Walter Scott.

The poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet online

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When here his love and heart are given,
And there his faith stands plight to Heaven !
No drowsy ward 't is his to keep,
For seldom lovers long for sleep.
Till sung his midnight hymn the owl,
Answered the dog-fox with his howl,
Then waked the king — at his request,
Lord Ronald stretched himself to rest.


What spell was good King Robert's, say,

To drive the weary night away ?

His was the patriot's burning thought

Of freedom's battle bravely fought,

Of castles stormed, of cities freed,

Of deep design and daring deed,

Of England's roses reft and torn,

And Scotland's cross in triumph worn,

Of rout and rally, war and truce, —

As heroes think, so thought the Bruce.

No marvel, mid such musings high

Sleep shunned the monarch's thoughtful

Now over Coolin's eastern head
The grayish light begins to spread,
The otter to his cavern drew,
And clamored shrill the wakening mew;
Then watched the page — to needful rest
The king resigned his anxious breast.




To Allan's eyes was harder task
The weary watch their safeties ask.
He trimmed the fire and gave to shine
With bickering light the splintered pine ;
Then gazed awhile where silent laid
Their hosts were shrouded by the plaid.
But little fear waked in his mind,
For he was bred of martial kind,
And, if to manhood he arrive,
May match the boldest knight alive.
Then thought he of his mother's tower,
His little sister's greenwood bower,
How there the Easter-gambols pass,
And of Dan Joseph's lengthened mass.
But still before his weary eye
In rays prolonged the blazes die —
Again he roused him — on the lake
Looked forth where now the twilight-flake
Of pale cold dawn began to wake.
On Coolin's cliffs the mist lay furled,
The morning breeze the lake had curled,
The short dark waves, heaved to the land,
With ceaseless plash kissed cliff or sand ; —
It was a slumbrous sound — he turned
To tales at which his youth had burned,
Of pilgrim's path by demon crossed,
Of sprightly elf or yelling ghost,
Of the wild witch's baneful cot,
And mermaid's alabaster grot,
Who bathes her limbs in sunless well
Deep in Strathaird's enchanted cell.
Thither in fancy rapt he flies,
And on his sight the vaults arise ;
That hut's dark walls he sees no more,
His foot is on the marble floor,
And o'er his head the dazzling spars
Gleam like a firmament of stars ! —
Hark ! hears he not the sea-nymph speak
I Kr anger in that thrilling shriek ! —
No ! all too late, with Allan's dream
Mingled the captive's warning scream.
As from the ground he strives to start,
A ruffian's dagger finds his heart !
Upwards he casts his dizzy eyes —
Murmurs his master's name — and dies !


Not so awoke the king ! his hand
Snatched from the flame a knotted brand,

nearest weapon of his wrath ;
With this be erossed the murderer's path
And vi-nged voung Allan well !

red 'main and bubbling blood
• 1 on the half-extinguished wood,
The miscreant gasped and fell !
Nor rose in pent- the Island Lord;

Caitiff died upon his sword,
And one beneath his grasp lies prone

In mortal grapple overthrown.
But while Lord Ronald's dagger drank
The life-blood from his panting flank.
The father-ruffian of the band
Behind him rears a coward hand ! —

O for a moment's aid,
Till Bruce, who deals no double blow.
Dash to the earth another foe,

Above his comrade laid ! —
And it is gained — the captive sprung
On the raised arm and closely clung,

And, ere he shook him loose,
The mastered felon pressed the ground.
And gasped beneath a mortal wound,

While o'er him stands the Bruce.


1 Miscreant ! while lasts thy flitting spark.
Give me to know the purpose dark
That armed thy hand with murderous knife
Against off enceless stranger's life ? ' —
* No stranger thou ! ' with accent fell,
Murmured the wretch ; ' I know thee well,
And know thee for the foeman sworn
Of my high chief, the mighty Lorn.' —
' Speak yet again, and speak the truth
For thy soul's sake! — from whence this

youth ?
His country, birth, and name declare,
And thus one evil deed repair.' —
' Vex me no more ! — my blood runs cold —
No more I know than I have told.
We found him in a bark we sought
With different purpose — and I thought ' —
Fate cut him short; in blood and broil,
As he had lived, died Cormac Doil.

