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“Fill high the bowl the table round,
We will not claim the pledge by stealth ; With wine let every cup be crown'd;
Pledge me departed Oscar's health.” “With all my soul,” old Angus said,
And fill'd his goblet to the brim ; “Here's to my boy! alive or dead,
I ne'er shall find a son like him." “Bravely, old man, this health has sped ;
But why does trembling Allan stand ? Come, drink remembrance of the dead,
And raise thy cup with firmer hand.” The crimson glow of Allan's face
Was turn'd at once to ghastly hue ;
The drops of death each other chase
Adown in agonizing dew.
Thrice did he raise the goblet high,
And thrice his lips refused to taste ;
For thrice he caught the stranger's eye
On his with deadly fury placed. “ And is it thus a brother hails
A brother's fond remembrance here? If thus affection's strength prevails,
What might we not expect from fear?" Roused by the sneer, he raised the bowl,
“ Would Oscar now could share our mirth !" Internal fear appallid his soul ;
He said, and dash'd the cup to earth. “ 'Tis he! I hear my murderer's voice !"
Loud shrieks a darkly-gleaming form ; “A murderer's voice !" the roof replies,
And deeply swells the bursting storm. The tapers wink, the chieftains shrink,
The stranger's gone,-amidst the crew
A form was seen in tartan green,
And tall the shade terrific grew.
His waist was bound with a broad belt round,
His plume of sable stream'd on high ;
But his breast was bare, with the red wounds there,
And fix'd was the glare of his glassy eye.
And thrice he smiled, with his eye so wild,
On Angus bending low the knee;
And thrice he frown'd on a chief on the ground,
Whom shivering crowds with horror see.
The bolts loud roll, from pole to pole
The thunders through the welkin ring, And the gleaming form, through the midst of the storm,
Was borne on high by the whirlwind's wing.
Cold was the feast, the revel ceased,
Who lies upon the stony floor? Oblivion press'd old Angus' breast,
At length his life-pulse throbs once more. “Away! away! let the leech essay
To pour the light on Allan's eyes :" His sand is done,-his race is run ;
Oh! never more shall Allan rise ! But Oscar's breast is cold as clay,
His locks are lifted by the gale: And Allan's barbed arrow lay
With him in dark Glentanar's vale. And whence the dreadful stranger came,
Or who, no mortal wight can tell ; But no one doubts the form of flame,
For Alva's sons knew Oscar well. Ambition nerved young Allan's hand,
Exulting demons wing'd his dart; While Envy waved her burning brand,
And pour'd her venom round his heart, Swift is the shaft from Allan's bow;
Whose streaming life-blood stains his side ? Dark Oscar's sable crest is low,
The dart has drunk his vital tide. And Mora's eye could Allan move,
She bade his wounded pride rebel ; Alas! that eyes which beam'd with love Should
the soul to deeds of hell. Lo ! seest thou not a lonely tomb
Which rises o'er a warrior dead ?
It glimmers through the twilight gloom;
Oh! that is Allan's nuptial bed.
Far, distant far, the noble grave
Which held his clan's great ashes stood ; And o'er his corse no banners wave,
For they were stain'd with kindred blood. What minstrel gray, what hoary bard,
Shall Allan's deeds on harp-strings raise ? The song is glory's chiet reward,
But who can strike a murderer's praise ? Unstrung, untouch'd, the harp must stand,
No minstrel dare the theme awake; Guilt would benumb his palsied hand,
His harp in shuddering chords would break. No lyre of fame, no hallow'd verse,
Shall sound his glories high in air ; A dying father's bitter curse,
A brother's death-groan echoes there.
THE EPISODE OF NISUS AND EURYALUS.
A PARAPHRASE FROM THE ÆNEID, LIB. IX.
Nius, the guardian of the portal stood,
Eager to gild his arms with hostile blood;
Well skill'd in fight the quivering lance to wield,
Or pour his arrows through th' embattled field :
From Ida torn, he left his sylvan cave,
And sought a foreign home, a distant grave.
To watch the movements of the Daunian host,
With him Euryalus sustains the post;
No lovelier mien adorn'd the ranks of Troy,
And beardless bloom yet graced the gallant boy ;
Though few the seasons of his youthful life,
As yet a novice in the martial strife,
'Twas his, with beauty, valour's gifts to share-
A soul heroic, as his form was fair :
These burn with one pure flame of generous love;
in war, united still they move ; Friendship and glory form their joint reward ; And now combined they hold their nightly guard.
“What god,” exclaim'd the first, "instils this fire ; Or, in itself a god, what great desire ? My labouring soul, with anxious thought oppress’d, Abhors this station of inglorious rest; The love of fame with this can ill accord, Be't mine to seek for glory with my sword. Seest thou yon camp, with torches twinkling dim, Where drunken slumbers wrap each lazy limb? Where confidence and ease the watch disdain, And drowsy Silence holds her sable reign ? Then hear my thought :—In deep and sullen grief Our troops and leaders mourn their absent chief: Now could the gifts and promised prize be thine (The deed, the danger, and the fame be mine), Were this decreed, beneath yon rising mound, Methinks, an easy path perchance were found : Which past, I speed my way to Pallas' walls, And lead Æneas from Evander's halls."
