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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 toeman 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 :
Sunk 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.
Fitz-James looked round-yet scarce believed
The witness that his sight received ;
Such apparition well might seem
Delusion of a dreadful (uream.
Sir Roderick in suspense he eyed,
And to his look the Chief replied,
“ Fear nought-nay, that I need not say-
But-doubt not aught from mine array.
Thou art my guest:-I pledged my word
As far as Collantogle ford :
Nor would I call a clansman's brand
For aid against one valiant hand,
Though on her strife lay every vale
Rent by the Saxon from the Gael.
So move we on ;-I only meant
To show the reed on which you leant,
Deeming this path you might pursue
Without a pass from Roderick Dhu."-
They moved :-I said Fitz-James was brave,
As ever knight that belted glaive;
Yet dare not say, that now his blood
Kept on its wont and tempered flood,
As, following Roderick's stride, he drew
That seeming lonesome pathway through,
Which yet, by fearful proof, was rife
With lances, that to take his life
Waited but signal from a guide,
So late dishonored and defied.
Ever, by stealth, his eye sought round
The vanished guardians of the ground,
And still from copse and heather deep,
Fancy saw spear and broadsword peep,
And in the plover's shrilly strain,
The signal whistle heard again.
Nor breathed he free till far behind
The pass was left: for then they wind
Along a wide and level green,
Where neither tree nor tuft was seen,
Nor rush, nor bush of broom was near,
To hide a bonnet or a spear.
The chief in silence strođe before,
And reached that torrent's sounding shore.
Which, daughter of three mighty lakes,
From Vennacher in silver breaks,
Sweeps through the plain, and ceaseless mines
On Bochastle the mouldering lines,
Where Rome, the Empress of the world,
Of yore her eagle wings unfurld.
And here his course the Chieftain staid,
Threw down his target and his plaid,
And to the Lowland warrior said :-
“ Bold Saxon! to his promise just,
Vich-Alpine has discharged his trust.
This murderous Chief, this ruthless man,
This head of a rebellions clan,
Hath led thee safe, through watch and ward,
Far past Clan-Alpine's outmost guard.
Now, man to man, and steel to steel,
A Chieftain's vengeance thou shalt feel.
See, here, all vantageless, I stand,
Armed like thyself, with single brand;
For this is Coilantogle ford,
And thou must keep three with thy sword.”—
The Saxon pansed :-“ I ne'er delayed,
When foeman bade me draw my blade;
Nay more, brave Chief, I vow'd thy death:
Yet sure thy fair and generous faith,
And my deep debt for life preserved,
A better meed have wel} deserved :-
Can nought but blood our feud atone ?
Are there no means ?”—“ No, Stranger, none!
And hear;-to fire thy flagging zeal,
The Saxon cause rests on thy steel ;
For thus spoke Fate by prophet bred
Between the living and the dead;
“Who spills the foremost foeman's life,
His party conquers in the strife.”-
" Then by my word,” the Saxon said,
“ The riddle is already read.
Seek yonder brake beneath the cliff,-
There lies Red Murdoch, stark and stiff.
Thus Fate has solved her prophecy,
Then yield to Fate, and not to me.
To James, at Stirling, let us go,
When, if thou wilt be still his foe,
Or if the King shall not agree
To grant thee grace and favor free,
I plight mine honor, oath, and word,
That, to thy native strengths restored,
With each advantage shalt thou stand,
That aids thee now to guard thy land.”-
Dark lightning flashed from Roderick's eyes
“ Soars thy presumption then so high,
Because a wretched kern ye slew,
Homage to name to Roderick Dhu?
He yields not, he, to man nor Fate !
Thou add'st but fuel to my hate :-
My clansman's blood demands revenge.-
Not yet prepared ? By Heaven, I change
My thought, and hold thy valour light
Aš that of some vain carpet knight,
Who ill-deserved my courteous care,
And whose best boast is but to wear
A braid of his fair lady's hair."-
“I thank thee, Roderick, for the word !
