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THE SAXON AND THE GAEL.

[THE COMBAT.]
The Chief in silence strode before,
And reached that torrent's sounding shore,
Which, daughter of three mighty lakes,
From Vennachar in silver breaks,
Sweeps through the plain, and ceaseless mines
On Bochastle the mouldering lines,
Where Rome, the Empress of the World,
Of yore her eagle-wings unfurled.
And here his course the Chieftain staid,
Threw down his target and his plaid,

And to the Lowland warrior said:
“Bold Saxon! to his promise just,

Vich-Alpine has discharged his trust,
This murderous chief, this ruthless man,
This head of a rebellious clan,
Hath led thee safe, through watch and ward,
Far past Clan-Alpine's outmost guard.
Now man to man, and steel to steel,
A Chieftain's vengeance thou shalt feel.
See, here, all vantageless I stand,
Armed, like thyself, with single brand:
For this is Coilantogle ford,
And thou must keep thee with thy sword.”
The Saxon paused:“ I ne'er delayed,
When foeman bade me draw my blade;
Nay more, brave Chief, I vowed thy death:
Yet sure thy fair and generous faith,
And my deep debt for life preserved,
A better meed have well deserved:

Can nought but blood our feud atone?
Are there no means ?"—" No, stranger, none
And here—to fire thy flagging zeal—
The Saxon cause rests on thy steel;
For thus spoke Fate by prophet bred
Between the living and the dead;

'Who spills the foremost foeman's life,
His party conquers in the strife.'"

"Then, by my word," the Saxon said,

"The riddle is already read.
Seek yonder brake beneath the cliff—
There lies Rod Murdoch, stark and stiff.
Thus Fate has solved her prophecy,
Then yield to Fate, and not to me.
To James, at Stirling, let us go,
When, if thou wilt be still his foe,
Or if the King shall not agree
To grant thee grace and favour free,
I plight mine honour, oath, and word,
That, to thy native strengths restored,
With each advantage shalt thou stand,
That aids thee now to guard thy land."

Dark lightning flashed from Roderick's eye—
"Soars thy presumption then so high,
Because a wretched kern ye slew,
Homage to name to Roderick Dhu?
He yields not, he, to man nor Fate I
Thou add'st but fuel to my hate:—
My clansman's blood demands revenge.
Not yet prepared for fight ?—I change
My thought, and hold thy valour light
As that of some vain carpet-knight,
Who ill deserves my courteous care,
And whose best boast is but to wear
A braid of his fair lady's hair."
—" I thank thee, Roderick, for the word I
It nerves my heart, and steels my sword;

For I have sworn this braid to stain

In the best blood that warms thy vein.

Now, truce, farewell! and, ruth, begone!

Yet think not that by thee alone,

Proud Chief! can courtesy be shown;

Though not from copse, or heath, or cairn,

Start at my whistle clansmen stern,

Of this small horn one feeble blast

Would fearful odds against thee cast.

But fear not—doubt not—which thou wilt—

We try this quarrel hilt to hilt."

Then each at once his falchion drew,
Each on the ground his scabbard threw,
Each looked to sun, and stream, and plain,
As what they ne'er might see again;
Then foot, and point, and eye opposed,
In dubious strife they darkly closed.
Ill fared it then with Roderick Dhu,
That on the field his targe he threw,
Whose brazen studs and tough bull-hido
Had death so often dashed aside;
For, trained abroad his arms to wield,
Fitz-James's blade was sword and shield.
He practised every pass and ward,
To thrust, to strike, to feint, to guard;
While less expert, though stronger far,
The Gael maintained uneopial war.
Three times in closing strife they stood,
And thrice the Saxon blade drank blood;
No stinted draught, no scanty tide,
The gushing flood the tartans dyed.
Fierce Roderick felt the fatal drain,
And showered his blows like wintry rain;
And, as firm rock, or castle roof,
Against the winter shower is proof,
The foe, invulnerable still,
Foiled his wild rage by steady skill;

Till, at advantage ta'en, his brand

Forced Roderick's weapon from his hand,

And, backward borne upon the lea,

Brought the proud Chieftain to his knee. "Now, yield thee, or "—the Saxon said, "Thy heart's blood, Chieftain, dyes my blade !"— "Thy threats thy mercy, I defy!

Let recreant yield, who fears to die."

—Like adder darting from his coil,

Like wolf that dashes through the toil,

Like mountain-cat who guards her young,

Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung;

Received, but recked not of a wound,

And locked his arms his foeman round.

Now, gallant Saxon, hold thine own!

No maiden's hand is round thee thrown!

That desperate grasp thy frame might feel,

Through bars of brass and triple steel!

They tug, they strain! down, down they go,

The Gael above, Fitz-James below.

The Chieftain's gripe his throat compressed;

His knee was planted in his breast;

His clotted locks he backward threw,

Across his brow his hand he drew,

From blood and mist to clear his sight,

Then gleamed aloft his dagger bright I

—But hate and fury ill supplied

The stream of life's exhausted tide;

And all too late the advantage came,

To turn the odds of deadly game;

For, while the dagger gleamed on high,

Reeled soul and sense, reeled brain and eye.

Down came the blow! but in the heath

The erring blade found bloodless sheath.

Tbe struggling foe may now unclasp

The fainting Chiefs relaxing grasp;

Unwounded from the dreadful close,

But breathless all, Fitz-James arose. Scott.

s THE Eldee's DEATH-BED.

tJoas Wilson, a distinguished poet, critic, and prose-writer, the well-known Christopher North of "Blackwood's Magazine," was born In Paisley in 1788, and died in 1854. He was long Professor of moral philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. He has been ranked among the " Lake Poets." His poetical writings are characterised by great beauty of description, exquisite tenderness and elegance of sentiment, and varied richness of expression. But it is chiefly in periodical literature that he earned his well-merited fame. His contributions to " Blackwood's Magazine" are marked by an extraordinary combination of the most opposite quality—pathos the purest, the deepest, and the most tender; wild, wanton, and withering sarcasm; sentiment, refined and exalted to the pitch of devotion; and humour of the freest, broadest, and most exuberant vein.]

For six years' Sabbaths I had seen the elder in his accustomed place beneath the pulpit, and, with a sort of solemn fear, had looked on his steadfast countenance during sermon, psalm, and prayer. On returning to the scenes of my infancy, I met the pastor going to call upon the elder; and with the privilege which nature gives us to behold, even in their last extremity, the loving and beloved, I turned to accompany him to the house of sorrow, of resignation, and of death.

And now, for the first time, I observed, walking close to the feet of his horse, a little boy about ten years of age, who kept frequently looking up in the pastor's face, with his blue eyes bathed in tears. A changeful expression of grief, hope, and despair, made almost pale, cheeks which, otherwise, were blooming in health and beauty; and I recognised in the small features and smooth forehead of childhood, a resemblance to the aged man who, we understood, was now lying on his death-bed. "They had to send his grandson for me through the snow, mere child as ho is," said the minister, looking tenderly on the boy; "but love makes the young heart bold, and there is One who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb."

As we slowly approached the cottage, through a deep snow-drift, which the distress within had prevented the inmates from removing, we saw, peeping out from the door, brothers and sisters of our little guide, who quickly disappeared; and then their mother showed herself in their stead,

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