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XXIII.-THE ISLAND OF THE SCOTS.
(AYTOUN.) In 1697, the Marquis de Sell was cncamped on the Rhine with the French army,
to watch the movements of General Stirk and the Germans, who occupied the opposite bank. The Germans had taken possession of an island in the river, from which the French were anxious to drive them; but no boats could be found to carry troops across the stream. At this crisis a corps formed of Scottish officers, who had fought under Viscount Dundee, and who had fol. lowed the exiled James to France, volunteered to wade the river and dispossess the Germans. Being joined by two other Scottish companies, they accomplished the task in gallant style, though opposed by far superior numbers. From this event the island was called “The Island of the Scots"
“The stream,” he said, “is broad and deep,
And stubborn is the foe;
Say, brothers, will ye go?
Our steps have wandered wide,
Our fathers' graves beside.
No wives to wail our fall;
Has reft our hearths of all.
As strong to will and dare,
Within the northern air.
Shall rouse your souls again,
Through pulse, and heart, and vein!
Be young and strong once more;
Is one we've crossed before.
Rise up on either hand !-
Thick blew the smoke across the stream,
And faster flashed the flame:
As ball and bullet came.
All stern and undismayed,
And none behind to aid.
So strong the torrent swept,
Their dangerous footing kept.
A joyous shout before:
They'll never reach the shore !
They waver in their line!
And whelm them in the Rhine!”
Have you seen the tall trees swaying,
When the blast is piping shrill,
Down the gorges of the hill?
Struggling with the tempest's shock;
Cleaving firmly to the rock?
Even so the Scottish warriors
Held their own against the river; Though the water flashed around them,
Not an eye was seen to quiver ;
Not a man relaxed his hold:
With the mighty thoughts of old.
And through the ranks it spread“ Remember our dead Claverhouse!"
Was all the Captain said.
They struggled on a while,
Then rushed towards the isle.
The German heart is stout and true,
The German arm is strong;
Where armèd foemen throng:
So stern a charge before,
Of Scotland's broad claymore.
Adown the steep incline,
Of rough and rapid Rhine-
Than came the Scottish band
And o'er it sword in hand.
They meet the deadly brand !
O lonely island of the Rhine,
Where seed was never sown, What harvest lay upon thy sands,
By those strong reapers thrown?
What saw the winter moon that night,
As, struggling through the rain, She poured a wan and fitful light
On marsh, and stream, and plain A dreary spot with corpses strewn,
And bayonets glistening round;
A bare and battered mound;
That sent its quivering glare
The conquering Scots were there!
And did they twine the laurel-wreath
For those who fought so well?
And weep for those who fell?
Let aged annals tell.
Why crown the cup with wine?
So freely on the Rhine-
Had done.the venturous deed :
The danger was their meed.
And loud and fondly swear,
Was never wrought elsewhere?
That fame can never heal
Which none save exiles feel.
They ne'er might see again-
For mountain, loch, and glen-
For those who haply lay at rest
Beyond the distant sea,
Where they would gladly be!
XXIV.-THUNDER-STORM AMONG THE ALPS.
(BYRON.) It is the hush of night; and all between Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear, Mellowed and mingling, yet distinctly seen, Save darkened Jura, whose capt heights appear Precipitously steep; and drawing near, There breathes a living fragrance from the shore, Of flowers yet fresh with childhood : on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar;
He is an evening reveller, who makes
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
The sky is changed !-and such a change! O night,
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
And this is in the night :-Most glorious night!