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They can but sound in desert lone

Their gray-haired master's miserv.
Were each gray hair a minstrel string,
Each chord should imprecations fling,
Till startled Scotland loud should ring,

" Revenge for blood and treachery ! " '



Song

FOR THE ANNIVERSARY MEETING OF THE
PITT CLUB OF SCOTLAND.

[1814.]

O, dread was the time, and more dreadful
the omen,
When the brave on Marengo lay slaugh-
tered in vain,
And beholding broad Europe bowed down
by her foemen,
Pitt closed in his anguish the map of
her reign !
Not the fate of broad Europe could bend
his brave spirit
To take for his country the safety of
shame ;
O, then in her triumph remember his merit,
And hallow the goblet that flows to his
name.

Round the husbandman's head while he
traces the furrow
The mists of the winter may mingle with
rain,
He may plough it with labor and sow it in
sorrow,
And sigh while he fears he has sowed it
in vain :
He may die ere his children shall reap in
their gladness,
Hut the blithe harvest-home shall • re-
member his claim ;
And their jubilee-shout shall be softened
with sadness,
While they hallow the goblet that flows
to his name.

Though anxious and timeless his life was
pended,
In toils tor our country preserved by his
care,
h he died ere one ray o'er the nations

.(led.

To Ughl the long darkness of doubt and



The storms he endured in our Britain's
December,
The perils his wisdom foresaw and
o'ercame,
In her glory's rich harvest shall Britain
remember,
And hallow the goblet that flows to his
name.

Nor forget His gray head who, all dark in
affliction,
Is deaf to the tale of our victories won,
And to sounds the most dear to paternal
affection,
The shout of his people applauding his
Son;
By his firmness unmoved in success and
disaster,
By his long reign of virtue, remember his
claim !
With our tribute to Pitt join the praise of
his Master,
Though a tear stain the goblet that flows
to his name.

Yet again fill the wine-cup and change the
sad measure,
The rites of our grief and our gratitude
paid,
To our Prince, to our Heroes, devote the
bright treasure.
The wisdom that planned, and the zeal
that obeyed !
Fill Wellington's cup till it beam like his
glory,
Forget not our own brave Dalhousie
and Graeme ;
A thousand years hence hearts shall bound
at their story,
And hallow the goblet that flows to their
fame.



ILmes



ADDRESSED TO RANALD MACDONALD, ESQ.,
OF STAFFA.

[1814.]

Staffa, sprung from high Macdonald,
Worthy branch of old Clan-Ranald !
Staffa ! king of all kind fellows !
Well befall thy hills and valleys, «

Lakes and inlets, deeps and shallows —
Cliffs of darkness, caves of wonder,
Echoing the Atlantic thunder;
Mountains which the gray mist covers,
Where the Chieftain spirit hovers,



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.



503



Pausing while his pinions quiver,
Stretched to quit our land forever !
Each kind influence reign above thee !
Warmer heart 'twixt this and Staffa
Beats not than in heart of Staffa !



PJaros iLoquftur.

[1814.]

Far in the bosom of the deep,

O'er these wild shelves my watch I keep;

A ruddy gem of changeful light,

Bound on the dusky brow of night,

The seaman bids my lustre hail,

And scorns to strike his timorous sail.



ILettera in Ferge.

ON THE VOYAGE WITH THE COMMISSIONERS
OF NORTHERN LIGHTS.

Co |^ts ©race tlje ©ufce of Bucclntdj.

Lighthouse Yacht in the Sound of Lerwick,
Zetland, 8th August, 1814.

Health to the chieftain from his clans-
man true !

From her true minstrel, health to fair
Buccleuch !

Health from the isles where dewy Morning
weaves

Her chaplet with the tints that Twilight
leaves ;

Where late the sun scarce vanished from
the sight,

And his bright pathway graced the short-
lived night,

Though darker now as autumn's shades
extend

The north winds whistle and the mists
ascend !

