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Back from the bier with strong recoil,
Still onward as they go,
And writhing body throw.
Full fiercely with him deal,
With their fangs of red-hot steel.
In the midst of the trembling hall,
Şunk to a dying fall.
No mortal tongue can tell,
In a death-like trance he fell.
On the country far and near,
Could they find Sir Malcom's heir.
O’er hill and vale they ran,
A crazed and wretched man.
But the priest of St. Cuthbert's cell, And aye, when the midnight warning sounds,
He hastens his beads to tell.
Up brizzled the locks of Malcom's heir,
And his heart it quickly beat, And his trembling steed shook under his hand,
And Swain cower'd close to his feet.
Still strong and stronger grew,
Its wan and dismal hue.
Approaching with soundless tread,
As in honour of the dead.
To lighten their gloomy road,
And on cloven goats' feet trod.
Were murderers twain and twain,
Befoul'd with many a stain.
And red-strain'd, starting eyen,
His earthly end had been.
There came an open bier,
That did but half appear.
As corse could never lie,
In nature's struggles die.
In strong distortion lay,
Is fix'd the lifeless clay.
With the black blood bolter'd round;
With the filleted locks unbound.
And the glaze of its half-closed eye
Of wo and agony.
That follow'd it close behind,
What words shall minstrel find ?
A broken knife he press'd,
Was that in the corse's breast.
Full strongly mark'd, I ween, The features of the aged corse
In life's full prime were seen. ... gnash thy teeth and tear thy hair,
And roll thine eyeballs wild, Thou horrible, accursed son,
With a father's blood defiled!
THE ELDEN TREE.
A FEAST was spread in the baron's hall,
And loud was the merry sound, As minstrels play'd at lady's call,
And the cup went sparkling round. For gentle dames sat there, I trow,
By men of mickle might,
And many a burly knight.
And some on the surgy sea,
For the cause of Christentie.
Or Moorish or Paynim foe? Their eyes beam bright with social life,
And their hearts with kindness glow. “Gramercie, chieftain, on thy tale!
It smacks of thy merry mood.”“ Ay, monks are sly, and women frail,
Since rock and mountain stood." “ Fy, fy! sir knight, thy tongue is keen,
'Tis sharper than thy steel.”— “So, gentle lady, are thine eyen,
As we poor lovers feel. « Come, pledge me well, my lady gay,
Come, pledge me, noble frere ; Each cheerful mate on such a day,
Is friend or mistress dear,”
And louder still comes jeer and boast,
As the flagons faster pour,
In a wildly mingled roar.
For the baron himself doth smile,
And quaffs his cup the while.
Or the night wind's dismal moan?
Which he thinketh so oft upon ?
By its doer only seen, And there lives not a man beneath the sun,
Who wotteth that deed hath been. So gay was he, so gay were all,
They mark'd not the growing gloom ;
Lower'd like the close of doom.
The features of every guest,
Like the clouds of the drizzly west.
Is this the twilight gray ?
Like the glaring noon of day.
O'er all the gallant train,
Was seen and lost again.
Then on and onward drew,
And loud and louder grew.
And roars th' astounding din ;
And the rasters ring within.
Are howling with piteous moan,
And words are utter'd none.
As light from the welkin broke,
And words to the baron spoke. “ The thunder hath stricken your tree so fair,
Its roots on green-sward lie.”— “What tree ?”_The Elden planted there
Some thirty years gone by.” “ And wherefore starest thou on me so,
With a face so ghastly wild ?” “White bones are found in the mould below,
Like the bones of a stripling child.”
And his eyeballs fix'd as stone;
And be utter'd a stifled groan.
Then from the board, each guest amazed,
Sprang up, and curiously Upon his sudden misery gazed,
And wonder'd what might be. Out spoke the ancient seneschal, “I
pray ye stand apart, Both gentle dames and nobles all,
This grief is at his heart.
And let him be quickly shriven,
To dight him for earth or heaven.”
In a voice that seem'd utter'd with pain; And he shudder'd and shrunk, as he faintly bade
His noble guests remain. “ Heaven's eye each secret deed doth scan,
Heaven's justice all should fear : What I confess to the holy man,
Both heaven and you shall hear.”
With visage sad, but sweet,
And the baron knelt low at his feet. “O, father! I have done a deed
Which God alone did know;
With many a fiend-like blow : “ For fiends lent strength like a powerful charm,
And my youthful breast impell’d, And I laugh'd to see beneath my arm
The sickly stripling quell’d.
Dug deep for the Elden Tree,
Some curious sight to see.
And ere they return'd again,
O’er the body of the slain.
And seldom he smiled on me, When he heard that my skill, like the skill of men,
Had planted the Elden Tree.
Who nearest his heart had been ?
But the boy no more was seen.
And his father's love beside :
In this heart of secret pride.
The cruel pang he gives,
Who under his cold eye lives !
These lands and their princely hall ; But it was our father's partial love,
I envied him most of all.
“ Now thirty years have o'er me pass'd,
And, to the eye of man,
My heart it could not scan.
My murder'd brother's groan,
On the mangled body shone.
Whose toil my coffers stored,
Were happier than their lord. « 0, holy man! my tale is told
With pain, with tears, with shame; May penance hard, may alms of gold,
Some ghostly favour claim ? “ The knotted scourge shall drink my blood,
The earth my bed shall be, And bitter tears my daily food,
To earn Heaven's grace for me."
