Walter Scott.

The poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet online

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But hark ! what mingles in the strain ?



It is the harp of Allan-bane,

That wakes its measure slow and high,

Attuned to sacred minstrelsy.

What melting voice attends the strings ?

'T is Ellen, or an angel, sings.


pjgtmt to tfje Utrgm.

Ave Maria ! maiden mild !

Listen to a maiden's prayer !
Thou canst hear though from the wild,

Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,

Though banished, outcast, and reviled —
Maiden ! hear a maiden's prayer ;

Mother, hear a suppliant child !

Ave Maria!

Ave Maria / undefiled !

The flinty couch we now must share
Shall seem with down of eider piled,

If thy protection hover there.
The murky cavern's heavy air



Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled:
Then, Maiden ! hear a. maiden's prayer,
Mother, list a suppliant child !

Ave Maria:

Ave Maria .' stainless styled !

Foul demons of the earth and air,
From this their wonted haunt exiled,

Shall flee before thy presence fair.
We bow us to our lot of care,

Beneath thy guidance reconciled :
Hear for a maid a maiden's prayer,

And for a father hear a child !

Ave Maria!

They landed in that silvery bay,
And eastward held their hasty way,
Till, with the latest beams of light.
The band arrived on Lanrick height.
Where mustered in the vale below
Clan-Alpine's men in martial show.


A various scene the clansmen made :
Some sat, some stood, some slowly strayed
But most, with mantles folded round.
Were couched to rest upon the ground,
Scarce to be known by curious eye

Died on the harp the closing hymn, —
Unmoved in attitude and limb,
As listening still, Clan-Alpine's lord
Stood leaning on his heavy sword,
Until the page with humble sign
Twice pointed to the sun's decline.
Then while his plaid he round him cast,
* It is the last time — 't is the last,'
He muttered thrice, — 'the last time e'er
That angel-voice shall Roderick hear ! '
It was a goading thought,, — his stride
Hied hastier down the mountain-side ;
Sullen he flung him in the boat,
An instant 'cross the lake it shot.

From the deep heather where they lie,
So well was matched the tartan screen
With heath-bell dark and brackens green ;
Unless where, here and there, a blade
Or lance's point a glimmer made,
Like glow-worm twinkling through the

But when, advancing through the gloom,
They saw the Chieftain's eagle plume.
Their shout of welcome, shrill and wide.
Shook the steep mountain's steady side.
Thrice it arose, and lake and fell
Three times returned the martial yell :
It died upon Bochastle's plain,
And Silence claimed her evening reign.



&f)e 3LatJg of tjje ILafee.



1 The rose is fairest when 't is budding new,
And hope is brightest when it dawns from
fears ;
The rose is sweetest washed with morning
And love is loveliest when embalmed in

wilding rose, whom fancy thus endears,
I bid your blossoms in my bonnet wave,

Emblem of hope and love through future

years ! '
Thus spoke young Norman, heir of Ar-

What time the sun arose on Vennachar's

broad wave.


Such fond conceit, half said, half sung,
Love prompted to the bridegroom's tongue.
All while he stripped the wild-rose spray,
His axe and bow beside him lay,
For on a pass 'twixt lake and wood
A wakeful sentinel he stood.
Hark ! — on the rock a footstep rung,
And instant to his arms he sprung.

1 Stand, or thou diest ! — What, Malise ? —

Art thou returned from Braes of Doune.
By thy keen step and glance I know,
Thou bring'st us tidings of the foe.' —
For while the Fiery Cross hied on.
On distant scout had Malise gone. —
'Where sleeps the Chief? 'the henchman

' Apart, in yonder misty glade ;
To his lone couch I '11 be your guide.' —
Then called a slumberer by his side,
And stirred him with his slackened bow, —
' Up, up, Glentarkin ! rouse thee, ho !
We seek the Chieftain ; on the track
Keep eagle watch till I come back.'

Together up the pass they sped :

' What of the foeman ? ' Norman said. —

'Varying reports from near and far:

This certain, — that a band of war

Has for two days been ready boune.

