Imágenes de páginas

As some poor criminal might feel,

Mark'd ye the younger stranger's eye,
When, from the gibbet or the wheel,

My mates, how quick, how keen, how high,
Respited for a day.

How fierce its flashes fell,

Glancing among the noble rout 8

As if to seek the noblest out, “ Brother of Lorn,” with hurried voice

Because the owner might not brook
He said, “ And you, fair lords, rejoice!

On any save his peers to look?
Here, to augment our glee,

And yet it moves me more,
Come wandering knights from travel far,

That steady, calm, majestic brow,
Well proved, they say, in strife of war,

With which the elder chief even now
And tempest on the sea.-

Scann’d the gay presence o'er,
Ho! give them at your board such place

Like being of superior kind,
As best their presences may grace,

In whose high-toned impartial mind
And bid them welcome free!”

Degrees of mortal rank and state
With solemn step, and silver wand,

Seem objects of indifferent weight. The Seneschal the presence scann'd

The lady too—though closely tied Of these strange guests ; ? and well he

The mantle veil both face and eye, knew

Her motions' grace it could not hide,
How to assign their rank its due ;3

Nor could' her form's fair symmetry."
For though the costly furs
That erst had deck'd their caps were torn,

And their gay robes were over-worn,

Suspicious doubt and lordly scorn
And soil'd their gilded spurs,

Lour'd on the haughty front of Lorn.
Yet such a high commanding grace

From underneath his brows of pride, Was in their mien and in their face,

The stranger guests he sternly eyed,
As suited best the princely dais,

And whisper'd closely what the ear
And royal canopy;

Of Argentine alone might hear;
And there he marshall’d them their place,

Then question’d, high and brief,
First of that company.

If, in their voyage, aught they knew

Of the rebellious Scottish crew,

Who to Rath-Erin's shelter drew,
Then lords and ladies spake aside,

With Carrick's outlaw'd Chief ? 10 And angry looks the error chide, 5

And if, their winter's exile o'er, That gave to guests unnamed, unknown,

They harbour'd still by Ulster's shore,
A place so near their prince's throne;

Or launch’d their galleys on the main,
But Owen Erraught said,

To vex their native land again ?
“ For forty years a seneschal,
To marshal guests in bower and hall

Has been my honour'd trade.

That younger stranger, fierce and high,
Worship and birth to me are known,

At once confronts the Chieftain's eye By look, by bearing, and by tone,

With look of equal scorn; Not by furr'd robe or broider'd zone;

“ Of rebels have we nought to show; And 'gainst an oaken bough

But if of Royal Bruce thou’dst know, I'll gage my silver wand of state,

I warn thee he has sworn,12
That these three strangers oft have sate

Ere thrice three days shall come and go,
In higher place than now.”_6

His banner Scottish winds shall blow,

Despite each mean or mighty foe,

From England's every bill and bow, “ I, too,” the aged Ferrand said,

To Allaster of Lorn." “ Am qualified by minstrel trade 7

Kindled the mountain Chieftain's ire,
Of rank and place to tell ;-

But Ronald quench'd the rising fire;


1 MS.-—“As may their presence fittest grace." 9 MS.--" With solemn pace, and silver rod,

The Seneschal the entrance show'd

To these strange guests." See Appendix, Note N. 4 Dais-the great hall-table-elevated a step or two above the rest of the room. 5 MS.--"Aside then lords and ladies spake,

And ushers censured the mistake." 6 " The first entry of the illustrious strangers into the castle

of the Celtic chief, is in the accustomed and peculiar style of
the poet of chivalry."-JEFFREY.
7 MS.—", too,' old Ferrand said, and laugh'a,

Am qualified by minstrel craft.'"
8 MS.

.“ the festal roat." 9 MS.-"Nor hide," &c. 10 See Appendix, Note 0. 11 MS.-" That younger stranger, nought out-dared,

Was prompt the haughty Chief to bearu." 12 MS._" Men say that he has sworn."

Fled the deer from wild Teyndrum,
When the homicide, o'ercome,
Hardly 'scaped, with scathe and scorn,
Left the pledge with conquering Lorn!

