« AnteriorContinuar »
power, and pleased with its effects, which she could easily discern from the respectful yet confused address of the young soldier. But, as she possessed excellent sense, she gave the romance of the scene and other accidental circumstances full weight in appreciating the feelings with which Waverley seemed obviously to be impressed ; and, unacquainted with the fanciful and susceptible peculiarities of his character, considered his homage as the passing tribute which a woman of even inferior charms might have expected in such a situation. She therefore quietly led the way to a spot at such a distance from the cascade that its sound should rather accompany than interrupt that of her voice and instrument, and, sitting down upon a mossy fragment of rock, she took the harp from Cathleen.
I have given you the trouble of walking to this spot, Captain Waverley, both because I thought the scenery would interest you, and because a Highland song would suffer still more from my imperfect translation were I to introduce it without its own wild and appropriate accompaniments. To speak in the poetical language of my country, the seat of the Celtic Muse is in the mist of the secret and solitary hill, and her voice in the murmur of the mountain stream. He who woos her must love the barren rock more than the fertile valley, and the solitude of the desert better than the festivity of the hall.'
Few could have heard this lovely woman make this declaration, with a voice where harmony was exalted by pathos, without exclaiming that the muse whom she invoked could never find a more appropriate representative. But Waverley, though the thought rushed on his mind, found no courage to utter it. Indeed, the wild feeling of romantic delight with which he heard the few first notes she drew from her instrument amounted almost to a sense of pain. He would not for worlds have quitted his place by her side; yet he almost longed for solitude, that he might decipher and examine at leisure the complication of emotions which now agitated his bosom.
Flora had exchanged the measured and monotonous recitative of the bard for a lofty and uncommon Highland air, which had been a battle-song in former ages. A few irregular strains introduced a prelude of a wild and peculiar tone, which harmonised well with the distant waterfall, and the soft sigh of the evening breeze in the rustling leaves of an aspen, which overhung the seat of the fair harpress. The following verses convey but little idea of the feelings with which, so sung and accompanied, they were heard by Waverley:
There is mist on the mountain, and night on the vale,
The deeds of our sires if our bards should rehearse,
But the dark hours of night and of slumber are past,
O, sprung from the Kings who in Islay kept state, Proud chiefs of Clan Ranald, Glengarry, and Sleat ! Combine like three streams from one mountain of snow, And resistless in union rush down on the foe!
True son of Sir Evan, undaunted Lochiel,
Stern son of Lord Kenneth, high chief of Kintail,
* The young and daring adventurer, Charles Edward, landed at Glenaladale, in Moidart, and displayed his standard in the valley of Glenfinnan, mustering around it the Mac-Donalds, the Camerons, and other less numerous clans, whom he had prevailed upon to join him. There is a monument erected on the spot, with a Latin inscription by the late Doctor Gregory.
+ The Marquis of Tullibardine's elder brother, who, long exiled, returned to Scotland with Charles Edward in 1745.
Unite with the race of renown'd Rorri More,
How Mac-Shimei will joy when their chief shall display
Ye sons of brown Dermid, who slew the wild boar,
Here a large greyhound, bounding up the glen, jumped upon Flora and interrupted her music by his importunate caresses. At a distant whistle he turned and shot down the path again with the rapidity of an arrow. That is Fergus's faithful attendant, Captain Waverley, and that was his signal. He likes no poetry but what is humorous, and comes in good time to interrupt my long catalogue of the tribes, whom one of your saucy English poets calls
Our bootless host of high-born beggars,
Waverley expressed his regret at the interruption.
O you cannot guess how much you have lost! The bard, as in duty bound, has addressed three long stanzas to Vich lan Vohr of the Banners, enumerating all his great properties, and not forgetting his being a cheerer of the harper and bard—a giver of bounteous gifts. Besides, you should have heard a practical admonition to the fair-haired son of the stranger, who lives in the land where the grass is always green—the rider on the shining pampered steed, whose hue is like the raven, and whose neigh is like the scream of the eagle for battle. This valiant horseman is affectionately conjured to remember that his ancestors were distinguished by their loyalty as well as by their courage.
All this you have lost; but, since your curiosity is not satisfied, I judge, from the distant sound of my brother's whistle, I may have time to sing the concluding stanzas before he comes to laugh at my translation.'
Awake on your hills, on your islands awake,
'Tis the summons of heroes for conquest or death,
WAVERLEY CONTINUES AT GLENNAQUOICH
As Flora concluded her song, Fergus stood before them. 'I knew I should find you here, even without the assistance of my friend Bran. A simple and unsublimed taste now, like my own, would prefer a jet d'eau at Versailles to this cascade, with all its accompaniments of rock and roar; but this is Flora's Parnassus, Captain Waverley, and that fountain her Helicon. It would be greatly for the benefit of my cellar if she could teach her coadjutor, Mac-Murrough, the value of its influence: he has just drunk a pint of usquebaugh to correct, he said, the coldness of the claret. Let me try its virtues.' He sipped a little water in the hollow of his hand, and immediately commenced, with a theatrical air,
O Lady of the desert, hail !
Where never yet grew grass or corn.
vous, qui buvez, à tasse pleine,
Que quelques vilains troupeaux,
Qui les escortent sans sabotsA truce, dear Fergus! spare us those most tedious and insipid persons of all Arcadia. Do not, for Heaven's sake, bring down Coridon and Lindor upon us.'
'Nay, if you cannot relish la houlette et le chalumeau, have with you
in heroic strains.' 'Dear Fergus, you have certainly partaken of the inspiration of Mac-Murrough's cup rather than of mine.'