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Glide on, in the glory and gladness sent,
To the farthest wall of the firmament,
The boundless visible smile of Him,
To the veil of whose brow your lamps are dim.”
'Twas a lovely thought to mark the hours,
As they floated in light away,
By the opening and the folding flowers
That laugh to the summer's day.
Thus had each moment its own rich hue,
And its graceful cup or bell,
In whose colour'd vase might sleep the dew,
Like a pearl in an ocean-shell.
To such sweet signs might the time have flow'd
In a golden current on,
Ere from the garden, man's first abode,
The glorious guests were gone.
So might the days have been brightly told-
Those days of song and dreams —
When shepherds gather'd their flocks of old,
By the blue Arcadian streams.
So in those isles 2 of delight, that rest
Far off in a breezeless main,
Which many a bark, with a weary quest,
Hath sought, but still in vain.
1 A dial or watch of Flora, is a table giving the hours of expansion and closing of different flowers, by which the time may be known.
% The Fortunate Islands, an account of which is to be found in Plutarch's Life of Sertorius.
Yet is not life, in its real flight,
Mark'd thus - ev'n thus -
on earth, By the closing of one hope's delight,
And another's gentle birth ?
Oh! let us live, so that flower by flower,
Shutting in turn, may
A lingerer still for the sunset hour,
A charm for the shaded eve.
“ Have, then, thy wish !” — he whistled shrill,
And he was answer'd from the hill;
Wild as the scream of the curlew,
From crag to crag the signal flew.
Instant, through copse and heath, arose
Bonnets, and spears, and bended bows;
On right, on left, above, below,
Sprung up at once the lurking foe;
From shingles gray their lances start,
The bracken bush sends forth the dart,
The rushes and the willow-wand
Are bristling into axe and brand,
And every tuft of broom gives life
To plaided warrior arm’d for strife.
That whistle garrison'd the glen
At once with full five hundred men,
As if the yawning hill to heaven
A subterranean host had given.
Watching their leader's beck and will,
All silent there they stood, and still :
Like the loose crags whose threat’ning mass
Lay tottring o'er the hollow pass,
As if an infant's touch could urge
Their headlong passage down the verge,
With step and weapon forward flung,
Upon the mountain-side they hung.
The Mountaineer cast glance of pride
Along Benledi's living side,
Then fix'd his eye and sable brow
Full on Fitz-James—“ How say'st thou now?
These are Clan-Alpine's warriors true;
And, Saxon, I am Roderick Dhu!"
Fitz-James was brave :- Though to his heart
The life-blood thrill'd with sudden start,
He mann'd himself with dauntless air,
Return'd the Chief his haughty stare,
His back against a rock he bore,
And firmly plac'd his foot before:-
" Come one, come all! this rock shall fly
From its firm base as soon as I.”.
Sir Roderick mark'd — and in his eyes
Respect was mingled with surprise,
And the stern joy which warriors feel
In foemen worthy of their steel.
he stoodthen wav'd his hand
Down sunk the disappearing band ;
Each warrior vanish'd where he stood,
In broom or bracken, heath or wood
Sunk brand, and spear, and bended bow,
In osiers pale and copses low;
It seem'd as if their mother Earth
Had swallow'd up her warlike birth.
The wind's last breath had toss'd 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 look'd round—yet scarce believ'd
The witness that his sight receiv'd;
Such apparition well might seem
Delusion of a dreadful dream.
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 pledg’d my word
As far as Coilantogle ford :
Nor would I call a clansman's brand
For aid against one valiant hand,
Though on our 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 mov'd:- 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 temper'd 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
The iron jack, or jacques de maille - - a back and breastplate of iron - was worn by the Highlanders as late as the 16th century. The jack or surcoat was made of various materials - linen, leather, silk, &c., and embroidered with the arms or badges of the different leaders. The English soldiers wore on their jacks the cross of St. George, the Scottish, that of St. Andrew; hence, after the union of the two nations, the flag bearing the two crosses was called the Union Jack.
Waited but signal from a guide,
So late dishonour'd and defied.
Ever, by stealth, his eyes sought round
The vanish'd 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 breath'd 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.
Oh, talk to me of Heaven! I love
To hear about my home above;
For there doth many a lov'd one dwell,
In light and joy ineffable.
Oh! tell me how they shine and sing,
While every harp rings echoing ;
And every glad and tearless eye
Beams, like the bright sun, gloriously :
Tell me of that victorious palm
Each hand in glory beareth ;
Tell me of that celestial calm
Each face in glory weareth.
Oh, happy, happy country! where
There entereth not a sin,
And death, who keeps its portals fair,
May never once come in."