Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Gathering

Time rolls his ceaseless course. The race of yore,
Who danced our infancy upon their knee,
And told our marveling boyhood legends store,
Of their strange ventures happ’d by land or sea,
How are they blotted from the things that be!
How few, all weak and wither’d of their force,
Wait on the verge of dark eternity,
Like stranded wrecks, the tide returning hoarse,
To seek them from our sight! Time rolls his ceaseless course.

Yet live there still who can remember well,
How, when a mountain chief his bugle flew,
Both field and forest, dingle, cliff, and dell,
And solitary heath, the signal knew;
And fast the faithful clan around him drew,
What time the warning note was keenly wound,
What time aloft their kindred banner flew,
While clamorous war-pipes yell’d the gathering sound.
And while the Fiery Cross glanced like a meteor round.

--Sir Walter Scott in The Lady of the Lake (Canto Third)