Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

Here eglantine embalmed the air,

And islands that, empurpled bright, Hawthorn and hazel mingled there; Floated amid the livelier light; The primrose pale, and violet flower, And mountains, that like giants stand, Found in each cliff a narrow bower;

To sentinel enchanted land. Foxglove and nightshade, side by side, High on the south, huge Ben-venue Emblems of punishment and pride,

Down on the lake in masses threw Grouped their dark hues with every Crags, knolls, and mounds, confusedly stain

hurled, The weather-beaten crags retain.

The fragments of an earlier world; With boughs that quaked at every breath, A wildering forest feathered o'er Gray birch and aspen wept beneath; His ruined sides and summit hoar; Aloft, the ash and warrior oak

While on the north, through middle air, Cast anchor in the rifted rock;

Ben-an heaved high his forehead bare. And, higher yet, the pine-tree hung

XV. His shattered trunk, and frequent flung, From the steep promontory gazed Where seemed the cliffs to meet on high, The stranger, raptured and amazed. His boughs athwart the narrowed sky. And, “What a scene were here," he cried, Highest of all, where white peaks glanced, “For princely pomp, or churchman's pride! Where glistening streamers waved and on this bold brow, a lordly tower; danced,

In that soft vale, a lady's bower; The wanderer's eye could barely view On yonder meadow, far away, The summer heaven's delicious blue; The turrets of a cloister gray.

a So wondrous wild, the whole might seem How blithely might the bugle-horn The scenery of a fairy dream.

Chide, on the lake, the lingering morn! XIII.

How sweet, at eve, the lover's lute Onward, amid the copse 'gan peep

Chime, when the groves were still and A narrow inlet, still and deep,

mute! Affording scarce such breadth of brim And, when the midnight moon should lave As served the wild duck's brood to swim. Her forehead in the silver wave, Lost for a space, through thickets veer- How solemn on the ear would come ing,

The holy matins' distant hum; But broader when again appearing,

While the deep peal's commanding tone Tall rocks and tufted knolls their face Should wake, in yonder islet lone, Could on the dark-blue mirror trace; A sainted hermit from his cell, And further as the Hunter strayed,

To drop a bead with every knell-Still broader sweep its channels made. And bugle, lute, and bell, and all, The shaggy mounds no longer stood, Should each bewildered stranger call Emerging from entangled wood,

To friendly feast and lighted hall. But, wave-encircled, seemed to float,

XVI. Like castle girdled with its moat;

Blithe were it then to wander here ! Yet broader floods, extending still,

But now, -beshrew yon nimble deer! -Divide them from their parent hill, Like that same hermit's, thin and spare, Till each, retiring, claims to be

The copse must give my evening fare; An islet in an inland sea.

Some mossy bank my couch must be,
XIV.

Some rustling oak my canopy.
And now, to issue from the glen,

Yet pass we that; the war and chase No pathway meets the wanderer's ken, Give little choice of resting-place;-Unless he climb, with footing nice, A summer night in green-wood spent, A far projecting precipice.

Were but to-morrow's merriment: The broom's tough roots his ladder made, But hosts may in these wilds abound, The hazel saplings lent their aid;

Such as are better missed than found;And thus an airy point he won,

To meet with Highland plunderers here Where, gleaming with the setting sun, Were worse than loss of steed or deer.--One burnished sheet of living gold,

I am alone;-my bugle strain
Loch Katrine lay beneath him rolled;- May call some straggler of the train;
In all her length far winding lay,

Or, fall the worst that may betide,
With promontory, creek, and bay;

Ere now this falchion has been tried."

PART II.

THE LADY OF THE LAKE.

Elien (laughter of the Dcug'as) appears, at the sound of Fitz-Jamee's hunting-horu-" Ellen's Isle,"

a little island in Loch hatrine.

I.

And seldom was a snood amid But scarce again his horn he wound, Such wild luxuriant ringlets hid, When, lo! forth starting at the sound, Whose glossy black to shame might bring From underneath an aged oak,

The plumage of the raven's wing; That slanted from the islet rock,

And seldom o'er a breast so fair A damsel guider of its way,

Mantled a plaid with modest care; A little skiff shot to the bay,

And never brooch the folds combined That round the promontory steep

Above a heart more good and kind. Led its deep line in graceful sweep,

Her kindness and her worth to spy, Eddying, in almost viewless wave,

You need but gaze on Ellen's eye: The weeping-willow twig to lave,

Not Katrine, in her mirror blue,
And kiss, with whispering sound and slow, Gives back the shaggy banks more true,
The beach of pebbles bright as snow. Than every free-born glance confessed
The boat had touched the silver strand The guileless movements of her breast;
Just as the Hunter left his stand,

Whether joy danced in her dark eye,
And stood concealed amid the brake, Or woe or pity claimed a sigh,
To view this Lady of the Lake.

