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No! do not scorn, although its As if wild woods and waves had hoarser note
Scarce with the cushat's homely song, In listing to the lovely measure.
And ne'er to symphony more sweet
Though faint its beauties as the tints Gave mountain echoes answer meet,
Since, met from mainland and from isle,
That gleam through mist in autumn's Ross, Arran, Ilay, and Argyle,
Each minstrel's tributary lay
And few as leaves that tremble, sear and dry,
Paid homage to the festal day. Dull and dishonour'd were the bard, When wild November hath his bugle Worthless of guerdon and regard,
Nor mock my toil-a lonely gleaner I,
Through fields time-wasted, on sad
Deaf to the hope of minstrel fame,
Or lady's smiles, his noblest aim,
Who on that morn's resistless call
Were silent in Artornish hall.
Where happier bards of yore have
richer harvest found.
Thy rugged halls, Artornish! rung,
And the dark seas, thy towers that lave,
Heaved on the beach a softer wave,
As 'mid the tuneful choir to keep
The diapason of the Deep.
Lull'd were the winds on Inninmore,
And green Loch-Alline's woodland
'Wake, Maid of Lorn!' 'twas thus they sung,
And yet more proud the descant rung, Wake, Maid of Lorn! high right is ours,
To charm dull sleep from Beauty's
Earth, Ocean, Air, have nought so shy
But owns the power of minstrelsy.
In Lettermore the timid deer
Will pause, the harp's wild chime to
Rude Heiskar's seal, through surges
So shalt thou list, and haply not unmoved,
Toa wild tale of Albyn's warrior day; In distant lands, by the rough West reproved,
Still live some relics ofthe ancient lay. For, when on Coolin's hills the lights decay,
With such the Seer of Skye the eve beguiles;
'Tis known amid the pathless wastes of Reay,
In Harries known, and in Iona's
Will long pursue the minstrel's bark; Where rest from mortal coil the Mighty To list his notes, the eagle proud
of the Isles.
Will poise him on Ben-Cailliach's
Then let not Maiden's ear disdain
The summons of the minstrel train,
'WAKE, Maid of Lorn!' the Minstrels But, while our harps wild music make, Edith of Lorn, awake, awake!
O wake, while Dawn, with dewy
Wakes Nature's charms to vie with
She bids the mottled thrush rejoice
To mate thy melody of voice;
The dew that on the violet lies
Mocks the dark lustre of thine eyes;
But, Edith, wake, and all we see
Of sweet and fair shall yield to thee!'
'She comes not yet,' grey Ferrand
One sigh responsive to the string.
As vainly had her maidens vied
In skill to deck the princely bride.
Her locks, in dark-brown length
'Brethren, let softer spell be tried,
Those notes prolong'd, that soothing,
Cathleen of Ulne, 'twas thine to braid;
Young Eva with meet reverence drew
Which best may mix with Beauty's On the light foot the silken shoe, While on the ankle's slender round Those strings of pearl fair Bertha wound,
That, bleach'd Lochryan's depths
Seem'd dusky still on Edith's skin.
But Einion, of experience old,
Had weightiest task-the mantle's fold
And whisper, with their silvery tone,
The hope she loves, yet fears to own.'
He spoke, and on the harp-strings died
The strains of flattery and of pride;
More soft, more low, more tender fell
The lay of love he bade them tell.
'Wake, Maid of Lorn! the moments fly,
Which yet that maiden-name allow;
Wake, Maiden, wake! the hour is nigh,
When Love shall claim a plighted
By Fear, thy bosom's fluttering guest,
By Hope, that soon shall fears
We bid thee break the bonds of rest,
And wake thee at the call of Love!!
