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Yes, sweep they on !- But with that Either to bide the tempest's lour, skift
Or wend to yon unfriendly tower, Abides the minstrel tale,
Or rush amid their naval power, Where there was dread of surge and With war-cry wake their wassailcliff,
hour, Labour that strain'd each sinew stiff, ! And die with hand on hilt,'
And one sad Maiden's wail.
That elder Leader's calm reply
In steady voice was given,
()ft succour dawns from Heaven. And midway through the channel met Conflicting tides that foam and fret,
Edward, trim thou the shatter'd sail, And high their mingled billows jet,
· The helm be mine, and down the
gale As spears, that, in the battle set,
Let our free course be driven ; Spring upward as they break. Then, too, the lights of eve were past,
So shall we scape the western bay, And louder sung the western blast
The hostile fleet, the unequal fray, On rocks of Inninmore;
So safely hold our vessel's way Rent was the sail, and strain'd the
Beneath the Castle wall; mast,
For if a hope of safety rest,
'Tis on the sacred name of guest, And many a leak was gaping fast, And the pale steersman stood aghast,
Who seeks for shelter, storm-dis.
Within a chieftain's hall.
If not, it best beseems our worth, 'Twas then that One, whose lofty look
Our name, our right, our loity birth, Nor labour dull'd nor terror shook,
By noble hands to fall.' Thus to the Leader spoke : Brother, how hopest thou to abide The fury of this wilder'd tide, The helm, to his strong arm consign'd, Or how avoid the rock's rude side, Gave the reef'd sail to meet the wind, Until the day has broke?
And on her alter'd way, Didst thou not mark the vessel reel, Fierce bounding, forward sprung the With quivering planks, and groaning ship, keel,
Like greyhound starting from the slip At the last billow's shock?
To seize his flying prey. Yet how of better counsel tell, Awaked before the rushing prow, Though here thou sce'st poor Isabel The mimic fires of occan glow,
Half dead with want and fear; Those lightnings of the wave; For look on sea, or look on land, Wild sparkles crest the broken tides, Or yon dark sky-on every hand And, flashing round, the vessel's sides Despair and death are near.
With elvish lustre lave, For her alone I grieve-on me While, far behind, their livid light Danger sits light by land and sea, To the dark billows of the night I follow where thou wilt ;
A gloomy splendour gave,
It seems as if old Ocean shakes Hewn in the rock, a passage there From his dark brow the lucid flakes Sought the dark fortress by a stair, In envious pageantry,
So straight, so high, so steep, To match the meteor-light that streaks With peasant's staff one valiant hand Grim Hecla's midnight sky. Might well the dizzy pass have mann'd,
'Gainst hundreds armd with spear and
brand, Nor lack'd they steadier light to keep And plunged them in the deep. Their course upon the darken’d deep; His bugle then the helmsman wound; Artornish, on her frowning steep Loud answer'd every echo round,
'Twixt cloud and ocean hung, From turret, rock, and bay ; Glanced with a thousand lights of glee, The postern's hinges crash and groan, And landward far, and far to sea, And soon the Warder's cresset shone Her festal radiance flung.
On those rude steps of slippery stone, By that blithe beacon-light they steer'd, To light the upward way.
Whose lustre mingled well * Thrice welcome, holy Sire !' he said ; With the pale beam that now appear'd, 'Full long the spousal train have staid, As the cold moon her head uprear'd And, vex'd at thy delay, Above the eastern fell.
Fear'd lest, amidst these wildering
The darksome night and freshening Thus guided, on their course they bore, breeze Until they near'd the mainland shore, Had driven thy bark astray.' When frequent on the hollow blast Wild shouts of merriment were cast,
xxv. And wind and wave and sea-birds' Warder,' the younger stranger said, cry
*Thine erring guess some mirth had With wassail sounds in concert vie,
made Like funeral shrieks with revelry, In mirthful hour; but nights like these, Or like the battle-shout
When the rough winds wake western By peasants heard from cliffs on high,
seas, When Triumph, Rage, and Agony, Brook not of glee. We crave some aid
Madden the fight and rout. And needful shelter for this maid Now nearer yet, through mist and Until the break of day; storm,
For, to ourselves, the deck's rude plank Dimly arose the Castle's form, Is easy as the mossy bank And dcepen'd shadow made,
That's breath'd upon by May. Far lengthen’d on the main below, And for our storm-toss'd skiff' we Where, dancing in reflected glow,
seek A hundred torches play'd, Short shelter in this leeward creek, Spangling the wave with lights as vain Prompt when the dawn the east shall As pleasures in this vale of pain,
streak That dazzle as they fade.
Again to bear away.'
Answered the Warder,—In what XXIV.
name Beneath the Castle's sheltering lee, Assert ye hospitable claim ? They staid their course in quiet sea. Whence come, or whither bound?
Hath Erin scen your parting sails ?