At prompt, command to march from Doune ;

King James the while, with princely powers,

Holds revelry in Stirling towers.

Soon will this dark and gathering cloud

Speak on our glens in thunder loud.

Inured to bide such bitter bout,

The warrior's plaid may bear it out;

But, Norman, how wilt thou provide

A shelter for thy bonny bride ? ' —

' What ! know ye not that Roderick's care

To the lone isle hath caused repair

Each maid and matron of the clan,

And every child and aged man

Unfit for arms ; and given his charge,

Nor skiff nor shallop, boat nor barge,

Upon these lakes shall float at large,

But all beside the islet moor,

That such dear pledge may rest secure ? ' —

''Tis well advised, — the Chieftain's plan

Bespeaks the father of his clan.

But wherefore sleeps Sir Roderick Dim

Apart from all his followers true ? '

' It is because last evening-tide

Brian an augury hath tried,

Of that dread kind which must not be

Unless in dread extremity,

The Taghairm called ; by which, afar,

Our sires foresaw the events of war.

Duncraggan's milk-white bull they slew.'—

' Ah ! well the gallant brute I knew !
The choicest of the prey we had
When swept our merrymen Gallangad.
His hide was snow, his horns were dark,
His red eye glowed like fiery spark ;
So fierce, so tameless, and so fleet,
Sore did he cumber our retreat.
And kept our stoutest kerns in awe,
Even at the pass of Beal 'maha.



But steep and flinty was the road,
And sharp the hurrying pikeman's goad,
And when we came to Dennan's Row
A child might scathless stroke his brow.



' That bull was slain ; his reeking hide
They stretched the cataract beside,
Whose waters their wild tumult toss
Adown the black and craggy boss

Or raven on the blasted oak,

That, watching while the deer is broke,

His morsel claims with sullen croak ? '

* Peace ! peace ! to other than to me
■Thy words were evil augury;
But still I hold Sir Roderick's blade
Clan-Alpine's omen and her aid,
Not aught that, gleaned from heaven

Yon fiend-begotten Monk can tell.

Of that huge cliff whose ample verge
Tradition calls the Hero's Targe.
Couched on a shelf beneath its brink,
Close where the thundering torrents sink,
Rocking beneath their headlong sway,
And drizzled by the ceaseless spray,
Midst groan of rock and roar of stream,
The wizard waits prophetic dream.
Nor distant rests the Chief ; — but hush !
See, gliding slow through mist and bush,
The hermit gains yon rock, and stands
To gaze upon our slumbering bands.
Seems he not, Malise, like a ghost,
That hovers o'er a slaughtered host ?

The Chieftain joins him, see — and now-
Together they descend the brow.'

And, as they came, with Alpine's Lord
The Hermit Monk held solemn word : —
1 Roderick ! it is a fearful strife,
For man endowed with mortal life,
Whose shroud of sentient clay can still
Feel feverish pang and fainting chill,
Whose eye can stare in stony trance,
Whose hair can rouse like warrior's lance,
'T is hard for such to view, unfurled,
The curtain of the future world.



Yet, witness every quaking limb,

My sunken pulse, mine eyeballs dim,

My soul with harrowing anguish torn,

This for my Chieftain have I borne ! —

The shapes that sought my fearful couch

A human tongue may ne'er avouch ;

No mortal man — save he, who, bred

Between the living and the dead,

Is gifted beyond nature's law —

Had e'er survived to say he saw.

At length the fateful answer came

In characters of living flame !

Not spoke in word, nor blazed in scroll,

But borne and branded on my soul : —

Which spills the foremost foeman's


That party conquers in the strife.'

