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A numerous race, ere stern MacLeod
In varied tone prolong’d and high, O'er their bleak shores in vengeance strode, That mocks the organ's melody. When all in vain the ocean-cave
Nor doth its entrance front in vain Its refuge to his victims gave.
To old Iona's holy fane, The Chief, relentless in his wrath,
That Nature's voice might seem to say, With blazing heath blockades the path;
“ Well hast thou done, frail Child of clay! In dense and stifling volumes roll’d,
Thy humble powers that stately shrine
Task'd high and hard-but witness mine!”7
Merrily, merrily goes the bark, Till in the vault” a tribe expires !
Before the gale she bounds ; The bones which strew that cavern's gloom, - So darts the dolphin from the shark, Too well attest their dismal doom.
Or the deer before the hounds.
They left Loch-Tua on their lee,
And they waken'd the men of the wild
And the Chief of the sandy Coll;
Though peal'd the bells from the holy pile The shores of Mull on the eastward lay,
With long and measured toll;8 And Ulva dark and Colonsay,
No time for matin or for mass,
And the sounds of the holy summons pass
Away in the billows' roll.
Lochbuie's fierce and warlike Lord Where dark and undisturb’d reposes
Their signal saw,
and grasp'd his sword, The cormorant had found,
And verdant Ilay call’d her host, And the shy seal had quiet home,
And the clans of Jura's rugged coast And welter'd in that wondrous dome,
Lord Ronald's call obey, Where, as to shame the temples deck'd
And Scarba’s isle, whose tortured shore By skill of earthly architect,
Still rings to Corrievreken's roar, Nature herself, it seem'd, would raise
And lonely Colonsay; A Minster to her Maker's praise !6
-Scenes sung by him who sings no more ! Not for a meaner use ascend
His bright and brief 10 career is o'er, Her columns, or her arches bend;
And mute his tuneful strains; Nor of a theme less solemn tells
Quench'd is his lamp of varied lore, That mighty surge that ebbs and swells,
That loved the light of song to pour; And still, between each awful pause,
A distant and a deadly shore From the high vault an answer draws,
Has LEYDEN's cold remains !
1 See Appendix, Note 20.
7 The MS. adds, 2 MS.-" Till in their smoke," &c.
“ Which, when the ruins of thy pile 3. “And so also merrily, merrily, goes the bard,' in a suc
Cumber the desolated isle, cession of merriment, which, like Dogberry's tediousness, he
Firm and immutable shall stand, finds it in his heart to bestow wholly and entirely on us, 'Gainst winds, and waves, and spoiler's hand." through page after page, or wave after wave of his voyage. 8“We were now treading that illustrious island, which was We could almost be tempted to believe that he was on his re- once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage turn from Skye when he wrote this portion of his poem ;--from clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge, Skye, the depository of the · mighty cup of royal Somerled," and the blessings of religion. To abstract the mind from all as well as of Rorie More's' comparatively modern horn'- local emotion would be impossible, if it were endeavoured, and that, as he says himself of a minstrel who celebrated the and would be foolish, if it were possible. Whatever withdraws hospitalities of Dunvegan-castle in that island, “it is pretty us from the power of our senses ; whatever makes the past, plain, that when this tribute of poetical praise was bestowed, the distant, or the future predominate over the present, adthe horn of Rorie More bad not been inactive.'"— Monthly vances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me and Review. See Appendix, Note M.
from my friends be such frigid philosophy, as may conduct us 4 “Of the prominent beauties which abound in the poem, indifferent and unmoved over any ground wbich has been digthe most magnificent we consider to be the description of the nified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That man is little to be celebrated Cave of Fingal, which is conceived in a mighty envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain mind, and is expressed in a strain of poetry, clear, simple, of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among and sublime."- British Crilic.
the ruins of Iona."-JOHNSON. 5 MS." Where niched, his undisturb'd repose."
9 See Appendix, Note 2 Q. • See Appendix, Note 2 P.
10 MS.—" His short but bright," &c.
XII. Ever the breeze blows merrily, But the galley ploughs no more the sea. Lest, rounding wild Cantyre, they meet The southern foeman's watchful fleet,
They held unwonted way ;-
Upon the eastern bay.
O’er Kilmaconnel moss,
Before her silver Cross.
And good King Robert's brow expressid, He ponder'd o'er some high request,
As doubtful to approve; Yet in his eye and lip the while, Dwelt the half-pitying glance and smile, Which manhood's graver mood beguile,
When lovers talk of love. Anxious his suit Lord Ronald pled; _" And for my bride betrothed,” he said,
My Liege has heard the rumour spread
When, to fulfil our fathers' band,
I was repulsed with scorn;
Again, to pleasure Lorn.”
