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I'll place thee in a lovely bower,
I'll guard thee like a tender flower-"
“0, hush, sir knight! 'twere female art
To say I do not read thy heart ;
Too much, before, my selfish ear
Was idly soothed my praise to hear.
That fatal bait hath lured thee back,
In deathful hour, o'er dangerous track!
And how, ( how, can I atone
The wreck my vanity brought on ;-
One way remains-I'll tell him all-
Yes! struggling bosom, forth it shall !
Thou, whose light folly bears the blame,
Buy thine own pardon with thy shame!
But first-my father is a man
Outlaw'd and exiled, under ban;
The price of blood is on his head,
With me 'twere infamy to wed.-
Still wouldst thou speak ?—then hear the truth:
Fitz-James, there is a noble youth-
If yet he is -exposed for me
And mine to dread extremity-
Thou hast the secret of my heart;
Forgive, be generous, and depart.”

Ellen, thy hand--the ring is thine;
Each guard and usher knows the sign.
Seek thou the king without delay;
This signet shall secure thy way;
And claim thy suit, whate'er it be,
As ransom of bis pledge to me."-
He placed the golden circlet on,
Paused--kiss'd her hand and then was gone.
The aged minstrel stood aghast,
So hastily Fitz-James shot past.
He join'd his guide, and wending down
The ridges of the mountain brown,
Across the stream they took their way,
That joins Loch-Katrine to Achray.

XX. All in the Trosach's glen was still, Noontide was sleeping on the hill: Sudden his guide whoop'd loud and high“Murdoch! was that a signal cry?” He stammer'd forth,—“I shout to scare Yon raven from his dainty fare." He look'd-he knew the raven's prey, His own brave steed:-" Ah! gallant gray! For thee-for me, perchance—twere well We ne'er had left the Trosach's dell. Murdoch, move first-but silently; Whistle or whoop, and thou shalt die.” Jealous and sullen on they fared, Each silent, each upon his guard.

XVIII. Fitz-James knew every wily train A lady's fickle heart to gain, But here he knew and felt them vain. There shot no glance from Ellen's eye, To give her steadfast speech the lie; In maiden confidence she stood, Though mantled in her cheek the blood, And told her love with such a sigh Of deep and hopeless agony, As death had seal'd her Malcolm's doom, And she sat sorrowing on his tomb. Hope vanish'd from Fitz-James's eye, But not with hope fied sympathy. He proffer'd to attend her side, As brother would a sister guide.60! little know'st thou Roderick's heart! Safer for both we go apart. O haste thee, and from Allan learn, If thou may'st trust yon wily kern."With hand upon his forehead laid, The conflict of his mind to shade, A parting step or two he made ; Then, as some thought had cross'd his brain He paused, and turn'd, and came again.

XXI. Now wound the path its dizzy ledge Around a precipice's edge. When lo! a wasted female form, Blighted by wrath of sun and storm, In tatter'd weeds and wild array, Stood on a cliff beside the way, And glancing round her restless eye, Upon the wood, the rock, the sky, Seemd naught to mark, yet all to spy. Her brow was wreath'd with gaudy broom ; With gesture wild she waved a plume Of feathers, which the eagles fling To crag and cliff from dusky wing; Such spoils her desperate step had sought, Where scarce was footing for the goat. The tartan plaid she first descried, And shriek'd till all the rocks replied ; As loud she laugh'd when near they drew, For then the lowland garb she knew; And then her hands she wildly wrung, And then she wept, and then she sung. She sung :-the voice, in better time, Perchance to harp or lute might chime; And now, though strain'd and roughen'd, stil. Rung wildly sweet to dale and hill.

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XXII.

XIX. Hear, lady, yet, a parting word ! It chanced in fight that my poor sword Preserved the life of Scotland's lord. This ring the grateful monarch gave, And bade, when I had boon to crave, To bring it back, and boldly claim The recompense that I would name. Ellen, I am no courtly lord, But one who lives by lance and sword, Whose castle is his helm and shield, His lordship the embattled field. What from a prince can I demand, Who neither reck of state nor land?

