Walter Scott.

The poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet online

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Still, though thy sire the peace renewed,
Smoulders in Roderick's breast the feud :

While yet a child, — and children know,
Instinctive taught, the friend and foe, —
I shuddered at his brow of gloom,
His shadowy plaid and sable plume ;
A maiden grown, I ill could bear
His haughty mien and lordly air:
But, if thou join'st a suitor's claim,
In serious mood, to Roderick's name,
I thrill with anguish ! or, if e'er
A Douglas knew the word, with fear.
To change such odious theme were best, - -
What think'si thou of our stranger
guest?' —


' What think I of him ? — woe the while
That brought such wanderer to our isle !
Thy father's battle-brand, of yore
For Tine-man forged by fairy lore,
What time he leagued, no longer foes,
His Border spears with Hotspur's bows,
Did, self-unscabbarded, foreshow
The footstep of a secret foe.
If courtly spy hath harbored here.
What may we for the Douglas fear ?

Beware ! — But hark ! what sounds are

these ?
My dull ears catch no faltering breeze,
No weeping birch nor aspens wake,
Nor breath is dimpling in the lake ;
Still is the canna's hoary beard,
Yet, by my minstrel faith, I heard —
And hark again ! some pipe of war
Sends the bold pibroch from afar.'

Far up the lengthened lake were spied
Four darkening specks upon the tide,
That, slow enlarging on the view,
Four manned and masted barges grew,
And, bearing downwards from Glengyle,
Steered full upon the lonely isle ;
The point of Brianchoil they passed,
And, to the windward as they cast,
Against the sun they gave to shine
The bold Sir Roderick's bannered Pine.
Nearer and nearer as they bear,
Spears, pikes, and axes flash in air.
Now might you see the tartans brave,
And plaids and plumage dance and wave :



Now see the bonnets sink and rise,
As his tough oar the rower plies :
See, flashing at each sturdy stroke.
The wave ascending into smoke :
See the proud pipers on the bow,
And mark the gaudy streamers flow
From their loud chanters down, and sweep
The furrowed bosom of the deep,
As, rushing through the lake amain,
They plied the ancient Highland strain.

Ever, as on they bore, more loud
And louder rung the pibroch proud.
At first the sounds, by distance tame,
Mellowed along the waters came,
And, lingering long by cape and bay,
Wailed every harsher note away,
Then bursting bolder on the ear,
The clan's shrill Gathering they could hear,
Those thrilling sounds that call the might
Of old Clan-Alpine to the fight.
Thick beat the rapid notes, as when
The mustering hundreds shake the glen,
And hurrying at the signal dread,
The battered earth returns their tread.
Then prelude light, of livelier tone,
Expressed their merry marching on,
Ere peal of closing battle rose,

With mingled outcry, shrieks, and blows ;
And mimic din of stroke and ward.
As broadsword upon target jarred :
And groaning pause, ere yet again,
Condensed, the battle yelled amain :
The rapid charge, the rallying shout,
Retreat borne headlong into rout,
And bursts of triumph, to declare
Clan- Alpine's conquest — all were there.
Nor ended thus the strain, but slow
Sunk in a moan prolonged and low,
And changed the conquering clarion swell
For wild lament o'er those that fell.


The war-pipes ceased, but lake and hill
Were busy with their echoes still ;
And, when they slept, a vocal strain
Bade their hoarse chorus wake again,
While loud a hundred clansmen raise
Their voices in their Chieftain's praise.
Each boatman, bending to his oar,
With measured sweep the burden bore,
In such wild cadence as the breeze
Makes through December's leafless trees.
The chorus first could Allan know,
' Roderick Vich Alpine, ho ! iro ! '
And near, and nearer as they rowed,
Distinct the martial ditty flowed.




Boat Song.

Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances !
Honored and blessed be the ever-green
Long may the tree,in his banner that glances,
Flourish, the shelter and grace of our
line !
Heaven send it happy dew,
Earth lend it sap anew,
Gayly to bourgeon and broadly to grow,
While every Highland glen
Sends our shout back again,
' Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho ! ieroe

Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the
Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade ;
When the whirlwind has stripped every leaf
on the mountain,
The more shall Clan-Alpine exult in her
Moored in the rifted rock,
Proof to the tempest's shock,
Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow ;
Menteith and Breadalbane, then,
Echo his praise again.
'Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho ! ieroe ! '


Proudly our pibroch has thrilled in Glen
And Bannochar's groans to our slogan
replied ;
Glen Luss and Ross-dhu, they are smoking
in ruin,
And the best of Loch Lomond lie dead
on her side.
Widow and Saxon maid
Long shall lament our raid,
Think of Clan-Alpine with fear and with
woe ;
Lennox and Leven-glen
Shake when they hear again,
1 Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho ! ieroe ! '

Row, vassals, row, for the pride of the
Highlands !
Stretch to your oars for the ever-green
Pine !
O that the rosebud that graces yon islands
Were wreathed in a garland around him
to twine !
O that some seedling gem,
Worthy such noble stem,
Honored and blessed in their shadow
might grow !

i 7 8


Loud should Clan- Alpine then
Ring from her deepmost glen,
1 Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho ! ieroe ! '


With all her joyful female band

Had Lady Margaret sought the strand.

Loose on the breeze their tresses flew,

And high their snowy arms they threw,

As echoing back with shrill acclaim,

And chorus wild, the Chieftain's name ;

While, prompt to please, with mother's art,

The darling passion of his heart,

The Dame called Ellen to the strand,

To greet her kinsman ere he land :

1 Come, loiterer, come ! a Douglas thou,

And shun to wreathe a victor's brow ? '

Reluctantly and slow, the maid

The unwelcome summoning obeyed,

And when a distant bugle rung,

In the mid-path aside she sprung : —

1 List, Allan-bane ! From mainland cast

I hear my father's signal blast.

Be ours,' she cried, ' the skiff to guide,

And waft him from the mountain-side.'

Then, like a sunbeam, swift and bright,

She darted to her shallop light,
And, eagerly while Roderick scanned,
For her dear form, his mother's band,
The islet far behind her lay,
And she had landed in the bay.


Some feelings are to mortals given

With less of earth in them than heaven ;

And if there be a human tear

From passion's dross refined and clear,

A tear so limpid and so meek

It would not stain an angel's cheek, *

'T is that which pious fathers shed

Upon a duteous daughter's head !

And as the Douglas to his breast

His darling Ellen closely pressed,

Such holy drops her tresses steeped,

Though 't was an hero's eye that weeped.

Nor while on Ellen's faltering tongue

Her filial welcomes crowded hung,

Marked she that fear — affection's proof —

Still held a graceful youth aloof ;

No ! not till Douglas named his name,

Although the youth was Malcolm Graeme.




Allan, with wistful look the while,

Marked Roderick landing on the isle ;

His master piteously he eyed,

Then gazed upon the Chieftain's pride,

Then dashed with hasty hand away

From his dimmed eye the gathering spray ;

And Douglas, as his hand he laid

On Malcolm's shoulder, kindly said :

* Canst thou, young friend, no meaning


In my poor follower's glistening eye?
I '11 tell thee : — he recalls the day

And Bothwell's bards flung back my praise,
As when this old man's silent tear,
And this poor maid's affection dear,
A welcome give more kind and true
Than aught my better fortunes knew.
Forgive, my friend, a father's boast, —
O, it out-beggars all I lost ! '


Delightful praise ! — like summer rose,
That brighter in the dew-drop glows,
The bashful maiden's cheek appeared,
For Douglas spoke, and Malcolm heard.

When in my praise he led the lay
O'er the arched gate of Bothwell proud,
While many a minstrel answered loud,
When Percy's Norman pennon, won
In bloody field, before me shone,
And twice ten knights, the least a name
As mighty as yon Chief may claim,
Gracing my pomp, behind me came.
Yet trust me, Malcolm, not so proud
Was I of all that marshalled crowd,
Though the waned crescent owned my

And in my train trooped lord and knight,
Though Blantyre hymned her holiest lays,

The flush of shame-faced joy to hide,
The hounds, the hawk, her cares divide ;
The loved caresses of the maid
The dogs with crouch and whimper paid ;
And, at her whistle, on her hand
The falcon took his favorite stand,
Closed his dark wing, relaxed his eye,
Nor, though unhooded, sought to fly.
And, trust, while in such guise she stood,
Like fabled Goddess of the wood,
That if a father's partial thought
O'erweighed her worth and beauty aught,
Well might the lover's judgment fail
To balance with a juster scale ;



For with each secret glance he stole,
The fond enthusiast sent his soul.


Of stature fair, and slender frame,
But firmly knit, was Malcolm Graeme.
The belted plaid and tartan hose
Did ne'er more graceful limbs disclose ;
His flaxen hair, of sunny hue,
Curled closely round his bonnet blue.
Trained to the chase, his eagle eye
The ptarmigan in snow could spy ;
Each pass, by mountain, lake, and heath,
He knew, through Lennox and Menteith ;
Vain was the bound of dark-brown doe
When Malcolm bent his sounding bow.
And scarce that doe, though winged with

Outstripped in speed the mountaineer :
Right up Ben Lomond could he press,
And not a sob his toil confess.
His form accorded with a mind
Lively and ardent, frank and kind ;
A blither heart, till Ellen came,
Did never love nor sorrow tame;
It danced as lightsome in his breast
As played the feather on his crest.
Yet friends, who nearest knew the youth,
His scorn of wrong, his zeal for truth,
And bards, who saw his features bold
When kindled by the tales of old,
Said, were that youth to manhood grown,
Not long should Roderick Dhu's renown
Be foremost voiced by mountain fame,
But quail to that of Malcolm Graeme.

Now back they wend their watery way,
And, * O my sire ! ' did Ellen say,
'Why urge thy chase so far astray?

And why so late returned ? And why ' —
The rest was in her speaking eye.
4 My child, the chase I follow far.
'T is mimicry of noble war ;
And with that gallant pastime reft
Were all of Douglas I have left.
I met young Malcolm as I strayed
Far eastward, in Glenfinlas' shade ;
Nor strayed I safe, for all around
Hunters and horsemen scoured the ground.
This youth, though still a royal ward, *
Risked life and land to be my guard.
And through the passes of the wood
Guided my steps, not unpursued :
And Roderick shall his welcome make.
Despite old spleen, for Douglas' sake.
Then must he seek Strath-Endrick glen,
Nor peril aught for me again.'


Sir Roderick, who to meet them came,
Reddened at sight of Malcolm Graeme,
Yet, not in action, word, or eye,
Failed aught in hospitality.
In talk and sport they whiled away
1 The morning of that summer day ;
But at high noon a courier light
Held secret parley with the knight,
Whose moody aspect soon declared
That evil were the news he heard.
Deep thought seemed toiling in his head ;
Yet was the evening banquet made
Ere he assembled round the flame
His mother, Douglas, and the Graeme,
And Ellen too ; then cast around
His eyes, then fixed them on the ground.
As studying phrase that might avail
Best to convey unpleasant tale.
Long with his dagger's hilt he played.
Then raised his haughty brow, and said : —




* Short be my speech : — nor time affords,
Nor my plain temper, glozing words.
Kinsman and father, — if such name
Douglas vouchsafe to Roderick's claim ;
Mine honored mother ; — Ellen, — why,
My cousin, turn away thine eye ? —
And Graeme, in whom I hope to know
Full soon a noble friend or foe,
When age shall give thee thy command,
And leading in thy native land, —
List all ! — The King's vindictive pride
Boasts to have tamed the Border-side,
Where chiefs, with hound and hawk who

To share their monarch's sylvan game,
Themselves in bloody toils were snared,
And when the banquet they prepared,
And wide their loyal portals flung,
O'er their own gateway struggling hung.
Loud cries their blood from Meggat's mead,
From Yarrow braes and banks of Tweed,
Where the lone streams of Ettrick glide,

And from the silver Teviot's side ;

The dales, where martial clans did ride,

Are now one sheep-walk, waste and wide.