Endow'd with rights and lands,
A stately abbey stands.
Still spent on bended knee,
And planted the Elden Tree,
“ With fast unbroke and thirst unslaked,
Must we on the hard ground sleep?
Our cheerless vigil keep?”
Ye bravely have sustain'd,
And empty board have gain'd.
And search if yet remain
Spent nature to sustain.
Though few and spent we be, We are the pith of our native land,
And we shall still be free. “ Cheer up! though scant and coarse our meal,
In this our sad retreat,
And that will make it sweet."
Their willing service lent, Some broke the boughs, some heap'd the wood,
Some struck the sparkling flint. And a fire they kindled speedily,
Where the hall's last fire had been,
In the rising blaze were seen.
The lengthen'd hall along,
Their shadows deep and strong.
From bickering flames below,
Seem'd wavering to and fro.
Spread by the friendly light,
As cheerly as they might.
Some of their late defeat,
Of Southron spy's retreat.
Did some disaster bode,
Beguiled us from the road."
Are such false deeds we see ; He's had his rightful recompense,
And cursed let him be.” “0! curse him not! I needs must rue
That stroke so rashly given : If he to us were false or true,
Is known to righteous Heaven.”
Remain'd in sombre mood,
Sound distant through the wood.
THE GHOST OF FADON.
ON Gask's deserted ancient hall
Was twilight closing fast,
Seem'd lofty, void, and vast.
From its walls had pass'd away,
Dull owl, or clattering jay.
With faint light passing through,
Was fading from the view : When the trampling sound of banded men,
Came from the court without;
A loud and angry shout.
A mimic mockery made,
On jarring hinges bray'd.
Rush'd in with clamorous sound,
That e'er trode Scotish ground.
“We war with wayward fate: These walls are bare, the hearth is cold,
And all is desolate.
“ Rouse ye, my friends !” the chieftain said,
“ That blast, from friend or foe, Comes from the west; through forest shade
With wary caution go, “ And bring me tidings. Speed ye well !”
Forth three bold warriors pass'd,
Was heard the bugle blast.
The horn blew from the north,
As banded scouts, went forth.
Had to the forest gone,
Stood by the fire alone.
Nor raised his drooping head,
On all around was spread.
From moon eclipsed, by swain
O'er-mantling hill and plain.
Which higher and brighter grew,
Of clear sulphureous blue.
Of spirit of power was near;
Yet naught did there appear.
Upon the chill air borne,
The sound of Fadon's horn.
From hole and crevice flew,
As loud and long it blew.
The midnight rouse to greet,
Couch'd at his master's feet.
Like dog of vulgar race,
Look'd in his master's face.
Soon fill'd the lowering room,
Approaching through the gloom.
The vapour wore away,
Like a form in the noon of day.
That throat unbraced and bare,
But when the spectre raised its arm,
And brandish'd its glittering blade,
On noble Wallace laid.
Relief; with weapon bare,
But his sword shore empty air.
And its warrior-semblance fled, And its features grew stony, fix’d, and thin,
Like the face of the stiffen'd dead.
The body's stately wreck
Dropt from the bolter'd neck.
And longer tarried not,
To shun the horrid spot.
The apparition stood,
Where entrance to the wood.
Whose pent arch darkly lower'd, But there, like sentry on his watch,
The dreadful phantom tower'd.
He ran with panting breath,
Sprang to the court beneath.
Through brake and bushy stream,
A red and lurid gleam.
Forth from the castle came;
Appear'd an elrich flame.
Like mouths of furnace hot,
The walls and steepy moat.
Till bush and ivy green,
Distinctly might be seen.
Its spiral surges rear'd,
Fadon's Ghost appear’d.
It wielded in its hand;
Dilated grew, and grand.
With tints sulphureous blent,
And up the welkin went.
High, high it rose with widening glare,
Sent far o'er land and main,
And all was dark again.
Chill’d, motionless, amazed,
As on black night he gazed.
From echoing dell arose ;
“For here come living foes." With kindling soul that brand he drew
Which boldest Southron fears,
Of his gallant, brave compeers.
How still, in vain pursuit,
And Wallace alone was mute. Day rose ; but silent, sad and pale,
Stood the bravest of Scottish race; And each warrior's heart began to quail,
When he look'd in his leader's face.
A NOVEMBER NIGHT'S TRAVELLER.
HE, who with journey well begun, Beneath the beam of morning's sun, Stretching his view o'er hill and dale, And distant city, (through its veil Of smoke, dark spires and chimneys showing,) O'er harvest lands with plenty flowing, What time the roused and busy, meeting On king's highway, exchange their greeting, Feels his cheer'd heart with pleasure beat, As on his way he holds. And great Delight hath he, who travels late, What time the moon doth hold her state In the clear sky, while down and dale Repose in light so pure and pale ! While lake, and pool, and stream are seen Weaving their maze of silvery sheen,While cot and mansion, rock and glade, And tower and street, in light and shade Strongly contrasted, are, I trow! Grander than aught of noonday show, Soothing the pensive mind.
The carriage lamps a white light throw
Through village, lane, or hamlet going,
When moon is dark, and sun is set,
With dull November's starless sky