' 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-offered to the 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 ? '


' At Doune, o'er many a spear and glaive
Two Barons proud their banners wave.
I saw the Moray's silver star,
And marked the sable pale of Mar.'
1 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
Nought of the friendly clans of Earn ?
Strengthened by them, we well might bide
The battle on Benledi's side.
Thou couldst not ? — well ! Clan- Alpine's



Shall man the Trosachs' shaggy glen ;
Within Loch Katrine's gorge we '11 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 why —
Is it the breeze affects mine eye ?
Or dost thou come, ill-omened tear !
A messenger of doubt or fear?
No ! sooner may the Saxon lance
Unfix Benledi from his stance,
Than doubt or terror can pierce through

Some refuge from impending war.
When e'en Clan-Alpine's rugged swarm
Are cowed by the approaching storm.
I saw their boats with many a light,
Floating the livelong yesternight,
Shifting like flashes darted forth
By the red streamers of the north ;
I marked at morn how close they ride,
Thick moored by the lone islet's side.
Like wild ducks couching in the fen
When stoops the hawk upon the glen.
Since this rude race dare not abide

The unyielding heart of Roderick Dhu !
'T is 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.


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 poured on her unheeding ear.
1 He will return — dear lady, trust ! —
With joy return ; — he will — he must.
Well was it time to seek afar

The peril on the mainland side,
Shall not thy noble father's care
Some safe retreat for thee prepare ?


1 No, Allan, no ! Pretext so kind
My wakeful terrors could not blind.
When in such tender tone, yet grave,
Douglas a parting blessing gave.
The tear that glistened in his eye
Drowned not his purpose fixedand high.
My soul, though feminine and weak,
Can image his ; e'en as the lake,
Itself disturbed by slightest stroke,
Reflects the in vulnerable rock.
He hears report of battle rife,
He deems himself the cause of strife.



I saw him redden when the theme
Turned, Allan, on thine idle dream
Of Malcolm Graeme in fetters bound,
Which I, thou saidst, about him wound.
Think'st thou he trowed thine omen aught ?
O no ! 'twas apprehensive thought
For the kind youth, — for Roderick too —
Let me be just — that friend so true ;
In danger both, and in our cause !
Minstrel, the Douglas dare not pause.
Why else that solemn warning given,
" If not on earth, we meet in heaven ! "
Why else, to Cambus-kenneth's fane,
If eve return him not again,
Am I to hie and make me known ?
Alas ! he goes to Scotland's throne,
Buys his friends' safety with his own ;
He goes to do — what I had done,
Had Douglas' daughter been his son ! '


' Nay, lovely Ellen ! — dearest, nay !
If aught should his return delay,
He only named yon holy fane
As fitting place to meet again.
Be sure he 's safe ; and for the Graeme, —
Heaven's blessing on his gallant name ! —
My visioned sight may yet prove true,
Nor bode of ill to him or you.

When did my gifted dream beguile ?
Think of the stranger at the isle,
And think upon the harpings slow
That presaged this approaching woe !
Sooth was my prophecy of fear ;
Believe it when it augurs cheer.
Would we had left this dismal spot !
Ill luck still haunts a fairy grot.
Of such a wondrous tale I know —
Dear lady, change that look of woe,
My harp was wont thy grief to cheer.'

• 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 greenwood,
When the mavis and merle are singing,

When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds
are in cry,
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.

' O Alice, 't was all for thy locks so bright.

And 't was 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 beech
The hand that held the glaive,

For leaves to spread our lowly bed,
And stakes to fence our cave.

1 And for vest of pall, thy fingers small,

That wont on harp to stray,
A cloak must shear from the slaughtered

To keep the cold away.'

' O Richard ! if my brother died,

'T was but a fatal chance ;
For darkling was the battle tried,

And fortune sped the lance.

' If pall and vair no more I wear,

Nor thou the crimson sheen,
As warm, we '11 say, is the russet gray,

As gay the forest-green.

' And, Richard, if our lot be hard,

And lost thy native land,
Still Alice has her own Richard.

And he his Alice Brand.'


23alla& Continue):.

'T is merry, 'tis merry, in good greenwood ;

So blithe Lady Alice is singing ;
On the beech's pride, and oak's brown side,

Lord Richard's axe is ringing.

Up spoke the moody Elfin King,

Who woned within the hill, —
Like wind in the porch of a ruined church,

His voice was ghostly shrill.

' Why sounds yon stroke on beech and oak.

