صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Lightly they'll speak of the spirit that's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him ;
But little he'll reck if they let him sleep on

In the grave where his comrades have laid him.
Not the half of our heavy task was done,
When the bell toll'd the hour for retiring,
And we knew by the distant random gun,
That the foe was then suddenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory,
We carv'd not a line, we raised not a stone,
But left him alone with his glory.


ERE yet the clouds let fall the treasur'd snow
Or winds began through hazy skies to blow,
At evening a keen eastern breeze arose,
And the descending rain unsullied froze.
Soon as the silent shades of night withdrew,
'The ruddy morn disclos'd at once to view
The face of nature in a rich disguise,
And heightened every object to my eyes:
For every shrub, and every blade of grass,
And every pointed thorn, seem'd wrought in glass;
In pearls and rubies rich the hawthorns show,
While through the ice the crimson berries glow.
The thick sprung reeds, the wat❜ry marshes yield,
Seem polish'd lances in a hostile field,
The stag, in limpid currents, with surprise,
Secs crystal branches on his forehead rise:
The spreading oak, the beech, the tow'ring pine,
Glaz'd over, in the freezing æther shine.
The frighted birds the rattling branches shun,
Which wave and glitter in the distant sun.
When if a sudden gust of wind arise,
The brittle forest into atoms flies,

The crackling wood beneath the tempest bends,
And in a spangled shower the prospect ends.



AND now, to issue from the glen,
No pathway meets the wanderer's ken,
Unless he climb, with footing nice,
A far projecting precipice.

'The broom's tough roots his ladder mađe,
The hazel saplings lent their aid;
And thus an airy point he won,
Where, gleaming with the setting sun,
One burnish'd sheet of living gold,
Loch-Katrine lay beneath him rolled;
In all her length far winding lay,
With promontory, creek, and bay,
And islands that, empurpled bright,
Floated amid the livelier light;
And mountains, that like giants stand,
To centinel enchanted land.

High on the south, huge Benvenue

Down to the lake in masses threw

Crags, knolls, and mounds, confusedly hurl'd,
The fragments of an earlier world;
A wildering forest feathered o'er

His ruined sides and summit hoar,
While on the north, through middle air,
Ben-an heaved high his forehead bare.

From the steep promontory gazed
The stranger, raptured and amazed.
And, What a scene were here,' he cried,
For princely pomp or churchman's pride!

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Blithe were it then to wander here!
But now,-beshrew yon nimble deer,-
Like that same hermit's, thin and spare,
The copse must give my ev'ning fare;
Some mossy bank my couch must be,
Some rustling oak my canopy.
Yet pass we that;-the war and chase,
Give little choice of resting-place ;-
A summer night, in green-wood spent,
Were but to-morrow's merriment ;-
But hosts may in these wilds abound,
Such as are better missed than found;


To meet with highland plunderers here
Were worse than loss of steed or deer.-
I am alone;-my bugle strain

May call some straggler of the train;
Or fall the worst that may betide,
Ere now this falchion has been tried.'

But scarce again his horn he wound,
When lo! forth starting at the sound,
From underneath an aged oak,
That slanted from the islet rock,
A damsel guider of its way,
A little skiff shot to the bay,
That round the promontory steep
Led its deep line in graceful sweep,
Eddying, in almost viewless wave,
The weeping willow twig to lave,
And kiss, with whispering sound and slow,
The beach of pebbles bright as snow.
The boat had touched the silver strand,
Just as the hunter left his stand,

And stood concealed amid the brake
To view this Lady of the Lake.
The maiden paused, as if again
She thought to catch the distant strain,
With head up-raised, and look intent,
And eye and ear attentive bent,
And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art.
In listening mood she seemed to stand,
The guardian Naiad of the strand.

And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace
A nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,
Of finer form, or lovelier face!
What though the sun, with ardent frown,
Had slightly tinged her cheek with brown,
The sportive toil, which, short and light,
Had dyed her glowing hue so bright,
Served too in hastier swell to show
Short glimpses of a breast of snow;
What though no rule of courtly grace
To measured mood had trained her pace,

A foot more light, a step more true,

Ne'er from the heath-flower dashed the dew; E'en the slight hare-bell raised its head, Elastic from her airy tread:

What though upon her speech there hung
The accents of the mountain tongue,
Those silver sounds, so soft, so dear,
The listener held his breath to hear.

A chieftain's daughter seemed the maid;
Her satin snood, her silken plaid,
Her golden brooch such birth betrayed.
And seldom was a snood amid
Such wild luxuriant ringlets hid,
Whose glossy black to shame might bring
The plumage of the raven's wing;
And seldom o'er a breast so fair
Mantled a plaid with modest care;
And never brooch the folds combined
Above a heart more good and kind.
Her kindness and her worth to spy,
You need but gaze on Ellen's eye;
Not Katrine in her mirror blue,
Gives back the shaggy banks more true,
Than every free-born glance confessed
The guileless movements of her breast;
Whether joy danced in her dark eye,
Or wo or pity claimed a sigh,
Or filial love was glowing there,
Or meek devotion poured a prayer,
Or tale of injury called forth
The indignant spirit of the north,
One only passion, unrevealed,

With maiden pride the maid concealed,
Yet not less purely felt the flame;-
O need I tell that passion's name!

Impatient of the silent horn,

Now on the gale her voice was borne:'Father!' she cried; the rocks around Loved to prolong the gentle sound.

[ocr errors]

A while she paused, no answer came,-
Malcolm, was thine the blast?' the name
Less resolutely uttered fell,

The echoes could not catch the swell.
A stranger, I,' the huntsman said,
Advancing from the hazel shade.
The maid alarmed, with hasty oar,
Pushed her light shallop from the shore;
And when a space was gained between,
Closer she drew her bosom's screen;

So forth the startled Swan would swing,
So turn to prune her ruffled wing.
Then safe, though fluttered and amazed,
She paused, and on the stranger gazed.
Not his the form, nor his the eye,
That youthful maidens wont to fly.

On his bold visage, middle age
Had slightly pressed its signet sage,
Yet had not quenched the open truth,
And fiery vehemence of youth;
Forward and frolic glee was there,
The will to do, the soul to dare,
The sparkling glance, soon blown to fire,
Of hasty love, or headlong ire.
His limbs were cast in manly mould,
For hardy sports, or contest bold;
And though in peaceful garb arrayed,
And weaponless, except his blade,
His stately mien as well implied
A high-born heart, a martial pride,
As if a Baron's crest he wore,

And sheathed in armour trod the shore.
Slighting the petty need he showed,
He told of his benighted road.
His ready speech flowed fair and free,
In phrase of gentlest courtesy,

Yet seemed that tone, and gesture bland,
Less used to sue than to command.

A while the maid the stranger eyed,
And, reassured, at last replied,
That highland halls were open still

To wildered wanderers of the hill.

Nor think you unexpected come To yon lone isle, our desert home: Before the heath had lost the dew, 'This morn a couch was pulled for you; On yonder mountain's purple head Have ptarmigan and heath-cock bled, And our broad nets have swept the mere, To furnish forth your evening cheer.'

[ocr errors]

Now, by the rood, my lovely maid,

Your courtesy has erred,' he said;

'No right have I to claim, misplaced,
The welcome of expected guest.
A wanderer here, by fortune tost,
My way, my friends, my courser lost,

« السابقةمتابعة »