Imágenes de página



Wave o'er the cloud of Saxon war
That up the lake comes winding far!
To hero bound for battle-strife,

Or bard of martial lay,
'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,

One glance at their array.

And closely shouldering side to side, The bristling ranks the onset bide. We'll quell the savage mountaineer,

As their Tinchel* cowes the game: They come as fleet as forest deer,

We'll drive them back as tame.

Their light-armed archers far and near

Surveyed the tangled ground,
Their centre ranks, with pike and spear,

A twilight forest frowned,
Their barbed horsemen in the rear

The stern battalia crowned.
No cymbal clashed, no clarion rang,

Still were the pipe and drum;
Save heavy tread and armour's clang,

The sullen march was dumb. (shake,
There breathed no wind their crests to

Or wave their flags abroad;
Scarce the frail aspen seemed to quake

That shadowed o'er their road.
Their vaward scouts no tidings bring,

Can rouse no lurking foe,
Nor spy a trace of living thing,

Save when they stirred the roe;
The host moves like a deep-sea wave,
Where rise no rocks its pride to brave,

High-swelling, dark, and slow.
The lake is passed, and now they gain
A narrow and a broken plain
Before the Trossach's rugged jaws;
And here the horse and spearmen pause,
While to explore the dangerous glen
Dive through the pass the archer-men.
"At once there rose so wild a yell
Within that dark and narrow dell,
As all the fiends from heaven that fell
Had pealed the banner-cry of hell.
Forth from the pass in tumult driven,
Like chaff before the wind of heaven,

The archery appear.
For life! for life! their plight they ply-
And shriek, and shout, and battle-cry,
And plaids and bonnets waving high,
And broadswords flashing to the sky,

Are maddening in the rear.
Onward they drive, in dreadful race,

Pursuers and pursued;
Before that tide of flight and chase,
How shall it keep its rooted place,

The spearmen's twilight wood ?
Down, down,' cried Mar, 'your lances

Bear back, both friend and foe!'
Like reeds before the tempest s frown,
That serried grove of lances brown

At once lay levelled low;

"Bearing before them in their course
The relics of the archer force,
Like wave with crest of sparkling foam,
Right onward did Clan-Alpine come.

Above the tide, each broadsword bright
Was brandishing like beam of light,

Each targe was dark below;
And with the ocean's mighty swing,
When heaving to the tempest's wing,

They hurled them on the foe.
I heard the lance's shivering crash,
As when the whirlwind rends the ash;
I heard the broadsword's deadly clang,
As if an hundred anvils rang!

But Moray wheeled his rearward rank
Of horsemen on Clan-Alpine's flank,

- My banner-man advance!
I see,' he cried, 'their column shake.-
Now, gallants! for your ladies' sake

Upon them with the lance!'
The horsemen dashed among the rout,

As deer break through the broom;
Their steeds are stout, their swords are

out, They soon make lightsome room. Clan-Alpine's best are backward borne

Where, where was Roderick then?
One blast upon his bugle-horn

Were worth a thousand men.
And refluent through the pass of fear

The battle's tide was poured ;
Vanished the Saxon's struggling spear,

Vanished the mountain sword.
As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and

Receives her roaring linn,
As the dark caverns of the deep

Suck the wild whirlpool in,
So did the deep and darksome pass
Devour the battle's mingled mass :
None linger now upon the plain,
Save those who ne'er shall fight again.

"Now westward rolls the battle's din,
That deep and doubling pass within,

* A circle of sportsmen, who, by surrounding a great space, and gradually narrowing, brought immense quantities of deer together, which usually made desperate efforts to break through the Tinchel

- Minstrel, away ! the work of fate
Is bearing on: its issue wait,
Where the rude Trossach's dread defile.
Opens on Katrine's lake and isle.-
Gray Benvenue I soon repassed,
Loch Katrine lay beneath me cast.
The sun is set; the clouds are met,