This tyrant of the Scottish throne,

So faithless and so ruthless known,

Now hither comes ; his end the same,

The same pretext of sylvan game.

What grace for Highland Chiefs, judge ye

By fate of Border chivalry.

Yet more ; amid Glenfinlas' green,

Douglas, thy stately form was seen.

This by espial sure I know :

Your counsel in the streight I show.'


Ellen and Margaret fearfully
Sought comfort in each other's eye,
Then turned their ghastly look, each one,
This to her sire, that to her son.
The hasty color went and came
In the bold cheek of Malcolm Graeme,
But from his glance it well appeared
'T was but for Ellen that he feared ;



While, sorrowful, but undismayed,

The Douglas thus his counsel said :

1 Brave Roderick, though the tempest roar,

It may but thunder and pass o'er ;

Nor will I here remain an hour,

Toxlraw the lightning on thy bower;

For well thou know'st, at this gray head

The royal bolt were fiercest sped.

For thee, who, at thy King's command,

Canst aid him with a gallant band,

Submission, homage, humbled pride;

Shall turn the Monarch's wrath aside.

Like cause of doubt, distrust, and grief,
Will bind to us each Western Chief.
When the loud pipes my bridal tell,
The Links of Forth shall hear the knell,
The guards shall start in Stirling's porch ;
And when I light the nuptial torch,
A thousand villages in flames
Shall scare the slumbers of King James ! —
Nay, Ellen, blench not thus away,
And, mother, cease these signs, I pray ;
I meant not all my heat might say. —
Small need of inroad or of fight,

Poor remnants of the Bleeding Heart,
Ellen and I will seek apart
The refuge of some forest cell,
There, like the hunted quarry, dwell,
Till on the mountain and the moor
The stern pursuit be passed and o'er.' —


4 No, by mine honor,' Roderick said,

* So help me Heaven, and my good blade !

No, never ! Blasted be yon Pine,

My father's ancient crest and mine,

If from its shade in danger part

The lineage of the Bleeding Heart !

Hear my blunt speech : grant me this maid

To wife, thy counsel to mine aid ;

To Douglas, leagued with Roderick Dhu,

Will friends and allies flock enow;

When the sage Douglas may unite
Each mountain clan in friendly band,
To guard the passes of their land,
Till the foiled King from pathless glen
Shall bootless turn him home again.'


There are who have, at midnight hour,

In slumber scaled a dizzy tower,

And, on the verge that beetled o'er

The ocean tide's incessant roar,

Dreamed calmly out their dangerous dream,

Till wakened by the morning beam ;

When, dazzled by the eastern glow,

Such startler cast his glance beiow,

And saw unmeasured depth around,

And heard unintermitted sound,

And thought the battled fence so frail,



It waved like cobweb in the gale ; —
Amid his senses' giddy wheel,
Did he not desperate impulse feel,
Headlong to plunge himself below,
And meet the worst his fears foreshow ? —
Thus Ellen, dizzy and astound,
As sudden ruin yawned around,
By crossing terrors wildly tossed,
Still for the Douglas fearing most,
Could scarce the desperate thought with-
To buy his safety with her hand.