SONG. “ They bid me sleep, they bid me pray,

They say my brain is warp'd and wrungI cannot sleep on highland brae,

I cannot pray in highland tongue. But were I now where Allan glides, Or heard my native Devan's tides,

The bows they bend, and the knives they whet

Hunters live so cheerily. " It was a stag, a stag of ten, *

Bearing his branches sturdily; He came stately down the glen,

Ever sing hardily, hardily. “ It was there he met with a wounded doe,

She was bleeding deathfully; She warn’d him of the toils below,

0, so faithfully, faithfully!
“ He had an eye and he could heed,

Ever sing warily, warily;
He had a foot and he could speed-

Hunters watch so narrowly.”

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So sweetly would I rest, and pray
That heaven would close my wintry day!
“Twas thus my hair they bade me braid,

They bade me to the church repair ;
It was my bridal morn, they said,

And my truelove would meet me there.
But wo betide the cruel guile,
That drown'd in blood the morning smile!
And wo betide the fairy dream!
I only waked to sob and scream.”

XXIII.
“Who is this maid? what means her lay??
She hovers o'er the hollow way,
And flutters wide her mantle gray,
As the lone heron spreads his wing,
By twilight, o'er a haunted spring.”
“ Tis Blanche of Devan,” Murdoch said,
“ A crazed and captive lowland maid,
Ta'en on the morn she was a bride,
When Roderick foray'd Devan side:
The gay bridegroom resistance made,
And felt our chief's unconquer'd blade.
I marvel she is now at large,
But oft she 'scapes from Maudlin's charge.
Hence, brain-sick fool!”—He raised his bow:
“Now, if thou strik'st her but one blow,
I'll pitch thee from the cliff as far
As ever peasant pitch'd a bar."
“ Thanks, champion, thanks !” the maniac cried,
And press'd her to Fitz-James's side.
“ See the gray pennons I prepare,
To seek my truelove through the air !
I will not lend that savage groom,
To break his fall, one downy plume !
No !-deep among disjointed stones
The wolves shall batten on his bones,
And then shall his detested plaid,
By bush and brier in mid air stay'd,
Wave forth a banner fair and free,
Meet signal for their revelry.”

XXVI. Fitz-James's mind was passion-toss'd When Ellen's hints and fears were lost; But Murdoch's shout suspicion wrought, And Blanche's song conviction brought.Not like a stag that spies the snare, But lion of the hunt aware, He waved at once his blade on high, “ Disclose thy treachery, or die!"Forth at full speed the clansman flew, But in his race his bow he drew: The shaft just grazed Fitz-James's crest, And thrill'd in Blanche's faded breast. Murdoch of Alpine, prove thy speed, For ne'er had Alpine's son such need! With heart of fire and foot of wind, The fierce avenger is behind ! Fate judges of the rapid strifeThe forfeit death-the prize is life! Thy kindred ambush lies before, Close couch'd upon the heathery moor; Them couldst thou reach it may not be Thine ambush'd kin thou ne'er shalt see, The fiery Saxon gains on thee! -Resistless speeds the deadly thrust, As lightning strikes the pine to dust; With foot and hand Fitz-James must strain, Ere he can win his blade again. Bent o’er the fallen, with falcon eye, He grimly smiled to see him die; Then slower wended back his way, Where the poor maiden bleeding lay.

XXIV. “Hush thec, poor maiden, and be still!" “O! thou look'st kindly, and I will. Mine eye has dried and wasted been, But still it loves the Lincoln green; And though mine ear is all unstrung, Still, still it loves the lowland tongue. “For O, my sweet William was forester true,

He stole poor Blanche's heart away! His coat it was all of the greenwood hue,

And so blithely he trill'd the lowland lay! “ It was not that I meant to tellBut thou art wise, and guessest well." Then, in a low and broken tone, And hurried note, the song went on. Still on the clansman, fearfully, She fix'd her apprehensive eye; Then turn'd it on the knight, and then Her look glanced wildly o'er the glen.

XXVII. She sate beneath the birchen tree, Her elbow resting on her knee ; She had withdrawn the fatal shaft, And gazed on it and feebly laughed ; Her wreath of broom and feathers gray, Daggled with blood, beside her lay. The knight to stanch the life-stream tried :“ Stranger, it is in vain !" she cried, “ This hour of death has given me more Of reason's power than years before ; For, as these ebbing veins decay, My frenzied visions fade away.

XXV “ The toils are pitch'd, and the stakes are set,

Ever sing merrily, merrily;

* Having len branches on his antlers.