Health from the land where eddying whirl-
winds toss

The storm-rocked cradle of the Cape of
Noss ;

On outstretched cords the giddy engine
slides,

His own strong arm the bold adventurer
guides,

And he that lists such desperate feat to try

May, like the sea-mew, skim 'twixt surf
and sky,



And feel the mid-air gales around him

blow,
And see the billows rage five hundred feet

below.

Here, by each stormy peak and desert

shore,
The hardy islesman tugs the daring oar,
Practised alike his venturous course to

keep
Through the white breakers or the pathless

deep,
By ceaseless peril and by toil to gain
A wretched pittance from the niggard main.
And when the worn-out drudge old ocean

leaves,
What comfort greets him and what hut

receives ?
Lady! the worst your presence ere has

cheered —
When want and sorrow fled as you ap-
peared —
Were to a Zetlander as the high dome
Of proud Drumlanrig to my humble home.
Here rise no groves and here no gardens

blow,
Here even the hardy heath scarce dares

to grow ;
But rocks on rocks, in mist and storm

arrayed,
Stretch far to sea their giant colonnade,
With many a cavern seamed, the dreary

haunt
Of the dun seal and swarthy cormorant.
Wild round their rifted brows, with frequent

cry
As of lament, the gulls and gannets fly,
And from their sable base with sullen

sound
In sheets of whitening foam the waves

rebound.

Yet even these coasts a touch of envy

gain
From those whose land has known oppres-
sion's chain;
For here the industrious Dutchman comes

once more
To moor his fishing craft by Bressay's

shore,
Greets every former mate and brother tar,
Marvels how Lerwick 'scaped the rage of

war,
Tells many a tale of Gallic outrage done,
And ends by blessing God and Wellington.
Here too the Greenland tar, a fiercer

guest,
Claims a brief hour of riot, not of rest ;
Proves each wild frolic that in wine has

birth,



504



SCOTT'S POETICAL WORKS.



And wakes the land with brawls and bois-
terous mirth.
A sadder sight on yon poor vessel's prow
The captive Norseman sits in silent woe,
And eyes the flags of Britain as they flow.
Hard fate of war, which bade her terrors

sway
His destined course and seize so mean a

prey,
A bark with planks so warped and seams

so riven
She scarce might face the gentlest airs of

heaven :
Pensive he sits, and questions oft if none
Can list his speech and understand his

moan;
In vain — no Islesman now can use the

tongue
Of the bold Norse from whom their lineage

sprung.
Not thus of old the Norsemen hither came,
Won by the love of danger or of fame ;
On every storm-beat cape a shapeless

tower
Tells of their wars, their conquests, and

their power ;
For ne'er for Grecia's vales nor Latian

land
Was fiercer strife than for this barren

strand ;
A race severe, the isle and ocean lords
Loved for its own delight the strife of

swords ;
With scornful laugh the mortal pang defied,
And blest their gods that they in battle

died.



Such were the sires of Zetland's simple

race,
And still the eye may faint resemblance

trace
In the blue eye, tall form, proportion fair,
The limbs athletic, and the long light hair-
Such was the mien, as Scald and Minstrel

tings,
Of fair-haired Harold, first of Norway's

Kings; —
But their high deeds to scale these crags

confined.
Their only welfare is with waves and wind.

Why should I talk of Mousa's castle
con
Why of the horrors of the Sunburgh Rost?
.ild disjointed lines suffice,'
Penned while my comrades whirl the rat-
tling dice —
While down the cabin skylight lessening

shine 6



The rays, and eve is chased with mirth and

wine ?
Imagined, while down Mousa's desert

bay
Our well-trimmed vessel urged her nimble

way,
While to the freshening breeze she leaned

her side,
And bade, her bowsprit kiss the foamy tide ?

Such are the lays that Zetland Isles
supply ;
Drenched with the drizzly spray and drop-
ping sky,
Weary and wet, a sea-sick minstrel I.

W- Scott.



urn.

Kirkwall, Orkney, Aug. 13, 1814.

In respect that your Grace has com-
missioned a Kraken,
You will please be informed that they seldom

are taken ;
It is January two years, the Zetland folks

say,
Since they saw the last Kraken in Scalloway

bay;
He lay in the offing a fortnight or more,
But the devil a Zetlander put from the

shore,
Though bold in the seas of the North to

assail
The morse and the sea-horse, the grampus

and whale.
If your Grace thinks I 'm writing the thing

that is not,
You may ask at a namesake of ours, Mr.