Our moonlight circle's screen ?
Or who comes here to chase the deer,

Beloved of our Elfin Queen ?
Or who may dare on wold to wear

The fairies'

fatal green ?

' Up, Urgan, up ! to yon mortal hie.

For thou wert christened man :
For cross or sign thou wilt not fly,

For muttered word or ban.

' Lay on him the curse of the withered heart.

The curse of the sleepless eye ;
Till he wish and pray that his life would

Nor yet find ieave to die.'


SSallao Continued
'T is merry, *t is merry, in good greenwood,
Though the birds have stilled their sing-
ing ;
The evening blaze doth Alice raise,
And Richard is fagots bringing.

Up Urgan starts, that hideous dwarf,

Before Lord Richard stands,
And, as he crossed and blessed himself.
' I fear not sign,' quoth the grisly elf,

' 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,

"T is but the blood of deer.*

* Now loud thou liest, thou bold of mood !

It cleaves unto his hand,
The stain of thine own kindly blood,

The blood of Ethert Brand.'

Then forward stepped she, Alice Brand,

And made the holy sign, —
' And if there 's blood on Richard's hand,

A spotless hand is mine.

' And I conjure thee, demon elf,

By Him whom demons fear,
To show us whence thou art thyself,

And what thine errand here ? '


JSallao Continue*.

' T is merry, 't is merry, in Fairy-land,

When fairy birds are singing,
When the court doth ride by their monarch's

With bit and bridle ringing :



' And gayly shines the Fairy-land —

But all is glistening show,
Like the idle gleam that December's beam

Can dart on ice and snow.

* And fading, like that varied gleam,

Is our inconstant shape,
Who now like knight and lady seem,
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 snatched away

To the joyless Elfin bower.

1 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.'

She crossed him once — she crossed him
twice —

That lady was so brave ;
The fouler grew his goblin hue,

The darker grew the cave.

She crossed him thrice, that lady bold ;
He rose beneath her hand

The fairest knight on Scottish mould,
Her brother, Ethert Brand !

Merry it is in good greenwood,

When the mavis and merle are singing.
But merrier were they in Dunfermline gray.

When all the bells were ringing.


Just as the minstrel sounds were stayed,,

A stranger climbed the steepy glade ;

His martial step, his stately mien,

His hunting-suit of Lincoln green,

His eagle glance, remembrance claims —

'T is Snowdoun's Knight, 't is James Fitz-

Ellen beheld as in a dream,
Then, starting, scarce suppressed a scream :
' O stranger ! in such hour of fear
What evil hap has brought thee here ? '
' An evil hap how can it be
That bids me look again on thee ?
By promise bound, my former guide
Met me betimes this morning-tide,
And marshalled over bank and bourne
The happy path of my return.'
' The happy path ! — what ! said he naught
Of war, of battle to be fought,



Of guarded pass ? ' ' No, by my faith !
Nor saw I aught could augur scathe.'
4 O haste thee, Allan, to the kern :
Yonder his tartans I discern ;
Learn thou his purpose, and conjure
That he will guide the stranger sure ! -
What prompted thee, unhappy man ?
The meanest serf in Roderick's clan
Had not been bribed, by love or fear,
Unknown to him to guide thee here.'

' Sweet Ellen, dear my life must be,

Since it is worthy care from thee :

Yet life I hold but idle breath

When love or honor 's weighed with death.

Then let me profit by my chance,

And speak my purpose bold at once.

I come to bear thee from a wild

Where ne'er before such blossom smiled,

By this soft hand to lead thee far

From frantic scenes of feud and war.

Near Bochastle my horses wait ;

They bear us soon to Stirling gate.

I '11 place thee in a lovely bower,

I '11 guard thee like a tender flower — '

4 O hush, Sir Knight ! 't were female art,

To say I do not read thy heart ;

Too much, before, my selfish ear

Was idly soothed my praise to hear.

That fatal bait hath 'lured thee back,

In deathful hour, o'er dangerous track ;

And how, O how, can I atone

The wreck my vanity brought on ! —

One way remains — I '11 tell him all —

Yes ! struggling bosom, forth it shall !

