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It was a wild and strange retreat,
As e'er was trod by outlaw's feet.
The dell, upon the mountain's crest,
Yawn'd like a gash on warrior's breast;
Its trench had staid full many a rock,
Hurl'd by primeval earthquake shock
From Benvenue's grey summit wild,
And here, in random ruin piled,
They frown'd incumbent o'er the spot,
And form'd the rugged silvan grot.'
The oak and birch, with mingled shade,
At noontide there a twilight made,
Unless when short and sudden shone
Some straggling beam on cliff or stone,
With such a glimpse as prophet's eye
Gains on thy depth, Futurity.

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No murmur waked the solemn still,
Save tinkling of a fountain rill;

But when the wind chafed with the lake,

A sullen sound would upward break,

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of the mountain, even where its cliffs appear denuded of soil. A dale in so wild a situation, and amid a people whose genius bordered on the romantic, did not remain without appropriate deities. The name literally implies the Corri, or Den, of the Wild or Shaggy men. Perhaps this, as conjectured by Mr. Alexander Campbell, may have originally only implied its being the haunt of a ferocious banditti. But tradition has ascribed to the Urisk, who gives name to the cavern, a figure between a goat and a man ; in short, however much the classical reader may be startled, precisely that of the Grecian Satyr. The Urisk seems not to have inherited, with the form, the petulance of the silvan deity of the classics: his occupation, on the contrary, resembled those of Milton's Lubbar Fiend, or of the Scottish Brownie, though he differed from both in name and appearance. "The Urisks," says Dr. Graham, were a sort of lubberly supernaturals, who, like the Brownies, could be gained over by kind attention to perform the drudgery of the farm, and it was believed that many of the families in the Highlands had one of the order attached to it. They were supposed to be dispersed over the Highlands, each in his own wild recess, but the solemn stated meetings of the order were regularly held in this Cave of Benvenue. This current superstition, no doubt, alludes to some circumstance in the ancient history of this country."-Scenery on the Southern Confines of Perthshire, p. 19. 1806. It must be owned that the Coir, or Den, does not, in its present state, meet our ideas of a subterraneous grotto, or cave, being only a small and narrow cavity, among huge fragments of rocks rudely piled together. But such a scene is liable to convulsions of nature, which a Lowlander cannot estimate, and which may have choked up what was originally a cavern. At least the name and tradition warrant the author of a fictitious tale, to assert its having been such at the remote period in which this scene is laid.

["After landing on the skirts of Benvenue, we reach the cave (or more properly the cove) of the goblins, by a steep and narrow defile of a few hundred yards in length. It is a deep circular amphitheatre of at least 600 yards of extent in its upper diameter, gradually narrowing towards the base, hemmed in all round by steep and towering rocks, and rendered impenetrable to the rays of the sun by a close covert of luxuriant trees. On the south and west it is bounded by the precipitous shoulder of Benvenue, to the height of at least 500 feet; towards the east, the rock appears at some former period to have tumbled down, strewing the whole course of its fall with immense fragments, which now serve only to give shelter to foxes, wild-cats, and badgers."-DR. GRAHAM.]

* Journey from Edinburgh, 1802, p. 169.

With dashing hollow voice, that spoke
The incessant war of wave and rock.
Suspended cliffs, with hideous sway,
Seem'd nodding o'er the cavern grey.
From such a den the wolf had sprung,
In such the wild-cat leaves her young;
Yet Douglas and his daughter fair
Sought for a space their safety there.
Grey Superstition's whisper dread
Debarr'd the spot the vulgar tread;
For there, she said, did fays resort,
And satyrs hold their silvan court,
By moonlight tread their mystic maze,
And blast the rash beholder's gaze.



Now eve, with western shadows long, '
Floated on Katrine bright and strong,
When Roderick, with a chosen few,
Repass'd the heights of Benvenue.
Above the Goblin-cave they go,
Through the wild pass of Beal-nam-bo;"
The prompt retainers speed before,
To launch the shallop from the shore,
For 'cross Loch Katrine lies his way
To view the passes of Achray,
And place his clansmen in array.
>Yet lags the chief in musing mind,
Unwonted sight, his men behind.
A single page, to bear his sword,
Alone attended on his lord; 3

1 The Urisk, or Highland satyr. See a previous Note.

* Bealach-nam-bo, or the pass of cattle, is a most magnificent glade, overhung with aged birch-trees, a little higher up the mountain than the Coir-nan-Uriskin, treated of in a former note. The whole composes the most sublime piece of scenery that imagination can conceive. 3 A Highland chief, being as absolute in his patriarchal authority as any prince, had a corresponding number of officers attached to his person. He had his body-guards, called Luichttach, picked from his clan for strength, activity, and entire devotion to his person. These, according to their deserts, were sure to share abundantly in the rude profusion of his hospitality. It is recorded, for example, by tradition, that Allan MacLean, chief of that clan, happened upon a time to hear one of these favourite retainers observe to his comrade, that their chief grew old-"Whence do you infer that?" replied the other."When was it," rejoined the first, "that a soldier of Allan's was obliged, as I am now, not only to eat the flesh from the bone, but even to tear off the inner skin, or filament?" The hint was quite sufficient, and MacLean next morning, to relieve his followers from such dire necessity, undertook an inroad on the mainland, the ravage of which altogether effaced the memory of his former expeditions for the like purpose.