XIII. Now launch'd once more, the inland sea They furrow with fair augury,
And steer for Arran’s isle; The sun, ere yet he sunk behind Bon-Ghoil, “ the Mountain of the Wind," Gave his grim peaks a greeting kind,
And bade Loch Ranza smile,
The ocean so serene;
With azure strove and green.
The beach was silver sheen,
With breathless pause between.
Of such enchanting scene!
XV. “ Young Lord,” the Royal Bruce* replied, “ That question must the Church decide; Yet seems it hard, since rumours state Edith takes Clifford for her mate, The very tie, which she hath broke, To thee should still be binding yoke. But, for my sister IsabelThe mood of woman who can tell? I guess the Champion of the Rock, Victorious in the tourney shock, That knight unknown, to whom the prize She dealt,—had favour in her eyes; But since our brother Nigel's fate, Our ruin'd house and hapless state, From worldly joy and hope estranged, Much is the hapless mourner changed. Perchance,” here smiled the noble King, “ This tale may other musings bring. Soon shall we know-yon mountains hide The little convent of Saint Bride; There, sent by Edward, she must stay, Till fate shall give more prosperous day;" And thither will I bear thy suit, Nor will thine advocate be mute."
XIV. Is it of war Lord Ronald speaks ! The blush that dies his manly cheeks, The timid look and downcast eye, And faltering voice the theme deny.
XVI. As thus they talk'd in earnest mood, That speechless boy beside them stood.
4 MS.-" The princely Bruce."
I See Appendix, Note 2 R. 2 See Appendix, Note 2 S. 3 MS.
“no tongue is mine To blame her," &c.
6 MS.-"Thither, by Edward sent, she stars
Tul fate shall lend more prosperone days
Ile stoop'd his head against the mast,
With note prolong'd and varied strain, And bitter sobs came thick and fast,
Till bold Ben-Ghoil replied again. A grief that would not be repress’d,
Good Douglas then, and De la Haye, But seem'd to burst his youthful breast.
Had in a glen a hart at bay, His hands, against his forehead held,
And Lennox cheer'd the laggard hounds, As if by force his tears repell’d,
When waked that horn the greenwood bounda But through his fingers, long and slight,
“ It is the foe!” cried Boyd, who came Fast trill’d the drops of crystal bright.
In breathless haste with eye of flame,Edward, who walk'd the deck apart,
“ It is the foe!-Each valiant lord First spied this conflict of the heart.
Fling by his bow, and grasp his sword !”Thoughtless as brave, with bluntness kind
“ Not so," replied the good Lord James, He sought to cheer the sorrower's mind;
“ That blast no English bugle claims. By force the slender hand he drew
Oft have I heard it fire the fight, From those poor eyes that stream'd with dew. Cheer the pursuit, or stop the flight. As in his hold the stripling strove,
Dead were my heart, and deaf mine ear, ('Twas a rough grasp, though meant in love,) If Bruce should call, nor Douglas hear! Away his tears the warrior swept,
Each to Loch Ranza's margin spring; And bade shame on him that he wept.'
That blast was winded by the King!” 2 “ I would to heaven, thy helpless tongue Could tell me who hath wrought thee wrong!
XIX. For, were he of our crew the best,
Fast to their mates the tidings spread, The insult went not unredress’d.
And fast to shore the warriors sped. Come, cheer thee; thou art now of age
Bursting from glen and greenwood tree, To be a warrior's gallant page;
High waked their loyal jubilee ! Thou shalt be mine!-a palfrey fair
Around the royal Bruce they crowd, O’er hill and holt my boy shall bear,
And clasp'd his hands, and wept aloud. To hold my bow in hunting grove,
Veterans of early fields were there, Or speed on errand to my love;
Whose helmets press'd their hoary hair, For well I wot thou wilt not tell
Whose swords and axes bore a stain The temple where my wishes dwell.”
From life-blood of the red-hair'd Dane ;3
And boys, whose hands scarce brook'd to wield XVII.
The heavy sword or bossy shield. Bruce interposed,—“ Gay Edward, no,
Men too were there, that bore the scars This is no youth to hold thy bow,
Impress’d in Albyn's woful wars, To fill thy goblet, or to bear
At Falkirk's fierce and fatal fight, Thy message light to lighter fair.
Teyndrum’s dread rout, and Methven's flight; Thou art a patron all too wild
The might of Douglas there was seen, And thoughtless, for this orphan child.
There Lennox with his graceful mien; See'st thou not how apart he steals,
Kirkpatrick, Closeburu's dreaded Knight; Keeps lonely couch, and lonely meals ?
