Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

-Minstrel, away! the work of fate
Is bearing on: its issue wait,
Where the rude Trosach's dread defile
Opens on Katrine's lake and isle.-
Grey Benvenue I soon repass'd,
Loch Katrine lay beneath me cast.
The sun is set ;-the clouds are met,

The lowering scowl of heaven
An inky view of vivid blue

To the deep lake is given;
Strange gusts of wind from mountain glen
Swept o'er the lake, then sunk agen.
I heeded not the eddying surge,
Mine

eye

but saw the Trosach's gorge,
Mine ear but heard the sullen sound,
Which like an earthquake shook the ground,
And spoke the stern and desperate strife
That parts not but with parting life,
Seeming, to minstrel-ear, to tolla
The dirge of many a passing soul,

Nearer it comes -the dim-wood glen
The martial flood disgorged agen,

But not in mingled tide;

9

2

1 [MS.—“Away! away! the work of fate!”]

“ the loveliness in death
That parts not quite with parting breath."

BYRON'S Giaour.) 3 [MS.-" And seem'd to minstrel ear, to toll

The parting dirge of many a soul.”)

The plaided warriors of the North
High on the mountain thunder forth

And overhang its side;
While by the lake below appears
The dark’ning cloud of Saxon spears.
At weary bay each shatter'd band,
Eyeing their foeman, sternly stand;
Their banners stream like tatter'd sail,
That flings its fragments to the gale,
And broken arms and disarray
Mark'd the fell havoc of the day.

XX. “ Viewing the mountain's ridge askance, The Saxon stood in sullen trance, Till Moray pointed with his lance,

And cried—'Behold yon isle !See ! none are left to guard its strand, But women weak, that wring the hand : 'Tis there of yore the robber band

Their booty wont to pile;My purse, with bonnet-pieces store, To him will swim a bow-shot o'er, And loose a shallop from the shore. Lightly we'll tame the war-wolf then, Lords of his mate, and brood, and den.'

[MS.-"While by the darker.'d lake below,

File out the spearmen of the foe.")

Forth from the ranks a spearman sprung,
On earth his casque and corslet rung,

He plunged him in the wave :-
All saw the deed—the purpose knew,
And to their clamours Benvenue

A mingled echo gave;
The Saxon shout, their mate to cheer,
The helpless females scream for fear,
And yells for rage the mountaineer.
'Twas then, as by the outcry riven,
Pour'd down at once the lowering heaven;
A whirlwind swept Loch Katrine's breast,
Her billows rear'd their snowy crest.
Well for the swimmer swell'd they high,
To mar the Highland marksman's eye;
For round him shower'd, 'mid rain and hail,
The vengeful arrows of the Gael.—
In vain. He nears the islemand lo!
His hand is on a shallop's bow.
-Just then a flash of lightning came,
It tinged the waves and strand with flame :-1
I mark'd Duncraggan's widow'd dame,
Behind an oak I saw her stand,
A naked dirk gleam'd in her hand ;
It darken'd—but amid the moan
Of waves I heard a dying groan ;-
? [MS. reads-

" It tinged the boats and lake with flame." The eight closing lines of the stanza are interpolated on a slip of paper.]

Another flash !—the spearman floats
A weltering corse beside the boats,
And the stern Matron o'er him stood,
Her hand and dagger streaming blood.

XXI. " " Revenge ! revenge !' the Saxons cried, The Gaels' exulting shout replied. Despite the elemental rage, Again they hurried to engage ; But, ere they closed in desperate fight, Bloody with spurring came a knight, Sprung from his horse, and, from a crag, Waved 'twixt the hosts a milk-white flag. Clarion and trumpet by his side Rung forth a truce-note high and wide, While, in the Monarch's name, afar A herald's voice forbade the war, For Bothwell's lord, and Roderick bold. Were botk, he said, in captive hold.” -But here the lay made sudden stand, The harp escaped the Minstrel's handOft had he stolen a glance, to spy How Roderick brook'd his minstrelsy: At first, the Chieftain, to the chime, With lifted hand, kept feeble time: That motion ceased, -yet feeling strong Varied his look as changed the song:

1

1[MS.-"Glowed in his look, as swelld the song.")

At length, no more his deafen'd ear
The minstrel melody can hear;
His face grows sharp,-his hands are clench'd,
As if some pang his heart-strings wrench'd ;
Set are his teeth, his fading eye 1
Is sternly fixed on vacancy;
Thus, motionless, and moanless, drew
His parting breath, stout Roderick Dhu!
Old Allan-Bane look'd on aghast,
While grim and still his spirit pass'd ;
But when he saw that life was fled,
He pour'd his wailing o'er the dead.

XXII.

L a ment, " And art thou cold and lowly laid, Thy foeman's dread, thy people's aid, 1 [MS.—“his{ eye."]

2 [“ Rob Roy, while on his deathbed, learned that a person, with whom he was at enmity, proposed to visit him. 'Raise me from my bed,' said the invalid ; 'throw my plaid around me, and bring me my claymore, dirk, and pistols,-it shall never be said that a foeman saw Rob Roy MacGregor defenceless and unarmed.' His foeman, conjectured to be one of the MacLarens before and after mentioned, entered and paid his compliments, enquiring after the health of his formidable neighbour. Rob Roy maintained a cold haughty civility during their short conference; and so soon as he had left the house, 'Now,' he said,

all is over-let the piper play, Ha til mi tulidh' (we return no more), and he is said to have expired before the dirge was finished.”—Introduction to Rob Roy, Waverley Novels, vol. vii. p. 85.]

3 [MS.—“And art thou gone,' the Minstrel said."]

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »