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judicious ; for throughout, the reader is kept in interesting suspense as to the catastrophe; and when he at length arrives at it, he blames his own dulness that he could not earlier discover the mystery that hung round the person of Mador. The hunting expeditions in that age continued for many days amid the wilds and mountains, and it consisted of a cavalcade provided with all the necessaries of life, which could not be procured in the uninhabited country; the royal tent was pitched every night, surrounded by those of the nobility and attendants, with the appearance of a small encampment. For several days the chase had been continued, when on a sudden the King disappeared; his secret departure and return are thus mentioned :
" The morning rose, but scarce they could discern
When Night gave in her sceptre to the day,
And wrapt the forest in a shroud of gray.
But, long, ere night, the Monarch stole away;
And aye the clouds their drizzly treasures shed;
The heavens seem'd sleeping on their mountain bed
And stray'd the forest, belling for the dead,
At length the morning rose in lightsome blue,
Up rose the frighted sun, and softly threw
A golden tint along the moorland dew :
A slumbering ocean of the softest hue,
For there they heard their Monarch’s bugle yell;
And rested, wondering, on the heather bell.
The fleecy clouds that rolld afar below,
The hounds' impatient whine, the bugle's swell,
The nobles found him pleased, nor farther strove to know." This division is extended to rather too great a length; independently of a long detail of the hunting, including some of the not very poetical names of the dogs and descriptions of the country, which possess considerable picturesque. ness, a long harper's song is inserted, which must be to. tally unintelligible to all wlio are not masters of the rudest dialects of Scotland; besides this, is given a dispute among the knights upon “ gospel faith and superstition's spell;" after which, the hunt is terminated by the entrance of a mys. terious stranger, who beckons the King away, for what purpose is never disclosed. The second Canto opens with a description of old Kincraigy, “a man of right ungainly cour. tesy,” and “ honest as a Highlander may be;" and of his wife, “ full of blithe jolliment and boisterous glee;" after which we are introduced to their daughter, the heroine.
“ But O the lovely May,* their only child,
Was sweeter than the flower that scents the gale!
The loftiest minstrel song would much avale;
And she was cheerful, forwardsome and hale;
Or with her maidens bear the milking pail;
Her steps were haunted at the bught and penn;
No youth was be, nor winsomest of men,
But what was lovlier to the damsel's ken,
And wish, the anxious interval to kill;
* A May, in old Scottish ballads and romances, denotes a young lady, or maiden somewhat above the lower class.
And she would jest, and smile, and heave the sigh;
Would torture whining youth with wicked skill,
Leaving the hapless wight resolved forthwith to die.” The day is wet, and Mador (the King in disguise) arrives, and without much ceremony takes shelter, and begins immediately to tune and scrape bis violin, which is certainly not a very picturesque instrument, though Raphael may have placed it in the hands of Apollo presiding on Parnassus. The following stanzas, in which the King is represented as delighting the old dame and her daughter, while Kincraigy sits surly by, is liable to the same objection: it may be a true and humorous picture of a Scotch wandering fiddler, but it does not become the dignity of a king.
“The minstrel strain'd and twisted sore his face,
Beat with his heel, and twinkled with his eye;
Louder and quicker rush'd the melody;
The dancers round the floor in mazes fiy,
The jolly dame did well her mettle ply!
The Minstrel, all unmask'd, jocosely came,
Placed it betwixt the maid and forthright dame.
They sıniled, and asked his lineage and his name-
A kindred name of theirs, well known to fame,
Such impudence in man, he ween’d, had not been found." The jolly Mador insinuates himself into the good graces of the canty dame, and by degrees creeps into the innocent warm heart of Ila. Having remained at Kincraigy's a day or two, making the falling rain an excuse, a fine day arrives, and he departs, Ila accompanying him to row him across the ferry. The whole day was consumed on this short journey, and what passed, the poet thus ambiguously relates :
“ O read not, lovers !-sure you may not think
That Ila Moore by minstrel airs was won !-'Twas nature's cordial glow, the kindred link
That all unweeting chains two hearts in one ! Crit. Rev. Vol. IV. August, 1816.
Then why should mankind ween the maid undone,
Rest in a bower to view the parting sun,
The peerless charms of maiden's guileful freak?
The wily features so demurely meek ;
The smile of love half dimpling on the cheek;
The parting lips which more than language speak!--
Stole one soft kiss, but still she sounder fell !
'Twas through her sleep she spoke !-Pray was it well,
Molesting helpless maiden in the dell,
Our Minstrel framed resolve I joy to tell;
And eyed the red-beam on the pool that lay,
That lonely spot, upon the banks of Tay,
Still bears the maiden's name, and shall for aye,
For sure the joys of that enchanting day,
Then, glancing oft behind, they sped along the dew.” Shortly afterwards, perhaps not thinking that he had made the matter sufficiently clear, he mentions other endear· ments that had passed between the maid and the minstrel.
The third Canto speaks of Kincraigy expelled by Al. bert, and of bis settlement in his miserable cottage. The description of Ila forsaken by her lover, taunted by her mo. ther, and scowled upon by her father, is very touching, and the following song to her new-born infant, is as pathetic as any part of the poem :
“ Be still, my babe! he still !—the die is cast!
Beyond thy weal no joy remains for me!
Erewhile the blossom open'd on the tree !
But I will nurse thee kindly on my knee,
O thy sweet eye will melt my wrongs to see!
And threat our onward journey to forelay,
Wake half the night, and toil the live-long day;
And when proud manhood o'er thy brow shall play,
The memory of my errors shall decay,
And love's soft passion thrills thy youthful frame,
Above the guilty and regretful flame,
The mildew of the soul, the mark of shame!
When in the twilight bower with beauteous dame,
Thy father's far away, thy mother all too young!" Unable longer to sustain the intense agony arising from such complicated causes, she resolves to fly to the court of Scotland held at Strevline, or Stirling, with her unchristened child; there she hopes to hear tidings of its father. On her road she meets with a Palmer, more properly who ought to have been called a pilgrim, originally being “ Lord of Stormont's fertile bound,” and not living by casual charity on his penitential journey: but Mr. Scott has himself confounded these two characters, and probably Mr. Hogg, who follows his example, was not aware of any distinction. Ila, consistently with the superstitious dread of the times, fears that this Palmer is an evil spirit in disguise, with design to deprive her of her offspring unhallowed by any religious ceremony. During a storm, they take shelter for the night in a ruined hovel, and the relation of the manner in which it is spent, the fears of lla, who imagines she sees elvish faces peeping from every ragged crevice, and the silent orisons of the Palmer, who seems inwardly to repent some hidden crime, is one of the most striking and wellmanaged pictures in the poem : the group of the lovely and trembling damsel, the innocent and sleeping infant, and the venerable Palmer, round a small fire which had been raised