The lowering scowl of heaven
An inky view of vivid blue

To the deep lake has given;
Strange gusts of wind from mountain

Swept o'er the lake, then sunk agen.
I heeded not the eddying surge,
Mine eye but saw the Trossach's gorge,
Mine ear but heard the sullen sound,
Which likean earthquake shook theground,
And spoke the stern and desperate strife
That parts not but with parting life,
Seeming, to minstrel ear, to toll
The dirge of many a passing soul.
Nearer it comes—the dim-wood glen
The martial flood disgorged agen,

But not in mingled tide;
The plaided warriors of the North
High on the mountain thunder forth,

And overhang its side;
While by the lake below appears
The dark'ning cloud of Saxon spears.
At weary bay each shattered band,
Eyeing their foemen, sternly stand;
Their banners stream like tattered sail,
That flings its fragments to the gale,
And broken arms and disarray
Marked the fell havoc of the day.

'Twas then, as by the outcry riven,
Poured down at once the lowering heaven,
A whirlwind swept Loch Katrine's breast;
Her billows reared their snowy crest.
Well for the swimmer swelled they high,
To mar the Highland marksman's eye;
Forround him showered,'mid rain and hail,
The vengeful arrows of the Gael. -
In vain. He nears the isle—and lo!
His hand is on a shallop's bow.
Just then a flash of lightning came,
It tinged the waves and strand with flame!
I marked Duncraggan's widowed dame,
Behind an oak I saw her stand,
A naked dirk gleamed in her hand :
It darkened, -but amid the moan
Of waves, I heard a dying groan.
Another flash !-the spearman floats
A weltering corse beside the boats,
And the stern matron o'er him stood,
Her hand and dagger streaming blood.

"Revenge! revenge !' the Saxons cried, The Gaels' exulting shout replied. Despite the elemental rage, Again they hurried to engage; But, ere they closed in desperate fight, Bloody with spurring came a knight, Sprung from his horse, and, from a crag, Waved 'twixt the hosts a milk-white flag. Clarion and trumpet by his side Rung forth a truce-note high and wide, While, in the monarch's name, afar An herald's voice forbade the war, For Bothwell's lord, and Roderick bold, Were both, he said, in captive hold."

“Viewing the mountain's ridge askance, The Saxon stood in sullen trance, Till Moray pointed with his lance,

And cried, “Behold yon isle ! See! none are left to guard its strand, But women weak, that wring the hand : 'Tis there of yore the robber band

Their booty wont to pile; My purse, with bonnet pieces store, To him will swim a bow-shot o'er, And loose a shallop from the shore. Lightly we 'll tame the war-wolf then, Lords of his mate, and brood, and den.' Forth from the ranks a spearman sprung, On earth his casque and corslet rung,

He plunged him in the wave :-
All saw the deed—the purpose knew,
And to their clamours Benvenue

A mingled echo gave;
The Saxons shout, their mate to cheer,
The helpless females scream for fear,
And yells for rage the mountaineer.

-But here the lay made sudden stand ! The harp escaped the Minstrel's hand !Oft had he stolen a glance, to spy How Roderick brooked his minstrelsy: At first, the Chieftain, to the chime With lifted hand kept feeble time; That motion ceased, -yet feeling strong Varied his look as changed the song ; At length no more his deafened ear The minstrel melody can hear; His face grows sharp, - his hands are

clenched, As if some pang his heart-strings wrenched; Set are his teeth, his fading eye Is sternly fixed on vacancy, Thus motionless and moanless, drew His parting breath, stout Roderick Dhu!Old Allan-Bane looked on aghast. While grim and still his spirit passed; But when he saw that life was fled, He poured his wailing o er the dead.

[blocks in formation]


"And art thou cold and lowly laid,
Thy foeman's dread, thy people's aid,
Breadalbane's boast, Clan-Alpine's shade!
For thee shall none a requiem say?
For thee, who loved the minstrel's lay,
For thee, of Bothwell's house the stay,
The shelter of her exiled line,
E'en in this prison-house of thine,
I'll wail for Alpine's honoured Pine!
“What groans shall yonder valleys fill!
What shrieks of grief shall rend yon hill!
What tears of burning rage shall thrill,
When mourns thy tribe thy battles done,
Thy fall before the race was won,
The sword ungirt ere set of sun!
There breathes not clansman of thy line
But would have given his life for thine.-
Oh, woe for Alpine's honoured Pine!
"Sad was thy lot on mortal stage !-
The captive thrush may brook the cage,
The prisoned eagle dies for rage.
Brave spirit, do not scorn my strain !
And, when its notes awake again,
Even she, so long beloved in vain,
Shall with my harp her voice combine,
And mix her woe and tears with mine,
To wail Clan-Alpine's honoured Pine."

