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• Alas! the hapless Sire replied,
The big tear starting as he spoke, • When Oscar left my hall, or died,
This aged heart was almost broke. «Thrice has the earth revolved her course
Since Oscar's form has bless'd my sight; And Allan is
last resource, Since martial Oscar's death, or flight.' « 'Tis well,' replied the stranger, stern,
And fiercely flash'd his rolling eye ; “Thy Oscar's fate I fain would learn;
Perhaps the hero did not die. • Perchance, if those whom most he loved
Would call, thy Oscar might return; Perchance the chief has only roved ;
For him thy Beltane,* yet may burn. • Fill high the bowl the table round,
We will not claim the pledge by stealth; With wine let every cup be crown'd;
Pledge me departed Oscar's health." • With all my soul,' old Angus said,
And fill’d his goblet to the brim; • Here's to my boy, alive or dead,
I ne'er shall find a son like him.' • Bravely, old man, this health has sped,
Bat why does Allan trembling stand? Come, drink remembrance of the dead,
And raise thy cup with firmer hand.' The crimson glow of Allan's face
Was turned at once to ghastly hue; The drops of death, each other chase
Adown in agonizing dew. * Beltane Tree, a Highland festival on the 1st of May, held Dear fires lighted for the occasion.
Thrice did he raise the goblet high,
And thrice his lips refused to taste; For thrice he caught the stranger's eye
On his with deadly fury placed. And is it thus a brother hails
A brother's fond remembrance here? If thus affection's strength prevails,
What might we not expect from fear?' Roused by the sneer, he raised the bowl,
('Would Oscar now could share our mirth!' Internal fear appallid his soul,
He said, and dash'd the cup to earth. • 'Tis he! I hear my murderer's voice!
Loud shrieks a darkly gleaming form; A murderer's voice!' the roof replies,
And deeply swells the bursting storm.
The stranger 's gone,-amidst the crew
His plume of sable stream'd on high; But his breast was bare, with red wounds there,
And fix'd was the glare of his glassy eye. And thrice he smiled, with lis eye so wild,
On Angus, bending low the knee; And thrice he frown'd, on a chief on the ground,
Whom shivering crowds with horror see. The bolts loud roll, from pole to pole,
The thunders through the welkin ring, (storm, And the gleaming form, through the mist of the
Was borne on high by the whirlwind's wing.
Cold was the feast, the revel ceased;
Who lies upon the stony floor? Oblivion press'd old Angus' breast,
At length his life-pulse throbs once more. • Away, away, let the leech essay, To
pour the light on Allan's eyes;' His sand is done,-his race is run,
Oh! never more shall Allan rise ! But Oscar's breast is cold as clay,
His locks are lifted by the gale; And Allan's barbed arrow lay
With him in dark Glentanar's vale. And whence the dreadful stranger came,
Or who, no mortal wight can tell; But no one doubts the form of fame,
For Alva's sons knew Oscar well. Ambition nerved young Allan's hand,
Exalting demons wing'd his dart, While envy waved her burning brand,
And pour'd her venom round his heart. Swift is the shaft from Allan's bow,
Whose streaming life-blood stains his side, Dark Oscar's sable crest is low,
The dart has drunk his vital tide, And Mora's eye could Allan move,
She bade his wounded pride rebel : Alas! that eyes, which beam'd with love,
Should urge the soul to deeds of Hell.
Which rises o'er a warrior dead ?
Oh! that is Allan's nuptial bed.
Far, distant far, the noble grave
Which held his clan's great ashes stood; And o'er his corse no banners wave,
For they were stain'd with kindred blood. What minstrel gray, what hoary bard,
Shall Allan's deeds on harp-strings raise? The song is glory's chief reward,
But who can strike a murderer's praise ? Unstrung, untouch'd, the harp must stand,
No minstrel dare the theme awake; Guilt would benumb his palsied hand,
His harp in shuddering chords would break. No lyre of fame, no hallow'd verse,
Shall sound his glories high in air, A dying father's bitter curse,
A brother's death-groan echoes there.
TO THE DUKE OF D. In looking over my papers, to select a few additional Poems for this second edition, I found the following lines, which I had totally forgotten, composed in the summer of 1805; a short time previous to my departure from H - They were addressed to a young school-fellow of high rank, who had been my frequent companion in some rambles through the neighbouring country; however, he never saw the lines, and most probably never will. As, on a re-perusal, I found them not worse than some other pieces in the collection, I have now published them, for the first time, after a slight revision. D-R-T! whose early steps with mine have stray'd, Exploring every path of Ida's glade, Whom still affection taught me to defend, And made me less a tyrant than a friend; Though the harsh custom of our youthful band Bade thee obey, and gave me to command;*
* At every public school the junior boys are completely subservient to the upper forms, till they attain a seat in the higher classes. From this state of probation, very properly, no rank is exempt; but after a certain period, they command in turn those who succeed.
Thee, on whose head a few short years will shower
When youthful parasites, who bend the knee
Yes! I have mark'd thee many a passing day, But now new scenes invite me far
away; Yes! I have mark”d within that generous mind, A soul, if well matured, to bless mankind; Ah! though myself, by nature haughty, wild, Whom Indiscretion hail'd her favourite child;
# Allow me to disclaim any personal allusions, even the most distant; I merely mention generally, what is too often the weak. ness of preceptors.