Then resting on his bloody blade,
The valiant Bruce to Ronald said,
1 Now shame upon us both ! — that boy

Lifts his mute face to heaven
And clasps his hands, to testify
His gratitude to God on high

For strange deliverance given.
His speechless gesture thanks hath paid,
Which our free tongues have left unsaid !
He raised the youth with kindly word,
But marked him shudder at the sword :
He cleansed it from its hue of death,
And plunged the weapon in its sheath.
1 Alas, poor child ! unfitting part
Fate doomed when with so soft a heart

And form so slight as thine
She made thee first a pirate's slave,
Then in his stead a patron gave

Of wayward lot like mine ;
A landless prince, whose wandering life
Is but one scene of blood and strife —



Yet scant of friends the Bruce shall be,
But he '11 find resting-place for thee. —
Come, noble Ronald ! o'er the dead
Enough thy generous grief is paid,
And well has Allan's fate been wroke ;
Come, wend we hence — the day has broke.
Seek we our bark — I trust the tale
Was false that she had hoisted sail.'

Yet, ere they left that charnel-cell,
The Island Lord bade sad farewell
To Allan : < Who shall tell this tale,
He said, ' in halls of Donagaile ?
O, who his widowed mother tell

That, ere his bloom, her fairest fell ? —
Rest thee, poor youth ! and trust my care
For mass and knell and funeral prayer ;
While o'er those caitiffs where they lie
The wolf shall snarl, the raven cry ! '
And now the eastern mountain's head
On the dark lake threw lustre red ;
Bright gleams of gold and purple streak
Ravine and precipice and peak —
So earthly power at distance shows ; •
Reveals his splendor, hides his woes.
O'er sheets of granite, dark and broad,
Rent and unequal, lay the road.
In sad discourse the warriors wind,
And the mute captive moves behind.

Efje ILortJ of tje foles.


Stranger ! if e'er thine ardent step hath traced
The northern realms of ancient Caledon,
Where the proud Queen of Wilderness hath placed
By lake and cataract her lonely throne,
Sublime but sad delight thy soul hath known,
Gazing on pathless glen and mountain high,
Listing where from the cliffs the torrents thrown
Mingle their echoes with the eagle's cry,
And with the sounding lake and with the moaning sky

Yes ! 't was sublime, but sad. — The loneliness
Loaded thy heart, the desert tired thine eye ;
And strange and awful fears began to press
Thy bosom with a stern solemnity.
Then hast thou wished some woodman's cottage nigh,
Something that showed of life, though low and mean ;
Glad sight, its curling wreath of smoke to spy,
Glad sound, its cock's blithe carol would have been,
Or children whooping wild beneath the willows green.

Such are the scenes where savage grandeur wakes
An awful thrill that softens into sighs ;
Such feelings rouse them by dim Rannoch's lakes,
In dark Glencoe such gloomy raptures rise :
Or farther, where beneath the northern skies
Chides wild Loch-Eribol his caverns hoar —
But, be the minstrel judge, they yield the prize
Of desert dignity to that dread shore
That sees grim Coolin rise and hears Coriskin roar.


scorrs poetical works.

Through such wild scenes the champio.

When bold halloo and bugle-blast
Upon the breeze came loud and fast.
'There,' said the Bruce, 'rung Edward's

horn !
What can have caused such brief return ?
And see, brave Ronald, — see him dart
O'er stock and stone like hunted hart
Precipitate, as is the use,
In war or sport, of Edward Bruce.
He marks us, and his eager cry
Will tell his news ere he be nigh.'