The Lindsay, fiery, fierce, and light; Fitter by far in yon calm cell
The Heir of murder'd De la Haye, To tend our sister Isabel,
And Boyd the grave, and Seton gay. With father Augustin to share
Around their King regain’d they press'd, The peaceful change of convent prayer,
Wept, shouted, clasp'd him to their breast, Than wander wild adventures through,
And young and old, and serf and lord, With such a reckless guide as you."
And he who ne'er unsheathed a sword, “ Thanks, brother!” Edward answer'd gay, And he in many a peril tried, “ For the high laud thy words convey!
Alike resolved the brunt to bide,
And live or die by Bruce's side!
Oh, War! thou hast thy fierce delight, Launch we the boat, and seek the land.”
Thy gleams of joy, intensely bright!
Such gleams, as from thy polish'd shield
Fly dazzling o'er the battle-field!
Such transports wake, severe and high, And thrice aloud his bugle rung
Amid the pealing conquest-cry;
1 M8.-"And as a way the tears he swept,
He bade shame on him that he wept."
2 See Appendix, Note 2 T.
Scarce less, when, after battle lost,
XXII. “ No, Lady! in old eyes like mine, Gauds bave no glitter, gems no shine ; Nor grace his rank attendants vain, One youthful page is all his train. It is the form, the eye, the word, The bearing of that stranger Lord; His stature, manly, bold, and tall, Built like a castle's battled wall, Yet moulded in such just degrees, His giant-strength seems lightsome ease. Close as the tendrils of the vine His locks upon his forehead twine, Jet-black, save where some touch of grey Has ta’en the youthful hue away. Weather and war their rougher trace Have left on that majestic face; But 'tis his dignity of eye! There, if a suppliant, would I fly, Secure, ’mid danger, wrongs, and grief, Of sympathy, redress, reliefThat glance, if guilty, would I dread More than the doom that spoke me dead!"“ Enough, enough," the princess cried, 6 'Tis Scotland's hope, her joy, her pride! To meaner front was ne'er assign'd Such mastery o'er the common mindBestow'd thy high designs to aid, How long, O Heaven ! how long delay'd :Haste, Mona, haste, to introduce My darling brother, royal Bruce !"
XXI. 'Tis morning, and the Convent bell Long time had ceased its matin knell,
Within thy walls, Saint Bride! An aged Sister sought the cell Assign’d to Lady Isabel,
And hurriedly she cried, “ Haste, gentle Lady, haste-there waits A noble stranger at the gates; Saint Bride's poor vot’ress ne'er has seen A Knight of such a princely mien; His errand, as he bade me tell, Is with the Lady Isabel.” The princess rose,for on her knee Low bent she told her rosary,“ Let him by thee his purpose teach: I may not give a stranger speech."“ Saint Bride forefend, thou royal Maid !” The portress cross'd herself, and said, “ Not to be prioress might I Debate his will, his suit deny.”– “ Has earthly show then, simple fool, Power o'er a sister of thy rule, And art thou, like the worldly train, Subdued by splendours light and vain?”—
XXIII. They met like friends who part in pain. And meet in doubtful hope again. But when subdued that fitful swell, The Bruce survey'd the humble cell ;“ And this is thine, poor Isabel ! That pallet-couch, and naked wall, For room of state, and bed of pall; For costly robes and jewels rare, A string of beads and zone of hair; And for the trumpet's sprightly call To sport or banquet, grove or hall, The bell’s grim voice divides thy care, 'Twixt hours of penitence and prayer!O ill for thee, my royal claim From the First David's sainted name! O woe for thee, that while he sought His right, thy brother feebly fought!"
1 MS.—“ If not on Britain's warlike ground."
When Ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead.
BYRON'S Corsair. 8 See Appendix, Note 2 U.
4 “ Mr. Scott, we have said, contradicts himself. How will he explain the following facts to his reader's satisfaction ? The third canto informs us that Isabel accompanies Edward to Ireland, there to remain till the termination of the war; and in the fourth canto, the second day after her departure, we discover the princess counting her beads and reading homilies in the cloister of St. Bride, in the Island of Arran! We humbly beseech the Mighty Minstrel' to clear up this matter."--Critical Revicu.
MS." But when subsides," &c.
As the small cell would space afford;
He leant his weight on Bruce's sword,
1 “We would bow with veneration to the powerful and the countenance of Isabel upon his mention of Ronald."
4 MS.--" The Monarch's brand and cloak he bore." the poet are peculiarly conspicuous; his accurate observation of the appearances of nature, which others have neglected,
5 MS.-" Answer'd the Bruce, he saved my life.'” imparts an originality to those allusions, of which the reader immediately recognises the aptness and propriety; and only 6 The MS. has wonders that what must have been so often witnessed should “ Isabel's thoughts are fix'd on heaven;" have been so uniformly passed unregarded by. Such is the and the two couplets which follow are interpolated on the simile applied to the transicnt blush observed by Bruce on