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For still some latent hope survived
That Oscar might once more appear; His hope now droop'd and now revived,
Till Time had told a tedious year. Days rollid along, the orb of light
Again had run his destined race; No Oscar bless'd his father's sight,
And sorrow left a fainter trace.
And now his father's only joy :
For beauty crown'd the fair-hair'd boy.
And Allan's face was wondrous fair; If Oscar lived, some other maid
Had claim'd his faithless bosom's care. And Angus said, if one year more
In fruitless hope was pass'd away, His fondest scruples should be o'er,
And he would name their nuptial day. Slow rolld the moons, but blest at last
Arrived the dearly destined morn; The year of anxious trembling past,
What smiles the lovers' cheeks adorn! Hark to the pibroch's pleasing note!
Hark to the swelling nuptial song! In joyous strains the voices float,
And still the choral peal prolong. Again the clan, in festive crowd,
Throng through the gate of Alva's hall;
And all their former joy recall.
Glooms in the midst of general mirth ?
The blue flames curdle o'er the hearth. Dark is the robe which wraps his form,
And tall his plume of gory red; His voice is like the rising storm,
But light and trackless is his tread. 'T is noon of night : the pledge goes round,
The bridegroom's health is deeply quaffd; With shouts the vaulted roofs resound,
And all combine to hail the draught. Sudden the stranger-chief arose,
And all the clamorous crowd are hush'd; And Angus' cheek with wonder glows,
And Mora's tender bosom blush’d. « Old man! he cried, “ this pledge is done;
Thou saw'st 'twas duly drunk by me; It haild the nuptials of thy son :
Now will I claim a pledge from thee.
" While all around is mirth and joy,
To bless thy Allan's happy lot, Say, hadst thou ne'er another boy ?
Say, why should Oscar be forgot p» “ Alas!" the hapless sire replied,
The big tear starting as he spoke,
This aged heart was almost broke.
Since Oscar's form has bless'd my sight; And Allan is my last resource,
Since martial Oscar's death or flight.” “ 'T is 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 (1) 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 filld 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;
But 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 turn'd at once to ghastly hue;
Adown in agonizing dew.
And thrice his lips refused to taste ;
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. «« 'T is 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.
(1) Beltane Tree, a Highland festival on the first of May, held Dear fires lighted for the occasion.
(2) Beallain means the fire of Baal, and the name still preserves the primeval origin of this Celtic superstition.- E.
The tapers wink, the chieftains shrink,
The song is glory's chief reward, The stranger's gone,-amidst the crew
But who can strike a murderer's praise ? A form was seen in tartan green,
Unstrung, untouch'd, the harp must stand, And tall the shade terrific grew.
No minstrel dare the theme awake; His waist was bound with a broad belt round, Guilt would benumb his palsied hand,
His plume of sable stream’d on high ; (there, His harp in shuddering chords would break. But his breast was bare, with the red wounds
No lyre of fame, no hallow'd verse,
Shall sound his glories high in air :
A brother's death groan, echoes there.
THE EPISODE OF NISUS AND EURYALUS. The bolts loud roll, from pole to pole, The thunders through the welkin ring, storm,
A PARAPHRASE FROM THE ÆNEID, LIB. IX. And the gleaming form, through the mist of the Nisus, the guardian of the portal, stood;
Was borne on high by the whirlwind's wing. Eager to gild his arms with hostile blood; Cold was the feast, the revel ceased.
Well skill'd in fight the quivering lance to wield, Who lies upon the stony floor ?
Or pour his arrows through the embattled field : Oblivion press'd old Angus' breast,
From Ida torn, he lert his sylvan cave,
To watch the movements of the Daunian host, “Away! away! let the leech essay
With him Euryalus sustains the post ; To pour the light on Allan's eyes.”
No lovelier mien adorn'd the ranks of Troy, His sand is done,-his race is run;
And beardless bloom yet graced the gallant boy; Oh! never more shall Allan rise!
Though few the seasons of his youthful life, But Oscar's breast is cold as clay,
As yet a novice in the martial strife, His locks are lifted by the gale;
’T was his, with beauty, valour's gifts to shareAnd Allan's barbed arrow lay
A soul heroic, as his form was fair : With him in dark Glentanar's vale.
These burn with one pure flame of generous love; And whence the dreadful stranger came,
In peace, in war, united still they move; Or who, no mortal wight can tell; Friendship and glory form their joint reward; But no one doubts the form of flame,
And now combined they hold their nightly guard. For Alva's sons knew Oscar well.
“What god,” exclaim'd the first,“instils this fire? Ambition perved young Allan's hand, Or, in itself a god, what great desire ? Exulting demons wing'd his dart;
My labouring soul, with anxious thought oppress'd, While Envy waved her burning brand,
Abhors this station of inglorious rest; And pour'd her venom round his heart.
