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"Short be my speech ;-nor time affords,
Nor my plain temper, glozing words.
Kinsman and father, if such name
Douglas vouchsafe to Roderick's claim,
Mine honour'd mother, Ellen,-why,
My cousin, turn away thine eye ?-
And Græme, in whom I hope to know
Full soon a noble friend or foe,

When age shall give thee thy command,
And leading in thy native land,—
List all! The King's vindictive pride
Boasts to have tamed the Border-side,
Where chiefs, with hound and hawk who came
To share their monarch's sylvan game,
Themselves in bloody toils were snared,
And when the banquet they prepared,
And wide their loyal portals flung,
O'er their own gateway struggling hung.
Loud cries their blood from Meggat's mead,
From Yarrow braes, and banks of Tweed,
Where the lone streams of Ettricke glide,
And from the silver Teviot's side;

The dales, where martial clans did ride,
Are now one sheep-walk waste and wide.
This tyrant of the Scottish throne,
So faithless and so ruthless known,
Now hither comes; his end the same,
The same pretext of sylvan game.
What grace for Highland chiefs judge ye,
By fate of Border chivalry.

Yet more; amid Glenfinlas' green,
Douglas, thy stately form was seen.

This by espial sure I know:

Your counsel in the streight I show."


Ellen and Margaret fearfully
Sought comfort in each other's eye,
Then turn'd their ghastly look, each one,
This to her sire, that to her son.
The hasty colour went and came
In the bold cheek of Malcolm Græme;
But, from his glance it well appear'd,
'Twas but for Ellen that he fear'd;
While sorrowful, but undismay'd,
The Douglas thus his counsel said:
"Brave Roderick, though the tempest roar
It may but thunder and pass o'er;
Nor will I here remain an hour,

To draw the lightning on thy bower;
For well thou know'st, at this grey head
The royal bolt were fiercest sped.
For thee, who, at thy King's command,
Canst aid him with a gallant band,
Submission, homage, humbled pride,
Shall turn the Monarch's wrath aside.
Poor remnants of the Bleeding Heart,
Ellen and I will seek, apart,
The refuge of some forest cell;
There, like the hunted quarry, dwell,
Till, on the mountain and the moor,
The stern pursuit be pass'd and o'er."


"No, by mine honour," Roderick said, "So help me heaven, and my good blade!

No, never! Blasted be yon pine,
My father's ancient crest, and mine,
If from its shade in danger part
The lineage of the Bleeding Heart!
Hear my blunt speech: grant me this maid
To wife, thy counsel to mine aid;

To Douglas, leagued with Roderick Dhu,
Will friends and allies flock enow;
Like cause of doubt, distrust, and grief,
Will bind to us each western chief.
When the loud pipes my bridal tell,
The Links of Forth shall hear the knell,
The guards shall start in Stirling's porch;
And when I light the nuptial torch,
A thousand villages in flames,

Shall scare the slumbers of King James!
-Nay, Ellen, blench not thus away,
And, mother, cease these signs, I pray;
I meant not all my heat might say.—
Small need of inroad, or of fight,
When the sage Douglas may unite
Each mountain clan in friendly band,
To guard the passes of their land,
Till the foil'd King, from pathless glen,
Shall bootless turn him home agen."


There are, who have, at midnight hour,
In slumber scaled a dizzy tower,
And, on the verge that beetled o'er
The ocean-tide's incessant roar,

Dream'd calmly out their dangerous dream,
Till waken'd by the morning beam;
When, dazzled by the eastern glow,
Such startler cast his glance below,

And saw unmeasured depth around,

And heard unintermitted sound,
And thought the battled fence so frail,
It waved like cobweb in the gale;
Amid his senses' giddy wheel,
Did he not desperate impulse feel,
Headlong to plunge himself below,

And meet the worst his fears foreshow ?—
Thus, Ellen, dizzy and astound,

As sudden ruin yawn'd around,

By crossing terrors wildly toss'd,

Still for the Douglas fearing most,

Could scarce the desperate thought withstand, To buy his safety with her hand.


Such purpose dread could Malcolm spy
In Ellen's quivering lip and eye,
And eager rose to speak-but e'er
His tongue could hurry forth his fear,
Had Douglas mark'd the hectic strife,
Where death seem'd combating with life;
For to her cheek, in feverish flood,
One instant rush'd the throbbing blood,
Then ebbing back, with sudden sway,
Left its domain as wan as clay.

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"Roderick, enough! enough "he cried,
'My daughter cannot be thy bride;
Not that the blush to wooer dear,
Nor paleness that of maiden fear.
It may not be forgive her, chief,
Nor hazard aught for her relief.
Against his sovereign, Douglas ne'er
Will level a rebellious spear;

'Twas I that taught his youthful hand
To rein a steed and wield a brand.
I see him yet, the princely boy!
Not Ellen more my pride and joy;
I love him still, despite my wrongs,
By hasty wrath, and slanderous tongues.
O seek the grace you well may find,
Without a cause to mine combined."


Twice through the hall the Chieftain strode;
The waving of his tartans broad,

And darken'd brow, where wounded pride
With ire and disappointment vied,
Seem'd, by the torch's gloomy light,
Like the ill Dæmon of the night,
Stooping his pinions' shadowy sway
Upon the nighted pilgrim's way:
But, unrequited love! thy dart
Plunged deepest its envenom'd smart,
And Roderick, with thine anguish stung,
At length the hand of Douglas wrung,
While eyes, that mock'd at tears before,
With bitter drops were running o'er.
The death-pangs of long-cherish'd hope
Scarce in that ample breast had scope,
But, struggling with his spirit proud,
Convulsive heaved its chequer'd shroud,
While every sob-so mute were all-
Was heard distinctly through the hall.
The son's despair, the mother's look,
Ill might the gentle Ellen brook :
She rose, and to her side there came,
To aid her parting steps, the Græme.

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