“ Brother, it better suits the time
To chase the night with Ferrand's rhyme,
Than wake, 'midst mirth and wine, the jars
That flow from these unhappy wars.”_
“ Content,” said Lorn; and spoke apart
With Ferrand, master of his art,

Then whisper'd Argentine,-
“ The lay, I named will carry smart
To these bold strangers' haughty heart,

If right this guess of mine.”
He ceased, and it was silence all,
Until the minstrel waked the hall.?


Song concluded.
“Vain was then the Douglas brand,
Vain the Campbell's vaunted hand,
Vain Kirkpatrick's bloody dirk,
Making sure of murder's work ;8
Barendown fled fast away,
Fled the fiery De la Haye,
When this brooch, triumphant borne,
Beam'd upon the breast of Lorn.


The Brooch of Lorn.3
“ Whence the brooch of burning gold,
That clasps the Chieftain's mantle-fold,
Wrought and chased with rare device,
Studded fair with gems of price,
On the varied tartans beaming,
As, through night's pale rainbow gleaming,
Fainter now, now seen afar,
Fitful shines the northern star ?

“ Farthest fied its former Lord,
Left his men to brand and cord,
Bloody brand of Highland steel,
English gibbet, axe, and wheel.
Let him fly from coast to coast,
Dogg'd by Comyn’s vengeful ghost,
While his spoils, in triumph worn,
Long shall grace victorious Lorn!”

“ Gem! ne'er wrought on Highland mountain,
Did the fairy of the fountain,
Or the mermaid of the wave,
Frame thee in some coral cave?
Did, in Iceland's darksome mine,
Dwarfs swart hands thy metal twine ?
Or, mortal-moulded, comest thou here,
From England's love, or France's fear?


Song continued.
“No!-thy splendours nothing tell
Foreign art or faëry spell.
Moulded thou for monarch's use,
By the overweening Bruce,
When the royal robe he tied
O'er a heart of wrath and pride;
Thence in triumph wert thou torn,
By the victor hand of Lorn!

As glares the tiger on his foes,
Hemm'd in by hunters, spears, and bows,
And, ere he bounds upon the ring,
Selects the object of his spring,-
Now on the bard, now on his Lord,
So Edward glared and grasp'd his sword-
But stern his brother spoke," Be still.
What! art thou yet so wild of will,
After high deeds and sufferings long,
To chafe thee for a menial's song?-
Well hast thou framed, Old Man, thy strains,
To praise the hand that pays thy pains !
Yet something might thy song have told
Of Lorn's three vassals, true and bold,
Who rent their Lord from Bruce's hold,
As underneath his knee he lay,
And died to save him in the fray.
I've heard the Bruce's cloak and clasp
Was clench’d within their dying grasp,
What time a hundred foemen more
Rush'd in, and back the victor bore, 10
Long after Lorn had left the strite,li
Full glad to ’scape with limb and life.--

" When the gem was won and lost,
Widely was the war-cry toss'd !
Rung aloud Bendourish fell,
Answer'd Douchart's sounding dell,

1 " The description of the bridal feast, in the second Canto, tions. In the struggle, however, the brooch which fastened has several animated lines; but the real power and poetry of his royal mantle had been torn off by the assailants; and it the author do not appear to us to be called out until the occa- is on the subject of this trophy that the Celtic poet pours sion of the Highland quarrel which follows the feast."- forth this wild, rapid, and spirited strain."-JEFFREY. Sonthly Rerieu, March, 1815.

3 See Appendix, Note P.

4 Ibid, Note Q. 9 “In a very different style of excellence (from that of the

6 See Appendix, Note R.

6 Ibid, Note S. first three stan zas) is the triumphant and insulting song of the 7 See Appendix. Note T. bard of Lorn, commemorating the pretended victory of his 8 MS." Left his followers to the sword.' chief over Robert Bruce, in one of their rencontres. Bruce, 9 See Appendix, Note U. in truth, had been set on by some of that clan, and had extri- 10 The MS. has not this couplet. tated himself from a fearful overmatch by stupendous exer- 11 MS.--"When breathless Lorn had left the trifo.*