Wake, Edith, wake! in yonder bay
Lies many a galley gaily mann'd, We hear the merry pibrochs play,
We see the streamers' silken band. What Chieftain's praise these pibrochs swell,
What crest is on these banners wove, The harp, the minstrel, dare not tellThe riddle must be read by Love,'
Retired her maiden train among,
Edith of Lorn received the song,
But tamed the minstrel's pride had been
That had her cold demeanour seen;
For not upon her check awoke
The glow of pride when Flattery spoke,
Nor could their tenderest numbers bring
In many an artful plait she tied,
To show the form it seem'd to hide,
Till on the floor descending roll'd
Its waves of crimson blent with gold.
O lives there now so cold a maid,
Who thus in beauty's pomp array'd,
In beauty's proudest pitch of power,
And conquest won-the bridal hour,
With every charm that wins the heart,
By Nature given, enhanced by Art,
Could yet the fair reflection view,
In the bright mirror pictured true,
And not one dimple on her cheek
A tell-tale consciousness bespeak?—
Lives still such maid?—Fair damsels,
For further vouches not my lay,
Save that such lived in Britain's isle,
When Lorn's bright Edith scorn'd to
But Morag, to whose fostering care
Proud Lorn had given his daughter
Morag, who saw a mother's aid
By all a daughter's love repaid,
(Strict was that bond-most kind of Impledge her spousal faith to wed all
The heir of mighty Somerled!
Ronald, from many a hero sprung,
The fair, the valiant, and the young,
LORD OF THE ISLES, whose lofty name
A thousand bards have given to fame,
The mate of monarchs, and allied
On equal terms with England's pride.
From chieftain's tower to bondsman's
Inviolate in Highland hall)
Grey Morag sate a space apart,
In Edith's eyes to read her heart.
In vain the attendants' fond appeal
To Morag's skill, to Morag's zeal;
She mark'd her child receive their care,
Cold as the image sculptured fair
(Form of some sainted patroness)
Which cloister'd maids combine to
Who hears the tale, and triumphs not?
The damsel dons her best attire,
She mark'd-and knew her nursling's The shepherd lights his beltane fire;
Joy, joy! each warder's horn hath
In the vain pomp took little part.
Wistful awhile she gaz'd-then press'd
The maiden to her anxious breast
In finish'd loveliness-and led
To where a turret's airy head,
Slender and steep, and battled round,
O'erlook'd, dark Mull! thy mighty
Where thwarting tides, with mingled
Part thy swarth hills from Morven's shore.
To the green Ilay's fertile shore;
Or mainland turn, where many a tower
Owns thy bold brother's feudal power,
Each on its own dark cape reclined,
And listening to its own wild wind,
From where Mingarry, sternly placed,
O'erawes the woodland and the waste,
To where Dunstaffnage hears the
Of Connal with his rocks engaging.
Think'st thou, amid this ample round,
A single brow but thine has frown'd,
To sadden this auspicious morn,
That bids the daughter of high Lorn
Joy, joy! each matin bell hath rung;
The holy priest says grateful mass,
Loud shouts each hardy galla-glass,
No mountain den holds outcast boor
Of heart so dull, of soul so poor,
But he hath flung his task aside,
And claim'd this morn for holy-tide;
Yet, empress of this joyful day,
Edith is sad while all are gay.'
'Daughter,' she said, 'these seas behold,
Her hurrying hand indignant dried Round twice a hundred islands roll'd, The burning tears of injured prideFrom Hirt, that hears their northernMorag, forbear! or lend thy praise
Proud Edith's soul came to her eye,
Resentment check'd the struggling
To swell yon hireling harpers' lays;
Make to yon maids thy boast of power,
That they may waste a wondering
Telling of banners proudly borne,
Of pealing bell and bugle-horn,
Or, theme more dear, of robes of price,
Crownlets and gauds of rare device.
But thou, experienced as thou art,
Think'st thou with these to cheat the
That, bound in strong affection's chain,
Looks for return and looks in vain?
No! sum thine Edith's wretched lot
In these brief words-He loves her not!
'Debate it not; too long I strove
To call his cold observance love,
All blinded by the league that styled
Edith of Lorn-while yet a child
She tripp'd the heath by Morag's
Ere yet I saw him, while afar
His broadsword blazed in Scotland's
Train'd to believe our fates the same,
My bosom throbb'd when Ronald's
'Hush, daughter, hush! thy doubts
More nobly think of Ronald's love.