For not the faintest motion could be seen Of all the shades that slanted o'er the green. There was wide wand'ring for the greediest

eye, To peer about upon variety; Far round the horizon's crystal air to skim, And trace the dwindled edgings of its brim; To picture out the quaint and curious

bending Of a fresh woodland alley, never ending; Or by the bowery clefts and leafy shelves, Guess where the jaunty streams refresh

themselves. I gazed awhile, and felt as light and free As though the fanning wings of Mercury Had played upon my heels: I was light

hearted, And many pleasures to my vision started; So I straightway began to pluck a posy Of luxuries bright, milky, soft, and rosy.



A bush of May flowers with the bees about

(them! Ah, sure no tasteful nook would be without And let a lush laburnum oversweep them, And let long grass grow round the roots to keep them

(violets, Moist, cool, and green ; and shade the That they may bind the moss in leafy nets. A filbert hedge with wild-brier overtwined, And clumps of woodbine taking the soft wind

[should be Upon their summer thrones; there too The frequent chequer of a youngling tree, That with a score of light green brethren

shoots From the quaint mossiness of aged roots; Round which is hearda spring-head of clear

waters Babbling so wildly of its lovely daughters, The spreading bluebells: it may haply

(torn That such fair clusters should be rudely From their fresh beds, and scattered

thoughtlessly By infant hands, left on the path to die.



A PICTURE. “Places of nestling green for Poets made.”

Story of Rimini.


I STOOD tiptoe upon a little hill,
The air was cooling, and so very still,
That the sweet buds which with a modest

pride Pull droopingly, in slanting curve, aside Their scanty leaved and finely tapering

stems, Had not yet lost those starry diadems Caught from the early sobbing of the morn. The clouds were pure and white as flocks new shorn,

[they slept And fresh from the clear brook: sweetly On the blue fields of heaven; and then there

crept A little noiseless noise among the leaves, Born of the very sigh that silence heaves;

Open afresh your round of starry folds,
Ye ardent marigolds !
Dry up the moisture from your golden lids,
For great Apollo bids

[sung That in these days your praises should be On many harps, which he has lately strung; And when again your dewiness he kisses, Tell him, I have you in my world of blisses; So haply when I rove in some far vale, His mighty voice may come upon the gale.

Here are sweet peas, on tiptoe for a flight, With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate

white, And taper fingers catching at all things, To bind them all about with tiny rings.

THE STREAMLET. LINGER awhile upon some bending planks, That lean against a streamlet's rushy banks, And watch intently Nature's gentle doings: They will be found softer than ring-doves' cooings.

(bend! How silent comes the water round that Not the minutest whisper does it send To the o'erhanging sallows: blades of grass Slowly across the chequered shadows pass. Why, you might read two sonnets, ere they reach

[preach To where the hurrying freshnesses aye A natural sermon o'er their pebbly beds; Where swarms of minnows show their little heads,

(streams, Staying their wavy bodies 'gainst the To taste the luxury of sunny beams Tempered with coolness. How they ever wrestle

(nestle With their own sweet delight, and ever Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand ! If you but scantily hold out the hand, That very instant not one will remain ; But turn your eye, and they are there again. The ripples seem right glad to reach those cresses,

(tresses; And cool themselves among the emerald The while they cool themselves, they freshness give,

[live; And moisture, that the bowery green may So keeping up an interchange of favours, Like good men in the truth of their behaviours.

