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HOURS OF IDLENESS.
OSCAR OF ALVA.
How sweetly shines, through azure skies,
The lamp of heaven on Lora's shore; Where Alva's hoary turrets rise,
And hear the din of arms no more.
But often has yon rolling moon
On Alva's casques of silver played; And viewed at midnight's silent noon,
Her chiefs in gleaming mail arrayed :
And on the crimson rocks beneath,
Which scroll o'er ocean's sullen flow, Pale in the scattered ranks of death,
She saw the gasping warrior low;
While many an eye which ne'er again
Could mark the rising orb of day, Turned feebly from the gory plain,
Beheld in death her fading ray.
Once to those eyes, the lamp of Love,
They blest her dear propitious light; But now she glimmered from above,
A sad, funereal torch of night.
Faded is Alva's noble race,
And gray her towers are seen afar; No more her heroes urge the chase,
Or roll the crimson tide of war.
But who was last of Alva's clan?
Why grows the moss on Alva's stone ? Her towers resound no steps of man,
They echo to the gale alone.
And when that gale is fierce and high,
A sound is heard in yonder hall; It rises hoarsely through the sky,
And vibrates o'er the mouldering wall.
Yes, when the eddying tempest sighs,
It shakes the shield of Oscar brave; But there no more his banners rise,
No more his plumes of sable wave.
Fair shone the sun on Oscar's birth,
When Angus hailed his eldest born; The vassals round their chieftain's hearth
Crowd to applaud the happy morn.
They feast upon the mountain deer,
The pibroch raised its piercing note ; To gladden more their highland cheer,
The strains in martial numbers float.
And they who heard the war-notes wild,
Hoped that one day the pibroch's strain Should play before the hero's child,
While he should lead the tartan train.
Another year is quickly past,
And Angus hails another son; His natal day is like the last,
Nor soon the jocund feast was done.
Taught by their sire to bend the bow,
On Alva's dusky hills of wind,
And left their hounds in speed behind.
But ere their years of youth are o'er,
They mingle in the ranks of war; They lightly wheel the bright claymore,
And send the whistling arrow far.
Dark was the flow of Oscar's hair,
Wildly it streamed along the gale; But Allan's locks were bright and fair,
And pensive seemed his cheek, and pale.
But Oscar owned a hero's soul,
His dark eye shone through beams of truth ; Allan had early learned control,
And smooth his words had been from youth.
Both, both were brave; the Saxon spear
Was shivered oft beneath their steel ; And Oscar's bosom scorned to fear,
But Oscar's bosom knew to feel ;