Loud Edward shouts, ' What make ye here.
Warring upon the mountain-deer,

When Scotland wants her king ?
A bark from Lennox crossed our track,
With her in speed I hurried back,

These joyful news to bring —
The Stuart stirs in Teviotdale,
And Douglas wakes his native vale ;
Thy storm-tossed fleet hath won its way
With little loss to Brodick-Bay,
And Lennox with a gallant band
Waits but thy coming and command
To waft them o'er to Carrick strand.
There are blithe news ! — but mark the

close !
Edward, the deadliest of our foes,
As with his host he northward passed.
Hafh on the borders breathed his last.'

Still stood the Bruce — his steady cheek
Was little wont his joy to speak,
But then his color rose : —

• Now, Scotland ! shortly shalt thou see,
With God's high will, thy children free

And vengeance on thy foes !
Yet to no sense of selfish wrongs,
Bear witness with me, Heaven, belongs

My joy o'er Edward's bier;
I took my knighthood at his hand,
And lordship held of him and land,

And well may vouch it here,
That, blot the story from his page
Of Scotland ruined in his rage,
You read a monarch brave and sage

And to his people dear.' —

• Let London's burghers mourn her lord
And Croydon monks his praise record,'

The eager Edward said ;
i il as his own, my hate
Surmounts the bounds of mortal fate

And dies not with the dead !
Snch hate was his on Solwav's strand

When vengeance clenched his palsied hand,
That pointed yet to Scotland's land,

As his last accents prayed
Disgrace and curse upon his heir
If he one Scottish head should spare
Till stretched upon the bloody lair

Each rebel corpse was laid !
Such hate was his when his last breath
Renounced the peaceful house of death,
And bade his bones to Scotland's coast
Be borne by his remorseless host,
As if his dead and stony eye
Could still enjoy her misery !
Such hate was his — dark, deadly, long ;
Mine — as enduring, deep, and strong ! ' —

1 Let women, Edward, war with words,
With curses monks, but men with swords :
Nor doubt of living foes to sate
Deepest revenge and deadliest hate.
Now to the sea ! Behold the beach,
And see the galley's pendants stretch
Their fluttering length down favoring gale !
Aboard, aboard ! and hoist the sail.
Hold we our way for Arran first,
Where meet in arms our friends dispersed ;
Lennox the loyal, De la Haye,
And Boyd the bold in battle fray.
I long the hardy band to head,
And see once more my standard spread. —
Does noble Ronald share our course,
Or stay to raise his island force ? ' —
' Come weal, come woe, by Bruce's side,'
Replied the chief, ' will Ronald bide.
And since two galleys yonder ride,
Be mine, so please my liege, dismissed
To wake to arms the clans of Uist,
And all who hear the Minche's roar
On the Long Island's lonely shore.
The nearer Isle's with slight delay
Ourselves may summon in our way ;
And soon on Arratn's shore shall meet
With Torquil's aid a gallant fleet.
If aught avails their chieftain's hest
Among the islesmen of the west.'


Thus was their venturous council said.
But, ere their sails the galleys spread,
Coriskin dark and Coolin high
Echoed the dirge's doleful cry.
Along that sable lake passed 'slow —
Fit scene for such a sight of woe —
The sorrowing islesmen as they bore
The murdered Allan to the shore.
At every pause with dismal shout
Their coronach of grief rung out,
And ever when they moved again
The pipes resumed their clamorous strain,



And with the pibroch's shrilling wail
Mourned the young heir of Donagaile.
Round and around, from cliff and cave
His answer stern old Coolin gave,
Till high upon his misty side
Languished the mournful notes and died.
For never sounds by mortal made
Attained his high and haggard head,
That echoes but the tempest's moan
Or the deep thunder's rending groan.


