Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

Thus watch I o'er insulted lawg,

Who, nurtured underneath our smile, Thus learn to right the injured cause.

Hast paid our care by treacherous wile, Then in a tone apart and low,

And sought, amid thy faitbful clan, -"Ah, little traii'ress! none must know

A refuge for an outlaw'd man, What idle dream, what lighter thought,

Dishonouring thus thy loyal name.What vanity full dearly bought,

Fetters and warder for the Græme !"Join'd to thine eye's dark witchcraft, drew

His chain of gold the King unstrung, My spell-bound steps to Benvenue, *

The links o'er Malcolm's neck he flung, In dangerous hour, and all but gave

Then gently drew the glittering band,
Thy Monarch's life to mountain glaive!"

And laid the clasp on Ellen's hand.ll
Aloud he spoke--" Thou sull dost hold
That little talisman of gold,
Pledge of my faith, Fitz-James's ring-t

Harp of the North, farewell! The hills grow dark, What seeks fair Ellen of the King ?"

On purple peaks a deeper shade descending;

In iwilight copse the glow-worm lights her spark, XXIX.

The deer, half seen, are to the covert wending. Full well the conscious maiden guess'd,

Resume thy wizard elm! the fountain lending, He probed the weakness of her breast;

And the wild breeze, thy wilder minstrelsy; But with that consciousness, there came

Thy numbers sweet with nature's vespers blending, A lightening of her fears for Græme,

With distant echo from the fold and lea, Andt more she deem'd the Monarch's ire

And herd-boy's evening pipe, and hum of housing Kindled 'gainst him, who, for her sire,

bee. Rebellious broadsword boldly drew; And, to her generous feeling true,

Yet, once again, farewell, thou Minstrel Harp!

Yei, once again, forgive my feeble sway, She craved the grace of Roderick Dhu.

And little reck I of the censure sharp "Forbear thy suit: the King of Kings Alone can stay life's parting wings;

May idly cavil at an idle lay.

Much' have I owed thy strains on life's long way, I know his heart, I know his hand,

Through secret woes the world has never known. Have shared his cheer, and proved his brand :My fairest earldom would I give

When on the weary night dawn'd wearier day, To bid Clan- Alpine's Chieftain live!

And bitterer was the grief devour'd alone. Hast thou no other boon to crave?

That I o'erlive such woes, Enchantress! is thine

own. No other captive friend to save ?" Blushing, she turn'd her from the King,

Hark! as my lingering footsteps slow retire, And to the Douglas gave the ring,

Some Spirit of the Air has waked thy string! As if she wish'd her sire to speak

'Tis now a seraph bold, with touch of fire, The suit that stain'd her glowing cheek.-

'Tis now the brush of Fairy's frolic wing. “Nay, then, my pledge has lost its force,

Receding now, the dying numbers ring And stubborn justice holds her course.

Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell, Malcolm, come forth !"- And, at the word, And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring Down kneel'd the Græmes to Scotland's Lord. A wandering witch-note of the distant spell“For thee, rash youth, no suppliant sues, And now, 'tis silent all !-Enchantress, fare thee From thee may Vengeance claim her dues,

well! Were I a man, to hear the birdis sound,

T("On a comparison of the merits of this poem with the two Whilk doth againe thy royal rock rebound."

former productions of the saune unquestioned genius, we are in Mr. Chalmers, in his late excellent edition of Sir David Lind clined to bestow on it a very decided preference over both. It gay's works, has refuted the chimerical derivation of Snawdoun would perhaps be difficult to select any one passage of such gengfrom snedding, or cutting. It was probably derived from the ro. ine inspiration, as one or two that might be pointed out in the mantic legend which connected Stirling with King Arthur, to Lay or the Last Minstrel--and, perhaps, in strength and discrimiwhich the mention of the Round Table gives countenance. The nation of character, it may fall short of Marmion; although we ring within which justs were formerly practised, in the castle park, are lonth to resign either the rude and savage generity of Rode is still called the Round Table. Snawdoun is the official title of rick, the romantic chivalry of James, or the playful simplicity, the one of the Scottish heralds, whose epithets seem in all countries to affectionate tendemess, the modest courage, of Ellen Douglas, to have been fantastically adopted from ancient history or romance. the claims of any competitors in the last inentioned poem. But,