Thou, whose light folly bears the blame,

Buy thine own pardon with thy shame !

But first — my father is a man

Outlawed and exiled, under ban ;

The price of blood is on his head,

With me 't were infamy to wed.

Still wouldst thou speak? — then hear the

truth !
Fitz-James, there is a noble youth
If yet he is ! — exposed for me
And mine to dread extremity —
Thou hast the secret of my heart;
Forgive, be generous, and depart ! '

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 sealed her Malcolm's doom

And she sat sorrowing on his tomb.

Hope vanished from Fitz-James's eye,

But not with hope fled sympathy.

He proffered to attend her side,

As brother would a sister guide.

4 O little know'st thou Roderick's heart !

Safer for both we go apart.

O haste thee, and from Allan learn

If thou mayst trust yon wily 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 crossed his

He paused, and turned, and came again.


4 Hear, lady, yet a parting word ! —
It chanced in fight that my poor sword
Preserved the life of Scotland's lord.
This ring the grateful Monarch gave,
And bade, when I had boon to crave,
To bring it back, and boldly claim
The recompense that I would name.
Ellen, I am no courtly lord,
But one who lives by lance and sword,
Whose castle is his helm and shield,
His lordship the embattled field.
What from a prince can I demand,
Who neither reck of state nor land ?
Ellen, thy hand — the ring is thine;
Each guard and usher knows the sign.
Seek thou the King without delay ;
This signet shall secure thy way :
And claim thy suit, whate'er it be.
As ransom of his pledge to me.'
He placed the golden circlet on,
Paused — kissed her hand — and then was

The aged Minstrel stood aghast,
So hastily Fitz-James shot past.
He joined his guide, and wending down
The ridges of the mountain brown,
Across the stream they took their way
That joins Loch Katrine to Achray.


All in the Trosachs' glen was still,
Noontide was sleeping on the hill :
Sudden his guide whooped loud and high —
4 Murdoch ! was that a signal cry ? ' —
He stammered forth, 4 1 shout to scare
Yon raven from his dainty fare.'
He looked — he knew the raven's prey,
His own brave steed : 4 Ah ! gallant gray !
For thee — for me, perchance — t' were well
We ne'er had seen the Trosachs' 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.


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 tattered weeds and wild array,
Stood on a cliff beside the way,
And glancing round her restless eye,
Upon the wood, the rock, the sky,
Seemed naught to mark, yet all to spy.
Her brow was wreathed 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 shrieked till all the rocks replied ;
As loud she laughed when near they drew r
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 ;
And now, though strained and roughened,

Rung wildly sweet to dale and hill.



They bid me sleep, they bid me pray,
They say my brain is warped and wrung —



I cannot sleep on Highland brae,

I cannot pray in Highland tongue.
But were I now where Allan glides,
Or heard my native Devan's tides,
So sweetly would I rest, and pray
That Heaven would close my wintry day !

'T was thus my hair they bade me braid.

They made me to the church repair:
It was my bridal morn they said,

And my true love would meet me there.
But woe betide the cruel guile
That drowned in blood the morning smile !
And woe betide the fairy dream !
I only waked to sob and scream.

I '11 pitch thee from the cliff as far
As ever peasant pitched a bar ! '
'Thanks, champion, thanks!' the Maniac

And pressed her to Fitz-James's side.
' See the gray pennons I prepare,
To seek my true love through the air !
I will not lend that savage groom,
To break his fall, one downy plume !
No! — deep amid disjointed stones,
The wolves shall batten on his bones,
And then shall his detested plaid,
By bush and brier in mid-air stayed.
Wave forth a banner fair and free,
Meet signal for their revelry.'


'Who is this maid ? what means her lay ?

She hovers o'er the hollow way,

And flutters wide her mantle gray,

As the lone heron spreads his wing,

By twilight, o'er a haunted spring.'

' 'T is Blanche of Devan,' Murdoch said,

1 A crazed and captive Lowland maid,

Ta'en on the morn she was a bride,

When Roderick forayed Devan-side.

The gay bridegroom resistance made,

And felt our Chief's unconquered blade.

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