A helpless injured wretch I die, And something tells me in thine eye, That thou wert my avenger born. Seest thou this tress ?"-O! still I've worn This little tress of yellow hair, Through danger, frenzy, and despair ! It once was bright and clear as thine, But blood and tears have dimm'd its shine. I will not tell thee when 'twas shred, Nor from what guiltless victim's headMy brain would turn but it shall wave Like plumage on thy helmet brave, Till sun and wind shall bleach the stain, And thou wilt bring it me again.I waver still. O God! more bright Let reason beam her parting light! O! by thy knighthood's honour'd sign, And for thy life preserved by mine, When thou shalt see a darksome man, Who boasts him chief of Alpine's clan, With tartans broad ar shadowy plume, And hand of blood, and brow of gloom Be thy heart bold, thy weapon strong, And wreak poor Blanche of Devan's wrong! They watch for thee by pass and fellAvoid the path-O God -farewell!”

XXIX. The shades of eve come slowly down, The woods are wrapp'd in deeper brown, The owl awakens from her dell, The fox is heard upon the fell ; Enough remains of glimmering light, To guide the wanderer's steps aright, Yet not enough from far to show His figure to the watchful foe. With cautious step and ear awake, He climbs the crag, and threads the brake; And not the summer solstice there, Temper'd the midnight mountain air, But every breeze that swept the wold, Benumb'd his drenched limbs with cold. In dread, in danger, and alone, Famish'd and chill'd, through ways unknown, Tangled and steep, he journey'd on; Till, as a rock's huge point he turn'd, A watch-fire close beside him burn'd.

XXVIII. A kindly heart had brave Fitz-James; Fast pour'd his eye at pity's claims, And now, with mingled grief and ire, He saw the murder'd maid expire. “God, in my need, be my relief, As I wreak this on yonder chief !” A lock from Blanche's tresses fair He blended with her bridegroom's hair ; The mingled braid in blood be died, And placed it on his bonnet side ; • By him whose word is truth! I swear No other favour will I wear, Till this sad token I imbrue In the best blood of Roderick Dhu! -But hark! what means yon faint halloo? The chase is up—but they shall know, The stag at bay's a dangerous foe.” Barr'd from the known but guarded way, Through copse and cliffs Fitz-James must stray, And oft must change his desperate track, By stream and precipice turn’d back. Heartless, fatigued, and faint, at length, From lack of food and loss of strength, He couch'd him in a thicket hoar, And thought his toils and perils o'er : “ Of all my rash adventures past, This frantic feat must prove the last ! Who e'er so mad but might have guess'd, That all this highland hornet's nest Would muster up in swarms so soon As e'er they heard of bands at Doune? Like bloodhounds now they search me out.Hark to the whistle and the shout! If farther through the wilds I go, I only fall upon the foe; I'll couch me here till evening gray, Then darkling try my dangerous way.”

XXX Beside its embers red and clear, Bask'd in his plaid, a mountaineer ; And up he sprung with sword in hand“ Thy name and purpose ! Saxon, stand !" “ A stranger.”_ What dost thou require ?” “ Rest and a guide, and food and fire. My life's beset, my path is lost, The gale has chill'd my limbs with frost.” “ Art thou a friend to Roderick ?"_" No."• Thou dar’st not call thyself a foe?” “ I dare! to him and all the band He brings to aid his murderous hand.” “ Bold words !-but, though the beast of game The privilege of chase may claim, Though space and law the stag we lend, Ere hound we slip, or bow we bend, Who ever reck'd where, how, or when, The prowling fox was trapp'd and slain? Thus treacherous scouts ;—yet sure they lie, Who say thou cam'st a secret spy !”“ They do, by heaven -Come Roderick Dhu, And of his clan the boldest two, And let me but till morning rest, I write the falsehood on their crest."“If by the blaze I mark aright, Thou bear'st the belt and spur of knight.” “ Then by these tokens may'st thou know Each proud oppressor's mortal foe.” “ Enough, enough; sit down and share A soldier's couch, a soldier's fare."

XXXI. He gave him of his highland cheer, The harden'd flesh of mountain deer; Dry fuel on the fire he laid, And bade the Saxon share his plaid. He tended him like welcome guest, Then thus bis further speech address'd. “Stranger, I am to Roderick Dhu A clansman born, a kinsman true; Each word against his honour spoke Demands of me avenging stroke;

Yet more-upon thy fate, 'tis said,

Then, sunk in copse, iheir farthest glance A mighty augury is laid.