Look, where beneath the castle grey
His fleet unmoor from Aros bay!
See'st not each galley's topmast bend,
The brave Lord Ronald's destined As on the yards the sails ascend?
Hiding the dark-blue land, they rise
Like the white clouds on April skies;
The shouting vassals man the oars,
Behind them sink Mull's mountain
Onward their merry course they keep
Through whistling breeze and foaming
And mark the headmost, seaward cast,
Stoop to the freshening gale her mast,
As if she veil'd its banner'd pride
To greet afar her prince's bride!
Thy Ronald comes, and while in speed
His galley mates the flying steed,
He chides her sloth!' Fair Edithsigh'd,
Blush'd, sadly smiled, and thus replied:
Came gracing Fame's heroic tale,
Like perfume on the summer gale.
What pilgrim sought our halls, nor
Of Ronald's deeds in battle bold;
Who touch'd the harp to heroes' praise,
But his achievements swell'd the lays?
Even Morag--not a tale of fame
Was hers but closed with Ronald's
He came and all that had been told Of his high worth seem'd poor and cold,
Tame, lifeless, void of energy,
Unjust to Ronald and to me!
'Since then, what thought had Edith's heart
And gave not plighted love its part?
And what requital? cold delay,
Excuse that shunn'd the spousal day.
It dawns, and Ronald is not here!
Hunts he Bentalla's nimble deer,
Or loiters he in secret dell
To bid some lighter love farewell,
And swear, that though he may not
A daughter of the House of Lorn,
Yet, when these formal rites are o'er,
Again they meet, to part no more?'
'Sweet thought, but vain! No, Morag!
Type of his course, yon lonely bark,
That oft hath shifted helm and sail
To win its way against the gale.
Since peep of morn, my vacant eyes
Have view'd by fits the course she
Now, though the darkening scud
And dawn's fair promises be gone,
And though the weary crew may see
Our sheltering haven on their lee,
Still closer to the rising wind
They strive her shivering sail to bind,
Still nearer to the shelves' dread verge
At every tack her course they urge,
As if they fear'd Artornish mere
Than adverse winds and breakers'
Champs, till both bit and boss are white,
But, foaming, must obey.
On each gay deck they might behold
Lances of steel and crests of gold,
And hauberks with their burnish'd fold,
That shimmer'd fair and free;
And each proud galley, as she pass'd,
To the wild cadence of the blast
Gave wilder minstrelsy.
Full many a shrill triumphant note
Saline and Scallastle bade float
Their misty shores around;
And Morven's echoes answer'd well,
And Duart heard the distant swell
Come down the darksome Sound.
And if that labouring bark hey spied,
So bore they on with mirth and pride,
'Twas with such idle eye
As nobles cast on lowly boor,
When, toiling in his task obscure,
They pass him careless by.
Let them sweep on with heedless eyes!
But, had they known what mighty
The famish'd wolf, that prowls the
In that frail vessel lay,
Had scatheless pass'd the unguarded
Ere, drifting by these galleys bold,
Unchallenged were her way!
And thou, Lord Ronald, sweep thou on,
With mirth, and pride, and minstrel
Mann'd with the noble and the bold
Of Island chivalry,
Around their prows the ocean roars,
And chafes beneath their thousand
Yet bears them on their way:
So chafes the war-horse in his might, Yes, sweep they on! We will not That fieldward bears some valiant
For them that triumph, those who
But had'st thou known who sail'd so
Far other glance were in thine eye!
Far other flush were on thy brow,
That, shaded by the bonnet, now
Assumes but ill the blithesome cheer
Of bridegroom when the bride is near!
With that armada gay
Be laughter loud and jocund shout,
And bards to cheer the wassail rout,
With tale, romance, and lay;
And of wild mirth each clamorous art
Which, if it cannot cheer the heart,
May stupify and stun its smart,
For one loud busy day.