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And fast the faithful clan around him drew,

Had drawn from deepest solitude, What time the warning note was keenly wound, Far in Benbarrow's bosom rude. What time aloft their kindred banner flew,

Not his the mein of Christian priest, While clamorous war-pipes yell’d the gathering But Druid's, from the grave released, sound,

Whose harden'd heart and eye might brook And while the fiery cross glanced, like a meteor, On human sacrifice to look ; round.

And much, 'twas said, of heathen lore II.

Mix'd in the charms he mutter'd o'er. The summer dawn's reflected hue

The hallow'd creed gave only worse To purple changed Loch-Katrine blue;

And deadlier emphasis of curse ; Mildly and soft the western breeze

No peasant sought that hermit's prayer, Just kiss’d the lake, just stirr'd the trees,

His cave the pilgrim shunnd with care; And the pleased lake, like maiden coy,

The eager huntsman knew his bound, Trembled, but dimpled not for joy;

And in mid chase callid off his hound; The mountain shadows on her breast

Or if, in lonely glen or strath, Were neither broken nor at rest;

The desert-dweller met his path, In bright uncertainty they lie,

He pray'd, and sign’d the cross between, Like future joys to fancy's eye.

While terror took devotion's mien.
The water lily to the light

V.
Her chalice reard of silver bright;
The doe awoke, and to the lawn,

Of Brian's birth strange tales were told ; Begemm'd with dewdrops, led her fawn;

His mother watch'd a midnight fold, The gray mist left the mountain side,

Built deep within a dreary glen, The torrent show'd its glistening pride ;

Where scatter'd lay the bones of men, In visible in fiecked sky,

In some forgotten battle slain, The lark sent down her revelry;

And bleach'd by drifting wind and rain. The blackbird and the speckled thrush

It might have tamed a warrior's heart, Good-morrow gave from brake and bush;

To view such mockery of his art! In answer coo'd the cushat dove

The knot-grass fetter'd there the hand, Her notes of peace, and rest, and love.

Which once could burst an iron band;

Beneath the broad and ample bone,
III.

That buckler'd heart to fear unknown, No thought of peace, no thought of rest,

A feeble and a timorous guest, Assuaged the storm in Roderick's breast.

The fieldfare framed her lowly nest; With sheathed broadsword in his hand,

There the slow blind-worm left his slime Abrupt be paced the islet strand,

On the feet limbs that mock'd at time; And eyed the rising sun, and laid

And there, too, lay the leader's skull, His hand on his impatient blade.

Still wreath'd with chaplet, fush'd and full, Beneath a rock, his vassal's care

For heathbell, with her purple bloom, Was piompt the ritual to prepare,

Supplied the bonnet and the plume. With deep and deathful meaning fraught;

All night, in this sad glen, the maid For such antiquity had taught

Sate, shrouded in her mantle's shade: Was preface mcet, ere yet abroad

She said no shepherd sought her side, The cross of fire should take its road.

No hunter's hand her snood untied, The shrinking band stood off aghast

Yet ne'er again to braid her hair At the impatient glance he cast ;

The virgin snood did Alice wear; Such glance the mountain eagle threw,

Gone was her maiden glee and sport, As, from the cliffs of Ben-venue,

Her maiden girdle all too short, She spread her dark sails on the wind,

Nor sought she, from that fatal night, And, high in middle heaven reclined,

Or holy church, or blessed rite, With her broad shadow on the lake,

But lock'd her secret in her breast,
Silenced the warblers of the brake.

And died in travail, unconfess'd.
IV.

VI.
A heap of wither'd boughs was piled,

Alone, among bis young compeers, Of juniper and rowan wild,

Was Brian from his infant years ; Mingled with shivers from the oak,

A moody and heart-broken boy, Rent by the lightning's recent stroke.

Estranged from sympathy and joy, Brian, the hermit, by it stood,

Bearing each taunt which careless tongue Barefooted, in his frock and hood.

On his mysterious lineage flung. His grisled beard and matted hair

Whole nights he spent by moonlight pale, Obscured a visage of despair ;

To wood and stream his hap to wail, His naked arms and legs, seam'd o'er,

Till, frantic, he as truth received The scars of frantic penance bore.

What of his birth the crowd believed, That monk, of savage form and face,

And sought, in mist and meteor fire, The impending danger of his race

To meet and know his phantom sire !