Scott —
He 's not from our clan, though his merits

deserve it,
But springs, I 'm informed, from the Scotts

of Scotstarvet ; —
He questioned the folks who beheld it with

eyes,
But they differed confoundedly as to its

size.
For instance, the modest and diffident

swore
That it seemed like the keel of a ship and

no more —
Those of eyesight more clear or of fancy

more high
Said it rose like an island 'twixt ocean and

sky —
But ajl of the hulk had a steady opinion
That t was sure a live subject of Neptune's

dominion —
And I think, my Lord Duke, your Grace

hardly would wish,



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.



505



To cumber your house, such a kettle of

fish.
Had your order related to night-caps or

hose
Or mittens of worsted, there 's plenty of

those.
Or would you be pleased but to fancy a

whale ?
And direct me to send it — by sea or by

mail ?
The season, I 'm told, is nigh over, but

still
I could get you one fit for the lake at Bow-

hill. y
Indeed, as to whales, there 's no need to

be thrifty,
Since one day last fortnight two hundred

and fifty,
Pursued by seven Orkneymen's boats and

no more,
Betwixt Truffness and Luffness were drawn

on the shore !
You '11 ask if I saw this same wonderful

sight;
I own that I did not, but easily might —
For this mighty shoal of leviathans lay
On our lee-beam a mile, in the loop of the

bay,
And the islesmen of Sanda were all at the

spoil,
And flinching — so term it — the blubber

to boil ; —
Ye spirits of lavender, drown the reflec-
tion
That awakes at the thoughts of this odorous

dissection. —
To see this huge marvel full fain would we

But Wilson, the wind, and the current said

no.
We have now got to Kirkwall, and needs I

must stare
When I think that in verse I have once

called it fair ;
'T is a base little borough, both dirty and

mean —
There is nothing to hear and there 's naught

t,p be seen,
Save a church where of old times a prelate

harangued,
And a palace that 's built by an earl that

was hanged.
But farewell to Kirkwall — aboard we are

going*
The anchor's a-peak and the breezes are

blowing ;
Our commodore calls all his band to their

places,
And 'tis time to release you — good-night

to your Graces !



jFareinell to fflachzn$iz,

HIGH CHIEF OF KINTAIL.

FROM THE GAELIC.
[I8l5.]

Farewell to Mackenneth, great Earl of

the North,
The Lord of Lochcarron, Glenshiel, and

Seaforth ;
To the Chieftain this morning his course

who began,
Launching forth on the billows his bark

like a swan.
For a far foreign land he has hoisted his

sail,
Farewell to Mackenzie, High Chief of

Kintail !



O, swift be the galley and hardy her

crew,
May her captain be skilful, her mariners

true,
In danger undaunted, unwearied by toil,
Though the whirlwind should rise and the

ocean should boil :
On the brave vessel's gunnel I drank his

bonail,
And farewell to Mackenzie, High Chief of

Kintail !



Awake in thy chamber, thou sweet south-
land gale !

Like the sighs of his people, breathe soft
on his sail ;

Be prolonged as regret that his vassals
must know,

Be fair as their faith and sincere as their
woe :

Be so soft and so fair and so faithful, sweet
gale,

Wafting onward Mackenzie, High Chief of
Kintail !



Be his pilot experienced and trusty and

wise,
To measure the seas and to study the

skies :
May he hoist all his canvas from streamer

to deck,
But O ! crowd it higher when wafting him

back —
Till the cliffs of Skooroora and Conan's

glad vale
Shall welcome Mackenzie, High Chief of

Kintail !



506



SCOTT'S POETICAL WORKS.



Imitation

OF THE PRECEDING SONG.

[1815.]

So sung the old bard in the grief of his

heart
When he saw his loved lord from his

people depart.
Now mute on thy mountains, O Albyn, are

heard
Nor the voice of the song nor the harp of

the bard ;
Or its strings are but waked by the stern

winter gale,
As they mourn for Mackenzie, last Chief

of Kintail.

