Page images
PDF
EPUB

And every tuft of broom gives life
To plaided warrior armed for strife.
That whistle garrisoned the glen
At once with full five hundred men,
As if the yawning hill to heaven
A subterranean host had given.
Watching their leader's beck and will,
All silent there they stood, and still.
Like the loose crags, whose threatening mass
Lay tottering o'er the hollow pass,
As if an infant's touch could urge
Their headlong passage down the verge,
With step and weapon forward flung,
Upon the mountain-side they hung.
The mountaineer cast glace of pride
Along Benledi's living side,
Then fixed his eye and sable brow
Full on Fitz-James—“How sayst thou now?
These are Clan-Alpine's warriors true;
And, Saxon, I am Roderick Dhu!”

Fitz-James was brave :- though to his heart
The life-blood thrilled with sudden start,
He manned himself with dauntless air,
Returned the Chief his haughty stare,
His back against a rock he bore,
And firmly placed his foot before :-
“Come one! come all! this rock shall fly
From its firm base as soon as I.”
Sir Roderick marked—and in his eyes
Respect was mingled with surprise,
And the stern joy which warriors feel
In foemen worthy of their steel.
Short space he stood—then waved his hand :
Down sunk the disappearing band;

Each warrior vanished where he stood,
In broom or bracken, heath or wood;
Sank brand, and spear, and bended bow,
In osiers pale and copses low;
It seemed as if their mother Earth
Had swallowed up her warlike birth.
The wind's last breath had tossed in air,
Pennon, and plaid, and plumage fair-
The next but swept a lone hill-side,
Where heath and fern were waving wide;
The sun's last glance was glinted back,
From spear and glaive, from targe and jack-
The next, all unreflected, shone
On bracken green

and cold

grey stone. SCOTT's LADY OF THE LAKE.

WATERLOO.

THERE was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes look'd love to eyes which spake again,

And all went merry as a marriage bell :
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!

Did ye not hear it?-No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
On with the dance ! let joy be unconfined :
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet,

To chase the glowing hours with flying feet-
But hark! that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;

And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
Arm! arm! it is-it is—the cannon's opening roar!

Within a window'd niche of that high hall
Sat Brunswick's fated chieftain; he did hear
That sound the first amid the festival,
And caught its tone with death's prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,

And roused the vengeance, blood alone could quell : He rush'd into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.

Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness ;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs,
Which ne'er might be repeated; who could guess

If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise !

And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal, afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;

While throng'd the citizens, with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips—"The foe! They come!

they come !"

And wild and high the "Cameron's gathering” rose;
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard, and heard, too, have her Saxon foes-
How in the poon of night that pibroch thrills,
Savage and shrill! But with the breath which fills
Their mountain pipe, so fill the mountaineers
With the fierce native daring which instils

The stirring memory of a thousand years,
And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's

ears!
And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with Nature's tear drops, as they pass,
Grieving, if ought inanimate e'er grieves,
Over the unreturning brave-alas!
Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
In its next verdure, when this fiery mass

Of living valour, rolling on the foe,
And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and

low.

Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay,
The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife,
The morn, the marshalling in arms—the day,
Battle's magnificently stern array !
The thunder-clouds close o'er it; which, when rent,
The earth is cover'd thick with other clay;

Which her own clay shall cover, heap'd and pent, Rider and horse - friend, foe — in one red burial

blent!
Their praise is hymn’d by loftier harps than mine;
Yet one I would select from that proud throng;
Partly because they blend me with his line,
And partly that I did his sire some wrong,

And partly that bright names will hallow song;
And his was of the bravest; and when shower'd
The death-bolts deadliest the thinn'd files along,

Even where the thickest of war's tempest lower'd, They reach'd no nobler breast than thine-young,

gallant Howard ! There have been tears and breaking hearts for thee, And mine were nothing, had I such to give; But when I stood beneath the fresh green tree, Which, living, waves where thou didst cease to live, And saw around me the wide field revive With fruits and fertile promise, and the Spring Come forth her work of gladness to contrive

With all her reckless birds upon the wing, I turn’d from all she brought to those she could not bring.

BYRON.

ITALIAN SUNSET.

The moon is up, and yet it is not night-
Sunset divides the sky with her-a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of blue Friuli's mountains; Heaven is free
From clouds, but of all colours seems to be,
Melted to one vast Iris of the West,
Where the Day joins the past Eternity;

While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
Floats through the azure air-an island of the blest.

« PreviousContinue »