Enough of thisAnd, Minstrel, hold,
As minstrel-hire, this chain of gold,
For future lays a fair excuse,
To speak more nobly of the Bruce.”-

Fergus, of Canna's castled pay,
Mac-Duffith, Lord of Colonsay,
Soon as they saw the broadswords glance,
With ready weapons rose at once,
More prompt, that many an ancient feud,
Full oft suppress’d, full oft renew'd,
Glow'd 'twixt the chieftains of Argyle,
And many a lord of ocean's isle.
Wild was the scene-each sword was bare,
Back stream'd each chieftain's shaggy hair,
In gloomy opposition set,
Eyes, hands, and brandish'd weapons met;
Blue gleaming o'er the social board,
Flash'd to the torches many a sword;
And soon those bridal lights may shine
On purple blood for rosy wine.

XV. “Now, by Columba's shrine, I swear, And every saint that's buried there, 'Tis he himself !” Lorn sternly cries, “ And for my kinsman's death he dies." As loudly Ronald calls,-“ Forbear ! Not in my sight while brand I wear, O’ermatch'd by odds, shall warrior fall, Or blood of stranger stain my hall ! This ancient fortress of my race Shall be misfortune's resting-place, Shelter and shield of the distress’d, No slaughter-house for shipwreck'd guest.”— “ Talk not to me,” fierce Lorn replied, “ Of odds or match !-when Comyn died, Three daggers clash'd within his side ! Talk not to me of sheltering hall, The Church of God saw Comyn fall ! On God's own altar stream'd his blood, While o'er my prostrate kinsman stood The ruthless murderer-e'en as nowWith armed hand and scornful brow! Up, all who love me ! blow on blow! And lay the outlaw'd felons low !”

XVIII. While thus for blows and death prepared, Each heart was up, each weapon bared, Each foot advanced,-a surly pause Still reverenced hospitable laws. All menaced violence, but alike Reluctant each the first to strike, (For aye accursed in minstrel line Is he who brawls 'mid song and wine,) And, match'd in numbers and in might, Doubtful and desperate seem'd the fight. Thus threat and murmur died away, Till on the crowded hall there lay Such silence, as the deadly still, Ere bursts the thunder on the hill. With blade advanced, each Chieftain bold Show'd like the Sworder's form of old,3 As wanting still the torch of life, To wake the marble into strife.

XVI. Then up sprang many a mainland Lord, Obedient to their Chieftain's word. Barcaldine's arm is high in air, And Kinloch-Alline's blade is bare, Black Murthok's dirk has left its sheath, And clench'd is Dermid's hand of death. Their mutter'd threats of vengeance

swell Into a wild and warlike yell; Onward they press with weapons high, The affrighted females shriek and fly, And, Scotland, then thy brightest ray Had darken’d ere its noon of day, But every chief of birth and fame, That from the Isles of Ocean came, At Ronald's side that hour withstood Fierce Lorn's relentless thirst for blood.'

XIX. That awful pause the stranger maid, And Edith, seized to pray for aid. As to De Argentine she clung, Away her veil the stranger flung, And, lovely ’mid her wild despair, Fast stream'd her eyes, wide flow'd her hair, “O thou, of knighthood once the flower, Sure refuge in distressful hour, Thou, who in Judah well hast fought For our dear faith, and oft hast sought Renown in knightly exercise, When this poor hand has dealt the prize, Say, can thy soul of honour brook On the unequal strife to look, When, butcher'd thus in peaceful hall, Those once thy friends, my brethren, fall!”

XVII. Brave Torquil from Dunvegan high, Lord of the misty hills of Skye, Mac-Niel, wild Bara's ancient thane, Duart, of bold Clan-Gillian's strain,

i For these four lines the MS. has,

“ But stern the Island Lord withstood

The vengeful Chieftain's thirst of blood." 2 31S.--"While thus for blood and blows prepared

Raised was each hand,“ &c.

3 MS. --- each Chieftain rude,

Like that famed Swordsman's statge stood."

