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XXIII.-THE ISLAND OF THE SCOTS.
In 1697, the Marquis de Sell was encamped on the Rhine with the French army, to watch the movements of General Stirk and the Germans, who occupied the opposite bank. The Germans had taken possession of an island in the river, from which the French were anxious to drive them; but no boats could be found to carry troops across the stream. At this crisis a corps formed of Scottish officers, who had fought under Viscount Dundee, and who had followed the exiled James to France, volunteered to wade the river and dispossess the Germans. Being joined by two other Scottish companies, they accomplished the task in gallant style, though opposed by far superior numbers. From this event the island was called "The Island of the Scots."
"THE stream," he said, "is broad and deep,
And stubborn is the foe;
Yon island-strength is guarded well
Say, brothers, will ye go?
From home and kin for many a year
Our steps have wandered wide,
The traitor's and the spoiler's hand
But we have hearts, and we have arms,
As strong to will and dare,
As when our ancient banners flew
Within the northern air.
Come, brothers! let me name a spell
And send the old blood bounding free
Through pulse, and heart, and vein!
Rise, hill and glen! rise, crag and wood!
Again upon the Garry's banks,
On Scottish soil we stand!
Thick blew the smoke across the stream,
The water plashed in hissing jets,
Yet onward pushed the Cavaliers
With thousand armed foes before,
Once, as they neared the middle stream,
That scarce that long and living wall
Then rose a warning cry behind,
A joyous shout before:
"The current's strong-the way is long
They'll never reach the shore!
See! see! they stagger in the midst,
Fire on the madmen! break their ranks,
Have you seen the tall trees swaying,
Even so the Scottish warriors
Held their own against the river;
For their hearts were big and thrilling
The German heart is stout and true,
Right up against the guarded trench,
And o'er it sword in hand.
O lonely island of the Rhine,
What saw the winter moon that night,
To tell the leaders of the host,
And did they twine the laurel-wreath
Why should they bring the laurel-wreath--
It was not Frenchmen's blood that flowed
A stranger band of beggared men
The glory was to France alone,
What mattered it that men should vaunt
And loud and fondly swear,
That higher feat of chivalry
Was never wrought elsewhere?
They bore within their breasts the grief
That fame can never heal
The deep, unutterable woe,
Which none save exiles feel.
Their hearts were yearning for the land
For Scotland's high and heathered hills,
For those who haply lay at rest
Beyond the distant sea,
Beneath the green and daisied turf
XXIV.-THUNDER-STORM AMONG THE ALPS.
It is the hush of night; and all between
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
The sky is changed!-and such a change! O night, And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong! Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light Of a dark eye in woman? Far along, From peak to peak, the rattling crags among Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud, But every mountain now hath found a tongue; And Jura answers, through her misty shroud, Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud! And this is in the night:-Most glorious night! Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be