From the far Southland Border a minstrel

came forth,
And he waited the hour that some bard of

the north
His hand on the harp of the ancient should

cast,
And bid its wild numbers mix high with

the blast;
But no bard was there left in the land of

the Gael
To lament for Mackenzie, last Chief of

Kintail.

'And shalt thou then sleep,' did the min-
strel exclaim,

4 Like the son of the lowly, unnoticed by
fame?

No, son of Fitzgerald ! in accents of woe

The song thou hast loved o'er thy coffin
shall flow,

And teach thy wild mountains to join in
the wail

That laments for Mackenzie, last Chief of
Kintail.

4 In vain, the bright course of thy talents

to wrong,
• leadened thine ear and imprisoned

thy tongue;
For brighter o'er all her obstructions arose
The glow of the genius they could not

oppose;
And who in the land of the Saxon or Gael
Might match with Mackenzie, High Chief

of Kintail?

• Thy sons rose around thee in light and in

All a father could hope, all a friend could

appr<
What vails it the tale of thy sorrows to

tell, —



In the spring-time of youth and of promise

they fell !
Of the line of Fitzgerald remains not a

male
To bear the proud name of the Chief of

Kintail.



' And thou, gentle dame, who must bear to

thy grief
For thy clan and thy country the cares of

a chief,
Whom brief rolling moons in six changes

have left,
Of thy husband and father and brethren

bereft,
To thine ear of affection how sad is the

hail
That salutes thee the heir of the line of

Kintail ! '



lar=&ott(r of ILacfjlan,

HIGH CHIEF OF MACLEAN.



FROM THE GAELIC.



[I8l5.]

A weary month has wandered o'er
Since last we parted on the shore ;
Heaven ! that I saw thee, love, once more,

Safe on that shore again ! —
'T was valiant Lachlan gave the word :
Lachlan, of many a galley lord :
He called his kindred bands on board,

And launched them on the main.



Clan-Gillian is to ocean gone ;
Clan-Gillian, fierce in foray known ;
Rejoicing in the glory won

In many a bloody broil :
For wide is heard the thundering fray,
The rout, the ruin, the dismay,
When from the twilight glens away

Clan-Gillian drives the spoil.



Woe to the hills that shall rebound

Our bannered bag-pipes' maddening sound !

Clan-Gillian's onset echoing round,

Shall shake their inmost cell.
Woe to the bark whose crew shall gaze
Where Lachlan's silken streamer plays !
The fools might face the lightning's blaze

As wisely and as well !



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.



507



Saint CloutJ.

[Paris, 5th September, 181 5.]

Soft spread the southern summer night

Her veil of darksome blue ;
Ten thousand stars combined to light

The terrace of Saint Cloud.

The evening breezes gently sighed,

Like breath of lover true,
Bewailing the deserted pride

And wreck of sweet Saint Cloud.

The drum's deep roll was heard afar,

The bugle wildly blew
Good-night to Hulan and Hussar

That garrison Saint Cloud.

The startled Naiads from the shade

With broken urns withdrew,
And silenced was that proud cascade,

The glory of Saint Cloud.

We sate upon its steps of stone,

Nor could its silence rue,
When waked to music of our own

The echoes of Saint Cloud.

Slow Seine might hear each lovely note

Fall light as summer dew,
While through the moonless air they float,

Prolonged from fair Saint Cloud.

And sure a melody more sweet

His waters never knew,
Though music's self was wont to meet

With princes at Saint Cloud.

Nor then with more delighted ear

The circle round her drew
Than ours, when gathered round to hear

Our songstress at Saint Cloud.

Few happy hours poor mortals pass, —
Then give those hours their due,

And rank among the foremost class
Our evenings at Saint Cloud.



&fje 19ance of ©eat!).
[1815.]