Gain'd not the length of horseman's lance. It rests with me to wind my horn

'Twas oft so steep, the foot was fain Thou art with numbers overborne ;

Assistance from the hand to gain ; It rests with me, here, brand to brand,

So tangled oft, that, bursting through, Worn as thou art, to bid thee stand:

Each hawthorn shed her showers of dew, But, not for clan, nor kindred's cause,

That diamond dew, so pure and clear,
Will I depart from honour's laws;

It rivals all but beauty's tear!
T'assail a wearied man were shame,
And stranger is a holy name;

III.
Guidance and rest, and food and fire,

At length they came where, stern and steep In vain he never must require.

The hill sinks down upon the deep. Then rest thee here till dawn of day;

Here Vennachar in silver flows, Myself will guide thee on the way,

There, ridge on ridge, Benledi rose; O'er stock and stone, through watch and ward, Ever the hollow path twined on, Till past Clan-Alpine's outmost guard,

Beneath steep bank and threatening stone; As far as Coilantogle's ford ;

An hundred men might hold the post From thence thy warrant is thy sword.”

With hardihood against a host. I take thy courtesy, by heaven,

The rugged mountain's scanty cloak As freely as 'tis nobly given !"

Was dwarfish shrubs of birch and oak, “Well, rest thee; for the bittern's cry

With shingles bare, and cliffs between, Sings us the lake's wild lullaby.”

And patches bright of bracken green, With that he shook the gather'd heath,

And heather black, that waved so high, And spread his plaid upon the wreath ;

It held the copse in rivalry. And the brave foemen, side by side,

But where the lake slept deep and still, Lay peaceful down like brothers tried,

Dank osiers fringed the swamp and hill; And slept until the dawning beam

And oft both path and hill were torn,
Purpled the mountain and the stream.

Where wintry torrents down had borne,
And heap'd upon the cumber'd land

Its wreck of gravel, rocks, and sand.
Canto V.

So toilsome was the road to trace,
THE COMBAT.

The guide, abating of his pace,

Led slowly through the pass's jaws,
I.

And ask'd Fitz-James, by what strange cause FAIR as the earliest beam of eastern light,

He sought these wilds, travers'd by few,
When first by the bewilderd pilgrim spied, Without a pass from Roderick Dhu.
It smiles upon the dreary brow of night,
And silvers o'er the torrent's foaming tide,

IV.
And lights the fearful path on mountain side ; “ Brave Gael, my pass, in danger tried,
Fair as that beam, although the fairest far,

Hangs in my belt, and by my side ;
Giving to horror grace, to danger pride,

Yet, sooth to tell,” the Saxon said,
Shine martial faith, and courtesy's bright star, “I dream'd not now to claim its aid.
Through all the wreckful storms that cloud the When here, but three days since, I came,
brow of war.

Bewilderd in pursuit of game,
II.

All seem'd as peaceful and as still,
That early beam, so fair and sheen,

As the mist slumbering on yon hill ; Was twinkling through the hazel screen,

Thy dangerous chief was then afar, When, rousing at its glimmer red,

Nor soon expected back from war. The warriors left their lowly bed,

Thus said, at least, my mountain guide, Look'd out upon the dappled sky,

Though deep, perchance, the villain lied.” Mutter'd their soldier matins by,

“ Yet why a second venture try?”And then awaked their fire, to steal,

“ A warrior thou, and ask me why! As short and rude, their soldier meal.

Moves our free course by such fix'd cause, That o'er, the Gael* around him threw

As gives the poor mechanic laws ? His graceful plaid of varied hue,

Enough, I sought to drive away And, true to promise, led the way,

The lazy hours of peaceful day; By thicket green and mountain gray.

Slight cause will then suffice to guide A wildering path !—They winded now

A knight's free footsteps far and wide, Along the precipice's brow,

A falcon flown, a grayhound stray'd, Commanding the rich scenes beneath,

The merry glance of mountain maid; The windings of the Forth and Teith,

Or, if a path be dangerous known, And all the vales between that lie,

The danger's self is lure alone."Till Stirling's turrets melt in sky;

