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THE

BARD'S INCANTATION.

WRITTEN UNDER THE THREAT OF INVASION IN THE AUTUMN OF 1804.1

THE Forest of Glenmore is drear,

It is all of black pine and the dark oak-tree;
And the midnight wind, to the mountain deer,
Is whistling the forest lullaby:

The moon looks through the drifting storm,
But the troubled lake reflects not her form,
For the waves roll whitening to the land,
And dash against the shelvy strand.
There is a voice among the trees,

That mingles with the groaning oak-
That mingles with the stormy breeze,

And the lake-waves dashing against the rock;There is a voice within the wood, The voice of the bard in fitful mood;

His song was louder than the blast,

As the bard of Glenmore through the forest past.

"Wake ye from your sleep of death, Minstrels and bards of other days!

For the midnight is on the heath,

And the midnight meteors dimly blaze:

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[This poem was first published in the "English Minstrelsy," 2 vols. Edin. 1810.]

The Spectre with his Bloody Hand,'
Is wandering through the wild woodland;
The owl and the raven are mute for dread,
And the time is meet to awake the dead!

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"Souls of the mighty, wake and say,

To what high strain your harps were strung,
When Lochlin plow'd her billowy way,

And on your shores her Norsemen flung?
Her Norsemen train'd to spoil and blood,
Skill'd to prepare the Raven's food,
All, by your harpings doom'd to die
On bloody Largs and Loncarty.2

"Mute are ye all? No murmurs strange
Upon the midnight breeze sail by

Nor through the pines, with whistling change,
Mimic the harp's wild harmony!
Mute are ye now? Ye ne'er were mute,
When Murder with his bloody foot,
And Rapine with his iron hand,
Were hovering near yon mountain strand.

"O yet awake the strain to tell, By every deed in song enroll'd, By every chief who fought or fell,

For Albion's weal in battle bold;From Coilgach, first who roll'd his car Through the deep ranks of Roman war, To him, of veteran memory dear,

Who victor died on Aboukir.

'The forest of Glenmore is haunted by a spirit called Lhamdearg, or Red-hand.

Where the Norwegian invader of Scotland received two bloody defeats.

The Galgacus of Tacitus.

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By all their swords, by all their scars,
By all their names, a mighty spell!
By all their wounds, by all their wars,
Arise, the mighty strain to tell!
For fiercer than fierce Hengist's strain,
More impious than the heathen Dane,
More grasping than all-grasping Rome,
Gaul's ravening legions hither come!"

The wind is hush'd, and still the lake-
Strange murmurs fill my tingling ears,
Bristles my hair, my sinews quake,

At the dread voice of other years-
"When targets clash'd, and bugles rung,
And blades round warrior's heads were flung,
The foremost of the band were we,
And hymn'd the joys of Liberty !"

THE PALMER.'

"O, OPEN the door, some pity to show, Keen blows the northern wind!

The glen is white with the drifted snow,
And the path is hard to find.

"No outlaw seeks your castle gate,
From chasing the King's deer,
Though even an outlaw's wretched state
Might claim compassion here.

'[This, and the two following, were first published in Haydn's Collection of Scottish Airs, vol. ii. Edin. 1806.]

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"A weary Palmer, worn and weak,
I wander for my
sin;

O, open, for Our Lady's sake!
A pilgrim's blessing win!

"I'll give you pardons from the Pope, And reliques from o'er the sea,Or if for these you will not ope,

Yet open for charity.

"The hare is crouching in her form, The hart beside the hind;

An aged man, amid the storm,
No shelter can I find.

"You hear the Ettrick's sullen roar,
Dark, deep, and strong is he,
And I must ford the Ettrick o'er,
Unless you pity me.

"The iron gate is bolted hard,
At which I knock in vain ;
The owner's heart is closer barr'd,
Who hears me thus complain.
"Farewell, farewell! and Mary grant,
When old and frail you be,
You never may the shelter want,
That's now denied to me."

The Ranger on his couch lay warm,
And heard him plead in vain ;
But oft amid December's storm,
He'll hear that voice again:

For lo, when through the vapours dank, Morn shone on Ettrick fair,

A corpse amid the alders rank,

The Palmer welter'd there.

THE MAID OF NEIDPATH.

[1806.]

THERE is a tradition in Tweeddale, that, when Neidpath Castle, near Peebles, was inhabited by the Earls of March, a mutual passion subsisted between a daughter of that noble family, and a son of the Laird of Tushielaw, in Ettrick Forest. As the alliance was thought unsuitable by her parents, the young man went abroad. During his absence the lady fell into a consumption; and at length, as the only means of saving her life, her father consented that her lover should be recalled. On the day when he was expected to pass through Peebles, on the road to Tushielaw, the young lady, though much exhausted, caused herself to be carried to the balcony of a house in Peebles, belonging to the family, that she might see him as he rode past. Her anxiety and eagerness gave such force to her organs, that she is said to have distinguished his horse's footsteps at an incredible distance. But Tushielaw, unprepared for the change in her appearance, and not expecting to see her in that place, rode on without recognising her, or even slackening his pace. The lady was unable to support the shock, and, after a short struggle, died in the arms of her attendants. There is an incident similar to this traditional tale in Count Hamilton's "Fleur d'Epine."

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