The love of fame with this can ill accord, Swift is the shaft from Allan's bow;
Be't mine to seek for glory with my sword.
Seest thou yon camp, with torches twinkling dim, Whose streaming life-blood stains his side ? Dark Oscar's sable crest is low,
Where drunken slumbers wrap each lazy limb ?
Where Confidence and Ease the watch disdain, The dart has drunk his vital tide.
And drowsy Silence holds her sable reign? And Mora's eye could Allan move,
Then hear my thought:- In deep and sullen grief She bade his wounded pride rebel :
Our troops and leaders mourn their absent chief: Alas! that eyes which beam'd with love
Now could the gifts and promised prize be thine, Should urge the soul to deeds of hell !
(The deed, the danger, and the fame be mine), Lo! seest thou not a lonely tomb
Were this decreed, beneath yon rising mound, Which rises o'er a warrior dead ?
Methinks an easy path, perchance, were found; It glimmers through the twilight gloom; Which pass’d, I speed my way to Pallas' walls, Oh! that is Allan's nuptial bed.
And lead Æneas from Evander's halls." Far, distant far, the noble grave
With equal ardour fired, and warlike joy, Which held his clan's great ashes stood; Ais glowing friend address’d the Dardan boy: And o'er his corse no banners wave,
“These deeds, my Nisus, shalt thou dare alone ? For they were stain'd with kindred blood. Must all the fame, the peril, be thine own? What minstrel grey, what hoary bard, Am I by thee despised, and left afar,
Shall Allan's deeds on harp-strings raise ? As one unfit to share the toils of war?
Not thus his son the great Opheltes taught; “Attend, nor judge from youth our humble plan.
Nor heed that we secret path have traced,
Beneath the covert of the blackening smoke, Here is a soul with hope immortal burns,
Whose shade securely our design will cloak! And life, ignoble life, for glory spurns.
If you, ye chiefs, and fortune will allow, Fame, fame is cheaply earn'd by fleeting breath : We'll bend our course to yonder mountain's brow, The price of honour is the sleep of death.” Where Pallas' walls at distance meet the sight,
Then Nisus : _“Calm thy bosom's fond alarms: Seen o'er the glade, when not obscured by night : Thy heart beats fiercely to the din of arms.
Then shall Æneas in his pride return, More dear thy worth and valour than my own,
While hostile matrons raise their offspring's urn; I swear by him who fills Olympus' throne!
And Latian spoils and purpled heaps of dead
Shall mark the havoc of our hero's tread.
Such is our purpose, not unknown the way; But should I fall,--and he who dares advance
Where yonder torrent's devious waters stray, Through hostile legions must abide by chance,
Oft have we seen, when hunting by the stream, If some Rutulian arm, with adverse blow,
The distant spires above the valleys gleam.”
Mature in years, for sober wisdom famed,
Moved by the speech, Alethes here exclaim'd : Thy budding years a lengthen'd term deserve. When humbled in the dust, let some one be
“Ye parent gods! who rule the fate of Troy,
Still dwells the Dardan spirit in the boy; Whose gentle eyes will shed one lear for me;
When minds like these in striplings thus ye raise, Whose manly arm may snatch me back by force,
Yours is the godlike act, be yours the praise ; Or wealth redeem from foes my captive corse :
In gallant youth, my fainting hopes revive, Or, if my destiny these last deny,
And llion's wonted glories still survive." If in the spoiler's power my ashes lie,
Then in his warm embrace the boys he press’d, Thy pious care may raise a simple lomb,
And, quivering, strain'd them to his aged breast; To mark thy love, and signalize my doom.
With tears the burning cheek of each bedew'd, Why should thy doting wretched mother weep Her only boy, reclined in endless sleep!
And, sobbing, thus his first discourse renew'd : Who, for thy sake, the tempest's fury dared,
“What gift, my countrymen, what martial prize
Can we bestow, which you may not despise ? Who, for thy sake, war's deadly peril shared;
Our deities the first best boon have given Who braved what woman never braved before,
Internal virtues are the gift of Heaven. And left her native for the Latian shore." “In vain you damp the ardour of my soul,”
What poor rewards can bless your deeds on earth
Doubtless await such young exalted worth.
Æneas and Ascanius shall combine
lulus then :-“By all the powers above! The pair, buoy'd up on Hope's exulting wing, Their stations leave, and speed to seek the king.
By those Penales who my country love!
By hoary Vesta's sacred fane I swear! Now o’er the earth a solemn stillness ran,
My hopes are all in you, ye generous pair! And lulld alike the cares of brule and man;
Restore my father to my grateful sight, Save where the Dardan leaders nightly hold
And all my sorrows yield to one delight. Alternate converse, and their plans unfolil.