In vain, to soothe his wayward fate,
The cloister oped her pitying gate ;
In vain, the learning of the age
Unclasp'd the sable-letter'd page;
E’en in its treasures he could find
Food for the fever of his mind.
Eager he read whatever tells
Of magic, cabala, and spells,
And every dark pursuit allied
To curious and presumptuous pride;
Till, with fired brain and nerves o’erstrung,
And heart with mystic horrors wrung,
Desperate he sought Benharrow's den,
And hid him from the haunts of men.

VII. The desert gave him visions wild, Such as might suit the spectre's child. Where with black cliffs the torrents toil, He watch'd the wheeling eddies boil, Till, from their foam, his dazzled eyes Beheld the river demon rise; The mountain mist took form and limb, Of noontide hag, or goblin grim; The midnight wind came wild and dread, Swell'd with the voices of the dead; Far on the future battle-heath His eye beheld the rauks of death : Thus the lone seer, from mankind hurl'd, Shaped forth a disembodied world. One lingering sympathy of mind Still bound him to the mortal kind; The only parent he could claim Of ancient Alpine's lineage came. Late had he heard in prophet's dream, The fatal Ben-Shie's boding scream ; Sounds, too, had come in midnight blast, Of charging steeds, careering fast Along Benharrow's shingly side, Where mortal horseman ne'er might ride: The thunderbolt had split the pine, All augurd ill to Alpine's line. He girt his loins, and came to show The signals of impending wo, And now stood prompt to bless or ban, As bade the chieftain of his clan.

And strange and mingled feelings woke,
While his anathema he spoke:

IX.
“Wo to the clansman, who shall view
This symbol of sepulchral yew,
Forgetful that its branches grew
Where weep the heavens their holiest dew

On Alpine's dwelling low!
Deserter of his chieftain's trust,
He ne'er shall mingle with their dust,
But, from his sires and kindred thrust,
Each clansman's execration just

Shall doom him wrath and wo."
He paused ;-the word the vassals took,
With forward step and fiery look,
On high their naked brands they shook,
Their clattering targets wildly strook ;

And first, in murmur low,
Then, like the billow in bis course,
That far to seaward finds his source,
And flings to shore his muster'd force,
Burst, with loud roar, their answer hoarse,

“Wo to the traitor, wo!"
Ben-an’s gray scalp the accents knew,
The joyous wolf from covert drew,
The exulting eagle scream'd afar,-
They knew the voice of Alpine's war.

X.
The shout was hush'd on lake and fell,
The monk resumed his mutter'd spell.
Dismal and low its accents came,
The while he scathed the cross with flame;
And the few words that reach'd the air,
Although the holiest name was there,
Had more of blasphemy than prayer.
But when he shook above the crowd
Its kindled points, he spoke aloud :-
“Wo to the wretch, who fails to rear
At this dread sign the ready spear !
For, as the flames this symbol sear,
His home, the refuge of his fear,

A kindred fate shall know;
Far o'er its roof the volumed flame
Clan-Alpine's vengeance shall proclaim,
While maids and matrons on his name
Shall call down wretchedness and shame,

And infamy and wo.”
Then rose the cry of females, shrill
As goss-hawk's whistle on the hill,
Denouncing misery and ill,
Mingled with childhood's babbling trill

Of curses stammer'd slow,
Answering, with imprecation dread,
« Sunk be his home in embers red!
And cursed be the meanest shed
That e'er shall hide the houseless head,

We doom to want and wo!"
A sharp and shrieking echo gave,
Coir-Uriskin, thy goblin cave!
And the gray pass where birches wave,
On Beala-nam-bo.

XI.
Then deeper paused the priest anew,
And hard his labouring breath he drew,

VIII. 'Twas all prepared ; and from the rock, A goat, the patriarch of the fock, Before the kindling pile was laid, And pierced by Roderick's ready blade. Patient the sickening victim eyed The life blood ebb in crimson tide Down his clogg'd beard and shaggy limb, Till darkness glazed his eyeballs dim. The grisly priest, with murmuring prayer, A slender crosslet form'd with care, A cubit's length in measure due; The shafts and limbs were rods of yew, Whose parents in Inch-Cailliach wave Their shadows o'er Clan-Alpine's grave, And, answering Lomond's breezes deep, Soothe many a chieftain's endless sleep. The cross, thus form’d, he held on high, With wasted hand, and haggard eye,

