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In childhood's hour I linger'd near
That hallow'd seat with a list’ning ear,
And gentle words that mother would give,
To fit me to die, and teach me to live;
She told me shame would never betide,
With truth for my creed, and God for my guide ;
She taught me to lisp my earliest prayer,
As I knelt beside that old arm chair.
I sat and watch'd her many a day
When her eye grew dim, and her locks were gray,
And I almost worshipp'd her when she smiled
And turn’d from her bible to bless her child :
Years rolld on, but the last one sped,
My idol was shatter'd, my earth-star fled !
I felt how much the heart can bear,
When I saw her die in that old arm chair.
'Tis past ! 'tis past ! but I gaze on it now
With quivering lip and throbbing brow;
'Twas there she nurs’d me, 'twas there she died,
And memory still flows with lava tide.
Say it is folly, and deem me weak,
As the scalding drops dart down my cheek;
But I love it! I love it! and cannot tear
My soul from a mother's old arm chair !
At midnight, in his guarded tent,
The Turk was dreaming of the hour, 'When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent,
Should tremble at his power.
In dreams through camp and court he bore,
The trophies of a conqueror;
In dreams his song of triumph heard ;
Then wore his monarch's signet ring,
Then press’d that monarch's throne — a king;
As wild his thoughts and gay of wing,
As Eden's garden bird.
An hour pass’d on — the Turk awoke;
That bright dream was his last :
He woke - to hear his sentry's shriek,
“To arms! they come! the Greek ! the Greek !”
He woke — to die midst flame and smoke,
And shout, and groan, and sabre-stroke,
And death-shots falling thick and fast As lightnings from the mountain cloud: And heard, with voice as trumpet loud,
Bozzaris cheer his band :“Strike — till the last arm'd foe expires, Strike -- for your altars and your fires, Strike — for the green graves of your sires, . God — and your native land ! ”
They fought — like brave men, long and well,
They piled that ground with Moslem slain ;
They conquered — but Bozzaris fell,
Bleeding at every vein.
His few surviving comrades saw
His smile when rung their proud hurrah,
And the red field was won;
Then saw in death his eyelids close
Calmly, as to a night's repose
Like flowers at set of sun.
“ MACGREGOR, Macgregor, remember our foemen,
The moon rises broad from the brow of Ben-Lomond;
The clans are impatient, and chide thy delay :
Arise ! let us bound to Glen-Lyon away.”
Stern scowld the Macgregor, then silent and sullen,
He turn’d his red eye to the braes of Strathfillan;
“Go, Malcolm, to sleep, let the clans be dismiss'd;
The Campbells this night for Macgregor must rest.”
“ Macgregor, Macgregor, our scouts have been flying, Three days round the hills of Mc. Nab and Glen-Lyon; Of riding and running such tidings they bear, We must meet them at home, else they'll quickly be here."
“The Campbell may come, as his promises bind him, And haughty Mc. Nab, with his giants behind him; This night I am bound to relinquish the fray, And do what it freezes my vitals to say. . Forgive me, dear brother, this horror of mind! Thou know'st in the strife I was never behind Nor ever receded a foot from the van, Or blench'd at the ire or the prowess of man; But I've sworn by the cross, by my God, and by all, An oath which I cannot, and dare not recall — Ere the shadows of midnight fall east from the pile, To meet with a spirit this night in Glen-Gyle.
“ Last night, in my chamber, all thoughtful and lone
I call’d to remembrance some deeds I had done,
When enter'd a lady, with visage so wan,
And looks, such as never were fasten'd on man.
I knew her, O brother! I knew her full well !
Of that once fair dame such a tale I could tell
As would thrill thy bold heart; but how long she remain'd,
So rack'd was my spirit, my bosom so pain’d,
I knew not — but ages seem'd short to the while.
Though proffer the Highlands, nay, all the green Isle,
With length of existence no man can enjoy,
The same to endure, the dread proffer I'd fly!
The thrice-threaten’d pangs of last night to forego,
Macgregor would dive to the mansions below.
Despairing and mad, to futurity blind,
The present to shun, and some respite to find,
I swore, ere the shadow fell east from the pile,
To meet her alone by the brook of Glen-Gyle.
“ She told me, and turn’d my chill'd heart to a stone, The glory and name of Macgregor was gone; That the pine which for ages had shed a bright halo, Afar on the mountains of Highland Glen-Falo, Should wither and fall ere the turn of yon moon, Smit through by the canker of hated Colquhoun : That a feast on Macgregors each day should be common, For years, to the eagles of Lennox and Lomond.
“A parting embrace in one moment she gave, Her breath was a furnace, her bosom the grave ! Then flitting elusive, she said with a frown, • The mighty Macgregor shall yet be my own'!”
. “Macgregor, thy fancies are wild as the wind;
The dreams of the night have disorder'd thy mind.
Come buckle thy panoply - march to the field —
See, brother, how hack'd are thy helmet and shield !
Ay, that was Mc. Nab, in the height of his pride,
When the lions of Dochart stood firm by his side.
This night the proud chief his presumption shall rue,
Rise, brother, these chinks in his heart-blood will glue :
Thy fantasies frightful shall flit on the wing,
When loud with thy bugle Glen-Lyon shall ring."
Like glimpse of the moon through the storm of the night, Macgregor’s red eye shed one sparkle of light: It faded — it darken’d-he shudder'd — he sigh'd — “No! not for the universe ! ” low he replied.
Away went Macgregor, but went not alone;
To watch the dread rendezvous, Malcolm has gone.
They oar’d the broad Lomond, so still and serene !
And deep in her bosom, how awful the scene !
O’er mountains inverted the blue waters curld,
And rock'd them on skies of a far nether world.
All silent they went, for the time was approaching, The moon the blue zenith already was touching; No foot was abroad on the forest or hill, No sound but the lullaby sung by the rill; Young Malcolm at distance crouch'd trembling the while -Macgregor stood lone by the brook of Glen-Gyle.
Few minutes had pass’d, ere they spied on the stream,
A skiff sailing light, where a lady did seem;
Her sail was the web of the gossamer's loom,
The glow-worm her wake-light, the rainbow her boom;
A dim rayless beam was her prow and her mast,
Like wold-fire, at midnight, that glares on the waste.
Though rough was the river with rock and cascade,
No torrent, no rock, her velocity stay'd;
She wimpled the water to weather and lee,
And heaved as if borne on the waves of the sea.
Mute Nature was roused in the bounds of the glen,
The wild deer of Gairtney abandon’d his den,