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The winter wind that whistled shrill.
Far more than Southron clemency.
Their grey-haired master's misery; Were each grey hair a minstrel-string, Each chord should imprecations fling, Till startled Scotland loud should ring,
• Revenge for blood and treachery!"
THE AGED MINSTREL, From THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL. THE way was long, the wind was cold, The Minstrel was infirm and old; His withered cheek, and tresses grey, Seemed to have known a better day; The harp, his sole remaining joy, Was carried by an orphan boy. The last of all the bards was he, Who sung of Border chivalry. For, well-a-day! their date was fled, His tuneful brethren all were dead; And he, neglected and oppressed, Wished to be with them and at rest. No more on prancing palfrey borne, He carolled light as lark at morn: No longer courted and caressed, High placed in hall, a welcome guest, He poured, to lord and lady gay, The unpremeditated lay: Old times were changed, old manners gone; A stranger filled the Stuarts' throne; The bigots of the iron time Had called his harmless art a crime. A wandering harper, scorned and poor, He begged his bread from door to door; And tuned, to please a peasant's ear, The harp a king had loved to hear.
MELROSE ABBEY. From The LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL. If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moon-light; For the gay beams of lightsome day Gild but to flout the ruins gray. When the broken arches are black in night, And each shafted oriel glimmers white: When the cold light's uncertain shower Streams on the ruined central tower; · When buttress and buttress alternately Seem framed of ebon and ivory; When silver edges the imagery, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die; When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave: Then go—but go alone the while Then view St. David's ruined pile ; And, home returning, soothly swear, Was never scene so sad and fair!
BATTLE OF BEAL' AN DUINE.
From The LADY OF THE LAKE.
No ripple on the lake,
The deer has sought the brake;
The springing trout lies still,
Benledi's distant hill.
That mutters deep and dread,
The warrior's measured tread?
Is it the lightning's quivering glance
That on the thicket streams;
The sun's retiring beams?
. "Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,
One glance at their array!
Surveyed the tangled ground,
A twilight forest frowned;
The stern battalia crowned.
Still were the pipe and drum;
The sullen march was dumb.
Or wave their flags abroad;
That shadowed o'er their road.
Can rouse no lurking foe,
Save when they stirred the roe;
High-swelling, dark, and slow.
The archery appear:
Are maddening in the rear.
Pursuers and pursued;
The spearman's twilight wood? -“ Down, down!" cried Mar: “ your lances down! .
Bear back both friend and foe!”
At once lay levelled low;
As their Tinchel" cows the game!
We'll drive them back as tame.”
Bearing before them in their course,
Each targe was dark below;
They hurled them on the foe.
-"My banner-man, advance!
Upon them with the lance!”
11 Tinchel, a circle made by hunters to inclose the deer.
The horsemen dashed among the rout,
As deer break through the broom ;
They soon make lightsome room.
Where, where was Roderick then?
Were worth a thousand men.
The battle's tide was poured;
Vanished the mountain-sword.
Receives her roaring linn,
Suck the wild whirlpool in,
DEATH OF DE BOUNE.
From THE LORD OF THE ISLES.
And bristled o'er with bills and spears,
Rode England's king and peers:
12 Selle, seat on a horse. 23 Plantagenet, the name of the English royal family at the period.