While, with set teeth and clenched hand,
And eyes that glow'd like fiery brand,
He meditated curse more dread,
And deadlier, on the clansman's head,
Who, summond to his chieftain's aid,
The signal saw and disobey'd.
The crosslet's points of sparkling wood
He quench'd among the bubbling blood,
And, as again the sign he rear’d,
Hollow and hoarse his voice was heard:
“ When flits this cross from man to man,
Vich-Alpine's summons to his clan,
Burst be the ear that fails to heed !
Palsied the foot that shuns to speed !
May ravens tear the careless eyes,
Wolves make the coward heart their prize!
As sinks that blood stream in the earth,
So may his heart's blood drench his hearth!
As dies in hissing gore the spark,
Quench thou his light, destruction dark !
And be the grace to him denied,
Bought by this sign to all beside !".
He ceased: no echo gave agen
The murmur of the deep amen.

XII. Then Roderick, with impatient look, From Brian's band the symbol took: “ Speed, Malise, speed!” he said, and gave The crosslet to his henchman brave. “The muster-place be Lanric meadInstant the time-speed, Malise, speed !” Like heath bird, when the hawks pursue, A barge across Loch-Katrine flew : High stood the henchman on the prow; Su rapidly the bargemen row, The bubbles, where they launch'd the boat, Were all unbroken and afloat, Dancing in foam and ripple still, When it had near'd the mainland hill; And from the silver beach's side Still was the prow three fathom wide, When lightly bounded to the land The messenger of blood and brand.

But danger, death, and warrior deed,
Are in thy course.-Speed, Malise, speed !

XIV.
Fast as the fatal symbol flies,
In arms the huts and hamlets rise ;
From winding glen, from upland brown
They pour'd each hardy tenant down.
Nor slack'd the messenger bis pace ;
He show'd the sign, he named the place,
And, pressing forward like the wind,
Left clamour and surprise behind.
The fisherman forsook the strand,
The swarthy smith took dirk and brand;
With changed cheer, the mower blithe
Left in the half-cut swathe his sithe ;
The herds without a keeper stray'd,
The plough was in mid furrow stay'd,
The falc'ner toss'd his hawk away,
The hunter left the stag at bay ;
Prompt at the signal of alarms,
Each son of Alpine rush'd to arms;
So swept the tumult and affray
Along the margin of Achray.
Alas! thou lovely lake! that e'er
Thy banks should echo sounds of fear !
The rocks, the bosky thickets, sleep
So stilly on thy bosom deep,
The lark's blithe carol, from the cloud,
Seems for the scene too gayly loud.

XV.
Speed, Malise, speed! the lake is past,
Duncraggan's huts appear at last,
And peep, like moss-grown rocks, half seen,
Half hidden in the copse so green ;
There mayst thou rest, thy labour done,
Their lord shall speed the signal on.-
As stoops the hawk upon his prey,
The henchman shot him down the way.
What woful accents load the gale?
The funeral yell, the female wail !
A gallant hunter's sport is o’er,
A valiant warrior fights no more.
Who, in the battle or the chase,
At Roderick's side shall fill his place ?
Within the hall, where torches' ray
Supplied th’excluded beams of day,
Lies Duncan on his lowly bier,
And o'er him streams his widow's tear,
His stripling son stands mournful by,
His youngest weeps, but knows not why ;
The village maids and matrons round
The dismal coronach* resound.

XIII. Speed, Malise, speed! the dun deer's hide On feeter foot was never tied. Speed, Malise, speed ! such cause of haste Thine active sinews never braced. Bend 'gainst the steepy hill thy breast, Burst down like torrent from its crest; With short and springing footstep pass The trembling bog and false morass; Across the brook like roebuck bound, And thread the brake like questing hound; The crag is high, the scaur is deep, Yet shrink not from the desperate leap; Parch'd are thy burning lips and brow, Yet by the fountain pause not now; Herald of battle, fate, and fear, Stretch onward in thy fleet career! The wounded hind thou track'st not now Pursuest not maid through greenwood bough, Nor pliest thou now thy fiying pace, With rivals in the mountain race;

XVI.

CORONACH.
He is gone on the mountain,

He is lost to the forest,
Like a summer-dried fountain,

When our need was the sorest. The font, reappearing,

From the raindrops shall borrow, But to us comes no cheering,

To Duncan no morrow !

