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How yonder headland the rude billows lash!
The sea-boy wakes from panic's freezing trance,—
THOU rayest out a Star! Solemn Watch-Fire!
Us of experience gleaming on our track
Where raves a vortex gulphing treasures rife,—
STANZAS WRITTEN ON RETURNING FROM
IONA, THE SEAT OF ST. COLUMBA.
It is hardly necessary to remark, that the name of this venerable Isle is derived from the Hebrew correlate, 7, to the Latin Columba, a dove, the name which the saint assumed. The Arkite allusion of the legend is very beautiful, as the Tutelary fled hither from persecution, here preserved the remains of religion; and hence disseminated, by his Missionaries, the benefits of knowledge and faith to the surrounding nations.
SEE I then Thy wave-beaten shore, lone Isle,
Barren thy soil and bleak thy iron shore,—
Where nature seldom blooms and sun scarce gleams;
Thy ruins mock the elemental war!
And, uttermost of isles, thou brav'st the Atlantic's roar !
The tide of ages rushes through my heart!
I live in olden time upon Thy coast,-
Here lived, and greatly bled, the martyr-host! (1.)
How oft along Thy cliffs was heard the toll
From yonder Tower, (+) with its sad, soothing, note. To cheer the parting, waft the passing, soul,— That, like sweet music, it upborne may float! But hark! a dirge-like summons now hath smote Upon the wind! A solemn bark draws near, With drooping oar and ensign! Kingly coat And diadem surmount that hearsed bier! And murdered DUNCAN seeks anointed burial here! (5-)
And often, too, upon this sterile strand
Has nobly stood the armament of Truth !—
Sure God had touched each heart of all that band ! (6.)
And bend o'er all the earth the Covenant Rainbow's span !
Amidst this shattered roof, this crumbled wall,
Where still, the last responsive votaress, Echo, dwells!
Thine is not Staffa's columned Sanctuary,
Which yet, as in fresh-hewn perfection, braves
And long-tossed, shipwrecked, souls, here moored in Quiet's
Hail to Thine awful Ruins, and farewell!
Long since has vibrated thy funeral knell,
Prolonged by tremulous crag and mourning main!
As when strongholds of rapine are o'erthrown:
Thy memory lives! though centuries have flown,
And thousand trophied piles have sunk of brass and stone !
For in the Day of final ire and doom,
When every island shall have fled away,
From many a yawning grave and bursting tomb
Shall not a glorious army deck this clay?
Shall they not shine as stars of brightest ray ? Shall they not near His right hand find a seat? And a Columba his loved convert-children greet?
What though, in scene so dark and age so past,
All triumph they abjured but in the Bleeding Rood!
Nor shall I lose Thine impress, wondrous Spot!
Nor shall thy lustre fade, whate'er the lot
Haply thy renovation shall debar,—
Of faith the Pharos long, of man the Star!
Nor call it fickle chance or cruel fate,
The Olive blooms which not a Flood could mar!
(1.) The Bay of Martyrs is still shown to the stranger.
(2.) The Nunnery of St. Oran.
(3) The Cell of Monks.
(4.) The Cathedral.
(5.) "Rosse. Where is Duncan's body?
Macduff..-Carried to Colmes-Kill;
The sacred storehouse of his predecessors,
And guardian of their bones."-Macbeth.
(6.) 1 Sam. x. 26.
(7.) Psa. lxviii. 11.
(8.) “Ad portum quietis et aram misericordiæ tandem, Luci, venisti.”
(9.) Dan. xii. 3.