Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

said the young chief: hew him down when the M'Gregors were coming in front; he deserves honorable raging up the glen, like red deerels as wounds, for he is brave, though an they are, mony o' their best warriors enemy.”

fell at the fartbest entry o' the pass, They had been prevented by a ris- every man o' them wi' a hole in his ing knoll from being seen from the breast and its fellow at his back." cottage, which they now reached. He had taken a long arrow out of Knocking loudly at the door, after the sheaf, and stood playing with it in some delay they were answered by his hand while speaking, seemingly the appearance of a little, thick-set, ready to give to the first man who grey-eyed, oldish-looking-man, with should bend the bow. The M Gre. long arms and a black bushy beard gors were tall muscular men, in the hung with grey threads and thrums, as prime of youth and manhood. The if he had been employed in weaving young chief took up the bow, and af

the coarse linen of the country and ter examining its unbending strength, = the time. But as he had none of the laying all his might to it, strained till

muscular symptoms of prodigious the blood rushed to his face, and his strength, which Calum Dhu was re- temples throbbed almost to burstingported to possess, and which had of- but in vain; the . string remained ten proved so fatal to their clan, they slack as ever. Evan and the other could not suppose this to be their re- M Gregor were alike unsuccessful ; doubted foeman; and, to the queru- they might as well have tried to root lous question of what they wanted, up the gnarled oaks of their native uttered in the impatient tone of one mountains. who has been interrupted in some ne- “ There is not a man,” cried the cessary worldly employment, they re- young chief of M Gregor, greatly plied by inquiring if Calum Dhu was chagrined at the absence of Calum at home. “Na, he's gane to the Dhu, and his own and clansmen's vain fishing ; but an ye hae ony message attempts to bend the bow,-" There for our chief, (Heaven guard him !) is not a man in your clan can bend about the coming of the red M Gre- that bow, and if Calum Dhu were

gors, and will trust me with it, Calum here, he should not long bend it !”• will get it frae me. Ye may as well Here he bit his lip, and suppressed

tell me as him; he stays lang when the rest of the sentence, for the third he gaes out, for he is a keen fisher.” M.Gregor gave him a glance of cau

“ We were only wanting to try the tion. “Ha !” said the old man, still bending of his bow,” said the disap- playing with the long arrow in his pointed young chief, « which we have hand, and without seeming to observe heard no man can do save himself.” the latter part of the M Gregor's “Hoo! gin that is a', ye might hae speech, “ If Calum was here, he tell'd it at first, an' no keepit me sae would bend it as easily as you wad lang frae my loom,” said the old man: bend that rush ; and gin ony o' the “ but stop”-and giving his shoulders M Gregors were in sight, he wad an impatient shrug, which, to a keen drive this lang arrow through them as observer, would have passed for one easily as ye wad drive your dirk of satisfaction, triumph, and determi- through my old plaid, and the feather nation, he went into the house and wad come out at the other side, wet quickly returned, bringing out a strong wi' their heart's bluid. Sometimes how, and a sheaf of arrows, and flung even the man behind is wounded, if them carelessly on the ground, say- they are ony way thick in their bating, “Ye'll be for trying your tle. I once saw a pair of them strength at a flight ?" pointing to the stretched on the heather, pinned toarrows; “I hae seen Calum send an gether with ane of Calum's lang ararrow over the highest point o' that rows.hill, like a glance o' lightning; and This was spoken with the cool com

48 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.

posure and simplicity of one who is strength; his arrow will only, I think, talking to friends, or is careless if stick weel through Black John, bat they are foes. A looker-on could " “ Dotard, peace!” roared have discerned a chequered shade of the young chief, till the glen rang pleasure and triumph cross his coun- again ; his brow darkening like midtenance as M'Gregor's lip quivered, night: “ Peace ! or I shall cut the and the scowl of anger fell along his sacrilegious tongue out of your head, brow at the tale of his kinsmen's de- and nail it to that door, to show Calum struction by the arm of his most hat- Dhu that you have had visitors since ed enemy.

he went away, and bless his stars that “ He must be a brave warrior,” he was not here." said the young chief, compressing his A dark flash of suspicion crossed breath, and looking with anger and his mind as he gazed at the cool old torastonishment at the tenacious and cool mentor, who stood before him, unold man. “I should like to see this quailing at his frowns; but it vanished Calum Dhu.”