Merrily, merrily bounds the bark,

She bounds before the gale,
The mountain breeze from Ben-na-darch

Is joyous in her sail !
With fluttering sound like laughter hoarse

The cords and canvas strain,
The waves, divided by her force,
In rippling eddies chased her course,

As if they laughed again.
Not down the breeze more blithely flew,
Skimming the wave, the light sea-mew

Than the gay galley bore
Her course upon that favoring wind,
And Coolin's crest has sunk behind

And Slapin's caverned shore.
'T was then that warlike signals wake
Duns'caith's dark towers and Eisord's lake,
And soon from Cavilgarrigh's head
Thick wreaths of eddying smoke were
spread ;

A summons these of war and wrath
To the brave clans of Sleat and Strath,

And ready at the sight
Each warrior to his weapon sprung
And targe upon his shoulder flung,

Impatient for the fight.
Mac-Kinnon's chief, in warfare gray,
Had charge to muster their array
And guide their barks to Brodick-Bay.


Signal of Ronald's high command,
A beacon gleamed o'er sea and land
From Canna's tower, that, steep and gray,
Like falcon-nest o'erhangs the bay.
Seek not the giddy crag to climb
To view the turret scathed by time ;
It is a task of doubt and fear
To aught but goat or mountain-deer.
But rest thee on the silver beach,
And let the aged herdsman teach

His tale of former day ;
His cur's wild clamor he shall chide,
And for thy seat by ocean's side

His varied plaid display ;
Then tell how with their chieftain came
In ancient times a foreign dame
To yonder turret gray.
Stern was her lord's suspicious mind
Who in so rude a jail confined

So soft and fair a thrall !
And oft when moon on ocean slept


scorrs poetical works

That lovely lady sate and wept

Upon the castle-wall,
And turned her eye to southern climes,
And thought perchance of happier times,
And touched her lute by fits, and sung
Wild ditties in her native tongue.
And still, when on the cliff and bay
Placid and pale the moonbeams play

And every breeze is mute
Upon the lone Hebridean's ear
Steals a strange pleasure mixed with fear,
While from that cliff he seems to hear

The murmur of a lute
And sounds as of a captive lone
That mourns her woes in tongue un-
known. —
Strange is the tale — but all too long
Already hath it staid the song —

Yet who may pass them by,
That crag and tower in ruins gray,
Nor to their hapless tenant pay

The tribute of a sigh ?

ix. s

Merrily, merrily bounds the bark

O'er the broad ocean driven,
Her path by Ronin's mountains dark

The steersman's hand hath given.
And Ronin's mountains dark have sent

Their hunters to the shore,
And each his ashen bow unbent,

And gave his pastime o'er,
And at the Island Lord's command
For hunting spear took warrior's brand.
On Scooreigg next a warning light
Summoned her warriors to the fight ;
A numerous race ere stern MacLeod
O'er their bleak shores in vengeance strode,
When all in vain the ocean-cave
Its refuge to his victims gave.
The chief, relentless in his wrath,
With blazing heath blockades the path ;
In dense and stifling volumes rolled,
The vapor filled the caverned hold !
The warrior-threat, the infant's plain,
The mother's screams, were heard in vain :
The vengeful chief maintains his fires
Till in the vault a tribe expires!
The bones which strew that cavern's gloom
Too well attest their dismal doom.

Merrily, merrily goes the bark

On a breeze from the northward free,
So shoots through the morning sky 'the
( >r the swan through the summer sea.
The Bhores of Mull on the eastward lay,
And Ulva dark and Colonsay.

And all the group of islets gay

That guard famed Staff a round.
Then all unknown its columns rose
Where dark and undisturbed repose

The cormorant had found,
And the shy. seal had quiet home
And weltered in that wondrous dome
Where, as to shame the temples decked
By skill of earthly architect,
Nature herself, it seemed, would raise
A minster to her Maker's praise!
Not for a meaner use ascend
Her columns or her arches bend ;
Nor of a theme less solemn tells
That mighty surge that ebbs and swells,
And still, between each awful pause.
From the high vault an answer draws
In varied tone prolonged and high
That mocks the organ's melody.
Nor doth its entrance front in vain
To old Iona's holy fane,
That Nature's voice might seem to say,
' Well hast thou done, frail child of clay !
Thy humble powers that stately shrine
Tasked high and hard — but witness


