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With length of existence no man can enjoy,
The same to endure, the dread proffer I'd fly!
The thrice-threatened pangs of last night to forego,
Macgregor would dive to the mansions below.
Despairing and mad, to futurity blind,
The present to shun, and some respite to find,
I swore, ere the shadow fell east from the pile,
To meet her alone by the brook of Glen-Gyle.
"She told me, and turned my chilled heart to a stone, The glory and name of Macgregor was gone: That the pine, which for ages had shed a bright halo, Afar on the mountains of Highland Glen-Falo, Should wither and fall ere the turn of Smit through by the canker of hated Colquhoun: That a feast on Macgregors each day should be common, For years, to the eagles of Lennox and Lomond.
"A parting embrace, in one moment, she gave: Her breath was a furnace, her bosom the grave! Then flitting elusive, she said, with a frown, "The mighty Macgregor shall yet be my own!"
"Macgregor, thy fancies are wild as the wind; The dreams of the night have disordered thy mind. Come, buckle thy panoply-march to the field,— See, brother, how hacked are thy helmet and shield! Ay, that was M'Nab, in the height of his pride, When the lions of Dochart stood firm by his side. This night the proud chief his presumption shall rue; Rise, brother, these chinks in his heart-blood will glue: Thy fantasies frightful shall flit on the wing, When loud with thy bugle Glen-Lyon shall ring."
Like glimpse of the moon through the storm of the night,
Macgregor's red eye shed one sparkle of light: It faded-it darkened-he shuddered-he sighed,"No! not for the universe!" low he replied.
Away went Macgregor, but went not alone; To watch the dread rendezvous, Malcolm has gone. They oared the broad Lomond, so still and serene! And deep in her bosom, how awful the scene!
O'er mountains inverted the blue waters curled,
And rocked them on skies of a far nether world.
All silent they went, for the time was approaching; The moon the blue zenith already was touching; No foot was abroad on the forest or hill, No sound but the lullaby sung by the rill; Young Malcolm at distance, couched, trembling the while,
Macgregor stood lone by the brook of Glen-Gyle.
Few minutes had passed, ere they spied on the stream,
A skiff sailing light, where a lady did seem;
Her sail was the web of the gossamer's loom,
The glow-worm her wakelight, the rainbow her boom;
A dim rayless beam was her prow and her mast,
Like wold-fire, at midnight, that glares on the waste.
Though rough was the river with rock and cascade,
No torrent, no rock, her velocity staid;
She wimpled the water to weather and lee,
And heaved as if borne on the waves of the sea.
Mute Nature was roused in the bounds of the glen;
The wild deer of Gairtney abandoned his den,
Fled panting away, over river and isle,
Nor once turned his eye to the brook of Glen-Gyle.
The fox fled in terror, the eagle awoke,
As slumbering he dozed in the shelve of the rock;
Astonished, to hide in the moon-beam he flew,
And screwed the night-heaven till lost in the blue.
Young Malcolm beheld the pale lady approach, The chieftain salute her, and shrink from her touch. He saw the Macgregor kneel down on the plain, As begging for something he could not obtain ; She raised him indignant, derided his stay, Then bore him on board, set her sail, and away.
Though fast the red bark down the river did glide, et faster ran Malcolm adown by its side; Macgregor Macgregor!" he bitterly cried; Macgregor! Macgregor!" the echoes replied. He struck at the lady, but, strange though it seem, His sword only fell on the rocks and the stream
But the groans from the boat, that ascended amain, Were groans from a bosom in horror and pain.They reached the dark lake, and bore lightly away; Macgregor is vanished for ever and aye!
On the wide prospect as I gaz'd around,
Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound,
Like broken thunders that at distance roar,
Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore;
Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld,
Whose tow'ring summit ambient clouds conceal'd.
High on a rock of ice the structure lay,
Steep its ascent, and slipp'ry was the way;
The wondrous rock like Parian marble shone,
And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone.