as the imperturbable old man said, “ Ye may soon enough; angin ye “ Haoh! ye're no a M Gregor-and were a M.Gregor, feel him too. But though ye were, ye surely wadna mind what is the man glunching and gloom- the like o' me! But anent bending ing at? Gin ye were Black John this bow,” striking it with the long hiinsel, ye couldna look mair deevilish arrow, which he still held in his hand, like. And what are you fidging at, “there is just a knack in it; and man ?” addressing the third M.Gregor, your untaught young strength is usewho had both marked and felt the an- less, as ye dinna ken the gait o't. I ger of his young chief, and had slow- learned it frae Calum, but I'm swom ly moved nearer the old man, and never to tell it to a stranger. There stood with his right hand below the is mony a man in the clan I ken left breast of his plaid, probably naething about. But as ye seem grasping his dirk, ready to execute the anxious to see the bow bent, I'll no vengeance of his master, as it was disappoint ye; rin up to yon grey displayed on his clouded countenance, stane-stand there, and it will no be which he closely watched. The faith the same as if ye were standing near of the Gael is deeper than “ to hear me when I'm doing it, but it will just is to obey,” the slavish obedience of be the same to you, for ye can see the East : his is to anticipate and weel enough, and when the string is perform-to know and accomplish or on the bow, ye may come down, an' die. It is the sterner devotedness of ye like, and try a fight; it's a capital the north.

bow, and that ye'll fin?." But the old man kept his keen grey A promise is sacred with the Gael; eye fixed upon him, and continued, in and as he was under one, they did not the same unsuspecting tone : « But is insist on his exhibiting his art while there ony word o’the M Gregors soon they were in his presence; but curicoming over the hills ? Calum wad ous to see the sturdy bow bent, a feat like to try a shot at Black John, their of which the best warrior of their chief; he wonders gin he could pass clan would have been proud, and an arrow through his great hardy which they had in vain essayed; and bulk as readily as he sends them perhaps thinking Calum Dhu would through his clansmen's silly bodies. arrive in the interval; and as they John has a son, too, he wad like to try feared nothing from the individual, his craft on ; he has the name of a who seemed ignorant of their name, brave warrior-I forget his name. and who could not be supposed to Calum likes to strike at noble game, send an arrow so far with any effect; though he is sometimes forced to kill they therefore walked away in the dithat which is little worth. But I'm rection pointed out, nor did they once fearfu' that he o’errates his ain turn their faces till they reached the grey rock. They now turned, and waited the approach of the M Gresaw the old man (who had waited till gors, who did not conceal their comthey had gone the whole way) sud- ing, for loud and fiercely their pipes denly bend the stubborn yew, and fix flung their notes of war and defiance an arrow on the string. In an instant on the gale as they approached : and it was strongly drawn to his very ear, and mountain cliff and glen echoed far and the feathered shaft, of a cloth-breadth wide the martial strains. They arlength, was fiercely launched in air. rived, and a desperate struggle imme

