Scarce drew one curious glance astray;
Or if she looked, ’t was but to say,
With better omen dawned the day
In that lone isle, where waved on high
The dun-deer’s hide for canopy;
Where oft her noble father shared
The simple meal her care prepared,
While Lufra, crouching by her side,
Her station claimed with jealous pride,
And Douglas, bent on woodland game,
Spoke of the chase to Malcolm Graeme,
Whose answer, oft at random made,
The wandering of his thoughts betrayed.
Those who such simple joys have known
Are taught to prize them when they ’re gone.
But sudden, see, she lifts her head;
The window seeks with cautious tread.
What distant music has the power
To win her in this woful hour?
’T was from a turret that o’erhung
Her latticed bower, the strain was sung.
Lay of the Imprisoned Huntsman.
’My hawk is tired of perch and hood,
My idle greyhound loathes his food,
My horse is weary of his stall,
And I am sick of captive thrall.
I wish I were as I have been,
Hunting the hart in forest green,
With bended bow and bloodhound free,
For that’s the life is meet for me.
I hate to learn the ebb of time
From yon dull steeple’s drowsy chime,
Or mark it as the sunbeams crawl,
Inch after inch, along the wall.
The lark was wont my matins ring,
The sable rook my vespers sing;
These towers, although a king’s they be,
Have not a hall of joy for me.
No more at dawning morn I rise,
And sun myself in Ellen’s eyes,
Drive the fleet deer the forest through,
And homeward wend with evening dew;
A blithesome welcome blithely meet,
And lay my trophies at her feet,
While fled the eve on wing of glee,—
That life is lost to love and me!’
The heart-sick lay was hardly said,
The listener had not turned her head,
It trickled still, the starting tear,
When light a footstep struck her ear,
And Snowdoun’s graceful Knight was near.
She turned the hastier, lest again
The prisoner should renew his strain.
‘O welcome, brave Fitz-James!’ she said;
’How may an almost orphan maid
Pay the deep debt—’ ’O say not so!
To me no gratitude you owe.
Not mine, alas! the boon to give,
And bid thy noble father live;
I can but be thy guide, sweet maid,
With Scotland’s King thy suit to aid.
No tyrant he, though ire and pride
May lay his better mood aside.
Come, Ellen, come! ’tis more than time,
He holds his court at morning prime.’
With heating heart, and bosom wrung,
As to a brother’s arm she clung.
Gently he dried the falling tear,
And gently whispered hope and cheer;
Her faltering steps half led, half stayed,
Through gallery fair and high arcade,
Till at his touch its wings of pride
A portal arch unfolded wide.