Funeral song

Yet trust I well, his duty done,
The orphan's God will guard my son.-
And you, in many a danger true,
At Duncan's hest your blades that drew,
To arms, and guard that orphan's head!
Let babes and women wail the dead.”
Then weapon-clang, and martial call,
Resounded through the funeral hall,
While from the walls th' attendant band
Snatch'd sword and targe, with hurried hand;
And short and fitting energy
Glanced from the mourner's sunken eye,
As if the sounds, to warrior dear,
Might rouse her Duncan from his bier.
But faded soon that borrow'd force;
Grief claim'd his right, and tears their course.

The hand of the reaper

Takes the ears that are hoary,
But the voice of the weeper

Wails manhood in glory ;
The autumn winds rushing

Waft the leaves that are searest,
But our flower was in flushing,

When blighting was nearest.
Fleet foot on the correi,*

Sage counsel in cumber,
Red hand in the foray,

How sound is thy slumber!
Like the dew on the mountain,

Like the foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
Thou art gone, and for ever!

XVII.
See Stumah,t who, the bier beside,
His master's corpse with wonder eyed,
Poor Stumah! whom his least halloo
Could send like lightning o'er the dew,
Bristles his crest, and points his ears,
As if some stranger step he bears.
"Tis not a mourner's muffled tread,
Who comes to sorrow o'er the dead.
But headlong haste, or deadly fear
Urge the precipitate career.
All stand aghast:-unheeding all,
The benchman bursts into the hall:
Before the dead man's bier he stood,
Held forth the cross besmear'd with blood;
“ The muster place is Lanric mead ;
Speed forth the signal! clansmen, speed !"

XVIII.
Angus, the heir of Duncan's line,
Sprung forth and seized the fatal sign.
In haste the stripling to his side
His father's dirk and broadsword tied ;
But when he saw his mother's eye
Watch him in speechless agony,
Back to her open arms he flew,
Press'd on her lips a fond adieu-
“ Alas !” she sobb'd—" and yet be gone,
And speed thee forth like Duncan's son!”
One look he cast upon the bier,
Dash'd from his eye the gathering tear,
Breathed deep, to clear his labouring breast,
And toss'd aloft his bonnet crest,
Then, like the high-bred colt, when, freed,
First he essays bis fire and speed,
He vanish'd, and o'er moor and moss
Sped forward with the fiery cross.
Suspended was the widow's tear,
While yet his footsteps she could hear:
And when she mark'd the henchman's eye
Wet with unwonted sympathy,
“ Kinsman,” she said, “his race is run,
That should have sped thine errand on;
The oak has fallen--the sapling bough
Is all Duncraggan's shelter now.

XIX. Benledi saw the cross of fire, It glanced like lightning up Strath-Ire. O'er dale and hill the summons flew, Nor rest nor pause young Angus knew; The tear that gather'd in his eye, He left the mountain breeze to dry; Until, where Teith's young waters roll, Betwixt him and a wooded knoll, That graced the sable strath with green, The chapel of Saint Bride was seen. Swoln was the stream, remote the bridge, But Angus paused not on the edge ; Though the dark waves danced dizzily, Though reeld his sympathetic eye, He dash'd amid the torrent's roar; His right hand high the crosslet bore, His left the pole-axe grasp'd, to guide And stay his footing in the tide. He stumbled twice—the foam splash'd high, With hoarser swell the stream raced by; And had he fallen--for ever there, Farewell Duncraggan's orphan heir ! But still, as if in parting life, Firmer he grasp'd the cross of strife, Until th' opposing bank he gain’d, And up the chapel pathway strain'd.

XX. A blithesome rout, that morning tide, Had sought the chapel of Saint Bride. Her troth Tombea's Mary gave To Norman, heir of Armandave, And, issuing from the Gothic arch, The bridal now resumed their march. In rude, but glad procession, came Bonnetted sire and coif-clad dame; And plaided youth, with jest and jeer, Which snooded maiden would not hear; And children, that, unwitting why, Lent the gay shout their shrilly cry; And minstrels, that in measures vied Before the young and bonny bride, Whose downcast eye and cheek disclose The tear and blush of morning rose. With virgin step, and bashful hand, She held the kerchief's snowy band; The gallant bridegroom, by her side, Beheld his prize with victor's pride,

* Or corri-The hollow side of the hill, where game usually lies.