"M'Alp-hooch !” cried the young diately commenced. The M Gregors chief, meaning to raise the M Gregor carried all before them : no warriors war-cry, clapping his hand on his of this time could withstand the hurbreast as he fell. “Ha!” cried ricane onset, sword in hand, of the Calum Dhu, for it was he himself; far-feared, warlike M Gregors. Black “ clap your hand behin'; the arm John raged through the field like a shot that that never sent arrow that chafed lion, roaring in a voice of came out where it went in ;'—a thunder, heard far above the clash, rhyme he used in battle, when his groans, and yells of the unyielding foes fell as fast as he could fix arrows combatants where was the murto the bow-string. The two M'Gre- derer of his son ?” None could tell gors hesitated a moment whether to him-none was afforded time, for he rush down and cut to atoms the old cut down, in his headlong rage, every man who had so suddenly caused the foe he met. At length, when but death of their beloved young chief; few of his foes remained, on whom but seeing him fix another arrow to he could wreak his wrath, or exercise his bow, of which they had just seen his great strength, he spied an old the terrible effects, and fearing they man sitting on a ferny bank, holding might be prevented from carrying the the stump of his leg, which had been news of his son's death to their old cut off in the battle, and who beckonchieftain, and thus cheat him of his ed the grim chief to come nearer. revenge, they started over the hill Black John rushed forward, brandishlike roes. But a speedy messengering his bloody sword, crying, in a was after them; an arrow caught voice which startled the yet remaining Evan as he descended out of sight birds from the neighboring mountain over the hill; sent with powerful and cliffs,~" Where is my son's murunerring aim, it transfixed him in the derer ?” “Shake the leg out o' that shoulder. It must have grazed the brogue,” said the old man, speaking bent that grew on the hill top to catch with difficulty, and squeezing his him, as only his shoulders could be bleeding stump with both hands, with seen from where Calum Dhu stood all the energy of pain, "and bring On flew the other M Gregor with lit- me some o' the water frae yon burn to tle abatement of speed, till he reach- drink, and I will show you Calum ed his chieftain with the bloody tidings Dhu, for he is yet in the field, and of his son's death. “ Raise the clan !” lives : rin, for my heart burns and was Black John's first words; "dear- faints.” Black John, without speakly shall they rue it.” A party was ing, shook the leg out of the brogue, soon gathered. Breathing all the and hasted to bring water, to get the vengeance of mountain warriors, they wished for intelligence. Stooping to were soon far on their way of fierce dip the bloody brogue in the little retaliation, with Black John at their stream, “ M'Alp-booch !” he cried, head. Calum Dhu was in the mean- and splashed lifeless in the water, time not idle ; knowing, from the es- which in a moment ran thick with his cape of one of the three M Gregors, blood. “Ha!” cried Calum Dhu, that a battle must quickly ensue, he for it was he again ; « clap your hand collected as many of his clansmen as behin'; that's the last arrow shot by he could, and taking his terrible bow, the arin that sent those which came which he could so bravely use, calmly not out where they went in.”

THE VICTIM BRIDE.

I saw her in her summer bow'r, and oh! upon my sight
Methought there never beam'd a form more beautiful and bright!
So young, so fair, she seem'd as one of those aërial things
That live but in the poet's high and wild imaginings;
Or like those forms we meet in dreams from which we wake, and weep
That earth has no creation like the figments of our sleep.
Her parent-loved he not his child above all earthly things!
As traders love the merchandise from which their profit springs;
Old age came by, with tott'ring step, and, for the sordid gold
With which the dotard urged his suit, the maiden's peace was sold.
And thus (for oh! her sire's stern heart was steel'd against her pray'r)
The hand he ne'er had gain'd from love, he won from her despair.
I saw them through the church-yard pass, but such a nuptial train
I would not for the wealth of worlds should greet my sight again.
The bridemaids, each as beautiful as Eve in Eden's bow'rs,
Shed bitter tears upon the path they should have strewn with flow'rs.
Who had not deem'd that white-robed band the funeral array,
Of one an early doom had callid from life's gay scene away
The priest beheld the bridal group before the altar stand,
And sigh'd as he drew forth his book with slow reluctant hand :
He saw the bride's flow'r-wreathed hair, and mark'd her streaming eyes,
And deem'd it less a christian rite than a pagan sacrifice :
And when he called on Abraham's God to bless the wedded pair,
It seem'd a very mockery to breathe so vain a pray'r.
I saw the palsied bridegroom too, in youth's gay ensigns drest;
A shroud were fitter garment far for him than bridal vest;
I mark'd him when the ring was claim'd, 'twas hard to loose his hold,
He held it with a miser's clutch-it was his darling gold.
His shrivell'd hand was wet with tears she pour'd, alas ! in vain,
And it trembled like an autumn leaf bencath the beating rain.
I've seen her since that fatal morn-her golden fetters rest
As e'en the weight of incubus, upon her aching breast.
And when the victor, Death, shall come to deal the welcome blow,
He will not find one rose to swell the wreath that decks bis brow;
For oh ! her cheek is blanch'd by grief which time may not assuage,
Thus early Beauty sheds her bloom on the wintry breast of Age.

HANNAH BINT.