With equal ardour fired, and warlike joy, His glowing friend address’d the Dardan boy : “ These deeds, my Nisus, shalt thou dare alone ? Must all the fame, the peril, be thine own? Am I by thee despised, and left afar, As one unfit to share the toils of war? Not thus his son the great Opheltes taught; Not thus my sire in Argive combats fought; Not thus, when Ilion fell by heavenly hate, I track'd' Æneas through the walks of fate : Thou know'st my deeds, my breast devoid of fear, And hostile life-drops dim my gory spear.
Here is a soul with hope immortal burns,
And life, ignoble life, for glory spurns.
Fame, fame is cheaply earn'd by fleeting breath ;
The price of honour is the sleep of death."
Then Nisus,—“Calm thy bosom's fond alarms,
Thy heart beats fiercely to the din of arms.
More dear thy worth and valour than my own,
I swear by him who fills Olympus' throne !
So may I triumph, as I speak the truth,
And clasp again the comrade of my youth !
But should I fall,--and he who dares advance
Through hostile legions must abide by chance,
If some Rutulian arm, with adverse blow,
Should lay the friend who ever loved thee low,
Live thou, such beauties I would fain preserve,
Thy budding years a lengthen'd term deserve.
When humbled in the dust, let some one be
Whose gentle eyes will shed one tear for me;
Whose manly arm may snatch me back by forco,
Or wealth redeem from foes my captive corse;
Or, if my destiny these last deny,
If in the spoiler's power my ashes lie,
Thy pious care may raise a simple tomb,
To mark thy love, and signalize my doom.
Why should thy doting wretched mother weep
Her only boy, reclined in endless sleep ?
Who, for thy sake, the tempest's fury dared,
Who, for thy sake, war's deadly peris shared;
Who braved what woman never braved before,
And left her native for the Latian shore.'
"In vain you damp the ardour of my soul,"
Replied Euryalus : “it scorns control!
Hence, let us haste !”-their brother guards arose,
Roused by their call, nor
court again repose ;
The pair, buoy'd up on Hope's exulting wing,
Their stations leave, and speed to seek the king.
Now o'er the earth a solemn stillness ran,
And lull'd alike the cares of brute and man;
Save where the Dardan leaders nightly hold
Alternate converse, and their plans unfold.
On one great point the council are agreed,
An instant message to their prince decreed;
Each lean'd upon the lance he well could wield,
And poised with easy arm his ancient shield;
When Nisus and his friend their leave request
To offer something to their high behest.
With anxious tremors, yet unawed by fear,
The faithful pair before the throne appear ;
Iulus greets them ; at his kind command,
The elder first address'd the hoary band.
“With patience" (thus Hyrtacides began) Attend, nor judge from youth our humble plan.
Where yonder beacons half expiring beam,
Our slumbering foes of future conquest dream,
Nor heed that we a secret path have traced,
Between the ocean and the portal placed.
Beneath the covert of the blackening smoke,
Whose shade securely our design will cloak;
If you, ye chiefs, and fortune will allow,
We'll bend our course to yonder mountain's brow,
Where Pallas' walls at distance meet the sight,
Seen o'er the glade, when not obscured by night:
Then shall Æneas in his pride return,
While hostile matrons raise their offspring's urn;
And Latian spoils and purpled heaps of dead
Shall mark the havoc of our hero's tread.
Such is our purpose, not unknown the way;
Where yonder torrent's devious waters stray,
Oft have we seen, when hunting by the stream,
The distant spires above the valleys gleam."
Mature in years, for sober wisdom famed,
Moved by the speech, Alethes here exclaim'd, -
“Ye parent gods ! who rule the fate of Troy,
Still dwells the Dardan spirit in the boy ;
When minds like these in striplings thus ye raise,
Yours is the godlike act, be yours the praise ;
In gallant youth, my fainting hopes revive,
And Ilion's wonted glories still survive.”.
Then in his warm embrace the boys he press'd,
And, quivering, strain’d them to his aged breast;
With tears the burning cheek of each bedew'd,
And, sobbing, thus his first discourse renewd:
“What gift, my countrymen, what martial prize
Can we bestow, which you may not despise ?
Our deities the first best boon have given-
Internal virtues are the gift of Heaven.
What poor rewards can bless your deeds on earth,
Doubtless await such young, exalted worth.
Æneas and Ascanius shall combine
To yield applause far, far surpassing mine.”
Iulus then “ • By all the powers above !
By those Penates who my country love!
By hoary Vesta's sacred fane, I swear
My hopes are all in you, ye generous pair !
Restore my father to my grateful sight,
And all my sorrows yield to one delight.
Nisus ! two silver goblets are thine own,
Saved from Arisba's stately domes o'erthrown ;
My sire secured them on that fatal day,
Nor left such bowls an Argive robber's prey :
Two massy tripods, also, shall be thine;
Two talents polish'd from the glittering mine ;
An ancient cup, which Tyrian Dido gave,
While yet our vessels press'd the Punic wave :