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"Now must I teach to hew the beech

XIV. BALLAD-(Continued) The hand that held the glaive,

'Tis merry, 'tis merry, in good greenwood, For leaves to spread our lowly bed,

Though the birds have stilled their singAnd stakes to fence our cave.

ing;

The evening blaze dot: Alice raise, "And for vest of pall, thy fingers small,

And Richard is fagots bringing.
That wont on harp to stray,
A cloak must shear from the slaughtered' Up Urgan starts, that hideous dwarf,
deer,

Before Lord Richard stands,
To keep the cold away.”

And, as he crossed and blessed himself,

"I fear not sign," quoth the grisly elf, “O Richard! if my brother died,

“That is made with bloody hands." 'Twas but a fatal chance; For darkling was the battle tried,

But out then spoke she, Alice Brand, And fortune sped the lance.

That woman void of fear,

"And if there's blood upon his hand, "If pall and vair no more I wear,

'Tis but the blood of deer.” Nor thou the crimson sheen,

"Now loud thou liest, thou bold of mood! As warm, we'll say, is the russet gray,

It cleaves unto his hand, As gay the forest-green.

The stain of thine own kindly blood, "And, Richard, if our lot be hard,

The blood of Ethert Brand.” And lost thy native land,

Then forward stepped she, Alice Brand, Still Alice has her own Richard,

And made the holy sign, And he his Alice Brand.”

“And if there's blood on Richard's hand, XIII. BALLAD-(Continued)

A spotless hand is mine. 'Tis merry, 'tis merry, in good greenwood, “And I conjure thee, Demon elf, So blithe Lady Alice is singing;

By Him whom Demons fear, On the beech's pride, and oak's brown side,

To show us whence thou art thyself, Lord Richard's ax is ringing.

And what thine errand here?” Up spoke the moody Elfin King,

xv. BALLAD-(Continued) Who woned within the hill

“'Tis merry, 'tis merry, in Fairyland 340 Like wind in the porch of a ruined church,

When fairy birds are singing,
His voice was ghostly shrill.

300
When the court doth ride by their mon-

arch's side,
“Why sounds yon stroke on beech and oak, With bit and bridle ringing;

Our moonlight's circle's screen?
Or who comes here to chase the deer,

“And gaily shines the FairylandBeloved of our Elfin Queen?

But all is glistening show, Or who may dare on wold to wear

Like the idle gleam that December's beam

Can dart on ice and snow. The fairies' fatal green?

"And fading, like that varied gleam, Up, Urgan, up! to yon mortal hie,

Is our inconstant shape, For thou wert christened man;

Who now like knight and lady seem, For cross or sign thou wilt not fly,

And now like dwarf and ape. For muttered word or ban.

"It was between the night and day, "Lay on him the curse of the withered heart, When the Fairy King has power, The curse of the sleepless eye;

That I sunk down in a sinful fray, Till he wish and pray that his life would part, And, 'twixt life and death, was snatched Nor yet find leave to die."

away 277. vest of pall, garment of rich cloth.

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To the joyless Elfin bower. green, the elves and gnomes wore green, and were angered when any mortal ventured to wear that color.

880. kindly, kindred.

306.

fatal

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“But wist I of a woman bold,

XVII Who thrice my brow durst sign,

“Sweet Ellen, dear my life must be I might regain my mortal mold,

Since it is worthy care from thee; As fair a form as thine."

Yet life I hold but idle breath She crossed him once she crossed him When love or honor's weighed with death. twice

Then let me profit by my chance, That lady was so brave;

And speak my purpose bold at once. The fouler grew his goblin hue,

I come to bear thee from a wild, The darker grew the cave.

Where ne'er before such blossom smiled;

By this soft hand to lead thee far She crossed him thrice, that lady bold; From frantic scenes of feud and war. He rose beneath her hand

Near Bochastle my horses wait; The fairest knight on Scottish mold, They bear us soon to Stirling gate. Her brother, Ethert Brand!

I'll place thee in a lovely bower, Merry it is in good greenwood.

I'll guard thee like a tender flower"When the mavis and merle are singing,

“O hush, Sir Knight! 'twere female art But merrier were they in Dunfermline gray,

To say I do not read thy heart; When all the bells were ringing.