Night and morning were at meeting

Over Waterloo;
Cocks had sung their earliest greeting ;

Faint and low they crew,
For no paly beam yet shone



On the heights of Mount Saint John ;
Tempest-clouds prolonged the sway
Of timeless darkness over day ;
Whirlwind, thunder-clap, and shower
Marked it a predestined hour.
Broad and frequent through the night
Flashed the sheets of levin-light ;
Muskets, glancing lightnings back,
Showed the dreary bivouac

Where the soldier lay,
Chill and stiff and drenched with rain,
Wishing dawn of morn again,

Though death should come with day.

'T is at such a tide and hour
Wizard, witch, and fiend have power,
And ghastly forms through mist and shower

Gleam on the gifted ken ;
And then the affrighted prophet's ear
Drinks whispers strange of fate and fear,
Presaging death and ruin near

Among the sons of men ; —
Apart from Albyn's war-array,
'T was then gray Allan sleepless lay ;
Gray Allan, who for many a day

Had followed stout and stern,
Where, through battle's rout and reel,
Storm of shot and edge of steel.
Led the grandson of Lochiel,

Valiant Fassiefern.
Through steel and shot he leads no more,
Low laid mid friends' and foemen's gore —
But long his native lake's wild shore,
And Sunart rough, and high Ardgower,

And Morven long shall tell,
And proud Bennevis hear with awe,
How upon bloody Quatre-Bras
Brave Cameron heard the wild hurra

Of conquest as he fell.

Lone on the outskirts of the host,

The weary sentinel held post,

And heard through darkness far aloof

The frequent clang of courser's hoof,

Where held the cloaked patrol their course

And spurred 'gainst storm the swerving

horse ;
But there are sounds in Allan's ear
Patrol nor sentinel may hear,
And sights before his eye aghast
Invisible to them have passed,

When down the destined plain,
'Twixt Britain and the bands of France,
Wild as marsh-borne meteor's glance,
Strange phantoms wheeled a revel dance

And doomed the future slain.
Such forms were seen, such sounds were

heard,
When Scotland's James his march prepared

For Flodden's fatal plain ;



508



SCOTT'S POETICAL WORKS.



Such, when he drew his ruthless sword,
As Choosers of the Slain, adored

The yet unchristened Dane.
An indistinct and phantom band,
They wheeled their ring-dance hand in
hand

With gestures wild and dread ;
The Seer, who watched them ride the

storm,
Saw through their faint and shadowy form

The lightning's flash more red ;
And still their ghastly roundelay
Was of the coming battle-fray

And of the destined dead.

Song.

Wheel the wild dance
While lightnings glance

And thunders rattle loud,
And call the brave
To bloody grave,

To sleep without a shroud.

Our airy feet,
So light and fleet,

They do not bend the rye
That sinks its head when whirlwinds rave,
And swells again in eddying wave

As each wild gust blows by ;
But still the corn
At dawn of morn

Our fatal steps that bore,
At eve lies waste,
A trampled paste

Of blackening mud and gore.

Wheel the wild dance
While lightnings glance

And thunders rattle loud,
And call the brave
To bloody grave,

To sleep without a shroud.

Wheel the wild dance !
Brave sons of France,

For you our ring makes room ;
Make space full wide
For martial pride,

For banner, spear, and plume.
Approach, draw near,
Proud cuirassier!

Room for the men of steel !
Through crest and plate
The broadsword's weight

Both head and heart shall feel.

Wheel the wild dance
While lightnings glance
And thunders rattle loud,



And call the brave
To bloody grave,

To sleep without a shroud.

Sons of the spear !
You feel us near

In many a ghastly dream ;
With fancy's eye
Our forms you spy,

And hear our fatal scream.
With clearer sight
Ere falls the night,

Just when to weal or woe
Your disembodied souls take flight
On trembling wing — each startled sprite

Our choir of death shall know.

Wheel the wild dance
While lightnings glance

And thunders rattle loud,
And call the brave
To bloody grave,

To sleep without a shroud.

Burst, ye clouds, in tempest showers.
Redder rain shall soon be ours —

See the east grows wan —
Yield we place to sterner game,
Ere deadlier bolts and direr flame
Shall the welkin's thunders shame ;
Elemental rage is tame

To the wrath of man.