4 MS.--" To waken him to deadly strife."

To Argentine she turn'd her word,
But fier eye sought the Island Lord.'
A flush like erening's setting fiame
Glow'd on his cheek ; his hardy frame,
As with a brief convulsion, shook :
With hurried voice and eager look,-
“ Fear not,” he said, “my Isabel!
What said I-Edith all is well-
Nay, fear not-I will well provide
The safety of my lovely bride-
My bride?”—but there the accents clung
In tremor to his faltering tongue.

And by Columba's stone.
His monks have heard their hymnings high
Sound from the summit of Dun-Y,

To cheer his penance lone,
When at each cross, on girth and wold, 2
(Their number thrice a hundred-fold,)
His prayer he made, his beads he told,

With Aves many a one-
He comes our feuds to reconcile,
A sainted man from sainted isle ;
We will his holy doom abide,
The Abbot shall our strife decide." 3

XXII. Scarcely this fair accord was o'er, When through the wide revolving door

The black-stoled brethren wind; Twelve sandall’d monks, who relics bore, With many a torch-bearer before,

And many a cross behind.5
Then sunk each fierce uplifted hand,
And dagger bright and flashing brand

Dropp'd swiftly at the sight;
They vanish’d from the Churchman's eye,
As shooting stars, that glance and die,

Dart from the vault of night.

XX. Now rose De Argentine, to claim The prisoners in his sovereign's name, To England's crown, who, vassals sworn, 'Gainst their liege lord had weapon borne(Such speech, I ween, was but to hide His care their safety to provide; For knight more true in thought and deed Than Argentino ne'er spurr'd a steed)And Ronald, who his meaning guess'd, Seem'd half to sanction the request. This purpose fiery Torquil broke:“ Somewhat we've heard of England's yoke,” He said, “and, in our islands, Fame Hath whisper'd of a lawful claim, That calls the Bruce fair Scotland's Lord, Though dispossess'd by foreign sword. This craves reflection—but though right And just the charge of England's Knight, Let England's crown her rebels seize Where she has power ;-in towers like these, Midst Scottish Chieftains summon’d here To bridal mirth and bridal cheer, Be sure, with no consent of mine, Shall either Lorn or Argentine With chains or violence, in our sight, Oppress a brave and banish'd Knight.”

The Abbot on the threshold stood,
And in his hand the holy rood;
Back on his shoulders flow'd his hood,

The torch's glaring ray
Show'd, in its red and flashing light,
His wither'd cheek and amice white,
His blue eye glistening cold and bright,

His tresses scant and grey.
“ Fair Lords," he said, “Our Lady's love,
And peace be with you from above,

And Benedicite!-
-But what means this? no pcace is here !
Do dirks unsheathed suit bridal cheer ?

Or are these naked brands
A seemly show for Churchman's sight,
When he comes summond to unite
Betrothed hearts and hands?"

XXI. Then waked the wild debate again, With brawling threat and clamour vain. Vassals and menials, thronging in, Lent their brute rage to gwell the din; When, far and wide, a bugle-clang From the dark ocean upward rang.

« The Abbot comes !” they cry at once, “ The holy man, whose favour'd glance

Hath sainted visions known; Angels have met him on the way, Beside the blessed martyrs' bay,

XXIV. Then, cloaking hate with fiery zeal, Proud Lorn first answer'd the appeal ;

“ Thou comest, O holy Man, True sons of blessed church to greet, But little deeming here to meet

A wretch, beneath the ban

1 The MS. adds:

“ With such a frantic fond appeal,

As only lovers make and feel." 21S.--" What time at every cross of old." 8 MS.-" We will his holy rede obey,

The Abbot's voice shall end the fray." • MS.--"Scarce was this peaceful paction o'er."

5 MS.--"Did slow procession wind;

Twelve monks, who stole and mantle wore
And chalice, pyx, and relics bore,

With many," &c. 6 The MS. here adds:

“ Men bound in her communion sweet,

And duteous to the Papal seat.'