V. The Scottish highlander calls himself Gael, or Gaul,

** Thy secret keep, I urge thee not;and terms the lowlanders Sassenach, or Saxons.

Yet, ere again ye sought this spot,

Say, heard ye naught of lowland war
Against Clan-Alpine raised by Mar”
“No, by my word; of bands prepared
To guard king James's sports I heard ;
Nor doubt I aught, but, when they hear
This muster of the mountaineer,
Their pennons will abroad be fung,
Which else in Doune had peaceful hung."
“Free be they flung for we were loth
Their silken folds should feast the moth.
Free be they flung! as free shall wave
Clan-Alpine's pine in banner brave.
But, stranger, peaceful since you came,
Bewilderd in the mountain game,
Whence the bold boast by which you show
Vich-Alpine's vow'd and mortal foe ?"
“ Warrior, but yestermorn I knew
Naught of thy chieftain, Roderick Dhu,
Save as an outlaw'd desperate man,
The chief of a rebellious clan,
Who, in the regent's court and sight,
With ruffian dagger stabb’d a knight:
Yet this alone might from his part
Sever each true and loyal heart.”

Ask we for flocks these shingles dry,
And well the mountain might reply,-
• To you, as to your sires of yore,
Belong the target and claymore !
I give you shelter in my breast,
Your own good blades must win the rest.'
Pent in this fortress of the north,
Think'st thou we will not sally forth,
To spoil the spoiler as we may,
And from the robber rend the prey ?
Ay, by my soul -While on yon plain
The Saxon rears one shock of grain ;
Wbile, of ten thousand herds, there strays
But one along yon river's maze,
The Gael, of plain and river heir,
Shall, with strong hand, redeem his share.
Where live the mountain chiefs who hold
That plundering lowland field and fold
Is aught but retribution true?
Seek other cause 'gainst Roderick Dhu.'

VI.

Wrothful at such arraignment foul,
Dark lour'd the clansman's sable scowl.
A space he paused, then sternly said,
" And heard'st thou why he drew his blade ?
Heard'st thou that shameful word and blow
Brought Roderick's vengeance on his foc ?
What reck'd the chieftain if he stood
On highland heath, or Holy-Rood »
He rights such wrong where it is given,
If it were in the court of heaven."
“ Still was it outrage ;--yet 'tis true,
Not then claim'd sovereignty his due;
While Albany, with feeble hand,
Held borrow'd truncheon of command,
The young king, mew'd in Stirling tower,
Was stranger to respect and power.
But then, thy chieftain's robber life!
Winning mean prey by causeless strife,
Wrenching from ruin'd lowland swain
His herds and harvest rear'd in vain-
Methinks a soul like thine should scorn
The spoils from such foul foray borne.”

VIII. Answer'd Fitz-James,—“ And, if I sought, Think'st thou no other could be brought ? What deem ye of my path waylaid? My life given o'er to ambuscade ?” “ As of a meed to rashness due ; Hadst thou sent warning fair and true, I seek my hound, or falcon stray'd, I seek, good faith, a highland maid; Free hadst thou been to come and go ; But secret path marks se foe. Nor yet, for this, e'en as a spy, Hadst thou, unheard, been doom'd to die, Save to fulfil an augury.” “ Well, let it pass ; nor will I now Fresh cause of enmity avow, To chafe thy mood and cloud thy brow Enough, I am by promise tied To match me with this man of pride : Twice have I sought Clan-Alpine's glen In peace; but when I come agen, I come with banner, brand, and bow, As leader seeks his mortal foe. For lovelorn swain in lady's bower, Ne'er panted for th' appointed hour As I, until before me stand This rebel chieftain and his band."

VII. The Gael beheld him grim the while, And answer'd with disdainful smile“Saxon, from yonder mountain high, I mark'd thee send delighted eye, Far to the south and east, where lay, Extended in succession gay, Deep waving fields and pastures green, With gentle slopes and groves between; These fertile plains, that soften'd vale, Were once the birthright of the Gael; The stranger came with iron hand, And from our fathers reft the land. Where dwell we now? See, rudely swell Crag over crag, and fell o'er fell. Ask we this savage hill we tread, For fatten'd steer or household bread;

IX. “ Have, then, thy wish !"-he whistled shrill And he was answer'd from the hill ; Wild as the scream of the curlew, From crag to crag the signal flew. Instant, through copse and heath, arose Bonnets, and spears, and bended bows; On right, on left, above, below, Sprung up at once the lurking foe; From shingles gray their lances start, The bracken bush sends forth the dart, The rushes and the willow wand Are bristling into axe and brand, And every tuft of broom gives life To plaided warrior arm'd for strife. That whistle garrison'd the glen At once with full five hundred men,

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