The Lady of the Lake eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 305 pages of information about The Lady of the Lake.
Though space and law the stag we lend
Ere hound we slip or bow we bend
Who ever recked, where, how, or when,
The prowling fox was trapped or slain? 
Thus treacherous scouts,—­yet sure they lie
Who say thou cam’st a secret spy!’—­
’They do, by heaven!—­come Roderick Dhu
And of his clan the boldest two
And let me but till morning rest,
I write the falsehood on their crest.’ 
If by the blaze I mark aright
Thou bear’st the belt and spur of Knight.’ 
’Then by these tokens mayst thou know
Each proud oppressor’s mortal foe.’ 
’Enough, enough; sit down and share
A soldier’s couch, a soldier’s fare.’


He gave him of his Highland cheer,
The hardened flesh of mountain deer;
Dry fuel on the fire he laid,
And bade the Saxon share his plaid. 
He tended him like welcome guest,
Then thus his further speech addressed:—­
’Stranger, I am to Roderick Dhu
A clansman born, a kinsman true;
Each word against his honour spoke
Demands of me avenging stroke;
Yet more,—­upon thy fate, ’tis said,
A mighty augury is laid. 
It rests with me to wind my horn,—­
Thou art with numbers overborne;
It rests with me, here, brand to brand,
Worn as thou art, to bid thee stand: 
But, not for clan, nor kindred’s cause,
Will I depart from honour’s laws;
To assail a wearied man were shame,
And stranger is a holy name;
Guidance and rest, and food and fire,
In vain he never must require. 
Then rest thee here till dawn of day;
Myself will guide thee on the way,
O’er stock and stone, through watch and ward,
Till past Clan- Alpine’s outmost guard,
As far as Coilantogle’s ford;
From thence thy warrant is thy sword.’ 
’I take thy courtesy, by heaven,
As freely as ‘tis nobly given!’
Well, rest thee; for the bittern’s cry
Sings us the lake’s wild lullaby.’ 
With that he shook the gathered heath,
And spread his plaid upon the wreath;
And the brave foemen, side by side,
Lay peaceful down like brothers tried,
And slept until the dawning beam
Purpled the mountain and the stream.


The Combat.


Fair as the earliest beam of eastern light,
     When first, by the bewildered pilgrim spied,
It smiles upon the dreary brow of night
     And silvers o’er the torrent’s foaming tide
And lights the fearful path on mountain-side,—­
     Fair as that beam, although the fairest far,
Giving to horror grace, to danger pride,
     Shine martial Faith, and Courtesy’s bright star
Through all the wreckful storms that cloud the brow of War.


Project Gutenberg
The Lady of the Lake from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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