Nisus! two silver goblets are thine own, On one great point the council are agreed,
Saved from Arisba's stately domes o’erthrown! An instant message to their prince decreed ;
My sire secured them on that fatal day, Each lean’d upon the lance he well could wield,
Nor left such bowls an Argive robber's prey; And poised with easy arm his ancient shield;
Two massy tripods, also, shall be thine; When Nisus and his friend their leave request
Two talents polish'd from the glittering mine! To offer something to their high behest.
An ancient cup, which Tyrian Dido gave, With anxious tremors, yet unawed by fear,
While yet our vessels press'd the Punic wave: The faithful pair before the throne appear :
But when the hostile chiefs at length bow down, lulus greets them; at his kind command,
When great Æneas wears Hesperia's crown, The elder first address'd the hoary band.
The casque, the buckler, and the fiery steed • With patience” (thus Hyrtacides began) Which Turnus guides with more than mortal speed,
Are thine; no envious lot shall then be cast, For friends to envy and for foes to feel :
A tawny hide, the Moorish lion's spoil,
Arm’d, thence they go, while all the assembled train,
lulus holds amidst the chiefs his place: Shall join our bosoms and our souls in one; His prayer he sends; but what can prayers avail, Without thy aid, no glory shall be mine;
Lost in the murmurs of the sighing gale!
The trench is pass'd, and, favour'd by the night, In war my bulwark, and in peace my joy.”
Through sleeping foes they wheel their wary flight.
When shall the sleep of many a foe be o'er ? To him Euryalus :-“No day shall shame
Alas! some slumber who shall wake no more! The rising glories which from this I claim.
Chariots and bridles, mix'd with arms, are seen; Fortune may favour, or the skies may frown,
And flowing flasks, and scatter'd troops between :
Bacchus and Mars to rule the camp combine; But valour, spite of fate, obtains renown. Yet, ere from hence our eager steps depart,
A mingled chaos this of war and wine. One boon I beg, the nearest to my heart :
“Now," cries the first,“ for deeds of blood prepare, My mother, sprung from Priam's royal line, With me the conquest and the labour share: Like thine ennobled, hardly less divine,
Here lies our path; lest any hand arise, Nor Troy nor king Acestes' realms restrain Watch thou, while many a dreaming chieftain dies : Her feeble age from dangers of the main;
I'll carve our passage through the heedless foe, Alone she came, all selfish fears above,
And clear thy road with many a deadly blow." A bright example of maternal love.
His whispering accents then the youth repress'd, Unknown the secret enterprise I brave,
And pierced proud Rhamnes through his panting Lest grief should bend my parent to the grave;
breast: From this alone no fond adieus I seek,
Stretch'd at his ease, the incautious king reposed : No fainting mother's lips have press'd my cheek;
Debauch, and not fatigue, his eyes had closed : By gloomy night and thy right hand I vow
To Turnus dear, a prophet and a prince, Her parting tears would shake my purpose now:
His omens more than augur's skill evince; Do thou, my prince, her failing age sustain,
But he, who thus foretold the fate of all, In thee her much-loved child may live again;
Could not avert his own untimely fall. Her dying hours with pious conduct bless,
Next Remus' armour-bearer, hapless, fell, Assist her wants, relieve her fond distress :
And three unhappy slaves the carnage swell; So dear a hope must all my soul inflame,
The charioteer along his courser's sides To rise in glory, or to fall in fame.”
Expires, the steel his sever'd neck divides; Struck with a filial care so deeply felt,
And, last, his lord is number'd with the dead: In tears at once the Trojan warriors melt :
Bounding, convulsive, flies the gasping head; Faster than all, lulus' eyes o’erflow;
From the swoll'n veins the blackening torrents pour, Such love was his, and such had been his woe.
Stain'd is the couch and earth with clotting gore. “ All thou hast ask'd, receive,” the prince replied; Young Lamyrus and Lamus next expire, “Nor this alone, but many a gift beside.
And gay Serranus, fill’d with youthful fire; To cheer thy mother's years shall be my aim,
Half the long night in childish games was passid ; Creusa's (1) style but wanting to the dame. Lull'd by the potent grape, he slept at last : Fortune an adverse wayward course may run,
Ah! happier far had he the morn survey'd, But bless'd thy mother in so dear a son.
And till Aurora's dawn his skill display'd. Now, by my life!-my sire's most sacred oath
In slaughter'd folds, the keepers lost in sleep, To thee I pledge my full, my firmest troth,
His hungry fangs a lion thus may steep; All the rewards which once to thee were vow'd,
"Mid the sad flock, at dead of night he prowls, If thou shouldst fall, on her shall be bestow’d.”