Or filial love was glowing there,
The maiden paused, as if again

Or meek devotion poured a prayer,
She thought to catch the distant strain. Or tale of injury called forth
With head up-raised, and look intent, The indignant spirit of the North.
And eye and ear attentive bent,

One only passion, unrevealed,
And locks flung back, and lips apart, With maiden pride the maid concealed,
Like monument of Grecian art,

Yet not less purely felt the flame;-
In listening mood she seemed to stand, Oh: need I tell that passion's name?
The guardian Naiad of the strand.

IV.
II.

Impatient of the silent horn,
And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace

Now on the gale her voice was borne : A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,

“Father!” she cried; the rocks around Of finer form, or lovelier face!

Loved to prolong the gentle sound.
What though the sun, with ardent frown, A while she paused, no answer came :---
Had slightly tinged her cheek with “Malcolm, was thine the blast ?”--the name
brown?

Less resolutely uttered fell,
The sportive toil, which, short and light, The echoes could not catch the swell.
Had dyed her glowing hue so bright, A stranger I," the Huntsman said,
Served too in hastier swell to show

Advancing from a hazel shade.
Short glimpses of a breast of snow:

The maid, alarmed, with hasty oar What though no rule of courtly grace Pushed her light shallop from the shore; To measured mood had trained her pace?- And when a space was gained between, A foot more light, a step more true,

Closer she drew her bosom's screen, Ne'er from the heath-flower dashed the dew; (So forth the startled swan would swing, E'en the slight hare-bell raised its head, So turn to prune his ruffled wing;) Elastic, from her airy tread!

Then safe, though fluttered and amazed, What though upon her speech there hung She paused, and on the stranger gazed. The accents of the mountain tongue ? Not his the form, nor his the eye, Those silver sounds, so soft, so dear, That youthful maidens wont to fly.. The list'ner held his breath to hear!

v. III.

A while the maid the stranger eyed, A chieftain's daughter seemed the maid; And, reassured, at length replied, Her satin snood, her silken plaid,

That Highland halls were open still Her golden brooch, such birth betrayed. To wildered wanderers of the hill

VI.

Nor think you unexpected come

With heads erect, and whimpering cry, To yon lone isle, our desert home:

The hounds behind their passage ply. Before the heath had lost the dew,

Nor frequent does the bright oar break This morn, a couch was pulled for you; The darkening mirror of the lake, On yonder mountain's purple head

Until the rocky isle they reach,
Have ptarmigan and heath-cock bled; And moor their shallop on the beach. ....
And our broad nets have swept the mere,

VIII.
To furnish forth your evening cheer.”- The mistress of the mansion came,
“Now, by the rood, my lovely maid, Mature of age, a graceful dame;
Your courtesy has erred,” he said;

Whose easy step and stately port
No right have I to claim, misplaced, Had well become a princely court;
The welcome of expected guest.

To whom, though more than kindred A wanderer, here by fortune tossed,

knew, My way, my friends, my courser lost, Young Ellen gave a mother's due. I ne'er before, believe me, fair,

Meet welcome to her guest she made, Have ever drawn your mountain air, And every courteous rite was paid Till on this lake's romantic strand

That hospitality could claim, I found a fay in fairy-land !”.

Though all unasked his birth and name.

Such then the reverence to a guest, “I well believe,” the maid replied,

That fellest foe might join the feast, As her light skiff approached the side, And from his deadliest foeman's door “I well believe that ne'er before

Unquestioned turn, the banquet o'er. Your foot has trod Loch Katrine's shore; At length his rank the stranger names But yet, as far as yesternight,

“ The Knight of Snowdoun, * James FitzOld Allan-bane foretold your plight,

James;
A gray-haired sire, whose eye intent Lord of a barren heritage,
Was on the visioned future bent.