Too much, before, my selfish ear

Was idly soothed my praise to hear.
XVI

That fatal bait hath lured thee back,

In deathful hour, o'er dangerous track; Just as the minstrel sounds were stayed,

And how, O how, can I atone

421 A stranger climbed the steepy glade; His martial step, his stately mien,

The wreck my vanity brought on! His hunting suit of Lincoln green,

One way remains—I'll tell him allHis eagle glance, remembrance claims

Yes! struggling bosom, forth it shall! 'Tis Snowdoun's Knight, 'tis James Fitz

Thou, whose light folly bears the blame, James.

Buy thine own pardon with thy shame! Ellen beheld as in a dream,

But first-my father is a man

Outlawed and exiled, under ban;
Then, starting, scarce suppressed a scream:
“O stranger! in such hour of fear,

The price of blood is on his head,
With me 'twere infamy to wed.

430 What evil hap has brought thee here?" “An evil hap how can it be

Still wouldst thou speak?—then hear the

truth! That bids me look again on thee?

Fitz-James, there is a noble youth-
By promise bound, my former guide
Met me betimes this morning tide,

If yet he is!-exposed for me

And mine to dread extremityAnd marshaled, over bank and bourne,

Thou hast the secret of my heart; 435 The happy path of my return." "The happy path!-what! said he naught Forgive, be generous, and depart!" Of war, of battle to be fought, Of guarded pass?" "No, by my faith!

Fitz-James knew every wily train Nor saw I aught could augur scathe.” “O haste thee, Allan, to the kern,

A lady's fickle heart to gain, -Yonder his tartans I discern;

But here he knew and felt them vain. Learn thou his purpose, and conjure

There shot no glance from Ellen's eye, 440 That he will guide the stranger sure!

To give her steadfast speech the lie;

In maiden confidence she stood,
What prompted thee, unhappy man?
The meanest serf in Roderick's clan

Though mantled in her cheek the blood,

And told her love with such a sigh Had not been bribed by love or fear,

Of deep and hopeless agony, Unknown to him to guide thee here."

As death had sealed her Malcolm's doom, 858. sign, mark with the sign of the cross. 371. Dun

And she sat sorrowing on his tomb. fermline, the residence and burial place of the early Hope vanished from Fitz-James's eye, kings of Scotland. 385. my former guide, Red Murdoch, Canto Fourth, stanza vii. 392. augur scathe, foretell danger.

487. trala, lure, enticement.

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Now wound the path its dizzy ledge
Around a precipice's edge,
When lo! a wasted female form,
Blighted by wrath of sun and storm,
In tattered weeds and wild array,
Stood on a cliff beside the way,
And glancing round her restless eye,
Upon the wood, the rock, the sky,
Seemed naught to mark, yet all to spy.
Her brow was wreathed with gaudy broom;
With gesture wild she waved a plume
Of feathers, which the eagles fling
To crag and cliff from dusky wing;
Such spoils her desperate step had sought,
Where scarce was footing for the goat. 516
The tartan plaid she first descried,
And shrieked till all the rocks replied;
As loud she laughed when near they drew,
For then the Lowland garb she knew; 520
And then her hands she wildly wrung,
And then she wept, and then she sung-
She sung!-the voice, in better time,
Perchance to harp or lute might chime;
And now, though strained and roughened,

still
Rung wildly sweet to dale and hill.

XIX
"Hear, lady, yet a parting word!
It chanced in fight that my poor sword
Preserved the life of Scotland's lord.
This ring the grateful Monarch gave,
And bade, when I had boon to crave,
To bring it back, and boldly claim
The recompense that I would name.
Ellen, I am no courtly lord,
But one who lives by lance and sword,
Whose castle is his helm and shield,
His lordship the embattled field.
What from a prince can I demand,
Who neither reck of state nor land?
Ellen, thy hand—the ring is thine;
Each guard and usher knows the sign. 475
Seek thou the king without delay“
This signet shall secure thy way-
And claim thy suit, whate'er it be,
As ransom of his pledge to me.
He placed the golden circlet on,
Paused-kissed her hand-and then was

gone.
The aged Minstrel stood aghast,
So hastily Fitz-James shot past.
He joined his guide, and wending down
The ridges of the mountain brown,
Across the stream they took their way,
That joins Loch Katrine to Achray.