Our officer of Engineers, so often quoted, has given us a distinct list of the domestic officers who, independent of Luichttach, or gardes de corps, belonged to the establishment of a Highland Chief. These are, 1. The Henchman. See these notes, p. 52. 2. The Bard, See p. 28. 3. Bladier, or spokesman. 4. Gilliemore, or sword-bearer, alluded to in the text. 5. Gillie-cusflue, who carried the chief, if on foot, over the fords. 6. Gillie-com

The rest their way through thickets break,
And soon await him by the lake.

It was a fair and gallant sight,

To view them from the neighbouring height,
By the low-levell'd sunbeam's light!
For strength and stature, from the clan
Each warrior was a chosen man,

As even afar might well be seen,
By their proud step and martial mien.
Their feathers dance, their tartans float,
Their targets gleam, as by the boat
A wild and warlike group they stand,
That well became such mountain-strand.


Their Chief, with step reluctant, still
Was lingering on the craggy hill,
Hard by where turn'd apart the road
To Douglas's obscure abode.
It was but with that dawning morn,
That Roderick Dhu had proudly sworn
To drown his love in war's wild roar,'
Nor think of Ellen Douglas more;
But he who stems a stream with sand,
And fetters flame with flaxen band,
Has yet a harder task to prove―
By firm resolve to conquer love!

Eve finds the Chief, like restless ghost,
Still hovering near his treasure lost;
For though his haughty heart deny

A parting meeting to his eye,

Still fondly strains his anxious ear,

The accents of her voice to hear,

And inly did he curse the breeze

That waked to sound the rustling trees.
But hark! what mingles in the strain ?
It is the harp of Allan-bane,

8. The

straine, who leads the chief's horse. 7. Gillie-Trushanarinsh, the baggage man. piper. 9. The piper's gillie, or attendant, who carries the bagpipe.* Although this appeared, naturally enough, very ridiculous to an English officer, who considered the master of such a retinue as no more than an English gentleman of 5001. a-year, yet in the circumstances of the chief, whose strength and importance consisted in the number and attachment of his followers, it was of the last consequence, in point of policy, to have in his gift subordinate offices, which called immediately round his person those who were most devoted to him, and, being of value in their estimation, were also the means of rewarding them.

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That wakes its measure slow and high,
Attuned to sacred minstrelsy.

What melting voice attends the strings ?

'Tis Ellen, or an angel, sings.



Ave Maria! maiden mild!

Listen to a maiden's prayer!
Thou canst hear though from the wild,
Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,
Though banish'd, outcast, and reviled—
Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer;

Mother, hear a suppliant child!

Ave Maria! undefiled!

Ave Maria!

The flinty couch we now must share1 Shall seem with down of eider piled,

If thy protection hover there.

The murky cavern's heavy air

Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled; Then, Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer,

Mother, list a suppliant child!

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Then while his plaid he round him cast,
"It is the last time-'tis the last,"

He mutter'd thrice," the last time e'er
That angel-voice shall Roderick hear!"
It was a goading thought-his stride
Hied hastier down the mountain-side;
Sullen he flung him in the boat,
And instant 'cross the lake it shot.
They landed in that silvery bay,
And eastward held their hasty way,
Till, with the latest beams of light,
The band arrived on Lanrick height,
Where muster'd, in the vale below,'
Clan-Alpine's men in martial show.


A various scene the clansmen made,
Some sate, some stood, some slowly stray'd;

But most, with mantles folded round,
Were couch'd to rest upon the ground,
Scarce to be known by curious eye,
From the deep heather where they lie,
So well was match'd the tartan screen
With heath-bell dark and brackens green;
Unless where, here and there, a blade,
Or lance's point, a glimmer made,

Like glow-worm twinkling through the shade.
But when, advancing through the gloom,
They saw the Chieftain's eagle plume,
Their shout of welcome, shrill and wide,
Shook the steep mountain's steady side.
Thrice it arose, and lake and fell
Three times return'd the martial yell;
It died upon Bochastle's plain,

And Silence claim'd her evening reign.

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