[drop Sometimes goldfinches one by one will From low-hung branches; little space they

stop, But sip, and twitter, and their feathers sleek; Then off at once, as in a wanton freak; Or perhaps, to show their black and golden

wings, Pausing upon their yellow flutterings. Were I in such a place, I sure should pray That nought less sweet might call my

thoughts away Than the soft rustle of a maiden's gown Fanning away the dandelion's down; Than the light music of her nimble toes Patting against the sorrel as she goes.

PRIMROSES. What next? A tuft of evening primroses, O'er which the mind may hover till it dozes; O'er which it well might take a pleasant

sleep, But that 'tis ever startled by the leap Of buds into ripe flowers; or by the flitting Of divers moths, that aye their rest are

quitting; Or by the moon lifting her silver rim Above a cloud, and with a gradual swim Coming into the blue with all her light. O maker of sweet poets, dear delight Of this fair world, and all its gentle livers; Spangler of clouds, halo of crystal rivers, Mingler with leaves, and dew, and tumbling

streams, Closer of lovely eyes to lovely dreams, Lover of loneliness and wandering, Of upcast eye, and tender pondering! Thee must I praise above all other glories That smile us on to tell delightful stories. For what has made the sage or poet write But the fair Paradise of Nature's light? In the calm grandeur of a sober line We see the waving of the mountain pine; And when a tale is beautifully staid, We feel the safety of a hawthorn glade; When it is moving on luxurious wings, The soul is lost in pleasant smotherings; Fair dewy roses brush against our faces, And flowering laurels spring from diamond

vases; O'erhead we see thejasmine and sweetbrier, And bloomy grapes laughing from green attire ;

[bubbles While at our feet, the voice of crystal Charms us at once away from all our

troubles ; So that we feel uplifted from the world, Walking upon the white clouds wreathed

and curled.

NARCISSUS. What first inspired a bard of old to sing Narcissus pining o'er the untainted spring? In some delicious ramble, he had found A little space, with boughs all woven round; And in the midst of all, a clearer pool Than e'er reflected in its pleasant cool The blue sky, here and there serenely peeping

(creeping. Through tendril wreaths fantastically And on the bank a lonely flower he spied, A meek and forlorn flower with nought

of pride,

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Blissfully havened both from joy and pain; Clasped like a missal where swart Paynims

pray : Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain, As though a rose should shut, and be a

bud again. Stolen to this Paradise, and so entranced, Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress, And listened to her breathing, if it chanced To wake into a slumberous tenderness; Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,

(crept, And breathed himself; then from the closet Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness; And over the hushed carpet, silent, stept, And 'tween the curtains peeped, where, lo!

how fast she slept. Then by the bedside, where the faded moon Made a dim silver twilight, soft he set A table, and, half-anguished, threw thereon A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet :Oh for some drowsy Morphean amulet ! The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion, The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet, Affray his ears, though but in dying tone: The hall door shuts again, and all the

noise is gone. And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep, In blanched linen, smooth, and lavendered, While he from forth the closet brought a heap

(gourd; Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and With jellies soother than the creamy curd, And lucent syrups, tinct with cinnamon; Manna and dates, in argosy transferred From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one, From silken Samarcand to cedared Leba

Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,

[breast, And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair As down she knelt for Heaven's grace and boon;

[prest, Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together And on her silver cross soft amethyst, And on her hair a glory, like a saint: She seemed a splendid angel, newly drest, Save wings, for heaven :-Porphyro grew faint:

[mortal taint. She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from


Anon his heart revives: her vespers done, Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees; Unclasps her warmèd jewels one by one; Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees; Half-hidden, like a mermaid in seaweed, Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees, In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed, [is fled. But dares not look behind, or all the charm

[hand These delicates he heaped with glowing On golden dishes and in baskets bright Of wreathéd silver: sumptuous they stand In the retired quiet of the night, Filling the chilly room with perfume light. “And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake! Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite: Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake, Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul

doth ache."

Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest, In sort of wakeful swoon, perplexed she lay, Until the poppiedwarmth of sleep oppressed Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away; Flown, like a thought, until the morrow

day ;

Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream By the dusk curtains: 'twas a midnight

charm Impossible to melt as iced stream:

« AnteriorContinuar »