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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,
And never may our bones be laid
Our fathers' graves beside.
No sisters have we to lament,
No wives to wail our fall;

The traitor's and the spoiler's hand
Has reft our hearths of all.

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
Shall rouse your souls again,

And send the old blood bounding free

Through pulse, and heart, and vein!
Call back the days of bygone years—
young and strong once more;
Think yonder stream, so stark and red,
Is one we've crossed before.

Rise, hill and glen! rise, crag and wood!
Rise up on either hand!—

Again upon the Garry's banks,

On Scottish soil we stand!

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Thick blew the smoke across the stream,
And faster flashed the flame:

The water plashed in hissing jets,
As ball and bullet came.

Yet onward pushed the Cavaliers
All stern and undismayed,

With thousand armed foes before,
And none behind to aid.

Once, as they neared the middle stream,
So strong the torrent swept,

That scarce that long and living wall
Their dangerous footing kept.

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,
They waver in their line!

Fire on the madmen! break their ranks,
And whelm them in the Rhine!"

Have you seen the tall trees swaying,
When the blast is piping shrill,
And the whirlwind reels in fury
Down the gorges of the hill?
How they toss their mighty branches,
Struggling with the tempest's shock;
How they keep their place of vantage,
Cleaving firmly to the rock?

Even so the Scottish warriors

Held their own against the river;
Though the water flashed around them,
Not an eye was seen to quiver;
Though the shot flew sharp and deadly,
Not a man relaxed his hold:

For their hearts were big and thrilling
With the mighty thoughts of old.
One word was spoke among them,
And through the ranks it spread-
"Remember our dead Claverhouse!"
Was all the Captain said.
Then sternly bending forward
They struggled on a while,
Until they cleared the heavy stream,
Then rushed towards the isle.

The German heart is stout and true,
The German arm is strong;
The German foot goes seldom back
Where armed foemen throng:
But never had they faced in field
So stern a charge before,
And never had they felt the sweep
Of Scotland's broad claymore.
Not fiercer pours the avalanche
Adown the steep incline,
That rises o'er the parent-springs
Of rough and rapid Rhine—
Scarce swifter shoots the bolt from heaven,
Than came the Scottish band

Right up against the guarded trench,

And o'er it sword in hand.
In vain their leaders forward press-
They meet the deadly brand!

O lonely island of the Rhine,
Where seed was never sown,
What harvest lay upon thy sands,
By those strong reapers thrown?

What saw the winter moon that night,
As, struggling through the rain,
She poured a wan and fitful light
On marsh, and stream, and plain?
A dreary spot with corpses strewn,
And bayonets glistening round;
A broken bridge, a stranded boat,
A bare and battered mound;
And one huge watch-fire's kindled pile,
That sent its quivering glare

To tell the leaders of the host,
The conquering Scots were there!

And did they twine the laurel-wreath
For those who fought so well?
And did they honour those who lived,
And weep for those who fell?
What meed of thanks was given to them
Let aged annals tell.

Why should they bring the laurel-wreath--
Why crown the cup with wine?

It was not Frenchmen's blood that flowed
So freely on the Rhine-

A stranger band of beggared men
Had done the venturous deed:

The glory was to France alone,
The danger was their meed.

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
They ne'er might see again-

For Scotland's high and heathered hills,
For mountain, loch, and glen-

For those who haply lay at rest

Beyond the distant sea,

Beneath the green and daisied turf
Where they would gladly be!



It is the hush of night; and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellowed and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darkened Jura, whose capt heights appear
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,

There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood: on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar;
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more;
He is an evening reveller, who makes
His life an infancy, and sings his fill!
At intervals, some bird, from out the brakes,
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill,
But that is fancy, for the star-light dews
All silently their tears of love instil,
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
Deep into Nature's breast the spirit of her hues.

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

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