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   Chapter 79 No.79

The Lady of the Lake By Walter Scott Characters: 1176

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

A heap of withered boughs was piled,

Of juniper and rowan wild,

Mingled with shivers from the oak,note

Rent by the lightning's recent stroke.

65 Brian, the Hermit, by it stood,

Barefooted, in his frock and hood.

His grizzled beard and matted hair

Obscured a visage of despair;

His naked arms and legs, seamed o'er,

70 The scars of frantic penance bore.

That monk, of savage form and face,

The impending danger of his race

Had drawn from deepest solitude,

Far in Benharrow's bosom rude.note

75 Not his the mien of Christian priest,

But Druid's,

from the grave released,

Whose hardened heart and eye might brook

On human sacrifice to look;

And much, 'twas said, of heathen lore

80 Mixed in the charms he muttered o'er.

The hallowed creed gave only worse

And deadlier emphasis of curse;

No peasant sought that Hermit's prayer,

His cave the pilgrim shunned with care,

85 The eager huntsman knew his bound,

And in mid chase called off his hound;

Or if, in lonely glen or strath,note

The desert-dweller met his path,

He prayed, and signed the cross between,

90 While terror took devotion's mien.

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