Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

XL.-A BATTLE IN THE HIGHLANDS.

SIR WALTER Scott. [This lesson is from “ The Lady of the Lake," a narrative poem.] 1. THERE is no breeze upon the fern,

No ripple on the lake,
Upon her eyry' nods the erne?,

The deer has sought the brake;
The small birds will not sing aloud,

The springing trout lies still,
So darkly glooms yon thunder-cloud,
That swathes, as with a purple shroud,

Benledi's* distant hill.
2. Is it the thunder's solemn sound

That mutters deep and dread,
Or echoes from the groaning ground

The warrior's measured tread ?
Is it the lightning's quivering glance

That on the thicket streams,
Or do they flash on spear and lance

The sun's retiring beams ?

3. I see the dagger-crest of Mar,

I see the Moray's“ silver star,
Wave o'er the cloud of Saxon war,
That up the lake comes winding far!

To hero bound for battle strife

Or bard of martial lay, 'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,

One glance at their array.

4. Their light-armed archers far and near

Surveyed the tangled ground;
Their centre ranks, with pike and spear,

A twilight forest frowned;
Their barbéd horsemen, in the rear,

The stern battalia crowned.
No cymbal’ clashed, no clarion rang,

Still were the pipe and drum;
Save heavy tread and armor’s clang,

Their sullen march was dumb. 5. There breathed no wind their crests to shake,

Or wave their flags abroad;
Scarce the frail aspen seemed to quake,

That shadowed o'er their road.
Their vaward" scouts no tidings bring,

Can rouse no lurking foe,
Nor spy a trace of living thing,

Save when they stirred the roe";
The host moves, like a deep-sea wave,
Where rise no rocks its pride to brave,

High-swelling, dark, and slow.
6. The lake is passed, and now they gain

A narrow and a broken plain
Before the Trosachs?? rugged jaws;
And here the horse and spearmen pause,
While, to explore the dangerous glen,
Dive through the pass the archer-men.

7. At once there rose so wild a yell

Within that dark and narrow dell,
As all the fiends from heaven that fell,
Had pealed the banner-cry of hell!
Forth from the pass in tumult driven,
Like chaff before the wind of heaven,

The archery appear:
For life! for life! their flight they ply;
And shriek, and shout, and battle-cry,
And plaids and bonnets waving high,
And broadswords flashing to the sky,

Are maddening in the rear.

Onward they drive, in dreadful race,

Pursuers and pursued;
Before that tide of flight and chase
How shall it keep its rooted place,

The spearmen's twilight wood ?

8. “ Down, down,” cried Mar, “your lances down!

Bear back both friend and foe!”
Like reeds before the tempest's frown,
That serried '3 grove of lances brown

At once lay levelled low;
And closely shouldering side to side
The bristling ranks the onset bide.
“We'll quell the savage mountaineer

As their tinchell"4 cows the game!
They come as fleet as forest deer,

We'll drive them back as tame.”

9. Bearing before them, in their course,

The relics of the archer force,
Like wave with crest of sparkling foam,
Right onward did Clan-Alpine come.

Above their tide each broadsword bright
Was brandishing like beam of light,

Each targeló was dark below;
And with the ocean's mighty swing,
When heaving to the tempest's wing,

They hurled them on the foe.

10. I heard the lance's shivering crash,

As when the whirlwind rends the ash;
I heard the broadsword's deadly clang,
As if a hundred anvils rang;
But Moray wheeled his rearward rank
Of horsemen on Clan-Alpine's flank 16 ;

“My banner-man advance!

“I see,” he cried, “ their column shake-
Now, gallants ! for your ladies' sake,

Upon them with the lance !” —

11. The horsemen dashed among the rout,

As deer break through the broom;
Their steeds are stout, their swords are out;
They soon make lightsome room.
Clan-Alpine's best are backward borne, -

Where, where was Roderick, then ?
One blast upon his bugle-horn

Were worth a thousand men. .

12. And refluent" through the pass of fear

The battle's tide was poured;
Vanished the Saxon's struggling spear,

Vanished the mountain sword.
As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and steep,

Receives her roaring linn 1,
As the dark caverns of the deep

Suck the wild whirlpool in,
So did the deep and darksome pass
Devour the battle's mingled mass:
None linger now upon the plain,
Save those who ne'er shall fight again.

1 EYR'Y (år'e). A place where birds | 9 PĪPE. A bagpipe; a musical instru. of prey build their nests.

ment common in Scotland. : ËRNE. Tlie sea eagle.

| 10 VA'WARD. Vanward ; advanced. 8 SWĀTHEŞ. Encloses ; winds about. / 11 RÕE. Roebuck; a small species of * BEN-LED'I. A mountain in Scot- deer. land.

12 TRÕS'ẠCHŞ. A narrow pass in Scot6 MAR. Names of Highland chief-| land. 6 MO-RAY.) tains.

13 SER'RỊED. Close; compact. 6 BẠT-TĀL'IA Order of battle. 14 TỈN'CHELL. A circle of sportsmen, I CYM'BẠL. A musical instrument, who enclose and drive in the deer,

consisting of two pieces of metal 15 TÄRGE. Target; a shield. which are struck together.

16 FLĂNK. Side of an army. 8 CLĂR'I-ON. A kind of trumpet of a 17 REFLY-ENT. Flowing back. shrill, clear tone.

18 LINN. A waterfall.

XLI.-- ANEODOTE OF RICHARD JACKSON.

LONDON QUARTERLY REVIEW. 1. DURING the war of independence in North America, a plain farmer, Richard Jackson by name, was apprehended, under such circumstances as proved, beyond all doubt, his purpose of joining the king's forces, an intention which he was too honest to deny; accordingly, he was delivered over to the high sheriff, and committed to the county jail. The prison was in such a state that he might have found little difficulty in escaping; but he considered himself as in the hands of authority, such as it was, and the same principle of duty which led him to take arms, made him equally ready to endure the consequences.

2. After lying there a few days, he applied to the sheriff for leave to go out and work by day, promising that he would return regularly at night. His character for simple integrity was so well known, that permission was given without hesitation; and, for eight months, Jackson went out every day to labor, and as duly came back to prison at night. In the month of May, the sheriff prepared to conduct him to Springfield, where he was to be tried for high treason'. Jackson said this would be a needless trouble and expense; he could save the sheriff both, and go just as well by himself.

3. His word was once more taken, and he set off alone, to present himself for trial and certain condemnation. On the way he was overtaken in the woods by Mr. Edwards, a member of the council of Massachusetts, which, at that time, was the supreme executive of the state. This gentleman asked him whither he was going. “To Springfield, sir,” was his answer,“ to be tried for my life.” To this casual interview Jackson owed his escape, when,

« AnteriorContinuar »