Imagens da página
PDF
ePub
[merged small][graphic][merged small]

"He parted frowning from me, as if ruin
Leap'd from his eyes; so looks the chafed lion
Upon the daring huntsman that has gall’d him ;
Then makes him nothing.'

Shakspeare.
JANY deadly feuds have subsisted from time
immemorial between the families of M'Pber.
son of Bendearg, and Grant of Cairn, and were
banded down unimpaired' even to the close
of the last century. 'In earlier time the war-
like chiefs of these names found frequent op-
portunities of testifying their mutual ani-
mosity; and few inheritors of the fatal quar-

rel left the world without having moistened it with the blood of soure of their hereditary enemies:But in our own day the progress of civilization, which had reacbed even these wild countries—the heart of the North Highlands-although it could not distinguish entirely the transmitted spirit of revenge, at least kept it within safe hounds; and the feud of M‘Pherson and Grant, tbreatened, in the course of another generation, to die entirely away, or at least to exist only in some vexatious lawsuit, fostered by the petty jealousies of two men of hostile tempers and contiguous property.

It was not, however, without some ebullitions of an. cient fierccuess, that the flame which had burned for so NO, IV.

many centuries seemed about to expire. Once, at a meet. ing of the country gentlemen, on a question of privilege arising, Bendearg took occasion to throw out some taunts aimed at his hereditary foe, which the fiery Grant immediately received as the signal of defiance, and a challenge was the consequence. The sheriff of the county, however, having got intimation of the affair, put both parties under arrest; till at length, by the persuasions of their friends--not friends by blood-and the representations of the magistrate, they shook hands, and each pledged his honour to forget-at least never again to remember in speech or action the ancient feud of his family. This occurrence, at the time, was the object of much interest in the country side; the rather as it seemed to give the lie to those prophecies of which every Highland family has an ample stock in its traditionary chronicles, and which expressly predicted that the enmity of Cairo and Bendearg should not be quenched but in blood; and on this seemingly cross-grained circumstance, some of the young men who had begun already to be tainted with the heresies of the lowlands, were seen to shake their heads as they reflected on the tales and the faith of their ancestors : but the grey.headed seers shook theirs still more wisely, and auswered with the motto of a noble house, 'I bide my time.'

There is a narrow pass between the mountains in the neighbourhood of Bendearg, well known to the traveller who adventures into these wilds in quest of the savage sublimities of nature. At a little distance it has the appearance of an immense artificial bridge thrown over a tremendous chasm; but on nearer approach is seen to be a wall of nature's own masonry, formed of vast and rugged bodies of solid rock, piled on each other as if in the giant sport of architecture. Its sides are in some places covered with trees of a considerable size; and the passenger who has a head steady enough to look down the precipice, may see the eyries of birds of prey beneath his feet. "The path across is so narrow that it cannot admit of two persons passing along side; and indeed none but natives accustomed to thescene frominfancy would attempt the dangerous route at all, though it saves three miles. Yet it sometimes happens that two travellers meet in the middle, owing to the curve formed by the pass preventing a view across from either side ; and when this is the case, one is obliged to lie down, while the other crawls over his body.

One day, shortly after the incident we have mentioned,

a Higblander was walking fearlessly along the pass; sometimes bending over to watch the flight of the wild birds that built below, and sometimes detaching a fragment from the top, to see it dashed against the uneven sides, and bounding from rock to rock, while its sound echoed like a human voice, and died in faint and hol. low murmurs at the bottom. When he had gained the highest part of the arch, he observed another coming leisurely up on the opposite side: he being himself of the patrician order, called out to him to halt and lie down; the person, however, disregarded the con mand, and the Highlanders met face to face on the summit. They were Cairn and Bendearg! These two hereditary enemies, who would have gloried and rejoiced in mortal strife with each other on a bill side, turned deadly pale at the fatal rencounter. I was first at the top,' said Bendearg, and called out first-lie down, that I may pass over in peace.'

When the Grant prostrates himself before M.Pherson,' answered the other, it must be with a sword driven through his body.' "Turn back, then,' said Bendearg, ' and repass as you came. • Gó back yourself, if you like it,'' replied Grant, I will not be the first of my Dame to turn before the M'Pherson.' This was their short conference, and the result was exactly as each had anticipated.

