And speed thee forth, like Duncan’s son!’
One look he cast upon the bier,
Dashed from his eye the gathering tear,
Breathed deep to clear his laboring breast,
And tossed aloft his bonnet crest,
Then, like the high-bred colt when, freed,
First he essays his fire and speed,
He vanished, and o’er moor and moss
Sped forward with the Fiery Cross.
Suspended was the widow’s tear
While yet his footsteps she could hear;
And when she marked the henchman’s eye
Wet with unwonted sympathy,
‘Kinsman,’ she said, ’his race is run
That should have sped thine errand on.
The oak teas fallen?—the sapling bough Is all
Duncraggan’s shelter now
Yet trust I well, his duty done,
The orphan’s God will guard my son.—
And you, in many a danger true
At Duncan’s hest your blades that drew,
To arms, and guard that orphan’s head!
Let babes and women wail the dead.’
Then weapon-clang and martial call
Resounded through the funeral hall,
While from the walls the attendant band
Snatched sword and targe with hurried hand;
And short and flitting energy
Glanced from the mourner’s sunken eye,
As if the sounds to warrior dear
Might rouse her Duncan from his bier.
But faded soon that borrowed force;
Grief claimed his right, and tears their course.
Benledi saw the Cross of Fire,
It glanced like lightning up Strath-Ire.
O’er dale and hill the summons flew,
Nor rest nor pause young Angus knew;
The tear that gathered in his eye
He deft the mountain-breeze to dry;
Until, where Teith’s young waters roll
Betwixt him and a wooded knoll
That graced the sable strath with green,
The chapel of Saint Bride was seen.
Swoln was the stream, remote the bridge,
But Angus paused not on the edge;
Though the clerk waves danced dizzily,
Though reeled his sympathetic eye,
He dashed amid the torrent’s roar:
His right hand high the crosslet bore,
His left the pole-axe grasped, to guide
And stay his footing in the tide.
He stumbled twice,—the foam splashed high,
With hoarser swell the stream raced by;
And had he fallen,—forever there,
Farewell Duncraggan’s orphan heir!
But still, as if in parting life,
Firmer he grasped the Cross of strife,
Until the opposing bank he gained,
And up the chapel pathway strained.
A blithesome rout that morning-tide
Had sought the chapel of Saint Bride.
Her troth Tombea’s Mary gave
To Norman, heir of Armandave,
And, issuing from the Gothic arch,
The bridal now resumed their march.
In rude but glad procession came
Bonneted sire and coif-clad dame;
And plaided youth, with jest and jeer
Which snooded maiden would not hear:
And children, that, unwitting why,
Lent the gay shout their shrilly cry;