It appears (eee Note pane 178] that the real name by which for interest and artificial management in the story, for general James was actually distinguished in his private excursions, was

case and grace of versification, and correctness of language, the the Goodman of Bollengrich: derived from a steep pass leading Lady of the Lake must be universally allowed, we think, to excel, up to the Castle of Stirling, so called But the epithet would not and very far excel either of her predecessors. "--Critical Reriao) have fuited poetry, and would besides at once, and prematurely, ("There is nothing in Mr. Scott, of the severe and majestic have announced the plot to many of my countrymen, among whom style of Milton-or of the terse and fine composition of Pope of the traditional stories above mentioned are still current.

of the elaborate elegunce and melody of Campbell-or even of * (M8.-" Thy sovereign back

the flowing and redundant diction of Southey.--but there is Thy sovereign's stopk{to Benvenue."]

medley of bright images and glowing, sct carelessly and loosely * (M. Pledge of Fitz-Jamee's faith, the ring.")

together-a diction tinged successively with the carcles richness : (M8.-"And in her breast strove maiden shame;

of Shakspeare, the harshness and antique simplicity of the old More deep she deemed the Monarch's ire

| romances, the homeliness of vulgar ballads and anecdotes, and Kindled 'gainst bin, whe, for her sire,

the sentimental glitter of the most modem poetry-passing from Against his Sovereign broadsword drew;

the borders of the ludicrous to those of the sublime-altemately And with a pleading, warm and true,

minute and energetic-sometimes artificial, and frequently negliShe craved the grace of Roderick Dhu."')

gent, but always full of spirit and vivacity-abounding in images $("* Malcolm Grime has too insignificant a part assigned bim, that are striking at first wight to minds of every contexture and considering the favour in which he is held both by Ellen and the never expressing a sentiment which it can cost the most ordinary author; and in bringing out the shaded and imperfect character reader any exertion to comprehend. Upon the whole, we are in of Roderick Dhu, as a contrast to the purer virtue of his rival, clined to think more highly of the Lady of the Lake than of either Mr. Scott seems to have fallen into the common error, of making of its author's former publications. We are more sure, however, him more interestinz than him whose virtues he was intended to that it hns fewer faults, than that it has greater beauties; and as set off, and converted the villain of the picce in some measure into its brauties bear a strong resemblance to those with which the its hero. A modern pot, however, may perhapw be pardoned for public has been already made familiar in these celebrated works an error, of which Milton himself is thought not to have kept we should not be surprised if its popularity were less splendid and clear, and for which there seems so natural a cause in the differ: renarkable. For our own parts, however, we are of opinion that ence between poetical and amiable characters."-JEFFRBY.) it will be oftener read hereafer than either of them; and that if

!" And now, waving mysell, let me talk to you of the it had appeared first in the series, their reception would have Prince Regent. He ordered me to be presented to hiin at a ball; been less favourable than that which it has experienced. It is and after some sayings peculiarly pleasing from royal lips, as to more polished in its diction, and more regular in its versification my own attempts, he talked to me of you and your immortalities the story is constructed with infinitely more skill and address he preferred you to every bard past and present, and asked there is a greater proportion of pleasing and tender passages. which of your work, pleased me most. It was a difficult question. with much less antiquarian detail; and, upon the whole, a larger I answered, I thought the 'Lay,' He said his own opinion was vanety of characters, more artfully and judiciously contrasted. nearly similar. In reaking of the others, I told him that I thought There is nothing so finr perhaps, as the battle of Marmionoso you more particularly the poet of Prince, as they never appeared! picturesque as some of the scattered sketches in the Lay; but more fascinating than in Marmion and the Lady of the Lake there is a richness and a spirit in the whole piece, which does not He was pleased to coincide, and to dwell on the deseription of pervade either of these poems--a profusion of incident, and of your James's as no less moyal than poétical

. The spoke aliemate: Shifting brilliancy of colouring, that reminds us of the witchery of ly of Homer and yourself, and seemed well acquainted with Ariosto--and a constant elasticity, and occavional energy, which both," &c.-Letter from Lord Byron to Sir Walter Scott, July seem to belong more peculiarly lo the author now before us."6, 1912. BYRON's Life and Works, vol. Ü. p. 136]

JEFFREY)

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

THE BARD'S INCANTATION. "When targets clash'd, and bugles rung,

And blades round warriors' heads were flung. FRITTEN UNDER THE THREAT OF INVASION IN THE The foremost of the band were we, ACTUMN OF 1804.*

And hymn'd the joys of Liberty !")" The Forest of Glenmore is drear,

It is all of black pine and the dark oak-tree;
And the midnight wind, to the mountain deer,

THE PALMER.
Is whistling the forest lullaby :
The moon looks through the drifting storm,

"O, OPEN the door, some pity to show, But the troubled lake reflects not her form,

Keen blows the northern wind ! For the waves roll whitening to the land,

The glen is white with the drifted snow, And dash against the shelvy strand.

