Page images

From his eyrie the eagle hath soar'd with a scream, And I wake on the edge of the cliff from my dream; -Where now is the light of thy far-beaming

brow? Fleet son of the wilderness! where art thou

now? -Again o'er yon crag thou return'st to my sight, Like the horns of the moon from a cloud of the

night! Serene on thy travel-as soul in a dreamThou needest no bridge o'er the rush of the stream. With thy presence the pine-grove is fill'd, as with

light, And the caves, as thou passest, one moment are

bright. Through the arch of the rainbow that lies on the

rock 'Mid the mist stealing up from the cataract's

shock, Thou Aling'st thy bold beauty, exulting and free,

’er a pit of grim blackness, that roars like the


His voyage is o'er !--As if struck by a spell
He motionless stands in the hush of the dell;
There softly and slowly sinks down on his breast,
In the midst of his pastime enamour'd of rest.
A stream in a clear pool that endeth his race-
A dancing ray chain'd to one sunshiny place-
A cloud by the winds to calm solitude driven-
A hurricane dead in the silence of heaven !

Fit couch of repose for a pilgrim like thee ! Magnificent prison enclosing the free !

With rock-wall encircled, with precipice crown'd Which, awoke by the sun, thou can'st clear at a

bound. 'Mid the fern and the heather kind Nature doth

keep One bright spot of green for her favourite's sleep ; And close to that covert, as clear as the skies When their blue depths are cloudless, a little lake

lies, Where the creature at rest can his image behold Looking up through the radiance, as bright and as

bold ! How lonesome ! how wild ! yet the wildness is rife With the stir of enjoyment—the spirit of life. The glad fish leaps up in the heart of the lake, Whose depths, at the sullen plunge, sullenly

quake! Elate on the fern-branch the grasshopper sings, And away in the midst of his roundelay springs ; 'Mid the flowers of the heath, not more bright than

himself, The wild-bee is busy, a musical elfThen starts from his labour, unwearied and gay, And, circling the antlers, booms far far away. While high up the mountains, in silence remote, The cuckoo unseen is repeating his note, And mellowing echo, on watch in the skies, Like a voice from some loftier climate replies. With wide-branching antlers a guard to his breast, There lies the wild Creature, even stately in rest ! 'Mid the grandeur of nature, composed and serene, And proud in his heart of the mountainous scene, He lifts his calm eye to the eagle and raven, At noon sinking down on smooth wings to their


As if in his soul the bold Animal smiled
To his friends of the sky, the joint-heirs of the


Yes ! fierce looks thy nature, ev’n hush'd in

reposeIn the depth of thy desert regardless of foes. Thy bold antlers call on the hunter afar With a haughty defiance to come to the war ! No outrage is war to a creature like thee ! The bugle-horn fills thy wild spirit with glee, As thou bearest thy neck on the wings of the wind, And the laggardly gaze-hound is toiling behind. In the beams of thy forehead that glitter with death, In feet that draw power from the touch of the

heath, In the wide-raging torrent that lends thee its roar,In the cliff that once trod must be trodden no

more, Thy trust—'mid the dangers that threaten thy

reign ! -But what if the stag on the mountain be slain ? On the brink of the rock-lo! he standeth at

bay, Like a victor that falls at the close of the dayWhile hunter and hound in their terror retreat From the death that is spurn’d from his furious

feet : And his last cry of anger comes back from the

skies, As nature's fierce son in the wilderness dies. High life of a hunter! he meets on the hill The new-waken’d daylight, so bright and so still ; And feels, as the clouds of the morning unroll, The silence, the splendour, ennoble his soul.

'Tis his o'er the mountains to stalk like a ghost, Enshrouded with mist, in which nature is lost, Till he lifts up his eyes, and flood, valley, and

height, In one moment all swim in an ocean of light ; While the sun, like a glorious banner unfurl'd, Seems to wave o'er a new, more magnificent world. 'Tis his—by the mouth of some cavern his seat The lightning of heaven to hold at his feet, While the thunder below him that growls from

the cloud, To him comes on echo more awfully loud. When the clear depth of noon-tide, with glittering

motion, O’erflows the lone glens-an aërial oceanWhen the earth and the heavens, in union pro

found, Lie blended in beauty that knows not a soundAs his eyes in the sunshiny solitude close 'Neath a rock of the desert in dreaming repose, He sees, in his slumbers, such visions of old As his wild Gaelic songs to his infancy told ; O'er the mountains a thousand plumed hunters are

borne, And he starts from his dream at the blast of the

horn. Yes! child of the desert! fit quarry were thou For the hunter that came with a crown on his

brow,By princes attended with arrow and spear, In their white-tented camp, for the warfare of deer. In splendour the tents on the green summit stood, And brightly they shone from the glade in the


And, silently built by a magical spell,
The pyramid rose in the depth of the dell.
All mute was the palace of Lochy that day,
When the king and his nobles—a gallant array-
To Gleno or Glen-Etive came forth in their pride,
And a hundred fierce stags in their solitude

died. Not lonely and single they pass'd o'er the height But thousands swept by in their hurricane-flight; And bow'd to the dust in their trampling tread Was the plumage on many a warrior's head. -“ Fall down on your faces !--the herd is at

hand !" And onward they came like the sea o'er the

sand; Like the snow from the mountain when loosen'd

by rain ; And rolling along with a crash to the plain ; Like a thunder-split oak-tree, that falls in one

shock With his hundred wide arms from the top of the

rock, Like the voice of the sky, when the black cloud is

near, So sudden, so loud, came the tempest of Deer. Wild mirth of the desert ! fit pastime for kings ! Which still the rude Bard in his solitude sings. Oh reign of magnificence! vanish'd for ever! Like music dried up in the bed of a river, Whose course hath been changed ! yet my soul

can survey The clear cloudless morn of that glorious day. Yes! the wide silent forest is loud as of yore, And the far-ebbed grandeur rolls back to the shore.

« PreviousContinue »