Page images



Read the note on "Lochiel" in the study of "The Eve Before Waterloo", then turn to part III and read "The Battle of Killiecrankie." The battle of Culloden was fought on a moor a few miles from the present city of Inverness, near Moray Firth, Scotland, January 14, 1746. Lochiel fought desperately, but escaped uninjured from the battlefield. Seeing that all was lost, he secured a boat and fled to France. This was the last attempt of the Stuarts to regain the throne of England.

Seer. Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day

When the Lowlands shall meet thee in battle array!
For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight,
And the clans of Culloden are scattered in fight;
They rally, they bleed, for their kingdom and crown;
Woe, woe, to the riders that trample them down!
Proud Cumberland prances, insulting the slain,
And their hoof-beaten bosoms are trod to the plain.
But hark! through the fast-flashing lightning of war
What steed to the desert flies frantic and far?
'Tis thine, O Glenullin! whose bride shall await,
Like a love-lighted watch-fire, all night at the gate.
A steed comes at morning-no rider is there;
But its bridle is red with the sign of despair.
Weep, Albin! to death and captivity led!
O weep! but thy tears can not number the dead;
For a merciless sword on Culloden shall wave-
Culloden, that reeks with the blood of the brave!
Lochiel. Go preach to the coward, thou death-telling

Or, if gory Culloden so dreadful appear,
Draw, dotard, around thy old wavering sight,
This mantle, to cover the phantoms of fright.

Seer. Ha! laugh'st thou, Lochiel, my vision to scorn? Proud bird of the mountain, thy plume shall be torn! Say, rushed the bold eagle exultingly forth

From his home in the dark-rolling clouds of the north?
Lo! the death-shot of foemen out-speeding, he rode
Companionless, bearing destruction abroad;

But down let him stoop from his havoc on high!
Ah! home let him speed, for the spoiler is nigh.
Why flames the far summit? Why shoot to the blast
Those embers, like stars from the firmament cast?
'Tis the fire-shower of ruin, all dreadfully driven
From his eyry, that beacons the darkness of heaven.
O crested Lochiel! the peerless in might,

Whose banners arise on the battlements' height,
Heaven's fire is around thee to blast and to burn:
Return to thy dwelling; all lonely return!

For the blackness of ashes shall mark where it stood,
And a wild mother scream o'er her famishing brood!
Lochiel. False wizard, avaunt! I have marshalled
my clan;

Their swords are a thousand; their bosoms are one.
They are true to the last of their blood and their breath,
And like reapers descend to the harvest of death.
Then welcome be Cumberland's steed to the shock!
Let him dash his proud foam like a wave on the rock!
But woe to his kindred, and woe to his cause,
When Albin her claymore indignantly draws;

When her bonneted chieftains to victory crowd,
Clanranald the dauntless, and Moray the proud,
All plaided and plumed in their tartan array—

Seer. Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day!
For, dark and despairing, my sight I may seal,
Yet man can not cover what God would reveal
'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before.
I tell thee, Culloden's dread echoes shall ring
With the Bloodhounds that bark for thy fugitive king.
Lo! anointed by Heaven with the vials of wrath,
Behold where he flies on his desolate path!

Now in darkness and billows he sweeps from my sight:
Rise! rise! ye wild tempests, and cover his flight!—
'Tis finished. Their thunders are hushed on the moors;
Culloden is lost, and my country deplores.

But where is the iron-bound prisoner? Where?
For the red eye of battle is shut in despair.

Say, mounts he the ocean-wave, banished, forlorn,

Like a limb from his country cast bleeding and torn?

Ah! no; for a darker departure is near;

The war-drum is muffled, and black is the bier;
His death-bell is tolling: O, mercy, dispel

Yon sight, that it freezes my spirit to tell!
Life flutters, convulsed, in his quivering limbs,
And his blood-streaming nostril in agony swims!
Accursed be the fagots that blaze at his feet,

Where his heart shall be thrown, ere it ceases to beat,
With the smoke of its ashes to poison the gale-

Lochiel. Down, soothless insulter! I trust not the tale!

For never shall Albin a destiny meet

So black with dishonor, so foul with retreat!

Though his perishing ranks should be strewed in their gore,

Like ocean-weeds heaped on the surf-beaten shore,
Lochiel, untainted by flight or by chains,

While the kindling of life in his bosom remains,

Shall victor exult, or in death be laid low,
With his back to the field, and his feet to the foe!

And, leaving in battle no blot on his name,

Look proudly to heaven from the death-bed of fame!



This poem presents a beautiful idealization of the common soldier.

On the right of the battalion a grenadier of France, Struck through his iron harness by the lightning of a


His breast all wet with British blood, his brow with British breath,

There fell defiant, face to face with England and with death.

They made a miter of his heart-they cleft it through and


One half was for his legion, and the other for it too! The colors of a later day prophetic fingers shed,

For lips were blue and cheeks were white and the fleurde-lis was red!

And the bugles blew, and the legion wheeled, and the grenadier was dead.

And then the old commander rode slowly down the ranks, And thought how brief the journey grew, between the battered flanks;

And the shadows in the moonlight fell strangely into line Where the battle's reddest riot pledged the richest of the


And the camp fires flung their phantoms-all doing what they could

To close the flinty columns up as old campaigners would! On he rode, the old commander, with the ensign in


And, as statued bronzes brighten with the smoky torch's


Flashed a light in all their faces, like the flashing of a


Then, with brow all bare and solemn, "For the King!" he grandly said,

"Lower the colors to the living-beat the ruffle for the dead!"

And thrice the red silk flickered low its flame of royal fire, And thrice the drums moaned out aloud the mourner's

wild desire.

« PreviousContinue »