Which his brave sires, from age to age, He saw your steed, a dappled gray,

By their good swords had held with toil : Lie dead beneath the birchen way;

His sire had fallen in such turmoil, Painted exact your form and inien,

And he, God wot, was forced to stand Your hunting-suit of Lincoln green, Oft for his right with blade in hand. That tasselled horn so gaily gilt,

This morning with Lord Moray's train That falchion's crooked blade and hilt, He chased a stalwart stag in vain, That cap with heron plumage trim, Outstripped his comrades, missed the deer. And yon two hounds so dark and grim. Lost his good steed, and Wandlered He bade that all should ready be,

here.".... To grace a guest of fair degree; But light I held his prophecy,

[Ellen rereals the secret of her love for And deemed it was my father's horn

Malcolm Gricme to Fit:-Jaunes) Whose echoes o'er the lake were borne." VII.

IX.
The stranger smiled:-“Since to your home “Still wouldst thou speak ?--then hear
A destined errant-knight I come,

the truth!
Announced by prophet sooth and old, Fitz-James, there is a noble youth,-
Doomed, doubtless, for achievement bold, If yet he is !--exposed for me
I'll lightly front each high emprise,

And mine to dread extremity;--
For one kind glance of those bright eyes. Thou hast the secret of my heart;
Permit me, first, the task to guide

Forgive, be generous, and depart!"
Your fairy frigate o'er the tide.”

X.
The maid, with smile suppressed and sly, Fitz-James knew every wily train
The toil unwonted saw him try;

A lady's fickle heart to gain;
For seldom, sure, if e'er before,

But here he knew and felt them vain : His noble hand had grasped an oar: There shot no glance from Ellen's eye, Yet with main strength his strokes he To give her steadfast speech the lie; drew,

In maiden confidence she stood, And o'er the lake the shallop flew;- Though mantled in her cheek the blood,

Snowdoun, an old name of Stirling

And told her love with such a sigh

To bring it back, and boldy claim
Of deep and hopeless agony,

The recompense that I would name.
As death had sealed her Malcolm's doom, Ellen, I am no courtly lord,
And she sat sorrowing on his tomb.

But one who lives by lance and sword, Hope vanished from Fitz-James's eye--- Whose castle is his helm and shield, But not with hope fled sympathy.

His lordship the embattled field. He proffered to attend her side,

What from a prince can I demand, As brother would a sister guide.

Who neither reck of state nor land? “Oh! little know'st thou Roderick's heart! | Ellen, thy hand--the ring is thine; Safer for both we go apart.

Each guard and usher knows the sign. O haste thee, and from Allan learn

Seek thou the King without delay; If thou mayst trust yon wily kern.

This signet shall secure thy way; With hand upon his forehead laid,

And claim thy suit, whate'er it be, The conflict of his mind to shade,

As ransom of his pledge to me." A parting step or two he made;

He placed the golden circlet on, Then, as some thought had crossed his brain, Paused--kissed her hand--and then was He paused, and turned, and came again.

gone. XI.

The aged Minstrel stood aghast, “Hear, lady, yet, a parting word!-- So hastily Fitz-James shot past. It chanced in fight that my poor sword He joined his guide, and wending down Preserved the life of Scotland's lord. The ridges of the mountain brown, This ring the grateful monarch gave, Across the stream they took their way, And bade, when I had boon to crave, That joins Loch Katrine to Achray..

PART III.

FITZ-JAMES AND RODERICK DHU.

I.

66

C6

[ocr errors]

Fitz-James in his wanderings reaches a watch-fire--Receives protection for the night from a mountaineer- The mountaineer (who is Roderick Dhu) conducts the King next morning to Coilantogle's ford.

A stranger. What dost thou require ?" THE shades of eve come slowly down, Rest and a guide, and food and fire. The woods are wrapped in deeper brown, My life's beset, my path is lost, The owl awakens from her dell,

The gale has chilled my limbs with frost." The fox is heard upon the fell;

Art thou a friend to Roderick ?"--Enough remains of glimmering light

No."To guide the wanderers steps aright, Thou darest not call thyself a foe?”. Yet not enough from far to show

“I dare! to him and all the band His figure to the watchful foe.

He brings to aid his murderous hand."-With cautious step, and ear awake,

“Bold words!—but, though the beast of He climbs the crag and threads the game brake;

The privilege of chase may claimAnd not the summer solstice, there, Though space and law the stag we lend, Tempered the midnight mountain air, Ere hound we slip, or bow we bendBut every breeze that swept the wold Who ever recked, where, how, or when, Benumbed his drenched limbs with cold. The prowling fox'was trapped or slain? In dread, in danger, and alone,

Thus treacherous scouts,--yet sure they lie, Famished and chilled, through ways un- Who say thou camest a secret spy!"known,

“They do, by Heaven!—Come Roderick Tangled and steep, he journeyed on;

Dhu,
Till, as a rock's huge point he turned, And of his clan the boldest two,
A watch-fire close before him burned. And let me but till morning rest,
II.