Such purpose dread could Malcolm spy
In Ellen's quivering lip and eye,
And eager rose to speak, — but ere
His tongue could hurry forth his fear,
Had Douglas marked the hectic strife,
Where death seemed combating with life ;
For to her cheek, in feverish flood,
One instant rushed the throbbing blood,
Then ebbing back, with sudden sway,
Left its domain as wan as clay.
' Roderick, enough ! enough ! ' he cried,

' My daughter cannot be thy bride ;
Not that the blush to wooer dear,
Nor paleness that of maiden fear.
It may not be, — forgive her, Chief,
Nor hazard aught for our relief.
Against his sovereign, Douglas ne'er
Will level a rebellious spear.
'T was I that taught his youthful hand
To rein a steed and wield a brand ;
I see him yet, the princely boy !
Not Ellen more my pride and joy ;
I love him still, despite my wrongs
By hasty wrath and slanderous tongues.
O, seek the grace you well may find.
Without a cause to mine combined ! '


Twice through the hall the Chieftain strode ;
The waving of his tartans broad,
And darkened brow, where wounded pride
With ire and disappointment vied,
Seemed, by the torch's gloomy light,
Like the ill Demon of the night,
Stooping his pinions' shadowy sway
Upon the nighted pilgrim's way :

1 84


But, unrequited Love ! thy dart
Plunged deepest its envenomed smart,
And Roderick, with thine anguish stung,
At length the hand of Douglas wrung,
While eyes that mocked at tears before
With bitter drops were running o'er.
The death-pangs of long-cherished hope
Scarce in that ample breast had scope,
But, struggling with his spirit proud,
Convulsive heaved its checkered shroud,

With stalwart grasp his hand he laid
On Malcolm's breast and belted plaid :
1 Back, beardless boy ! ' he sternly said,
1 Back, minion ! holdst thou thus at naught
The lesson I so lately taught ?
This roof, the Douglas, and that maid,
Thank thou for punishment delayed.'
Eager as greyhound on his game,
Fiercely with Roderick grappled Graeme.
' Perish my name, if aught afford

While every sob — so mute were all —
Was heard distinctly through the hall.
The son's despair, the mother's look,
111 might the gentle Ellen brook ;
She rose, and to her side there came,
To aid her parting steps, the Graeme.


Then Roderick from the Douglas broke —
As flashes flame through sable smoke,
Kindling its wreaths, long, dark, and low,
To one broad blaze of ruddy glow.
So the deep anguish of despair
Burst, in fierce jealousy, to air.

Its Chieftain safety save his sword ! '

Thus as they strove their desperate hand

Griped to the dagger or the brand,

And death had been — but Douglas rose,

And thrust between the struggling foes

His giant strength : — ' Chieftains, forego !

I hold the first who strikes my foe. —

Madmen, forbear your frantic jar !

What ! is the Douglas fallen so far,

His daughter's hand is deemed the spoil

Of such dishonorable broil ? '

Sullen and slowly they unclasp,

As struck with shame, their desperate grasp,

And each upon his rival glared,

With foot advanced and blade half bared.




Ere yet the brands aloft were flung,
Margaret on Roderick's mantle hung,
And Malcolm heard his Ellen's scream,
As faltered through terrific dream.
Then Roderick plunged in sheath his sword,
And veiled his wrath in scornful word :
1 Rest safe till morning ; pity 't were
Such cheek should feel the midnight air !
Then mayst thou to James Stuart tell,
Roderick will keep the lake and fell,
Nor lackey with his freeborn clan
The pageant pomp of earthly man.
More would he of Clan-Alpine know,
Thou canst our strength and passes show. —
Malise, what ho ! ' — his henchman came :
1 Give our safe-conduct to the Graeme.'
Young Malcolm answered, calm and bold :
1 Fear nothing for thy favorite hold;
The spot an angel deigned to grace
Is blessed, though robbers haunt the place.
Thy churlish courtesy for those
Reserve, who fear to be thy foes.
As safe to me the mountain way
At midnight as in blaze of day,
Though with his boldest at his back
Even Roderick Dhu beset the track. —
Brave Douglas, — lovely Ellen, — nay,
Naught here of parting will I say.
Earth does not hold a lonesome glen
So secret but we meet again. —
Chieftain ! we too shall find an hour,' —
He said, and left the svlvan bower.