Inscriptions here of various names I view'd,
The greater part by hostile Time subdu'd;
Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past,
And poets once had promis'd they should last.
Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of wits renown'd;
I look'd again, nor could their trace be found.
Critics I saw, that other names deface,
And fix their own, with labour, in their place;
Their own, like others, soon their place resign'd,
Or disappear'd and left the first behind.
Nor was the work impair'd by storms alone,
But felt th' approaches of too warm a sun;
For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays
Not more by Envy than excess of praise.
Yet part no injuries of Heaven could feel,
Like crystal faithful to the graving steel:
The rock's high summit, in the Temple's shade,
Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade ;
Their names inscrib'd unnumber'd ages past,
From time's first birth, with time itself shall last;
These, ever new, nor subject to decays,
Spread and grow brighter with the length of days.
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of frost) Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast; Pale suns, unfelt, at distance roll away, And on th' impassive ice the lightnings play; Eternal snows the growing mass supply,
Till the bright mountains prop the incumbent sky;
As Atlas fix'd, each hoary pile appears,
The gather'd winter of a thousand years:
On this foundation Fame's high temple stands;
Stupendous pile! not rear'd by mortal hands.
Whate'er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld,
Or elder Babylon, its frame excell'd;
Four faces had the dome, and every face
Of various structure, but of equal grace;
Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high,
Salute the different quarters of the sky.
Here fabled Chiefs, in darker ages born,
Or Worthies old, whom arts or arms adorn,
Who cities rais'd, or tam'd a monstrous race,
The walls in venerable order grace;
Heroes in animated marble frown,
And Legislators seem to think in stone.
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd,
On Doric pillars of white marble rear'd,
Crown'd with an architrave of antique mould,
And sculpture rising on the roughen'd gold.
In shaggy spoils here Theseus was beheld,
And Perseus dreadful with Minerva's shield:
There great Alcides, stooping with his toil,
Rests on his club, and holds th' Hesperian spoil:
Here Orpheus sings; trees, moving to the sound,
Start from their roots, and form a shade around:
Amphion there the loud creating lyre
Strikes, and behold a sudden Thebes aspire!
Cythæron's echoes answer to his call,
And half the mountain rolls into a wall:
There might you see the length'ning spires ascend,
The domes swell up, the widening arches bend,
The growing bowers like exhalations rise,
And the huge columns heave into the skies.
The Eastern front was glorious to behold, With diamonds flaming, and Barbaric gold. There Ninus shone, who spread th' Assyrian fame, And the great founder of the Persian name: There in long robes the royal Magi stand, Grave Zoroaster waves the circling wand: The sage Chaldæans rob'd in white appear'd, And Brachmans, deep in desert woods rever'd: These stopp'd the Moon, and call'd the unbody'd shades To midnight banquets in the glimm❜ring glades; Made visionary fabrics round them rise, And airy spectres skim before their eyes; Of Talismans and Sigils knew the power, And careful watch'd the planetary hour. Superior, and alone, Confucius stood, Who taught that useful science, to be good.
But, on the South, a long majestic race
Of Egypt's priests the gilded niches grace,
Who measur'd earth, describ'd the starry spheres,
And trac'd the long records of lunar years.
High on his car Sesostris struck my view,
Whom sceptred slaves in golden harness drew.
His hands a bow and painted javelin hold;
His giant limbs are arm'd in scales of gold.
Between the statues Obelisks were plac'd,
And the learn'd walls with Hieroglyphics grac❜d.
Of Gothic structure was the Northern side,
O'erwrought with ornaments of barb'rous pride,
There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'd,
And Runic characters were grav'd around.
There sat Zamolxis with erected eyes,
And Odin here in mimic trances dies.
There on rude iron columns, smear'd with blood,
The horrid forms of Scythian heroes stood,
Druids and Bards (their once loud harps unstrung)
And youths that dy'd to be by Poets sung.
These, and a thousand more of doubtful fame,
To whom old fables gave a lasting name,