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Not spoke in word, nor blazed in scroll, But borne and branded on my soul ;Which spills the foremost foeman's life That party conquers in the strise."
So fierce, so tameless, and so fleet,
VII. “ Thanks, Brian, for thy zeal and care! Good is thine augury, and fair. Clan-Alpine ne'er in battle stood, But first our broadswords tasted blood. A surer victim still I know, Self-offer'd to th'auspicious blow: A spy has sought my land this morn, No eve shall witness his return! My followers guard each pass's mouth, To east, to westward, and to south; Red Murdoch, bribed to be his guide, Has charge to lead his steps aside, Till, in deep path or dingle brown, He light on those shall bring him down.But see who comes his news to show! Malise! what tidings of the foe ?"
" That bull was slain : his reeking hide
VIII. “ At Doune, o'er many a spear and glaive Two barons proud their banners wave, I saw the Moray's silver star, And mark'd the sable pale of Mar.”“ By Alpine's soul, high tidings those ! I love to hear of worthy foes. When move they on ?"_" To-morrow's noon Will see them here for battle boune." “ Then shall it see a meeting stern! But, for the place—say, couldst thou learn Naught of the friendly clans of Earn? Strengthen’d by them, we well might bide The battle on Benledi's side.Thou couldst not ?-well! Clan-Alpine's men Shall man the Trosach's shaggy glen; Within Loch-Katrine's gorge we'll fight, All in our maids' and matrons' sight, Each for his hearth and household fire, Father for child, and son for sire, Lover for maid beloved !-but whyIs it the breeze affects mine eye? Or dost thou come, ill-omen's tear, A messenger of doubt and fear? No! sooner may the Saxon lance Unfix Benledi from his stance, Than doubt or terror can pierce through Th' unyielding heart of Roderick Dhu! 'Tis stubborn as his trusty targe. Each to his post all know their charge."The pibroch sounds, the bands advance, The broadswords gleam, the banners dance, Obedient to the chieftain's glance. I turn me from the martial roar, And seek Coir-Uriskin once more.
And, as they came, with Alpine's lord
IX. Where is the Douglas ?-he is gone; And Ellen sits on the gray stone Fast by the cave, and makes her moan; While vainly Allan's words of cheer Are pour'd on her upheeding ear.
“He will return-dear lady, trust!
And think upon the harpings slow,
ELLEN. “ Well, be it as thou wilt; I hear, But cannot stop the bursting tear." The minstrel tried his simple art, But distant far was Ellen's heart.
Merry it is in the good green wood,
When the mavis* and merlet are singing, When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are
And the hunter's horn is ringing. “O Alice Brand, my native land
Is lost for love of you ; And we must hold by wood and wold,
As outlaws wont to do.
“ No, Allan, no! pretext so kind
“O Alice, 'twas all for thy locks so bright,
And 'twas all for thine eyes so blue, That on the night of our luckless flight,
Thy brother bold I slew. “Now must I teach to hew the beach,
The hand that held the glaive, For leaves to spread our lowly bed,
And stakes to fence our cave. “ And, for vest of pall, thy fingers small,
That wont on harp to stray, A cloak must shear from the slaughter'd deer,
To keep the cold away.” “O Richard ! if my brother died,
'Twas but a fatal chance; For darkling was the battle tried,
And fortune sped the lance.
Nor thou the crimson sheen,
As gay the forest green.
And lost thy native land,
And he his Alice Brand.”
& Nay, lovely Ellen!—dearest, nay!
Up spoke the moody elfin king,
Who won'd within the hill, -
His voice was ghostly shrill. “Why sounds yon stroke on beach and oak,
Our moonlight circle's screen ?
Beloved of our elfin queen ?
The fairies' fatal green?
For thou wert christen'd man; For cross or sign thou wilt not fly,
For mutter'd word or ban. “Lay on him the curse of the wither'd heart,
The curse of the sleepless eye; Till he wish and pray that his life would part,
Nor yet find leave to die.”
BALLAD CONTINUED. 'Tis merry, 'tis merry in good green wood,
Though the birds have stilld their singing; The evening blaze doth Alice raise,
And Richard is fagots bringing.
Before Lord Richard stands,
“ That is made with bloody hands.”— But out then spoke she, Alice Brand,
That woman void of fear,“ And if there's blood upon his hand,
'Tis but the blood of deer.”-
It cleaves unto his hand,
The blood of Ethert Brand.”
A spotless hand is mine.
By him who demons fear,
BALLAD CONTINUED. “ 'Tis merry, 'tis merry in fairy land,
When fairy birds are singing, When the court doth ride by their monarch's side,
With bit and bridle ringing:
But all is glistening show,
Can dart on ice and snow.
Is our inconstant shape,
And now like dwarf and ape.
“ It was between the night and day,
When the fairy king has power, That I sunk down in a sinful fray, And, 'twixt life and death, was snatch'd away
To the joyless elfin bower. “ But wist I of a woman bold,
Who thrice my brow durst sign, I might regain my mortal mould,
As fair a form as thine.”—
That lady was so brave;
The darker grew the cave.
He rose beneath her hand
Her brother, Ethert Brand !
When the mavis and merle are singing; But merrier were they in Dunfermline gray, When all the bells were ringing.
I'll place thee in a lovely bower,
Ellen, thy hand-the ring is thine;
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 fled sympathy. He proffer'd to attend her side, As brother would a sister guide.“O! 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 wil; 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, Seem'd 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 ;
though strain'd and roughen'd, still Rung wildly sweet to dale and hill.
SONG. “ They bid me sleep, they bid me pray,
They say my brain is warp'd and wrungI cannot sleep on bighland brae,
I cannot pray in highland tongue. But were I now where Allan glides, Or heard my native Devan's tides,
“ Hear, lady, yet, a parting word !
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!
Ever sing warily, warily ;
Hunters watch so narrowly.”
So sweetly would I rest, and pray
They bade me to the church repair ;
And my truelove would meet me there,
XXIV. “Hush thee, 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!
And so blithely he trill’d the lowland lay!
Ever sing merrily, merrily;
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 bis way, Where the poor maiden bleeding lay.
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.
* Having ten branches on his antlers.