+ Faithful-The name of a dog.

And the glad mother in her ear
Was closely whispering word of cheer.

XXI. Who meets them at the churchyard gate ? The messenger of fear and fate ! Haste in his hurried accent lies, And grief is swimming in his eyes. All dripping from the recent flood, Panting and travel-soild he stood, The fatal sign of fire and sword Held forth, and spoke th' appointed word; “ The muster place is Lanric mead; Speed forth the signal! Norman, speed !"And must he change so soon the hand Just link'd to his by holy band, For the fell cross of blood and brand ? And must the day, so blithe that rose, And promised rapture in the close, Before its setting hour, divide The bridegroom from the plighted bride ? O fatal doom -it must! it must! Clan-Alpine's cause, her chieftain's trust, Her summons dread, brooks no delay ; Stretch to the race-away! away!

I may not, dare not, fancy now
The grief that clouds thy lovely brow,
I dare not think upon thy vow,

And all it promised me, Mary!
No fond regret must Norman know ;
When bursts Clan-Alpine on the foe,
His heart must be like bended bow,

His foot like arrow free, Mary!
A time will come with feeling fraught;
For, if I fall in battle fought,
Thy hapless lover's dying thought

Shall be a thought on thee, Mary!
And if return'd from conquer'd foes,
How blithely will the evening close,
How sweet the linnet sing repose,
To my young bride and me, Mary!

XXIV.
Not faster o’er thy heathery braes,
Balquidder, speeds the midnight blaze,
Rushing, in conflagration strong,
Thy deep ravines and dells along,
Wrapping thy cliffs in purple glow,
And reddening the dark lakes below;
Nor faster speeds it, nor so far,
As o'er thy heaths the voice of war.
The signal roused to martial coil
The sullen margin of Loch-Voil,
Waked still Loch-Doine, and to the source
Alarm'd, Balvaig, thy swampy course ;
Thence, southward turn'd its rapid road
Adown Strath-Gartney's valley broad,
Till rose in arms each man might claim
A portion in Clan-Alpine's name;
From the gray sire, whose trembling hand
Could hardly buckle on his brand,
To the raw boy, whose shaft and bow
Were yet scarce terror to the crow.
Each valley, each sequester'd glen,
Muster'd its little horde of men,
That met as torrents from the height
In highland dales their streams unite,
Still gathering as they pour along,
A voice more loud, a tide more strong,
Till at the rendezvous they stood
By hundreds, prompt for blows and blood;
Each train'd to arms since life began,
Owning no tie but to his clan,
No oath, but by his chieftain's hand,
No law, but Roderick Dhu's command.

XXII. Yet slow he laid his plaid aside, And, lingering, eyed his lovely bride, Until he saw the starting tear Speak wo he might not stop to cheer; Then, trusting not a second look, In haste he sped him up the brook, Nor backward glanced till on the heath, Where Lubnaig's lake supplies the Teith.What in the racer's bosom stirr'd? The sicken'd pang of hope deferr'd, And memory, with a torturing train Of all his morning visions vain. Mingled with love's impatience, came The manly thirst for martial fame : The stormy joy of mountaineers, Ere yet they rush upon the spears ; And zeal for clan and chieftain burning, And hope, from well-fought field returning, With war's red honours on his crest, To clasp his Mary to his breast. Stung by his thoughts, o'er bank and brae, Like fire from fint he glanced away, While high resolve, and feeling strong, Burst into voluntary song.

XXIII.

SONG.

The heath this night must be my bed, The bracken* curtain for my head, My lullaby the warder's tread,

Far, far from love and thee, Mary! To-morrow eve, more stilly laid, My couch may be my bloody plaid, My vesper song, thy wail, sweet maid !

It will not waken me, Mary!

XXV. That summer morn had Roderick Dhu Survey'd the skirts of Ben-venue, And sent his scouts o'cr hill and heath, To view the frontiers of Menteith. All backward came with news of truce ; Still lay each martial Græme and Bruce, In Rednock courts no horsemen wait, No banner waved on Cardross gate, On Duchray's towers no beacon shone, Nor scared the herons from Loch-Con; All seem'd at peace.-Now, wot ye why The chieftain, with such anxious eye, Ere to the muster he repair, This western frontier scann'd with care?

Bracken-Fern.

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