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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 foiled King from pathless glen
Shall bootless turn him home again."





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670 Lineage of the Bleeding Heart. Descendants of the Douglas family. Cf. note, line 200.

674. Allies. States or people united for a common object, associates, confederates. - Enow. Enough.

678. Links of Forth. Windings of the River Forth.

679. Stirling's porch.

Stirling Castle was long the residence of the

Scottish kings.

680. Nuptial torch. Marriage torch.-683. Blench. To draw back or shrink from.

690. Foiled. Defeated. -691. Bootless. Unsuccessful.


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,

Dreamed calmly out their dangerous dream,
Till wakened 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 yawned around,

By crossing terrors wildly tossed,

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,

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693. Scaled. Clambered up.-694. Verge. Brink, edge. — Beetled. Hung, extended.

695. Incessant. Unceasing, continual.

702. Battled fence. A defensive wall with openings from which to discharge missiles.-708. Astound. Astounded.

And eager rose to speak, but ere
His tongue could hurry forth his fear,
Had Douglas marked the hectic strife,
Where death seemed combating with life;
For to her cheek, in feverish flood,
One instant rushed the throbbing blood,
Then ebbing back, with sudden sway,
Left its domain as wan as clay.


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 our 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; 740
The waving of his tartans broad,

And darkened brow, where wounded pride
With ire and disappointment vied,

719. Com'bating. Struggling, contending.-723. Domain. Her cheek. -Wan. Pale, colorless. -743. Vied. Contended.

Seemed, by the torch's gloomy light,
Like the ill Demon of the night,
Stooping his pinions' shadowy sway
Upon the nighted pilgrim's way:
But, unrequited Love! thy dart
Plunged deepest its envenomed smart,
And Roderick, with thine anguish stung,
At length the hand of Douglas wrung,
While eyes that mocked at tears before.
With bitter drops were running o'er.
The death-pangs of long-cherished hope
Scarce in that ample breast had scope,
But, struggling with his spirit proud,
Convulsive heaved its checkered 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.


Then Roderick from the Douglas broke —
As flashes flame through sable smoke,
Kindling its wreaths, long, dark, and low,
To one broad blaze of ruddy glow,
So the deep anguish of despair
Burst, in fierce jealousy, to air.






With stalwart grasp his hand he laid


On Malcolm's breast and belted plaid:

747. Nighted. Benighted. -749. Envenomed. Poisoned. 757. Checkered shroud. Tartan plaid.

"Back, beardless boy!" he sternly said,
"Back, minion! holdst thou thus at naught
The lesson I so lately taught?

This roof, the Douglas, and that maid,
Thank thou for punishment delayed."
Eager as greyhound on his game,
Fiercely with Roderick grappled Græme.
“Perish my name, if aught afford
Its Chieftain safety save his sword!"
Thus as they strove their desperate hand
Griped to the dagger or the brand,
And death had been-but Douglas rose,
And thrust between the struggling foes
His giant strength:-"Chieftains, forego!
I hold the first who strikes my foe.-
Madmen, forbear your frantic jar!
What is the Douglas fallen so far,
His daughter's hand is deemed the spoil
Of such dishonorable broil?"

Sullen and slowly they unclasp,

As struck with shame, their desperate grasp,

And each upon his rival glared,

With foot advanced and blade half bared.






Ere yet the brands aloft were flung,
Margaret on Roderick's mantle hung,


And Malcolm heard his Ellen's scream,

As faltered through terrific dream.

Then Roderick plunged in sheath his sword,
And veiled his wrath in scornful word:


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