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44.

Hark to the pibroch's pleasing note!
Hark to the swelling nuptial song!
In joyous strains the voices float,
And still the choral peal prolong.

45.

Again the clan, in festive crowd,
Throng through the gate of Alva's hall;
The sounds of mirth re-echo loud,
And all their former joy recall.

46.

But who is he, whose darken'd brow
Glooms in the midst of general mirth?
Before his eyes' far fiercer glow

The blue flames curdle o'er the hearth.

47.

Dark is the robe which wraps his form,

And tall his plume of

gory red;

His voice is like the rising storm,

But light and trackless is his tread.

48.

'Tis noon of night, the pledge goes round,
The bridegroom's health is deeply quaff'd;
With shouts the vaulted roofs resound,
And all combine to hail the draught.

49.

Sudden the stranger-chief arose,

And all the clamorous crowd are hush'd; And Angus' cheek with wonder glows, And Mora's tender bosom blush'd.

50.

"Old man!" he cried, "this pledge is done; Thou saw'st 'twas duly drank by me;

It hail'd the nuptials of thy son:

Now will I claim a pledge from thee.

51.

"While all around is mirth and joy,
To bless thy Allan's happy lot,
Say, had'st thou ne'er another boy?
Say, why should Oscar be forgot?"

52.

"Alas!" the hapless sire replied,

The big tear starting as he spoke, "When Oscar left my hall, or died, This aged heart was almost broke.

53.

"Thrice has the earth revolved her course Since Oscar's form has bless'd my sight;

And Allan is my last resource,

Since martial Oscar's death or flight.”

54.

"Tis well," replied the stranger stern,
And fiercely flash'd his rolling eye;
"Thy Oscar's fate I fain would learn;
Perhaps the hero did not die.

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55.

Perchance, if those whom most he loved
Would call, thy Oscar might return;
Perchance the chief has only roved;
For him thy Beltane* yet may burn.

56.

"Fill high the bowl the table round,
We will not claim the pledge by stealth;
With wine let every cup be crown'd;
Pledge me departed Oscar's health.”

57.

"With all my soul," old Angus said,
And fill'd his goblet to the brim;
"Here's to my boy! alive or dead,
I ne'er shall find a son like him."

58.

‘Bravely, old man, this health has sped;
But why does Allan trembling stand?
Come, drink remembrance of the dead,
And raise thy cup with firmer hand.”

* Beltane Tree, a Highland festival on the first of May, held near fires lighted for the occasion.

59.

The crimson glow of Allan's face
Was turn'd at once to ghastly hue;
The drops of death each other chase
Adown in agonizing dew.

60.

Thrice did he raise the goblet high,
And thrice his lips refused to taste;
For thrice he caught the stranger's eye
On his with deadly fury placed.

61.

"And is it thus a brother hails

A brother's fond remembrance here?
If thus affection's strength prevails,
What might we not expect from fear?"

62.

Roused by the sneer, he raised the bowl,

"C Would Oscar now could share our mirth!"

Internal fear appall'd his soul;

He said, and dash'd the cup to earth.

63.

"'Tis he! I hear my murderer's voice!" Loud shrieks a darkly gleaming form; "A murderer's voice!" the roof replies, And deeply swells the bursting storm.

64.

The tapers wink, the chieftains shrink,

The stranger's gone,-amidst the crew A form was seen in tartan green,

And tall the shade terrific grew.

65.

His waist was bound with a broad belt round,
His plume of sable stream'd on high;

But his breast was bare, with the red wounds there,
And fix'd was the glare of his glassy eye.

66.

And thrice he smiled, with his eye so wild,
On Angus bending low the knee;

And thrice he frown'd on a chief on the ground,
Whom shivering crowds with horror see.

67.

The bolts loud roll, from pole to pole,

The thunders through the welkin ring,

And the gleaming form, through the mist of the storm, Was borne on high by the whirlwind's wing.

68.

Cold was the feast, the revel ceased.
Who lies upon the stony floor?
Oblivion press'd old Angus' breast*,

At length his life-pulse throbs once more.

* Old Angus press'd the earth with his breast.

First edition.-ED.

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