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u 'Tis well,” replied the stranger stern,
And fiercely flashed his rolling eye; “Thy Oscar's fate I fain would learn;
Perhaps the hero did not die.
“Perchance, if those whom he most loved,
Would call, thy Oscar might return; Perchance the chief has only roved ;
For him thy Beltane yet may burn.
“Fill high the bowl the table round,
We will not claim the pledge by stealth ; With wine let every cup be crowned ;
Pledge me departed Oscar's health.”
“With all my soul,” old Angus said,
And filled his goblet to the brim; “Here's to my boy!” alive or dead,
I ne'er shall find a son like him."
Bravely, old man, this health has sped ;
But why does Allan trembling stand ? Come, drink remembrance of the dead,
And raise thy cup with firmer hand.”
The crimson glow of Allan's face
Was turned at once to ghastly hue; The drops of death each other chase
Adown in agonizing dew.
Thrice did he raise the goblet high,
And thrice his lips refused to taste ; For thrice he caught the stranger's eye
On his with deadly fury placed.
“ And is it thus a brother hails
A brother's fond remembrance here? If thus affection's strength prevails,
What might we not expect from fear?”
Roused by the sneer, he raised the bowl,
“ Would Oscar now could share our mirth!” Internal fear appalled his soul ;
He said, and dashed the cup to earth.
“ 'Tis he! I hear my murderer's voice!"
Loud shrieks a darkly-gleaming form ; “ A murderer's voice!” the roof replies,
And deeply swells the bursting storm.
The tapers wink, the chieftain's shrink,
The stranger's gone, – amidst the crew A form was seen in tartan green,
And tall the shade terrific grew.
His waist was bound with a broad belt round,
His plume of sable streamed on high; But his breast was bare, with the red wounds there,
And fixed was the glare of his glassy eye.
And thrice he smiled, with his eye so wild,
On Angus bending low the knee;
Whom shivering crowds with horror see.
The bolts loud roll, from pole to pole,
The thunders through the welkin ring, And the gleaming form, through the mist of the storm,
Was borne on high by the whirlwind's wing.
Cold was the feast, the revel ceased :
Who lies upon the stony floor? Oblivion pressed old Angus' breast,
At length his life-pulse throbs once more.
“ Away, away! let the leech essay
the light on Allan's eyes: His sand is done,- his race is run;
Oh! never more shall Allan rise!
But Oscar's breast is cold as clay,
His locks are lifted by the gale; And Allan's barbed arrow lay
With him in dark Glentanar's vale.
And whence the dreadful stranger came,
Or who, no mortal wight can tell ; But no one doubts the form of flame;
For Alva's sons knew Oscar well.
Ambition nerved young Allan's hand,
Exulting demons winged his dart; While Envy waved her burning brand,
And poured her venom round his heart.
Swift is the shaft of Allan's bow:
Whose streaming life-blood stains his side? Dark Oscar's sable crest is low,
The dart has drank his vital tide.
And Mora's eye could Allan move,
She bade his wounded pride rebel ; Alas! that eyes which beamed with love
Should urge the soul to deeds of hell!
Lo! seest thou not a lonely tomb
Which rises o'er a warrior dead?
Oh! that is Allan's nuptial bed.
Far, distant far, the noble grave
Which held his clan's great ashes stood; And o'er his corse no banners wave,
For they were stained with kindred blood.
What minstrel gray, what hoary bard,
Shall Allan's deeds on harp-strings raise ? The song is glory's chief reward,
But who can strike a murderer's praise ?
Unstrung, untouched, the harp must stand,
No minstrel dare the theme awake; Guilt would benumb his palsied hand,
His harp in shuddering chords would break.
No lyre of fame, no hallowed verse,
Shall sound his glories high in air: A dying father's bitter curse,
A brother's death-groan echoes there.
TO THE DUKE OF DORSET.
Dorset! whose early steps with mine have strayed,
When youthful parasites, who bend the knee To wealth, their golden idol, not to thee, And even in simple boyhood's opening dawn, Some slaves are found to flatter and to fawn, When these declare, “ that pomp alone should wait On one by birth predestined to be great; That books were only meant for drudging fools, That gallant spirits scorn the common rules," Believe them not, — they point the path to shame, And seek to blast the honors of thy name.