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Say to our faithful Lord of Mar,
We do forbid the intended war:
Roderick, this morn, in single fight,
Was made our prisoner by a knight;
And Douglas hath himself and cause
Submitted to our kingdom's laws.
The tidings of their leaders lost
Will soon dissolve the mountain host,
Nor would we that the vulgar feel,
For their Chief's crimes avenging steel.
Bear Mar our message, Braco: fly!"
He turn'd his steed, "My liege, I hie,.-
Yet, ere I cross this lily lawn,

I fear the broadswords will be drawn."
The turf the flying courser spurn'd,
And to his towers the King return'd.

XXXIII..

Ill with King James's mood that day,
Suited gay feast and minstrel lay;
Soon were dismiss'd the courtly throng,
And soon cut short the festal song.
Nor less upon the sadden'd town
The evening sunk in sorrow down.
The burghers spoke of civil jar,
Of rumor'd feuds and mountain war,
Of Moray, Mar, and Roderick Dhu,
All up in arms:-- the Douglas, too,

They mourn'd him pent within the hold,
"Where stout Earl William was of old."
And there his word the speaker staid,
And finger on his lip he laid,

Or pointed to his dagger blade.
But jaded horsemen, from the west,
At evening to the Castle press'd;
And busy talkers said they bore
Tidings of fight on Katrine's shore;
At noon the deadly fray begun,
And lasted till the set of sun.

Thus giddy rumor shook the town,
Till closed the Night her pennons brown.

1 Stabbed by James II. in Stirling Castle.

CANTO SIXTH.

THE GUARD-ROOM.

I.

THE sun, awakening, through the smoky air
Of the dark city casts a sullen glance,
Rousing each caitiff to his task of care,
Of sinful man the sad inheritance;
Summoning revellers from the lagging dance,
Scaring the prowling robber to his den;
Gilding on battled tower the warder's lance,

And warning student pale to leave his pen,
And yield his drowsy eyes to the kind nurse of men.

What various scenes, and, O! what scenes of woe,
Are witness'd by that red and struggling beam!
The fever'd patient, from his pallet low,

Through crowded hospital beholds its stream;
The ruin'd maiden trembles at its gleam,

The debtor wakes to thought of gyve and jail, The love-lorn wretch starts from tormenting dream; The wakeful mother, by the glimmering pale,

Trims her sick infant's couch, and soothes his feeble

wail.

235

II.

At dawn the towers of Stirling rang
With soldier-step and weapon-clang,
While drums, with rolling note, foretell
Relief to weary sentinel.

Through narrow loop and casement barr'd,'
The sunbeams sought the Court of Guard,
And, struggling with the smoky air,
Deaden'd the torches' yellow glare.
In comfortless alliance shone 2

The lights through arch of blacken'd stone,
And show'd wild shapes in garb of war,
Faces deformed with beard and scar,
All haggard from the midnight watch,
And fever'd with the stern debauch;
For the oak table's massive board,
Flooded with wine, with fragments stored,
And beakers drain'd, and cups o'erthrown,
Show'd in what sport the night had flown.
Some, weary, snored on floor and bench;
Some labor'd still their thirst to quench;
Some, chill'd with watching, spread their hands
O'er the huge chimney's dying brands,
While round them, or beside them flung,
At every step their harness rung.

1 MS.: "Through blacken'd arch and casement barr'd." 2 MS. "The lights in strange alliance shone

Beneath the arch of blacken'd stone."

III.

These drew not for their fields the sword,
Like tenants of a feudal lord,
Nor own'd the patriarchal claim,
Of Chieftain in their leader's name;
Adventurers they, from far who roved,
To live by battle which they loved.'
There the Italian's clouded face,
The swarthy Spaniard's there you trace;
The mountain-loving Switzer there
More freely breathed in mountain-air;

The Fleming there despised the soil,

That paid so ill the laborer's toil;

Their rolls show'd French and German name;

And merry England's exiles came,
To share, with ill-conceal'd disdain,
Of Scotland's pay the scanty gain.

All brave in arms, well train'd to wield
The heavy halberd, brand, and shield;
In camps licentious, wild, and bold;
In pillage fierce and uncontroll'd;
And now, by holytide and feast,
From rules of discipline released.

IV.

They held debate of bloody fray,
Fought 'twixt Loch Katrine and Achray

1 See Appendix, Note P.

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