,
Vanish'd the mountain sword.
As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and steep,
Receives her roaring linn,
As the dark caverns of the deep
Suck the wild whirlpool in,
So did the deep and darksome pass
Devour the battle's mingled mass :
None linger now upon the plain,
Save those who ne'er shall fight again.
XIX. “ Now westward rolls the battle’s din, That deep and doubling pass within,
(MS.-" And refluent down the darksome pass
The battle's tide was pour’d;
There toil'd the spearman's struggling spear,
There raged the mountain sword"]