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In future I'll rise to the cock's matins shrill,
Night lowers ; the wild goat lays his side to the hill, Where sleeps the heath-cock when the screech-owl is
The eyes of the wild cat roll red in the glade,
As bright glanced the fleet-flitting streamers of hea
ven, Which some say in token of bloodshed are given ; Reclined, as he wont, on his wallet, when night Suspended the carnage and fire of the fight, He dreamt that his kinsmen, accounting him slain, Had parted between them his little domain ; And when to Strathbran his returning was sure, Had sworn, in his blood, their false claims to secure.
'Twas the warning of Fate! 'twas the shadow of
Death, Which cross'd the poor soldier as he slept on the heath; The moon 'tween the clouds shed a fleekering ray, And to the blood-searching dagger pointed the way. The warrior aroused; these words met his ear; 6. Be true to your trust, now the soldier is here !”. Still firm as the broad branching oak's stately form Was old Taggart the brave, in the midst of the storm.
The camp sentinel, weary with marching by day, At midnight his watching time dozing away, Resumes not his station so fast, when at hand He hears piquet pad rounds desiring to stand, As started up Taggart, and braced on his targe, With right foot advanced, and his sword at St George; He stood like a hero, demanded who came, Till loudly the mountain pass echo'd the same.
Adown the dark hill though they rush'd like a flood, A moment the banditti motionless stood; Nor had any one of them power to reply, Though thrice he repeated, “Come on, it is I !" But as if recover'd from stupor, at once They threw back their plaids, and began to advance;
Dirks, forks, and Feraras, before them they pusht, And round the poor soldier like furies they rusht.
Vain was it, alas ! now to think he could save His head, from the blood-thirsty miscreants' glaive; Yet under the force of his death-boding steel, He made soon the boldest assassin to reel. Ev'n when overpower'd, and through many a wound The flood of life flow'd as he fell to the ground, 6 Although I retreat, the last trumpet,” he cry'd, • Must blow, before vic'try is sure on your side !"
Unfortunate mortals, the dire deed is done! To find peace or safety, Ah! where can ye run ? Horse stamp now, or halloo, will add to your fears, And will not the widow's curse sound in your ears? While you are permitted to live, will his sprite With terrific dreams, not torment you by night ? And will not his innocent blood spilt, a stain Upon your posterity ever remain ?
Will muffled drum’s roll, or the dead marches sound, Accord with the sighs of companions around ?
Or will the bļank volley be fired o'er his grave,
Away with your mattoo's, a grave will not hide The murder in which your foul fingers are dyed ; Though Skeeoch's blue loch in reflection yet show The stars of the firmament shining below; The cry of the harriers blent in the wind, With chieftain's bold trillo loud echo'd behind ; O’er dingle and dallop the dogs lightly bound, Inhaling the breeze of the blood-sprinkled ground.
Now joy in the heart of the hunter is o'er, Astonish'd he views the corse covered with gore; Though mangled the visage, and sunk the dark eye, The last of a hero he yet can descry:. Who, as if he still would wage war with a foe, Holds
up the broad target to ward the next blow; And fix'd, in a daring position, his hand Is clench'd round the hilt of the blood-barken'd brand. That on the rough soil, often softened of yore With many a fierce-fighting foreigner's gore, A champion's blood unrevenged might not flow, The war-horn was made in the mountains to blow. Now see horse and hound, how they nimbly pursue The panic-struck murderers full in their view; They mercy implore, but to death they are given, Their bones left to bleach in the tempests of heaven!