With murder glutted, and in carnage rolls; Thus spoke the weeping prince, then forth to view Insatiate still, through teeming herds he roams; A gleaming falchion from the sheath he drew;
In seas of gore the lordly tyrant foams. Lycaon's utmost skill bad graced the steel,
Nor less the other's deadly vengeance came,' (1) The mother of lulus, lost on the night when Troy was taken. But falls on feeble crowds without a name;
His wound unconscious Fadus scarce can feel, Tumultuous voices swell the passing breeze;
Wake the dark echoes of the trembling ground. And vainly in the weak defence confides;
Again he turns, of footsteps hears the noise ; Full in his heart, the falchion search'd his veins, The sound elales, the sigbt his hope destroys : The reeking weapon bears alternate stains; The hapless boy a ruffian train surround, Through wine and blood, commingling as they flow, While lengthening shades his weary way confound; One feeble spirit seeks the shades below.
Him with loud shouls the furious knights pursue, Now where Messapus dwelt they bend their way, Struggling in vain, a captive to the crew. Whose fires emit a faint and trembling ray; What can his friend'gainst thronging numbers dare? There, unconfined, behold each grazing steed, Ah! must he rush, his comrade's fate to share ? Unwatch'd, unheeded, on the herbage feed : What force, what aid, what stratagem essay, Brave Nisus here arrests his comrade's arm, Back to redeem the Latian spoiler's prey ? Too flush'd with carnage, and with conquest warm: His life a votive ransom nobly give, “Hence let us haste, the dangerous path is pass'dl; Or die with him for whom he wish'd to live ? Full foes enough to-night have breathed their last : Poising with strength his lifted lance on high, Soon will the day those eastern clouds adorn; On Luna's orb he cast his frenzied eye :Now let us speed, nor tempt the rising morn.” “ Goddess serene, transcending every star ! What silver arms, with various art emboss'd,
Queen of the sky, whose beams are seen afar! What bowls and mantles in confusion tossid,
By night heaven owns thy sway, by day the grove, They leave regardless ! yet one glittering prize
When, as chaste Dian, here thou deign'st to rove; Attracts the younger hero's wandering eyes:
If e'er myself, or sire, have sought to grace The gilded harness Rhamnes' coursers felt,
Thine altars with the produce of the chase, The gems which stud the monarch's golden belt:
Speed, speed my dart to pierce yon vaunting crowd, This from the pallid corse was quickly torn,
To free my friend, and scatter far the proud.” Once by a line of former chieftains worn.
Thus having said, the hissing dart he flung; The exulting boy the studded girdle wears,
Through parted shades the hurtling weapon sung; Messapus' helm his head in triumph bears; The thirsty point in Sulmo's entrails lay, Then from the tents their cautious steps they bend, Transtix’d his heart, and stretch'd him on the clay: To seek the vale where safer paths extend.
He sobs, he dies,-lhe troop in wild amaze,
Unconscious whence the death, with horror gaze. Just at this hour, a band of Latian horse
While pale they stare, through Tagus' temples riven, To Turnus' camp pursue their destined course:
A second shaft with equal force is driven : While the slow foot their tardy march delay,
Fierce Volscens rolls around his lowering eyes; The knights, impatient, spur along the way:
Veil'd by the night, secure the Trojan lies. Three hundred mail-clad men, by Volscens led,
Burning with wrath, he view'd his soldiers fall : To Turnus with their master's promise sped :
“Thou youth accurst thy life shall pay for all !" Now they approach the trench, and view the walls, Quick from the sheath his flaming glaive he drew, When, on the left, a light reflection falls;
And, raging, on the boy defenceless flew.
Forth, forth he starts, and all bis love reveals;
Aghast, confused, his fears to madness rise, From whence, to whom?”—He meets with no reply: “ Me, me, your vengeance hurl on me alone; Trusting the covert of the night, they fly :
Here sheathe the steel, my blood is all your own. The thicket's depth with hurried pace they tread, Ye starry spheres ! thou conscious Heaven! attest ! While round the wood the hostile squadron spread. He could not-durst not-lo! the guile confest!
With brakes entangled, scarce a path between, All, all was mine,-his early fale suspend; Dreary and dark appears the sylvan scene : He only loved too well his hapless friend : Euryalus his heavy spoils impede,
Spare, spare, ye chiefs! from him your rage remove; The boughs and winding turns his steps mislead; His fault was friendship, all his crime was love." But Nisus scours along the forest's maze
He pray'd in vain; the dark assassin's sword To where Latinus' steeds in safety graze,
Pierced the fair side, the snowy bosom gored ; Then backward o'er the plain his eyes extend, Lowly to earth inclines his plume-clad crest, On every side they seek his absent friend.
And sanguine torrenis mantle o'er his breast : “Oh, God ! my boy," he cries," of me bereft,
As some young rose, whose blossom scents the air, In what impending perils art thou left!”
Languid in death, expires beneath the share ; Listening he runs-above the waving trees, Or crimson poppy, sinking with the shower,