Of Pope and Church, for murder done
Even on the sacred altar-stone!-!
Well mayst thou wonder we should know
Such miscreant here, nor lay him low,
Or dream of greeting, peace, or truce,
With excommunicated Bruce!
Yet well I grant, to end debate,
Thy sainted voice decide his fate.” 3

Then Ronald pled the stranger's cause,
And knighthood's oath and honour's laws;4
And Isabel, on bended knee,
Brought pray’rs and tears to back the plea:
And Edith lent her generous aid,
And wept, and Lorn for mercy pray'd.5
“ Hence," he exclaim'd, “ degenerate maid!
Was't not enough to Ronald's bower
I brought thee, like a paramour,
Or bond-maid at her master's gate,
His careless cold approach to wait ?-
But the bold Lord of Cumberland,
The gallant Clifford, seeks thy hand;
His it shall be--Nay, no reply!
Hence! till those rebel eyes be dry."
With grief the Abbot heard and saw,
Yet nought relax'd his brow of awe.?

Since matchless Wallace first had been
In mock’ry crown'd with wreaths of green,
And done to death by felon hand,
For guarding well his father's land.
Where's Nigel Bruce ? and De la Haye,
And valiant Seton-where are they?
Where Somerville, the kind and free?
And Fraser, flower of chivalry ?10
Have they not been on gibbet bound,
Their quarters flung to hawk and hound,
And hold we here a cold debate,
To yield more victims to their fate?
What! can the English Leopard's mood
Never be gorged with northern blood ?
Was not the life of Athole shed,
To soothe the tyrant's sicken'd bed ?"
And must his word, till dying day,
Be nought but quarter, hang, and slay !- 12
Thou frown'st, De Argentine,-My gage
Is prompt to prove the strife I wage."-


Then Argentine, in England's name,
So highly urged his sovereign's claim, 8
He waked a spark, that, long suppress’d,
Had smoulder'd in Lord Ronald's breast;
And now, as from the flint the fire,
Flash'd forth at once his generous ire.
“ Enough of noble blood,” he said,
“ By English Edward had been shed,

“ Nor deem,” said stout Dunvegan's

knight, 13
“ That thou shalt brave alone the fight !
By saints of isle and mainland both,
By Woden wild, (my grandsire's oath.) 14
Let Rome and England do their worst,
Howe'er attainted or accursed,
If Bruce shall e'er find friends again,
Once more to brave a battle-plain,
If Douglas couch again his lance,
Or Randolph dare another chance,
Old Torquil will not be to lack
With twice a thousand at his back.--
Nay, chafe not at my bearing bold,
Good Abbot! for thou know'st of old,


Men say,

1 MS.
" the blessed altar-stone."

7 The MS. adds 2 In place of the couplet which follows, the MS. has

“ He raised the suppliants from the fioor,
“ But promptly had my dagger's edge

And bade their sorrowing be o'er,
Avenged the guilt of sacrilege,

And bade them give their weeping o'er,
Save for my new and kind ally,

But in a tone that well explain'd
And Torquil, chief of stormy Skye,

How little grace their prayers had gain'd;
(In whose wild land there rests the seed,

For though he purposed true and well,
of ancient heathen creed,)

Still stubborn and inflexible
Who would enforce me to a truce

In what he deem'd his duty high,
With excommunicated Bruce."

Was Abbot Ademar of Y." 8 The MS. adds:

8 MS.-" For Bruce's custody made claim."-In place of “ Secure such foul offenders find

the two couplets which follow, the MS. has No favour in a holy mind."

“And Torqnil, stout Dunvegan's Knight, 4 The MS. has:

As well defended Scotland's right.
“Alleged the hest of honour's laws,

Enough of," &c.
due to
The succour
storm-staid guest,

9 See Appendix, Note W.
1 claim'd by )

10 See Appendix, Note X.

11 Ibid, Note Y. The refuge due to the distress'd,

19 See Appendix, Note Z. The oath which binds each generous knight 13 In the MS. this couplet is wanting, and, without breaking Still to prevent unequal fight;

the stanza, Lord Ronald continues, And Isabel," &c.

“ By saints of isle," &e. MS.—“And wept alike and knelt and pray'd.”—The nine 14 The MacLeods, and most other distinguished Hebridean lines which intervene betwixt this and the concluding couplet families, were of Scandinavian extraction, and some were late of the stan za are not in the MS.

or imperfect converts to Christianity. The family names of See Appendix, Note V.

Torquil, Thormod, &c. are all Norwegian.

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