It nerves my heart, it steels my sword :
For I have sworn this braid to stain
In the best blood that warms thy vein.
Now, truce, farewell! and ruth, begone!-
Yet think not that by thee alone,
Proud Chief! can courtesy be shown;
Though not from copse, or heath, or cairn,
Start at my whistle, clansmen stern,
Of this small horn one feeble blast
Would fearful odds against thee cast.
But fear not-doubt not—which thou wilt.
We try this quarrel hilt to hilt.”
Then each at once his faulchion drew,.
Each on the ground his scabbard threw,
Each looked to sun, and stream, and plain,
As what they ne'er might see again:
Then foot, and point, and eye opposed,
In dubious strife they darkly closed.
I'll fared it then with Roderick Dhu,
That on the field his targe he threw,
Whose brazen studs and tough bull-hide
Had death so often dashed aside;
For, trained abroad his arms to wield,
Fitz-James's blade was sword and shield.
He practised every pass and ward,
To thrust, to strike, to feint, to guard ;
While less expert, though stronger far,
The Gael maintained unequal war.
Three times in closing strife they stood,
And thrice the Saxon blade drank blood :
No stinted draught, no scanty tide,
The gushing floods the tartans dyed.
Fierce Roderick felt the fatal drain,
And showered his blows like wintry rain;
And, as firm rock or castle-roof,
Against the winter shower is proof,
The foe invulnerable still
Foiled his wild rage by steady skill
Till, at advantage taken, olis brand;
Forced Roderick's weapon from his hand,
And, backwards borne upon the lea,
Brought the proud Chieftain to his knee.
“Now, yield thee, or, by Him who made
The world, thy heart's blood dyes my blade !
" Thy threats, thy mercy, I defy!
Let recreant yield, who fears to die.”—
Like adder darting from his coil.
Like wolf that dashes through the toil,
Like mountain-cat who guards her young,
Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung,
Received, but reck'd not of a wound,
And locked his arms his foeman round.
Now gallant Saxon, hold thine own!
No maiden's hand is round thee thrown!
That desperate grasp thy frame might feel,
Through bars of brass and triple steel !-
They tug, they strain !-down, down they go,
The Gael above, Fitz-James below.
The Chieftain's gripe his throat compressid,
His knee was planted in his breast;
His clotted locks he backward threw,
Aross his brow his hand he drew,
From blood and mist to clear his sight,
Then gleam'd aloft his dagger bright!
But hate and fury ill supplied
The stream of life's exhausted tide,
And all too late the advantage came,
To turn the odds of deadly game;
For while the dagger gleam'd on high,
Reeled soul and sense, reeled brain and eye,
Down came the blow! but in the heath
The erring blade found bloodless sheath.
The struggling foe may now unclasp
The fainting Chief's relaxing grasp ;
Unwounded from the dreadful close,
But breathless all, Fitz-James arose.
He faltered thanks to Heaven for life,
Redeemed, unhoped, from desperate strife
Next on his foe his look he cast,
Whose every gasp appeared his last,
In Roderick's gore he dipp'd the braid.
"Poor Blanche! thy wrongs are dearly paid :
Yet with thy foe must die or live
The praise that Faith and Valour give."
With that he blew a bugle note,
Undid the collar from his throat,
Unbonnetted, and by the wave
Sat down his brow and hands to lave
Then faint afar are heard the feet
Of rushing steeds in gallop fleet.
[The banishment of Hagar, with her infant, Ishmael, has ever been a favorite subject for the pen of the poet and the pencil of the painter ; but nothing has ever been produced on the subject that equals in power and beauty the story as told by Willis. It is eminently dra. matic: and we have often seen stalwart men brought to the melting mood, by a touching recitation of its musical lines.)
THE morning broke. Light stole upon the clouds With a strange beauty. Earth received again