Old Allan followed to the strand —
Such was the Douglas's command —
And anxious told, how, on the morn,
The stern Sir Roderick deep had sworn,
The Fiery Cross should circle o'er
Dale, glen, and valley, down and moor.
Much were the peril to the Graeme
From those who to the signal came ;
Far up the lake 't were safest land,
Himself would row him to the strand.
He gave his counsel to the wind,
While Malcolm did, unheeding, bind,
Round dirk and pouch and broadsword

His ample plaid in tightened fold,
And stripped his limbs to such array
As best might suit the watery way, —


Then spoke abrupt : ' Farewell to thee,
Pattern of old fidelity ! '
The Minstrel's hand he kindly pressed, —
' O, could I point a place of rest !
My sovereign holds in ward my land,
My uncle leads my vassal band ;
To tame his foes, his friends to aid,
Poor Malcolm has but heart and blade.
Yet, if there be one faithful Graeme
Who loves the chieftain of his name,
Not long shall honored Douglas dwell
Like hunted stag in mountain cell ;

1 86


Nor, ere yon pride-swollen robber dare, —
I may not give the rest to air !
Tell Roderick Dhu I owed him naught.
Not the poor service of a boat,
To waft me to yon mountain-side.'
Then plunged he in the flashing tide.
Bold o'er the flood his head he bore,
And stoutly steered him from the shore:
And Allan strained his anxious eye,

Far mid the lake his form to spy,
Darkening across each puny wave,
To which the moon her silver gave.
Fast as the cormorant could skim,
The swimmer plied each active limb
Then landing in the moonlight dell,
Loud shouted of his weal to tell.
The Minstrel heard the far halloo,
And joyful from the shore withdrew.


1 8/

&fje ILaog of tfje SLafce.



Time rolls his ceaseless course. The race
of yore,
Who danced our infancy upon their knee,
And told our marvelling boyhood legends
Of their strange ventures happed by land
or sea,
How are they blotted from the things that
be !
How few, all weak and withered of their
Wait on the verge of dark eternity,

Like stranded wrecks, the tide returning
To sweep them from our sight ! Time rolls
his ceaseless course.

Yet live there still who can remember well.
How, when a mountain chief his bugle

Both field and forest, dingle, cliff, and dell,

And solitary heath, the^signal knew ;
And fast the faithful clan around him drew,
What time the warning note was keenly
What time aloft their kindred banner flew,
While clamorous war-pipes yelled the
gathering sound,
And while the Fiery Cross glanced, like a
meteor, round.

The Summer dawn's reflected hue

To purple changed Loch Katrine blue ;

Mildly and soft the western breeze

Just kissed the lake, just stirred the trees.

And the pleased lake, like maiden coy,

Trembled but dimpled not for joy :

The mountain-shadows on her breast

Were neither broken nor at rest ;

In bright uncertainty they lie,

Like future joys to Fancy's eye.

The water-lily to the light

Her chalice reared of silver bright ;

The doe awoke, and to the lawn,

Begemmed with dew-drops, led her fawn ;

The gray mist left the mountain-side,

The torrent showed its glistening pride ;

1 88


Invisible in necked sky

The lark sent down her revelry ;

The blackbird and the speckled thrush

Good-morrow gave from brake and bush ;

In answer cooed the cushat dove *

Her notes of peace and rest and love.

No thought of peace, no thought of rest,
Assuaged the storm in Roderick's breast.
With sheathed broadsword in his hand,
Abrupt he paced the islet strand,
And eyed the rising sun, and laid
His hand on his impatient blade.
Beneath a rock, his vassals' care
Was prompt the ritual to prepare,
With deep and deathful meaning fraught:
For such Antiquity had taught
Was preface meet, ere yet abroad
The Cross of Fire should take its road.
The shrinking band stood oft aghast
At the impatient glance he cast ; —
Such glance the mountain eagle threw,

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