They then threw their bonnets over the precipice, and advanced with a slow and cautious pace closer to each other. They were both unarmed. Stretching their limbs like men preparing for a desperate struggle, they planted their feet firmly on the ground, compressed their lips, knit their dark brows, and fixing fierce and watchful eyes. on each other, stood thus prepared for the onset. They both grappled at the same moment; but being of equal strength, were anable for some time to shift each other's position-standing fixed on a rock, with suppressed breath, and muscles strained to the top of their bent,' Jike statues carved out of solid stone. At length M'Pher. son, suddenly removing his right foot so as to give him greater purchase, stooped his body, and bent his enemy down with him by main strength, till they both leaned over the precipice, looking downward into the terrible abyss. The contest was as yet doubtful, for Grant had placed his foot firmly on an elevation at the brink, and had equal command of his enemy; but at this moment M'Puerson sunk slowly and firmly on his knee, and while

Grant suddenly started back, stooping to take the supposed advantage, whirled him over his head into the gulf. M.Pherson himself fell backwards, his body hanging partly over the rock-a fragment gave way beneath him, and he sunk farther, till, catching with a desperate effort at the solid stone above, he regained his footing. There was a pause of death-like stillvess, and the bold heart of M'Pherson felt sick and faint. At length, as if compelled unwillingly by some mysterious feeling, he looked down over the precipice. Grant had caught with a death-gripe by the rugged poiut of a rock-his enemy was yet almost within his reach !-His face was turned upward, and there were in it horror and despair-but he uttered no word or cry. The next moment he loosed his hold--and the next, his brains were dashed out before the eyes of his hereditary foe; the mangled body disappeared among the trees, and its last heavy and hollow sound arose from the bote tom! M'Pherson returned hone an altered man. He purchased a commission in the army, and fell bravely in the wars of the Peninsula. The Gaelic name of the place where this tragedy was acted, signifies Hell's Bridge, of which interesting object our engraving is an accurate and picturesque representation.

[graphic]

A THOUGHT ON WISDOM. THE wisest of those who live, is he who believes himself the nearest to death, and who regulates all his actions by that thought.

The most sensible, on the contrary, among those who make scientific researches, is he who believes himself the farthest from the goal, and who, wbatever knowledge he may have acquired, whatever advances he may have made in his road, studies as if he yet knew nothing, and marches as if he were only yet beginning to make his first advances.

POOR LOVELY, THE MANIAC.

BY WILLIAM HOLLOWAY.
|LACK! my sweet ladies! your anguish I see ;
O! dry up that teardid you shed it for me?---
D'ye miss the carnation that bloom'd on my

cheek

The ringlet that play'd on my temple so sleek'? The blue-bell that Gourish'd so fair in my eye, And dimples where raptures and innocence lie? Fear not-though my fond heart now flutters and burns, All these will return when my lover returns! For you know I've a lover, but far, far away; Vast seas roll between us, and wild tempests sway; Alone in the wilderness thoughtful he roves, Or plucks the gilt citron in India's gay groves ; O! spare him, ye tygers that crouch in the shade, Ye serpents, that hiss in the untrodden glade: He ne'er will prove faithless, where ever he be, His affections are fix'd-he has fix'd them on me. Then why did he wander, and leave me behind ? Inconstant and fickle, as ocean or wind! Indeed it was cruel to cause me to mourn Why-why should my parents forbid his return ? But, softly !-his promise he'll never forget, When he bid me farewell in the garden so sweet: Yes! yes! he'll return. and he'll make me his queen, With a garland of myrtle, and jessamine green! 0, dear! I'm so pale that you know me not now, The roses are faded that wav'd on my brow, While the lily alone on my cheek is display'd, And my heart sinks adown, with its sorrows o'erweigh’d: But ab! I forgot !-Did you ask me my name? I've chang’d it-tis Lovely-How call me the samePoor Lovely! mind that in the moment of glee, And check your gay pastimes to think upon me: Yet when shall I see your sweet faces again, Your Lovely will shortly be rid of her pain; Again the carnation shall bloom on her cheek, The ringlet shall play on her temple so sleek, The blae-bell shall flourish afresh in her eye, Which tears of young Rapture shall amply supply; And tho' her fond bosom now futters and burns. You'll all wish her joy when her Lover returus!

« AnteriorContinuar »