BY MISS MARY RUSSELL MITFORD. The Shaw, leading to Hannah Bint's wild honey-suckle. In other parts, habitation, is a very pretty mixture of the Shaw is quite clear of its basky wood and coppice; that is to say, a undergrowth, and clothed only with track of thirty or forty acres covered large beds of feathery fern, or carpets with fine growing timber—ash, and of fowers, primroses, orchises, coroak, and elin-very regularly planted; slips, ground-ivy, crane's-bill, cottonand interspersed here and there with grass, solomon's seal, and forget-melarge patches of underwood, hazel, not, crowded together with a profusion maple, birch, holly, and hawthorn, and brilliancy of color, such as I bare woven into almost impenetrable thick- rarely seen equalled even in a garets by long wreaths of the bramble, den. Here the wild hyacinth really the briary, and the briar-rose, or by enamels the ground with its fresh and the pliant and twisting garlands of the lovely purple; there,

" On aged roots, with bright green mosses though the grain be ripening, the

clad, Dwells the wood-sorrel, with its bright thin beautiful buck-wheat, of which the leaves

transparent leaves and stalks are so Heart-shaped and triply folded, and its root brightly tinged with vermilion, while Creeping like beaded coral; whilst around Flourish the copse's pride, anemones,

the delicate pink-white of the flower, With rays like golden studs on ivory laid a paler persicaria, has a feathery fall, Most delicate ; but touched with purple clouds, at once so rich and so graceful, and a Fit crown for April's fair but changeful brow.” fresh and reviving odor, like that of The variety is much greater than I beech trees in the dew of a May evehave enumerated; for the ground is ning. The bank that surmounts this so unequal, now swelling in gentle as- attempt at cultivation is crowned with cents, now dimpling into dells and the late foxglove and the stately inulhollows, and the soil so different in lein; the pasture of which so great different parts, that the sylvan Flora a part of the waste consists, looks as is unusually extensive and complete. green as an emerald ; a clear pond,

The season is, however, now too with the bright sky reflected in it, lets late for this floweriness: and, except light into the picture ; the white cotthe tufted woodbines, which have con- tage of the keeper peeps from the tinued in bloom during the whole of opposite coppice; and the vine-coverthis lovely autumn, and some lingering ed dwelling of Hannah Bint rises garlands of the purple wild-veitch, from amidst the pretty garden, which wreathing round the thickets, and lies bathed in the sunshine around it. uniting with the ruddy leaves of the The living and moving accessories bramble, and the pale jestoons of the are all in keeping with the cheerfulbriary, there is little to call one's at- ness and repose of the landscape. tention from the grander beauties of Hannah's cow grazing quietly beside the trees—the sycamore, its broad the keeper's pony ; a brace of fat leaves already spotted—the oak, hea- pointer puppies holding amicable invy with acorns-and the delicate tercourse with a litter of young pigs ; shining rind of the weeping birch, ducks, geese, cocks, hens, and chick“ the lady of the woods," thrown out ens, scattered over the yard ; Hannah in strong relief from a back-ground of herself sallying forth from the cottageholly and hawthorn, each studded door, with her milk-bucket in her with coral berries, and backed with hand, and her little brother following old beeches, beginning to assume the with the milking stool. rich, tawny hue, which makes them My friend, Hannah Bint, is by no perhaps the most picturesque of au- means an ordinary person. Her fatumnal trees, as the transparent fresh- ther, Jack Bint, (for in all his life he ness of their young foliage is un- never arrived at the dignity of being doubtedly the choicest ornament of the called John; indeed, in our parts, he forest in spring.

was commonly known by the cognoA sudden turn round one of these men of London Jack,) was a drover magnificent beeches brings us to the of high repute in his profession. No boundary of the Shaw, and leaning man, between Salisbury Plain and upon a rude gate, we look over an open Smithfield, was thought to conduct a space of about ten acres of ground, still flock of sheep so skilfully through all more varied and broken than that the difficulties of lanes and commons, which we have passed, and surrounded streets and high-roads, as Jack Bint, on all sides by thick woodland. As a and Jack Bint's famous dog, Watch; piece of color, nothing can be well for Watch's rough, honest face, black, finer. The ruddy glow of the heath- with a little white about the muzzle, flower, contrasting, on the one hand, and one white ear, was as well known with the golden-blossomed furze-on at fairs and markets, as his master's the other, with a patch of buck-wheat, equally honest and weather-beaten of which the bloom is not past, al- visage. Lucky was the dealer that

« AnteriorContinuar »