And the path is hard to find. There is a voice among the trees,

“No ontlaw seeks your castle gate, That mingles with the groaning oakThat mingles with the stormy breeze,

From chasing the King's deer, And the lake-waves dashing against the rock ;

Though even an outlaw's wretched state

Might claim compassion here.
There is a voice within the wood,
The voice of the bard in fitful mood;

A weary Palmer, worn and weak.
His song was louder than the blast,

I wander for my sin;
As the bard of Glenmore through the forest past. 0, open, for Our Lady's sake!

A pilgrim's blessing win!
"Wake ye from your sleep of death,
Minstrels and bards of other days!

"I'll give you pardons from the Pope, For the midnight wind is on the heath,

And relics from o'er the sea, And the midnight meteors dimly blaze:

Or if for these you will not ope, The Spectre with his Bloody Handt

Yet open for charity. Is wandering through the wild woodland;

"The hare is crouching in her form, The owl and the raven are mute for dread,

The hart beside the hind; And the time is meet to awake the dead !

An aged man, amid the storm, "Souls of the mighty, wake and say,

No shelter can I find. To what high strain your harps were strung,

"You hear the Etrrick's sullen roar, When Lochlin plough'd her billowy way,

Dark, deep, and strong is he, And on your shores her Norsemen flung?

And I must ford the Ettrick o'er, Her Vorsemen train'd to spoil and blood,

Unless you pity me. Skill'd to prepare the Raven's food,

"The iron gate is bolted hard, All, by your harpings doom'd to die On bloody Largs and Loncarty.

At which I knock in vain ;

The owner's heart is closer barr'd, "Mute are ye all? No murmurs strange

Who hears me thus complain. l'pon the midnight breeze sail by;

"Farewell, farewell ! and Mary gran Nor through the pines, with whistling change,

When old and frail you be, Mimic the harp's wild harmony !

You never may the shelter want,
Muie are ye now?-Ye ne'er were mute,

Tbat's now denied to me.'
When Murder with his bloody foot,
And Rapine with his iron band,

The Ranger on his couch lay warm,
Were hovering near yon mountain strand.

And heard him plead in vain;

But oft ainid December's storm, "O yet awake the strain to tell,

He'll hear that voice again : By every deed in song enroll'd,

For lo, when through the vapours dank,
By every chief who fought or fell,

Morn shone on E trick fair,
For Albion's weal in battle bold:-
From Coilgach, s first who roil'd his car

A corpse amid the alders rank,

The Palmer welter'd there.
Through the deep ranks of Roman war,
To him, of veteran memory dear,
Who victor died on Aboukir.
"By all their swords, by all their scars,

THE MAID OF NEID PATH. By all their names, a mighty spell !

(1806.) By all their wounds, by all their wars, Arise, the mighly strain to tell!

There is a tradition in Tweeddale, that, when For fiercer than fierce Hengisi's

strain,

Neidpath Castle, near Peebles, was inhabited by the More impious than the heathen Dane,

Earls of March, a mutual passion subsisted between More grasping than all-grasping Rome,

į daughter of that noble family, and a son of the Gaul's ravening legions hither come !"

Laird of Tushielaw, in Ettrick Forest. As the

illiance was thoughi unsuitable by her parents, the The wind is hushid, and still the lake

young man went abroad. During his absence the Strange murmurs fill my tingling ears,

lady fell into a consumption; and at length, as the Bristles my hair, my sinews quake,

only means of saving her life, her father consented At the dread voice of other years

1 Where the Norwegian invader of Scotland received two (This poem was first published in the “ English Minstrelsy," bloody defeats.

& The Galgacus of Tacitus. dearg, or Red-hand. "The forest of Glenmore is haunted by a spirit called Lham (This, anil the two following, were first published in Haydn'o

Collection of Scottish Airs, vol. ii. Edin. 1806.)

2 vols Edin 1810.1

« PreviousContinue »