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XX

SONG
They bid me sleep, they bid me pray,

They say my brain is warped and wrungI cannot sleep on Highland brae,

I cannot pray in Highland tongue. But were I now where Allan glides, Or heard my native Devan's tides, So sweetly would I rest, and pray That Heaven would close my wintry day! 'Twas thus my hair they bade me braid, 535

They made me to the church repair; It was my bridal morn, they said,

And my true love would meet me there. But woe betide the cruel guile

All in the Trosach's glen was still;
Noontide was sleeping on the hill;
Sudden his guide whooped loud and high-
“Murdoch! was that a signal cry?”
He stammered forth—“I shout to scare
Yon raven from his dainty fare."
He looked-he knew the raven's prey, 494
His own brave steed: “Ah! gallant gray!

491

591, 532. Allan, Devan, two streams which flow into the lowland plain from the hills of Perthshire (in which the scene of the story is laid).

471. lordship, lands, estate.

That drowned in blood the morning smile!
And woe betide the fairy dream!
I only waked to sob and scream.

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Still on the Clansman, fearfully,
She fixed her apprehensive eye;
Then turned it on the Knight, and then
Her look glanced wildly o'er the glen.

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“The toils are pitched, and the stakes are

set, Ever sing merrily, merrily; The bows they bend, and the knives they

whet, Hunters live so cheerily. 'It was a stag, a stag of ten,

Bearing its branches sturdily; He came stately down the glen,

Ever sing hardily, hardily. “It was there he met with a wounded doe,

She was bleeding deathfully;
She warned him of the toils below,

Oh, so faithfully, faithfully!
"He had an eye, and he could heed,

Ever sing warily, warily;
He had a foot, and he could speed-

Hunters watch so narrowly.”

556

“Who is this maid? What means her lay?
She hovers o'er the hollow way,
And Autters wide her mantle gray,
As the lone heron spreads his wing,
By twilight, o'er a haunted spring."
“'Tis Blanche of Devan," Murdoch said,
“A crazed and captive Lowland maid
Ta'en on the morn she was a bride,
When Roderick forayed Devan side.
The gay bridegroom resistance made,
And felt our Chief's unconquered blade.
I marvel she is now at large,
But oft she 'scapes from Maudlin's charge.
Hence, brain-sick fool!”—He raised his

bow. “Now, if thou strik'st her but one blow, I'll pitch thee from the cliff as far As ever peasant pitched a bar!"“Thanks, champion, thanks!" the maniac

cried,
And pressed her to Fitz-James's side.
"See the gray pennons I prepare,
To seek my truelove through the air!
I will not lend that savage groom,
To break his fall, one downy plume!
No!-deep amid disjointed stones,
The wolves shall batten on his bones,
And then shall his detested plaid,
By bush and brier in mid-air stayed,
Wave forth a banner fair and free,
Meet signal for their revelry.”

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XXIV “Hush thee, poor maiden, and be still!” “Oh! thou look’st kindly, and I will. Mine eye has dried and wasted been, But still it loves the Lincoln green; And, though mine ear is all unstrung, Still, still, it loves the Lowland tongue.

Fitz-James's mind was passion-tossed,
When Ellen's hints and fears were lost;
But Murdoch's shout suspicion wrought,
And Blanche's song conviction brought.
Not like a stag that spies the snare,
But lion of the hunt aware,
He waved at once his blade on high,
“Disclose thy treachery, or die!”
Forth at full speed the Clansman flew,
But in his race his bow he drew,
The shaft just grazed Fitz-James's crest,
And thrilled in Blanche's faded breast.
Murdoch of Alpine! prove thy speed,
For ne'er had Alpine's son such need!
With heart of fire, and foot of wind,
The fierce avenger is behind!
Fate judges of the rapid strife
The forfeit death-the prize is life!
Thy kindred ambush lies before,
Close couched upon the heathery moor; 625
Them couldst thou reach!-it may not be
Thine ambushed kin thou ne'er shalt

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“For O my sweet William was forester true,

He stole poor Blanche's heart away! 579 His coat it was all of the greenwood hue, And so blithely he trilled the Lowland

lay! "It was not that I meant to tell ... But thou art wise and guessest well.” Then, in a low and broken tone, And hurried note, the song went on.

see,

890. tolls are pitched, snares are laid. 693. Hunters, Clan Alpine's men. 594. stag of ten, stag having ten branches on his antlers; hence, noble game, FitzJames. 898. wouaded doe, Blanche. 617. thrilled la, pierced.

