Harp of the North! that mouldering long hast hung On the witch-elm that shades Saint Fillan's spring And down the fitful breeze thy numbers flung, Till envious ivy did around thee cling, Muffling with verdant ringlet every string,-- O Minstrel Harp, still must thine accents sleep? Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring, Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep, Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep?
Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon, Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd, When lay of hopeless love, or glory won, Aroused the fearful or subdued the proud. At each according pause was heard aloud Thine ardent symphony sublime and high! Fair dames and crested chiefs attention bowed; For still the burden of thy minstrelsy Was Knighthood's dauntless deed, and Beauty's matchless eye.
O, wake once more! how rude soe'er the hand That ventures o'er thy magic maze to stray; O, wake once more! though scarce my skill command Some feeble echoing of thine earlier lay: Though harsh and faint, and soon to die away, And all unworthy of thy nobler strain, Yet if one heart throb higher at its sway, The wizard note has not been touched in vain. Then silent be no more! Enchantress, wake again!
The stag at eve had drunk his fill, Where danced the moon on Monan's rill, And deep his midnight lair had made In lone Glenartney's hazel shade; But when the sun his beacon red Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head, The deep-mouthed bloodhound's heavy bay Resounded up the rocky way, And faint, from farther distance borne, Were heard the clanging hoof and horn.
As Chief, who hears his warder call, 'To arms! the foemen storm the wall,' The antlered monarch of the waste Sprung from his heathery couch in haste. But ere his fleet career he took, The dew-drops from his flanks he shook; Like crested leader proud and high Tossed his beamed frontlet to the sky; A moment gazed adown the dale, A moment snuffed the tainted gale, A moment listened to the cry, That thickened as the chase drew nigh; Then, as the headmost foes appeared, With one brave bound the copse he cleared, And, stretching forward free and far, Sought the wild heaths of Uam-Var.
Yelled on the view the opening pack; Rock, glen, and cavern paid them back; To many a mingled sound at once The awakened mountain gave response. A hundred dogs bayed deep and strong, Clattered a hundred steeds along, Their peal the merry horns rung out, A hundred voices joined the shout; With hark and whoop and wild halloo, No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew. Far from the tumult fled the roe, Close in her covert cowered the doe, The falcon, from her cairn on high, Cast on the rout a wondering eye, Till far beyond her piercing ken The hurricane had swept the glen. Faint, and more faint, its failing din Returned from cavern, cliff, and linn, And silence settled, wide and still, On the lone wood and mighty hill.
Less loud the sounds of sylvan war Disturbed the heights of Uam-Var, And roused the cavern where, 't is told, A giant made his den of old; For ere that steep ascent was won, High in his pathway hung the sun, And many a gallant, stayed perforce, Was fain to breathe his faltering horse, And of the trackers of the deer Scarce half the lessening pack was near; So shrewdly on the mountain-side Had the bold burst their mettle tried.