I write the falsehood on their crest."
Beside its embers red and clear,

If by the blaze I mark aright, Basked, in his plaid, a mountaineer; Thou bear'st the belt and spur of knight." And up he sprung with sword in hand,- “Then by these tokens mayst thou know “Thy name and purpose ? Saxon, stand!"- Each proud oppressor's mortal foe.”

[ocr errors]

"Enough, enough;- sit down, and share Commanding the rich scenes beneath, A soldier's couch, a soldier's fare."

The windings of the Forth and Teith,
III.

And all the vales between that lie,
He gave him of his Highland cheer, Till Stirling's turrets molt in sky;
The hardened flesh of mountain deer; Then, sunk in copse, their furthest glance
Dry fuel on the fire he laid,

Gained not the length of horseman's lance. And bade the Saxon share his plaid. 'Twas oft so steep, the foot was fain He tended him like welcome guest,

Assistance from the hand to gain; Then thus his further speech addressed :- So tangled oft, that, bursting through, “Stranger, I am to Roderick Dhu

Each hawthorn shed her showers of dew,A clansman born, a kinsman true;

That diamond dew, so pure and clear, Each word against his honour spoke, It rivals all but Beauty's tear! Demands of me avenging stroke;

V. Yet more--upon thy fate, 'tis said, At length they came where, stern and A mighty augury is laid.

steep, It rests with me to wind my horn, ---- The hill sinks down upon the deep. Thou art with numbers overborne;

Here Vennachar in silver flows-It rests with me, here, brand to brand, There, ridge on ridge, Ben-ledi rose; Worn as thou art, to bid thee stand : Ever the hollow path twined on, But not for clan nor kindred's cause Beneath steep bank and threatening stone; Will I depart from honour's laws;

An hundred men might hold the post To assail a wearied man were shame, With hardihood against a host. And stranger is a holy name;

The rugged mountain's scanty cloak Guidance and rest, and food and fire, Was dwarfish shrubs of birch and oak, In vain he never must require.

With shingles bare, and cliffs between, Then rest thee here till dawn of day; And patches bright of bracken green, Myself will guide thee on the way, (ward, And heather black, that waved so high, O'er stock and stone, through watch and It held the copse in rivalry. Till past Clan-Alpine's outmost guard, But where the lake slept deep and still, As far as Coilantogle's ford;

Dank osiers fringed the swamp and hill; From thence thy warrant is thy sword.”- And oft both path and hill were torn, “I take thy courtesy, by Heaven,

Where wintry torrent down had borne, As freely as 'tis nobly given!”

And heaped upon the cumbered land “Well, rest thee; for the bittern's cry Its wreck of gravel, rocks, and sand. Sings us the lake's wild lullaby.'

So toilsome was the road to trace,
With that he shook the gathered heatli, The guide, abating of his pace,
And spread his plaid upon the wreath; Led slowly through the pass's jaws,
And the brave foemen, side by side,

And asked Fitz-James, by what strange
Lay peaceful down, like brothers tried,
And slept until the dawning beam

He sought these wilds, traversed by few, Purpled the mountain and the stream. .... Without a pass from Roderick Dhu. IV.

VI. That early beam, so fair and sheen,

Brave Gael, my pass, in danger tried, Was twinkling through the hazel screen, Hangs in my belt, and by my side; When, rousing at its glimmer red,

Yet, sooth to tell,” the Saxon said, The warriors left their lowly bed,

I dreamt not now to claim its aid. Looked out upon the dappled sky,

When here, but three days since, I came, Muttered their soldier matins by,

Bewildered in pursuit of game,
And then awaked their fire, to steal, All seemed as peaceful and as still
As short and rude, their soldier meal. As the mist slumbering on yon hill ;
That o'er, the Gael * around him threw Thy dangerous Chief was then afar,
His graceful plaid of varied hue,

Nor soon expected back from war.
And, true to promise, led the way,

Thus said, at least, my mountain guide, By thicket green and mountain gray. Though deep, perchance, the villain lied.”. A wildering path!--they winded now ‘Yet why a second venture try?"Along the precipice's brow,

A warrior thou, and ask me why?• The Scottish Highlander calls himself Gael, or Gaul; and terms the Lowlanders Sassenach, or Saxons.

cause

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »