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(For aye

Enough of this-And, Minstrel, hold,

Fergus, of Canna's castled bay, As minstrel-hire, this chain of gold,

Mac-Duffith, Lord of Colonsay, For future lays a fair excuse,

Soon as they saw the broadswords glance, To speak more nobly of the Bruce.”

With ready weapons rose at once,

More prompt, that many an ancient feud, XV.

Full oft suppress’d, full oft renew'd, “Now, by Columba's shrine, I swear,

Glow'd 'twixt the chieftains of Argyle, And every saint that's buried there,

And many a lord of ocean's isle. "Tis he himself !” Lorn sternly cries,

Wild was the scene-each sword was bare, “ And for my kinsman’s death he dies."

Back stream'd each chieftain's shaggy hair, As loudly Ronald calls,_“Forbear!

In gloomy opposition set, Not ir my sight, while brand I wear,

Eyes, hands, and brandish'd weapons met; O'ermatch'd by odds, shall warrior fall,

Blue gleaming o'er the social board, Or blood of stranger stain my

hall !

Flash'd to the torches many a sword; This ancient fortress of my race

And soon those bridal lights may shine Shall be misfortune's resting-place,

On purple blood for rosy wine.
Shelter and shield of the distress’d,
No slaughter-house for shipwreck'd guest.*-

XVIII. “Talk not to me,” fierce Lorn replied,

While thus for blows and death prepared, “Of odds or match !-when Comyn died,

Each heart was up, each weapon bared, Three daggers clash'd within his side !

Each foot advanced,-a surly pause Talk not to me of sheltering hall,

Still reverenced hospitable laws. The Church of God saw Comyn fall !

All menaced violence, but alike On God's own altar stream'd his blood,

Reluctant each the first to strike, While o'er my prostrate kinsman stood

accursed in minstrel line The ruthless murderer-e'en as now

Is he who brawls ’mid song and wine,) With armed hand and scornful brow !

And, match'd in numbers and in might, Up, all who love me! blow on blow!

Doubtful and desperate seem'd the fight. And lay the outlaw'd felons low !”

Thus threat and murmur died away,

Till on the crowded hall there lay
XVI.

Such silence, as the deadly still,
Then up sprang many a mainland Lord,

Ere bursts the thunder on the hill. Obedient to their Chieftain's word.

With blade advanced, each Chieftain bold Barcaldine's arm is high in air,

Show'd like the Sworder's form of old, a And Kinloch-Alline's blade is bare,

As wanting still the torch of life,
Black Murthok's dirk has left its sheath,

To wake the marble into strife.
And clench'd is Dermid's hand of death.
Their mutter'd threats of vengeance

XIX. swell

That awful pause the stranger maid, Into a wild and warlike yell;

And Edith, seized to pray for aid. Onward they press with weapons high,

As to De Argentine she clung, The affrighted females shriek and fly,

Away her veil the stranger flung, And, Scotland, then thy brightest ray

And, lovely ’mid her wild despair, Had darken'd ere its noon of day,

Fast stream'd her eyes, wide flow'd her hair, But every chief of birth and fame,

“O thou, of knighthood once the flower, That from the Isles of Ocean came,

Sure refuge in distressful hour, At Ronald's side that hour withstood

Thou, who in Judah well hast fought Fierce Lorn's relentless thirst for blood.'

For our dear faith, and oft hast sought

Renown in knightly exercise,
XVII.

When this poor hand has dealt the prize, Brava Torquil from Dunvegan high,

Say, can thy soul of honour brook Lord of the misty hills of Skye,

On the unequal strife to look, Mac-Niel, wild Bara's ancient thane,

When, butcher'd thus in peaceful hall, Duart, of bold Clan-Gillian's strain,

Those once thy friends, my brethren, fall!”

3 MS.

“ each Chieftain rude, Like that famed Swordsman'a statco stood."

i For these four lines the MS. has,

“ But stern the Island Lord withstood

The vengeful Chieftain's thirst of blood." 5 A8.-" While thus for blood and blows prepared

Rrised was each hand," &c

4 MS.—“To waken him to deadly strifa."

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XXII.
Scarcely this fair accord was o'er,*
When through the wide revolving door

The black-stoled brethren wind; Twelve sandall’d monks, who relics bore, With many a torch-bearer before,

And many a cross behind.5
Then sunk each fierce uplifted hand,
And dagger bright and flashing brand

Dropp'd swiftly at the sight;
They vanish'd from the Churchman's eye,
As shooting stars, that glance and die,

Dart from the vault of night.

XX. Now rose De Argentine, to claim The prisoners in his sovereign's name, To England's crown, who, vassals sworn, Gainst their liege lord had weapon borne (Such speech, I ween, was but to hide His care their safety to provide ; For knight more true in thought and deed Than Argentine ne'er spurr'd a steed) And Ronald, who his meaning guess'd, Seem'd half to sanction the request. This purpose fiery Torquil broke :“ Somewhat we've heard of England's yoke," He said, “ and, in our islands, Fame Hath whisper'd of a lawful claim, That calls the Bruce fair Scotland's Lord, Though dispossess’d by foreign sword. This craves reflection--but though right And just the charge of England's Knight, Let England's crown her rebels seize Where she has power ;-in towers like these, 'Midst Scottish Chieftains summon'd here To bridal mirth and bridal cheer, Be sure, with no consent of mine, Shall either Lorn or Arg ne With chains or violence, in our sight, Oppress a brave and banish'd Knight.”

XXIII.
The Abbot on the threshold stood,
And in his hand the holy rood;
Back on his shoulders flow'd his hood,

The torch's glaring ray
Show'd, in its red and flashing light,
His wither'd cheek and amice white,
His blue eye glistening cold and bright,

His tresses scant and grey. “ Fair Lords,” he said, “ Our Lady's love, And peace be with you from above,

And Benedicite!
-But what means this ? no peace is hero: -
Do dirks unsheathed suit bridal cheer?

Or are these naked brands
A seemly show for Churchman's sight,
When he comes summon'd to unite
Betrothed hearts and hands ?”

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XXI. Then waked the wild debate again, With brawling threat and clamour vain. Vassals and menials, thronging in, Lent their brute rage to swell the din; When, far and wide, a bugle-clang From the dark ocean upward rang.

“ The Abbot comes !” they cry at once, “The holy man, whose favour'd glance

Hath sainted visions known; Angels have met him on the way, Beside the blessed martyrs’ bay,

XXIV. Then, cloaking hate with fiery zeal, Proud Lorn first answer'd the appeal ;

“ Thou comest, O holy Man, True sons of blessed church to greet, But little deeming here to meet

A wretch, beneath the ban

1 The MS. adds:

“ With such a frantic fond appeal,

As only lovers make and feel." 9 MS.-"What tuwe at every cross of old." 3 MS.--"We will his holy rede obey,

The Abbot's voice shall end the fray." 4 M8.--"80nyce was this peaceful paction o'er."

5 MS.—“ Did slow procession wind;

Twelve monks, who stole and mantle wore
And chalice, pyx, and relics bora,

With many," &c. 8 The MS, here adds

“ Men bound in her communion sweet,

And teous to the Papal seat.'

Of Pope and Church, for murder done

Since matchless Wallace first had been Even on the sacred altar-stone!-!

In mock’ry crown'd with wreaths of green, Well mayst thou wonder we should know

And done to death by felon hand, Such miscreant here, nor lay him low,?

For guarding well his father's land. Or dream of greeting, peace, or truce,

Where's Nigel Bruce ? and De la Haye, With excommunicated Bruce!

And valiant Seton-where are they? Yet well I grant, to end debate,

Where Somerville, the kind and free? Thy sainted voice decide his fate.” 3

And Fraser, flower of chivalry ?10

Have they not been on gibbet bound,
XXV.

Their quarters flung to hawk and hound,
Then Ronald pled the stranger's cause,

And hold we here a cold debate,, And knighthood's oath and honour's laws;

To yield more victims to their fate ? And Isabel, on bended knee,

What ! can the English Leopard's mood Brought pray’rs and tears to back the plea:

Never be gorged with northern blood ? And Edith lent her generous aid,

Was not the life of Athole shed, And wept, and Lorn for mercy pray'd.5

To soothe the tyrant's sicken'd bed ?11 “ Hence,” he exclaim'd, “ degenerate maid !

And must his word, till dying day, Was't not enough to Ronald's bower

Be sought but quarter, hang, and slay !-18 I brought thee, like a paramour,

Thou frown'st, De Argentine,-My gage
Or bond-maid at her naster's gate,

Is prompt to prove the strife I wage.”-
His careless cold approach to wait ?-
But the bold Lord of Cumberland,

XXVII.
The gallant Clifford, seeks thy hand;

“ Nor deem,” said stout Dunvegan's His it shall be-Nay, no reply!

knight, 13 Hence! till those rebel eyes be dry.”

“ That thou shalt brave alone the fight ! With grief the Abbot heard and saw,

By saints of isle and mainland both, Yet nought relax'd his brow of awe.?

By Woden wild, (my grandsire's oath.)"

Let Rome and England do their worst,
XXVI.

Howe'er attainted or accursed,
Then Argentine, in England's name,

If Bruce shall e'er find friends again, So highly urged his sovereign's claim, 8

Once more to brave a battle-plain, He waked a spark, that, long suppress’d,

If Douglas couch again his lance, Had smoulder'd in Lord Ronald's breast;

Or Randolph dare another chance, And now, as from the fint the fire,

Old Torquil will not be to lack Flash'd forth at once his generous ire.

With twice a thousand at his back.-“ Enough of noble blood,” he said,

Nay, chafe not at my bearing bold, By English Edward had been shed,

Good Abbot! for thou know'st of old,

1 MS.
“the blessed altar-stone."

7 The MS. adds 2 In place of the couplet which follows, the MS. has

“He raised the suppliants from the floor,
“But promptly had my dagger's edge

And bade their sorrowing be o'er,
Avenged the guilt of sacrilege,

And bade them give their weeping o'er,

}
Save for my new and kind ally,

But in a tone that well explain'd
And Torquil, chief of stormy Skye,

How little grace their prayers had gain'd;
(In whose wild land there rests the seed,

For though he purposed true and well,
Men say, of ancient heathen creed,)

Still stubborn and inflexible
Who would enforce me to a truce

In what he decm'd his duty high,
With excommunicated Bruce."

Was Abbot Ademar of Y." 8 The MS. adds:

8 MS.-" For Bruce's custody made claim."-In place of “ Secure such foul offenders find

the two couplets which follow, the MS, has No favour in a holy mind."

And Torquil, stout Dunvegan's Knight, • The MS. has:

As well defended Scotland's right. Alleged the hest of honour's laws,

Enough of," &c.
due to

9 See Appendix, Note W.
The succour
storm-staid guest,
10 See Appendix, Note X.

11 Ibid, Note Y. The refuge due to the distress'd,

12 See Appendix, Note Z. The oath which binds each generous knight 13 In the MS. this couplet is wanting, and, without breaking Still to prevent unequal fight;

the stanza, Lord Ronald continues, And Isabel," &c.

By saints of isle," &c. O MS.-" And wept alike and knelt and pray'd.”—The nine 14 The MacLeods, and most other distinguished Hebridean lines which intervene betwixt this and the concluding couplet families, were of Scandinavian extraction, and some were late of the stanza are not in the MS.

or imperfect converts to Christianity. The family names of 6 Bee Appendix, Note V.

Torquil, Thormod, &c. are all Norwegian.

{claim'd by }s

5

Torquil's rude thought and stubborn will

Heaven knows my purpose to atono, Smack of the wild Norwegian still ;

Far as I may, the evil done, Nor will I barter Freedom's cause

And hears a penitent's appeal For England's wealth, or Rome's applause."

From papal curse and prelate's zeal.

My first and dearest task achieved,
XXVIII.

Fair Scotland from her thrall relieved, The Abbot seem'd with eye severe

Shall many a priest in cope and stole The hardy Chieftain's speech to hear;

Say requiem for Red Comyn's soul, Then on King Robert turn’d the Monk,'

While I the blessed cross advance, But twice his courage came and sunk,

And expiate this unhappy chance Confronted with the hero's look;

In Palestine, with sword and lance. 8 Twice fell his eye, his accents shook ;

But, while content the Church should know At length, resolved in tone and brow,

My conscience owns the debt I owe,* Sternly he question'd him—“ And thou,

Unto De Argentine and Lorn Unhappy! what hast thou to plead,

The name of traitor I return, Why I denounce not on thy deed

Bid them defiance stern and high, That awful doom which canons tell

And give them in their throats the lie! Shuts paradise, and opens hell;

These brief words spoke, I speak no more. Anathema of power so dread,

Do what thou wilt; my shrift is o'er”
It blends the living with the dead,
Bids each good angel soar away,

XXX.
And every ill one claim his prey;

Like man by prodigy amazed, Expels thee from the church's care,

Upon the King the Abbot gazed; And deafens Heaven against thy prayer;

Then o'er his pallid features glance, Arms every hand against thy life,

Convulsions of ecstatic trance. Bans all who aid thee in the strife,

His breathing came more thick and fast, Nay, each whose succour, cold and scant,2

And from his pale blue eyes were cast With meanest alms relieves thy want;

Strange rays of wild and wandering light Haunts thee while living, -and, when dead,

Uprise his locks of silver white, Dwells on thy yet devoted head,

Flush'd is his brow, through every vein Rends Honour's scutcheon from thy hearse,

In azure tide the currents strain,
Stills o'er thy bier the holy verse,

And undistinguish'd accents broke
And spurns thy corpse from hallow'd ground, The awful silence ere he spoke.6
Flung like vile carrion to the hound;
Such is the dire and desperate doom

XXXI.
For sacrilege, decreed by Rome;

“ De Bruce! I rose with purpose dread And such the well-deserved meed

To speak my curse upon thy head,? Of thine unhallow'd, ruthless deed.”

And give thee as an outcast o'er

To him who burns to shed thy gore;XXIX.

But, like the Midianite of old, “ Abbot!” The Bruce replied," thy charge

Who stood on Zophim, heaven-controllid, It boots not to dispute at large.

I feel within mine aged breast This much, howe'er, I bid thee know,

A power that will not be repress'd." No selfish vengeance dealt the blow,

It prompts my voice, it swells my veins, For Comyn died his country's foe.

It burns, it maddens, it constrains ! Nor blame I friends whose ill-timed speed

De Bruce, thy sacrilegious blow Fulfill'd my soon-repented deed,

Hath at God's altar slain thy foe: Nor censure those from whose stern tongue

O’ermaster'd yet by high behest, The dire anathema has rung.

I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless'd !” I only blame mine own wild ire,

He spoke, and o'er the astonish'd throng By Scotland's wrongs incensed to fire.

Was silence, awful, deep, and long.

1 MS.-" Then turn'd him on the Bruce the Monk."

2 MS.-"Nay, curses each whose succour scant."

6 MS." Sweil on his wither'd brow the veins,

Each in its azure current strains,
And interrupted tears express'd

The tumult of his labouring breast." 7 Seo Appendix, Note 2 B.

a See Appendix, Note 2 A.

4 The MS, adds :-" For this ill-timed and luckless blow."

6 See the Book of NUMBER8, chap. xxiil, and xxiv. 9 See Appendix, Note 2 C.

5 M8

“ bold and high."

The Lord of the Isles.

CANTO THIRD.

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I.
Hast thou not mark’d, when o'er thy startled head
Sudden and deep the thunder-peal has rolld,
How, when its echoes fell, a silence dead
Sunk on the wood, the meadow, and the wold?
The rye-grass shakes not on the sod-built fold,
The rustling aspen's leaves are mute and still,5
The wall-flower waves not on the ruin'd hold,

Till, murmuring, distant first, then near and shrill,
The savage whirlwind wakes, and sweeps the groanır:g

hill.

XXXII.
Logain that light has fired his eye,
Agair his form swells bold and high,
The broken voice of age is gone,
"Tis vigorous manhood's lofty tone: -
“ Thrice vanquish'd on the battle-plain,
Thy followers slaughter'd, fled, or ta’en,
A hunted wanderer on the wild,
On foreign shores a man exiled,
Disown'd, deserted, and distress’d,
I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless'd !
Bless'd in the hall and in the field,
Under the mantle as the shield.
Avenger of thy country's shame,
Restorer of her injured fame,
Bless'd in thy sceptre and thy sword,
De Bruce, fair Scotland's rightful Lord,
Bless'd in thy deeds and in thy fame,
What lengthen'd honours wait thy name!
In distant ages, sire to son
Shall tell thy tale of freedom won,
And teach his infants, in the use
Of earliest speech, to falter Bruce.
Go, then, triumphant! sweep along
Thy course, the theme of many a song!
The Power, whose dictates swell my breast,
Hath bless'd thee, and thou shalt be bless'd !
Enough-my short-lived strength decays,
And sinks the momentary blaze.-
Heaven hath our destined purpose broke,
Not here must nuptial vow be spoke ; 3
Brethren, our errand here is o'er,
Our task discharged.-Unmoor, unmoor!”.
His priests received the exhausted Monk,
As breathless in their arms he sunk.
Punctual his orders to obey,
The train refused all longer stay,
Embark’d, raised sail, and bore away.*

II.
Artornish! such a silence sunk
Upon thy halls, when that grey Monk

His prophet-speech had spoke;
And his obedient brethren's sail
Was stretch'd to meet the southern gale

Before a whisper woke.
Then murmuring sounds of doubt and fear,
Close pour'd in many an anxious ear,

The solemn stillness broke;
And still they gazed with eager guese,
Where, in an oriel's deep recess,
The Island Prince seem'd bent to press
What Lorn, by his impatient cheer,
And gesture fierce, scarce deign’d to hear.

III.
Starting at length, with frowning look,
His hand he clench’d, his head he shook,

i See Appendix, Note 2 D.

characteristical beauties than of his characteristical faults. 2 “On this transcendant passage we shall only remark, that The scene itself is not of a very edifying description ; nor is the of the gloomy part of the prophecy we hear nothing more want of agrecableness in the subject compensated by any de through the whole of the poem, and though the Abbot informs tached merit in the details. Of the language and versificatiou the King that he shall be . On foreign shores a man exiled,' in many parts, it is hardly possible to speak savourably. The the poet never speaks of him but as resident in Scotland, up to same must be said of the speeches which the different charac the period of the battle of Bannockburn."-Critical Review. ters address to each other. The rude vehemence which they 3 The MS. has not this couplet.

display seems to consist much more in the loudness and gesti 4 “ The conception and execution of these stanzas consti- culation with which the speakers express themselves, than in tute excellence which it would be difficult to match from any the force and energy of their sentiments, which, for the most other part of the poem. The surprise is grand and perfect. part, are such as the barbarous chiefs, to whom they are atThe monk, struck with the heroism of Robert, forgoes the in- tributed, might, without any great premeditation, either as to tended anathema, and breaks out into a prophetic annuncia- the thought or language, have actually uttered. To find lantion of his final triumph over all his enemies, and the venera- guage and sentiments proportioned to characters of such extion in which his name will be held by posterity. These stan- traordinary dimensions as the agents in the poems of Homer Las, which conclude the second Canto, derive their chief title and Milton, is indeed an admirable effort of genius; but to to encomium from the emphatic felicity of their burden, make such as we meet with in the epic poetry of the present

day, persons often below the middle size, and never very * I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless'd;'

much above it, merely speak in character, is not likely to oo in which tow and simple words, following, as they do, a series casion either much difficulty to the poet, or much pleasure to of predicated ills, there is an energy that instantaneously ap- the reader. As an example, we might adduce the speech of peals to the heart, and surpasses, all to nothing, the results of stout Dunvegan's knight, stanza xxvii., which is not the lesy passages less happy in their application, though more laboured wanting in taste, because it is natural and characteristic."and tortuous in their construction."--Critical Revier. Quarterly Review.

“The story of the second canto exhibits fewer of Mr. Scott's 5 MS -" The rustling aspen bids dis le:if be still"

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