XXVIII, Or come ye on Norweyan gales ? To land these two bold brethren leapt And seek ye England's fertile vales, (The weary crew their vessel kept) Or Scotland's mountain ground?' | And, lighted by the torches' flare,
That seaward flung their smoky glare,
The younger knight that maiden bare Warriors-for other title none
Half lifeless up the rock; For some brief space we list to own,
On his strong shoulder lean'd her Bound by a vow-warriors are we;
head, In strife by land, and storm by sea, And down her long dark tresses shed, We have been known to fame;
As the wild vine in tendrils spread, And thesc brief words have import
Droops from the mountain oak. dear,
Him follow'd close that elder Lord, When sounded in a noble car,
And in his hand a sheathed sword, To harbour safe, and friendly chcer, Such as few arms could wield; That gives us rightful claim.
But when he boun'd him to such task, Grant us the trivial boon we seek, Well could it cleave the strongest And we in other realms will speak
And rend the surest shield.
The entrance long and low,
Flank'd at each turn hy loop-holes 'Bold stranger, no - 'gainst claim like
Where bowmen might in ambush wait No bolt revolves by hand of mine; (If force or fraud should burst the Though urged in tone that more ex
To gall an entering foe. A monarch than a suppliant guest. But every jealous post of ward Be what yc will, Artornish Hall | Was now defenceless and unbarrd, On this glad eve is free to all.
And all the passage free Though ye had drawn a hostile To one low-brow'd and vaulted room. sword
Where squire and yeoman, page and 'Gainst our ally, grcat England's Lord,
Or wanderers of a moulding stark, And show the narrow postern stair.' And bearing martial mien.'
But not for Eachin's reproof
Fill the bright goblet, spread the
festive board ! His chequer'd plaid, and in its shroud, Summon the gay, the noble, and the To hide her from the vulgar crowd,
fair! Involved his sister fair.
Through the loud hall in joyous His brother, as the clansman bent
concert pour'd His sullen brow in discontent,
Let mirth and music sound the dirge Made brief and stern excuse;
of Care ! Vassal, were thine the cloak of pall
But ask thou not if Happiness be That decks thy Lord in bridal hall,
there, 'Twere honour'd by her use.'
If the loud laugh disguise convulsive
throe, Or if the brow the heart's true livery
wear; Proud was his tone, but calm ; his eye Lift not the festal mask !-enough Had that compelling dignity,
to know, His mien that bearing haught and No scene of mortal life but teems high,
with mortal woe.
With beakers' clang, with harpers' lay, o'er;
With all that olden time deem'd gay, Upon each other back they bore,
The Island Chieftain feasted high ; And gazed like startled deer. But there was in his troubled eye But now appear'd the Seneschal, A gloomy fire, and on his brow Commission'd by his lord to call
Now sudden flush'd, and faded now, The strangers to the Baron's hall, Emotions such as draw their birth
Where feasted fair and free From deeper source than festal mirth. That Island Prince in nuptial tide, By fits he paused, and harper's strain With Edith there his lovely bride, And jester's tale went round in vain, And her bold brother by her side,
Or fell but on his idle ear And many a chief, the flower and Like distant sounds which dreamers pride
hear. of Western land and sea.
Then would he rouse him, and employ
Each art to aid the clamorous joy, Here pause we, gentles, for a space;
And call for pledge and lay, And, if our tale hath won your grace, And, for brief space, of all the crowd, Grant us brief patience, and again
As he was loudest of the loud, We will renew the minstrel strain.
Seem gayest of the gay.
Yet nought amiss the bridal throng
They gave to thoughts of raptures | And on the floor at random cast near,
The untasted goblet fell. And his fierce starts of sudden glee But when the Warder in his car Seem'd bursts of bridegroom's ecstasy. Tells other news, his blither cheer Nor thus alone misjudged the crowd,
Returns like sun of May, Since lofty Lorn, suspicious, proud,
When through a thunder-cloud it And jealous of his honour'd line,
beams! And that keen knight, De Argentine, Lord of two hundred isles, he seems (From England sent on errand high, As glad of brief delay, The western league more firm to tie, | As some poor criminal might feel, Both deem'd in Ronald's mood to find | When, from the gibbet or the wheel, A lover's transport-troubled mind.
Respited for a day.
'Brother of Lorn,' with hurried voice Her wayward bridegroom's varied
He said, ' And you, fair lords, rejoice! cheer.
Here, to augment our glee,
! She watch'd, yet feard to meet his
And tempest on the sea. glance,
Ho! give them at your board such place And he shunn'd hers; till when by, As best their presences may grace, chance
And bid them welcome free!' They met, the point of foeman's lance
With solemn step, and silver wand, Had given a milder pang !
The Seneschal the presence scann'd Beneath the intolerable smart
Of these strange guests; and well he He writhed, then sternly mann'd his
How to assign their rank its due; To play his hard but destined part,
For though the costly furs And from the table sprang.
That erst had deck'd their caps were * Fill me the mighty cup!' he said,
torn, • Erst own'd by royal Somerled;
And their gay robes were overworn, Fill it, till on the studded brim
And soil'd their gilded spurs, In burning gold the bubbles swim,
Yet such a high commanding grace And every gem of varied shine
Was in their mien and in their face, Glow doubly bright in rosy wine!
As suited best the princely dais,
And royal canopy ;
And there he marshall'd them their The union of Our House with thine,
place, By this fair bridal-link!'
First of that company.
'Let it pass round!' quoth He of Lorn,
Must of the Abbot tell;
Then lords and ladies spake aside,
But Owen Erraught said,