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And now, with mingled grief and ire,
He saw the murdered maid expire.
“God, in my need, be my relief,
As I wreak this on yonder Chief!"
A lock from Blanche's tresses fair
He blended with her bridegroom's hair;
The mingled braid in blood he dyed,
And placed it on his bonnet-side:
“By Him whose word is truth! I swear
No other favor will I wear,
Till this sad token I imbrue
In the best blood of Roderick Dhu!
-But hark! what means yon faint halloo?
The chase is up—but they shall know,
The stag at bay's a dangerous foe.”
Barred from the known but guarded way,
Through copse and cliffs Fitz-James must

stray,
And oft must change his desperate track,
By stream and precipice turned back.
Heartless, fatigued, and faint, at length,
From lack of food and loss of strength,
He couched him in a thicket hoar,
And thought his toils and perils o'er:
“Of all my rash adventures past,
This frantic feat must prove the last!
Who e'er so mad but might have guessed
That all this Highland hornet's nest
Would muster up in swarms so soon
As e'er they heard of bands at Doune?
Like bloodhounds now they search me out-
Hark, to the whistle and the shout!
If farther through the wilds I go,
I only fall upon the foe;
I'll couch me here till evening gray, 710
Then darkling try my dangerous way."

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The fiery Saxon gains on thee!
Resistless speeds the deadly thrust,
As lightning strikes the pine to dust;
With foot and hand Fitz-James must strain,
Ere he can win his blade again.
Bent o'er the fall'n, with falcon eye,
He grimly smiled to see him die;
Then slower wended back his way, 633
Where the poor maiden bleeding lay.

XXVII
She sat beneath the birchen-tree,
Her elbow resting on her knee;
She had withdrawn the fatal shaft,
And gazed on it, and feebly laughed,
Her wreath of broom and feathers gray,
Daggled with blood, beside her lay.
The Knight to stanch the life-stream tried-
“Stranger, it is in vain!” she cried.
“This hour of death has given me more
Of reason's power than years before;
For, as these ebbing veins decay,
My frenzied visions fade away.
A helpless injured wretch I die,
And something tells me in thine eye,
That thou wert mine avenger born.
Seest thou this tress?-Oh, still I've worn
This little tress of yellow hair,
Through danger, frenzy, and despair!
It once was bright and clear as thine, 655
But blood and tears have dimmed its shine.
I will not tell thee when 'twas shred,
Nor from what guiltless victim's head-
My brain would turn!—but it shall wave
Like plumage on thy helmet brave,
Till sun and wind shall bleach the stain,
And thou wilt bring it me again. -
I waver still.- O God! more bright
Let reason beam her parting light!
Oh! by thy knighthood's honored sign, 665
And for thy life preserved by mine,
When thou shalt see a darksome man,
Who boasts him Chief of Alpine's Clan,
With tartans broad and shadowy plume
And hand of blood, and brow of gloom, 670
Be thy heart bold, thy weapon strong,
And wreak poor Blanche of Devan's

wrong! They watch for thee by pass and fell Avoid the path ...O God!... farewell.”

XXVIII A kindly heart had brave Fitz-James; 675 Fast poured his eyes at pity's claims,

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The shades of eve come slowly down,
The woods are wrapped in deeper brown,
The owl awakens from her dell,
The fox is heard upon the fell;
Enough remains of glimmering light
To guide the wanderer's steps aright,
Yet not enough from far to show
His figure to the watchful foe.
With cautious step, and ear awake,
He climbs the crag and threads the brake;
And not the summer solstice, there,
Tempered the midnight mountain air,
But every breeze, that swept the wold,
Benumbed his drenchéd limbs with cold.
In dread, in danger, and alone,

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