Page images

But why do the matrons, while dressing the dead,
Sit silent, and look as if something they knew?
Why gaze on the features? Why move they the head,
And point at the bosom so dappled and blue?

Say, was there foul play?-Then, why sleeps the red thunder?

Ah! hold, for suspicion stands silent with wonder.
The body's entombed, and the green turf laid over;
Matilda is wed to her dark Highland lover.

Yes, the new moon that stooped over green Aberfoyle,
And shed her light dews on a father's new grave,
Beheld, in her wane, the gay wedding turmoil,
And lighted the bride to her chamber at eve.
Blue, blue was the heaven; and, o'er the wide scene,
vapoury silver veil floated serene,


A fairy perspective, that bore from the eye,

Wood, mountain, and meadow, in distance to lie.

The scene was so still, it was all like a vision ;
The lamp of the moon seemed as fading for ever.
'Twas awfully soft, without shade or elision;

And nothing was heard but the rush of the river.
But why won't the bride-maidens walk on the lea,
Nor lovers steal out to the sycamore tree?
Why turn to the hall with those looks of confusion?
There's nothing abroad!—'tis a dream!-a delusion!

But why do the horses snort over their food,
And cling to the manger in seeming dismay?
What scares the old owlet afar to the wood ?

Why screams the blue heron, as hastening away?
Say, why is the dog hid so deep in his cover?

Each window barred up, and the curtain drawn over?
Each white maiden-bosom still heaving so high,
And fixed on another each fear-speaking eye?

"Tis all an illusion; the lamp let us trim;

Come, rouse thee, old minstrel, to strains of renown; The old cup is empty, fill round to the brim,

And drink the young pair to their chamber just gone. Ha! why is the cup from the lip ta'en away ? Why fixed every form like a statue of clay?

Say, whence is that noise and that horrible clamour? Oh, heavens! it comes from the marriage bedchamber.

Oh, haste thee, Strath-Allan, Glen-Ogle, away,
These outcries betoken wild horror and woe;
The dull ear of midnight is stunned with dismay;
Glen-Ogle! Strath-Allan ! fly swift as the roe.
Mid darkness and death, on eternity's brim,
You stood with Macdonald and Archibald the grim;
Then why do ye hesitate? why do ye stand
With claymore unsheathed, and red taper in hand?

The tumult is o'er; not a murmur nor groan; What footsteps so madly pace through the saloon? 'Tis Kennedy, naked and ghastly alone,

Who hies him away by the light of the moon. All prostrate and bleeding, Matilda they found, The threshold her pillow, her couch the cold ground; Her features distorted, her colour the clay, Her feelings, her voice, and her reason away.

Ere morn they returned; but how well had they never They brought with them horror too deep to sustain ; Returned but to chasten, and vanish for ever,

To harrow the bosom and fever the brain. List, list to her tale, youth, levity, beauty;Oh, sweet is the path of devotion and duty! When pleasure smiles sweetest, dread danger and death, And think of Matilda, the flower of the Teith.


[blocks in formation]

A SUPERCILIOUS nabob of the east,

Haughty and grave, and purse-proud, being rich, A governor or general at least,

I have forgotten which,

Had in his family a humble youth,

Who went to India in his patron's suite;
An unassuming body, and in truth

A lad of decent parts and good repute;
This youth had sense and spirit,
Yet with all his sense

Excessive diffidence

Obscured his merit.

One day at table, flushed with pride and wine,
His honour proudly free, severely merry;
Conceived it would be vastly fine

To crack a joke upon his secretary.

"Young man," said he, "by what art, craft, or trade, Did your good father earn his livelihood?"

"He was a saddler, Sir," Modestus said,
"And in his line was reckoned good."
"A saddler eh! and taught you Greek,
Instead of teaching you to sew;

And pray, Sir, why didn't your father make
A saddler, Sir, of you ?"

Each parasite, as in duty bound,

The joke applauded, and the laugh went round.

At length Modestus, bowing low,

Said, craving pardon if too free he made, "Sir, by your leave, I fain would know

Your father's trade."

"My father's trade!-Why, Sir, that's too bad,

My father's trade! Why, blockhead, art thou mad!

My father, Sir, did never stoop so low,
He was a gentleman I'd have you know;"
"Excuse the liberty," Modestus said, "I take,"
With archness in his brow,

"Pray, Sir, why did not then your father make, A gentleman of you?"


ADIEU, adieu !—my native shore
Fades o'er the waters blue;
The night-winds sigh, the breakers roar,
And shrieks the wild sea-mew.

Yon sun that sets upon the sea,
We follow in his flight;
Farewell awhile to him and thee,
My native land-Good night!

A few short hours, and he will rise
To give the morrow birth;

And I shall hail the main and skies,

But not my mother earth.

Deserted is my own good hall

Its hearth is desolate;

Wild weeds are gathering on the wall-
My dog howls at the gate.

Come hither, hither, my little page,
Why dost thou weep and wail?
Or dost thou dread the billow's rage,
Or tremble at the gale?

But dash the tear-drop from thine eye;
Our ship is swift and strong:
Our fleetest falcon scarce can fly
More merrily along.

"Let winds be shrill, let waves roll high,
I fear not wave nor wind;
Yet marvel not, Sir Childe, that I
Am sorrowful in mind:

"For I have from my father gone,
A mother whom I love,

And have no friend save these alone,
But thee-and One above.

"My father blessed me fervently,
Yet did not much complain;
But sorely will my mother sigh,
Till I come back again.”-

Enough, enough, my little lad,
Such tears become thine eye-
If I thy guiltless bosom had,
Mine own would not be dry!

Come hither, hither, my staunch yeoman,
Why dost thou look so pale?

Or dost thou dread a French foeman,
Or shiver at the gale?

"Deem'st thou I tremble for my life?
Sir Childe, I'm not so weak;
But thinking on an absent wife
Will blanch a faithful cheek.

"My spouse and boys dwell near thy hall, Along the bordering lake;

And when they on their father call,

What answer shall she make ?"

Enough, enough, my yeoman good,
Thy grief let none gainsay;
But I, who am of lighter mood,
Will laugh to flee away.

« PreviousContinue »