Merrily, merrily goes the bark,

Before the gale she bounds ;
So darts the dolphin from the shark,

Or the deer before the hounds.
They left Loch-Tua on their lee,
And they wakened the men of the wild

And the chief of the sandy Coll :
They paused not at Columba's isle,
Though pealed the bells from the holy pile

With long and measured toll ;
No time for matin or for mass,
And the sounds of the holy summons pass

Away in the billows' roll.
Lochbuie's fierce and warlike lord
Their signal saw and grasped his sword,
And verdant Islay called her host,
And the clans of Jura's rugged coast

Lord Ronald's call obey,
And Scarba's isle, whose tortured shore
Still rings to Corrievreken's roar,

And lonely Colonsay ; —
Scenes sung by him who sings no more !
His bright and brief career is o'er,

And mute his tuneful strains ;
Quenched is his lamp of varied lore
That loved the light of song to pour ;
A distant and a deadly shore

Has Leyden's cold remains !


Ever the breeze blows merrily,

But the galley ploughs no more the sea.



Lest, rounding wild Cantyre, they meet
The southern foeman's watchful fleet,

They held unwonted way ;
Up Tarbat's western lake they bore,
Then dragged their bark the isthmus o'er,
As far as Kilmaconnel's shore

Upon the eastern bay.
It was a wondrous sight to see
Topmast and pennon glitter free,
High raised above the greenwood tree,
As on dry land the galley moves
By cliff and copse and alder groves.
Deep import from that selcouth sign
Did many a mountain seer divine,
For ancient legends told the Gael
That when a royal bark should sail

O'er Kilmaconnel moss
Old Albyn should in fight prevail,
And every foe should faint and quail

Before her silver Cross.


Now launched once more, the inland sea
They furrow with fair augury,

And steer for Arran's isle ;
The sun, ere yet he sunk behind
Ben-Ghoil, 'tne Mountain of the Wind,'
Gave his grim peaks a greeting kind,

And bade Loch Ranza smile.
Thither their destined course they drew;
It seemed the isle her monarch knew,
So brilliant was the landward view,

The ocean so serene ;
Each puny wave in diamonds rolled
O'er the calm deep where hues of gold

With azure strove and green.
The hill, the vale, the tree, the tower,
Glowed with the tints of evening's hour,

The beech was silver sheen,
The wind breathed soft as lover's sigh,
And oft renewed seemed oft to die,

With breathless pause between.
O, who with speech of war and woes
Would wish to break the soft repose

Of such enchanting scene ?


Is it of war Lord Ronald speaks ?
The blush that dyes his manly cheeks,
The timid look, and downcast eye,
And faltering voice the theme deny.

And good King Robert's brow expressed
He pondered o'er some high request,

As doubtful to approve ;
Yet in his eye and lip the while,
Dwelt the half-pitying glance and smile
Which manhood's graver mood beguile
When lovers talk of love.
Anxious his suit Lord Ronald pled ;
' And for my bride betrothed,' he said,

' My liege has heard the rumor spread
Of Edith from Artornish fled.
Too hard her fate — I claim no right
To blame her for her hasty flight ;
Be joy and happiness her lot ! —
But she hath fled the bridal-knot,
And Lorn recalled his promised plight
In the assembled chieftains' sight. —
When, to fulfil our fathers' band,
I proffered all I could — my hand —

I was repulsed with scorn :
Mine honor I should ill assert,
And worse the feelings of my heart,
If I should play a suitor's part
Again to pleasure Lorn.'

1 Young Lord,' the royal Bruce replied,
' That question must the Church decide ;
Yet seems it hard, since rumors' state
Edith takes Clifford for her mate,
The very tie which she hath broke
To thee should still be binding yoke.
But, for my sister Isabel —
The mood of woman who can tell ?
I guess the Champion of the Rock,
Victorious in the tourney shock.
That knight unknown to whom the prize
She dealt, — had favor in her eyes ;
But since our brother Nigel's fate,
Our ruined house and hapless state,
From worldly joy and hope estranged,
Much is the hapless mourner changed.
Perchance,' here smiled the noble King,
' This tale may other musings bring.
Soon shall we know — yon mountains hide
The little convent of Saint Bride ;
There, sent by Edward, she must stay
Till fate shall give more prosperous day ;
And thither will I bear thy suit,
Nor will thine advocate be mute.'


