Page images
PDF
EPUB

VIII.

The hunter marked that mountain high,

The lone lake's western boundary,

And deemed the Stag must turn to bay,

Where that huge rampart barred the way;

Already glorying in the prize,

Measured his antlers with his eyes;

For the death-wound, and death-halloo,
Mustered his breath, his whinyard drew;"
But thundering as he came prepared,
With ready arm and weapon bared,

The wily quarry shunned the shock,
And turned him from the opposing rock;

Then, dashing down a darksome glen,

Soon lost to hound and hunter's ken,

In the deep Trosach's wildest nook

His solitary refuge took.

There while, close couched, the thicket shed

Cold dews and wild flowers on his head,

He heard the baffled dogs in vain

Rave through the hollow pass amain,

Chiding the rocks that yelled again.

IX.

Close on the hounds the hunter came,

To cheer them on the vanished

game;

But, stumbling in the rugged dell,
The gallant horse exhausted fell.
The impatient rider strove in vain
To rouse him with the spur and rein,
For the good steed, his labours o'er,
Stretched his stiff limbs to rise no more;
Then, touched with pity and remorse,
He sorrowed o'er the expiring horse.
"I little thought, when first thy rein
I slacked upon the banks of Seine,
That highland eagle e'er should feed
On thy fleet limbs, my matchless steed!
Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day,
That costs thy life, my gallant grey !"—

X.

Then through the dell his horn resounds,

From vain pursuit to call the hounds.
Back limped, with slow and crippled pace,
The sulky leaders of the chase;

Close to their master's side they pressed,
With drooping tail and humbled crest;
But still the dingle's hollow throat
Prolonged the swelling bugle-note.
The owlets started from their dream,
The eagles answered with their scream,
Round and around the sounds were cast,
Till echo seemed an answering blast;
And on the hunter hied his way,
To join some comrades of the day;
Yet often paused, so strange the road,
So wondrous were the scenes it show'd.

XI.

The western waves of ebbing day

Rolled o'er the glen their level way;

Each purple peak, each flinty spire,

Was bathed in floods of living fire.

But not a setting beam could glow

Within the dark ravines below,

Where twined the path, in shadow hid,

Round many a rocky pyramid,

Shooting abruptly from the dell

Its thunder-splintered pinnacle

Round

e;

many an insulated mass,

The native bulwarks of the pass,

Huge as the tower which builders vain
Presumptuous piled on Shinar's plain.

The rocky summits, split and rent,
Formed turret, dome, or battlement,

Or seemed fantastically set

With cupola or minaret,

Wild crests as pagod ever decked,

Or mosque of eastern architect.

Nor were these earth-born castles bare,

Nor lacked they many a banner fair

;

For, from their shivered brows displayed, Far o'er the unfathomable glade,

All twinkling with the dew-drop sheen,

The briar-rose fell in streamers green,

And creeping shrubs, of thousand dyes,

Waved in the west-wind's summer sighs.

XII.

Boon nature scattered, free and wild,

Each plant or flower, the mountain's child.

Here eglantine embalmed the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingled there;

The primrose pale, and violet flower,
Found in each cliff a narrow bower;
Fox-glove and night-shade, side by side,
Emblems of punishment and pride,

« PreviousContinue »