At morn, gray Allan's mates with awe
Heard of the visioned sights he saw,

The legend heard him say ;
But the Seer's gifted eye was dim,
Deafened his ear and stark his limb,

Ere closed that bloody day —
He sleeps far from his Highland heath, —
But often of the Dance of Death

His comrades tell the tale,
On picquet-post when ebbs the night,
And waning watch-fires glow less bright.

And dawn is glimmering pale.



Romance of ©unois.

FROM THE FRENCH.
[I8l 5 .]

It was Dunois, the young and brave, was

bound for Palestine,
But first he made his orisons before Saint

Mary's shrine :
' And grant, immortal Queen of Heaven,'

was still the soldier's prayer,
'That I may prove the bravest knight and

love the fairest fair.'



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.



509



His oath of honor on the shrine he graved
it with his sword,

And followed to the Holy Land the banner
of his Lord ;

Where, faithful to his noble vow, his war-
cry filled the air,

'Be honored aye the bravest knight, be-
loved the fairest fair.'

They owed the conquest to his arm, and
then his liege-lord said,

1 The heart that has for honor beat by bliss
'must be repaid.

My daughter Isabel and thdu shall be a
wedded pair,

For thou art bravest of the brave, she fair-
est of the fair.'



And then they bound the holy knot before
Saint Mary's shrine

That makes a paradise on earth, if hearts
and hands combine ;

And every lord and lady bright that were
in chapel there

Cried, ' Honored be the bravest knight, be-
loved the fairest fair ! '



&fje CroubatJour.

FROM THE SAME COLLECTION.
[1815.]

Glowing with love, on fire for fame,

A Troubadour that hated sorrow
Beneath his lady's window came,

And thus he sung his last good-morrow :
' My arm it is my country's right,

My heart is in my true-love's bower ;
Gayly for love and fame to fight

Befits the gallant Troubadour.'

And while he marched with helm on head

And harp in hand, the descant rung,
As, faithful to his favorite maid,

The minstrel-burden still he sung :
1 My arm it is my country's right,

My heart is in my lady's bower;
Resolved for love and fame to fight,

I come, a gallant Troubadour.'

Even when the battle-roar was deep,
With dauntless heart he hewed his way,

Mid splintering lance and falchion-sweep,
And still was heard his warrior-lay :



' My life it is my country's right,
My heart is in my lady's bower ;

For love to die, for fame to fight,
Becomes the valiant Troubadour.'

Alas ! upon the bloody field

He fell beneath the foeman's glaive,
But still reclining on his shield,

Expiring sung the exulting stave :
' My life it is my country's right,

My heart is in my lady's bower ;
For love and fame to fall in fight

Becomes the valiant Troubadour.'



jFrom tfje JFrenrij.

[1815.]

It chanced that Cupid on a season,
By Fancy urged, resolved to wed,

But could not settle whether Reason
Or Folly should partake his bed.

What does he then ? — Upon my life,
'T was bad example for a deity —

He takes me Reason for a wife,
And Folly for his hours of gayety.

Though thus he dealt in petty treason,
He loved them both in equal measure ;

Fidelity was born of Reason,
And Folly brought to bed of Pleasure.



&flttg

ON THE LIFTING OF THE BANNER OF THE
HOUSE OF BUCCLEUCH, AT A GREAT FOOT-
BALL MATCH ON CARTERHAUGH.

[1815.]

From the brown crest of Newark its sum-
mons extending,
Our signal is waving in smoke and in
flame ;
And each forester blithe, from his mountain
descending,
Bounds light o'er the heather to join in
the game.
Then up with the Banner, let forest
winds fan her,
She has blazed over Ettrick eight
ages and more ;
In sport we '11 attend her, in battle de-
fend her,
With heart and with hand, like our
fathers before.



5io



SCOTT'S POETICAL WORKS.




When the Southern invader spread waste
and disorder,
At the glance of her crescents he paused
and withdrew,
For around them were marshalled the pride
of the Border,
The Flowers of the Forest, the Bands of
Buccleuch.



Online LibraryWalter ScottThe poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet → online text (page 53 of 78)