As thus they talked in earnest mood,
That speechless boy beside them stood.
He stooped his head against the mast,
And bitter sobs came thick and fast,
A grief that would not be repressed
But seemed to burst his youthful breast.
His hands against his forehead held
As if by force his tears repelled,
But through his fingers long and slight
Fast trilled the drops of crystal bright.
Edward, who walked the deck apart,
First spied this conflict of the heart.
Thoughtless as brave, with bluntness kind
He sought to cheer the sorrower's mind ;
By force the slender hand he drew
From those poor eyes that streamed with



As in his hold the stripling strove —

T was a rough grasp, though meant in

love —
Away his tears the warrior swept,
And bade shame on him Jhat he wept.

♦ I would to Heaven thy helpless tongue
Could tell me who hath wrought thee

wrong !
For, were he of our crew the best,
The insult went not unredressed.
Come, cheer thee ; thou art now of age
To be a warrior's gallant page ;
Thou shalt be mine ! — a palfrey fair
O'er hill and holt my boy shall bear,
To hold my bow in hunting grove,
Or speed on errand to my love ;
For well I wot thou wilt not tell
The temple where my wishes dwell.'


Bruce interposed, ' Gay Edward, no,

This is no youth to hold thy bow,

To fill thy goblet, or to bear

Thy message light to lighter fair.

Thou art a patron all too wild

And thoughtless for this orphan child.

See'st thou not how apart he steals,

Keeps lonely couch, and lonely meals ?

Fitter by far in yon calm cell

To tend our sister Isabel,

With father Augustine to share

The peaceful change of convent prayer,

Than wander wild adventures through

With such a reckless guide as you.' —

1 Thanks, brother ! ' Edward answered gay,

* For the high laud thy words convey !
But we may learn some future day,

If thou or I can this poor boy
Protect the best or best employ.
Meanwhile, our vessel nears the strand;
Launch we the boat and seek the land.'


To land King Robert lightly sprung,
And thrice aloud his bugle rung
With note prolonged and varied strain
Till bold Ben-Ghoil replied again.

id Douglas then and De la Haye
Had in a glen a hart at bay,
And Lennox cheered the laggard hounds,
When waked that horn the greenwood

4 It is the foe ! ' cried Boyd, who came
In breathless haste with eye of flame, —
' It is the foe ! — Each valiant lord
Fling by his how and grasp his sword! '
replied the good Lord James,
'That blast no English bugle claims.
Oft have I heard it fire the fight,

Cheer the pursuit, or stop the flight.
Dead were my heart and deaf mine ear,
If Bruce should call nor Douglas hear !
Each to Loch Ranza's margin spring ;
That blast was winded by the king ! '


Fast to their mates the tidings spread,
And fast to shore the warriors sped.
Bursting from glen and greenwood tree,
High waked their loyal jubilee !
Around the royal Bruce they crowd,
And clasped his hands, and wept aloud.
Veterans of early fields were there,
Whose helmets pressed their hoary hair.
Whose swords and axes bore a stain
From life-blood of the red-haired Dane ;
And boys whose hands scarce brooked to

The heavy sword or bossy shield.
Men too were there that bore the scars
Impressed in Albyn's woful wars,
At Falkirk's fierce and fatal fight,
Teyndrum's dread rout, and Methven's

The might of Douglas there was seen,
There Lennox with his graceful mien ;
Kirkpatrick, Closeburn's dreaded Knight :
The Lindsay, fiery, fierce, and light ;
The heir of murdered De la Haye,
And Boyd the grave, and Seton gay.

Online LibraryWalter ScottThe poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet → online text (page 40 of 78)