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Old Stirling's towers arose in light,
And, twined in links of silver bright,

Her winding river lay.'
Ah, gentle planet! other sight
Shall greet thee next returning night,
Of broken arms and banners tore,
And marshes dark with human gore,
And piles of slaughter'd men and horse,
And Forth that floats the frequent corse,
And many a wounded wretch to plain
Beneath thy silver light in vain !
But now, from England's host, the cry
Thou hear'st of wassail revelry,
While from the Scottish legions pass
The murmur'd prayer, the early mass !
Here, numbers had presumption given;
There, bands o'er-match'd sought aid from Heaven.

And midmost of the phalanx broad

The Monarch held his sway. Beside him many a war-horse fumes, Around him waves a sea of plumes, Where many a knight in battle known, And some who spurs had first braced on, And deem'd that fight should see then

King Edward's hests obey.
De Argentine attends his side,
With stout De Valence, Pembroke's pride,
Selected champions from the train,
To wait upon his bridle-rein.
Upon the Scottish foe he gazed-
-At once, before his sight amazed,

Sunk banner, spear, and shield;
Each weapon-point is downward sent,
Each warrior to the ground is bent.
“ The rebels, Argentine, repent!

For pardon they have kneel’d.”_6
“ Aye !—but they bend to other powers,
And other pardon sue than ours !
See where yon bare-foot Abbot stands,
And blesses them with lifted hands ! 6
Upon the spot where they have kneelid,
These men will die, or win the field.”

" Then prove we if they die or win! Bid Gloster's Earl the fight begin.”

XX. On Gillie's-hill, whose height commands The battle-field, fair Edith stands, With serf and page unfit for war, To eye the conflict from afar. O! with what doubtful agony She sees the dawning tint the sky! Now on the Ochils gleams the sun, And glistens now Demayet dun; Is it the lark that carols shrill,

Is it the bittern's early hum? No!-distant, but increasing still, The trumpet's sound swells up the hill,

With the deep murmur of the drun. Responsive from the Scottish host, Pipe-clang and bugle sound were tossid, His breast and brow each soldier cross'd,

And started from the ground; Arm'd and array'd for instant fight, Rose archer, spearman, squire and knight, And in the pomp of battle bright

The dread battalia frown'd.

XXII. Earl Gilbert waved his truncheon high,

Just as the Northern ranks arose, Signal for England's archery

To halt and bend their bows. Then stepp'd each yeoman forth a pace, Glanced at the intervening space,

And raised his left hand high; To the right ear the cords they bring—7 -At once ten thousand bow-strings ring,

Ten thousand arrows fly! Nor paused on the devoted Scot The ceaseless fury of their shot;

As fiercely and as fast, Forth whistling came the grey-goose wing As the wild hailstones pelt and ring

Adown December's blast. Nor mountain targe of tough bull-hide, Nor lowland mail, that storm may bide; Woe, woe to Scotland's banner'd pride,

If the fell shower may last !

Now onward, and in open view,
The countless ranks of England drew,
Dark rolling like the ocean-tide,
When the rough west hath chafed his pride,
And his deep roar sends challenge wide

To all that bars his way!
In front the gallant archers trode,
The men-at-arms behind them rode,

| The MS. here interposes the couplet

Glancing by fits from hostile line,

Armour and lance return'd the shine." 9 See Appendix, Note 3 V.

8 "Although Mr. Scott retains that necessary and characteristic portion of his peculiar and well-known manner, he is free, we think, from any faulty self-imitation; and the battle of Bannockburn will remain for ever as a monument of the fertile poetical powers of a writer, who had before so greatly excelled in this species of description."- Monthly Review.

“ The battle, we think, is not comparable to the battle in Marmion, though nothing can be finer than the scene of con trasted repose and thoughtful anxiety by which it is intro duced, (stanzas xix. xx. xxi.)"-JEFFREY.

See Appendix, Note 3 W. 5 MS.—"De Argentine! the cowards repont'

For mercy they have kneeld." o See Appendix, Note 3 X. 7 MS.—“ Drew to bis ear the silken string."

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Upon the right, behind the wood,
Each by his steed dismounted, stood

The Scottish chivalry;
With foot in stirrup, hand on mane,
Fierce Edward Bruce can scarce restrain
His own keen heart, his eager train,
Until the archers gain'd the plain;

Then,“ Mount, ye gallants free!” He cried; and, vaulting from the ground, His saddle every horseman found. On high their glittering crests ? they toss, As springs the wild-fire from the moss; The shield hangs down on every breast, Fach ready lance is in the rest,

And loud shouts Edward Bruce,-“ Forth, Marshal ! on the peasant foe! We'll tame the terrors of their bow,

And cut the bow-string loose !” 2

XXIII. Then spurs were dash'd in chargers' flanks, They rush'd among the archer ranks. No spears were there the shock to let, No stakes to turn the charge were set, And how shall yoeman's armour slight, Stand the long lance and mace of might? Or wbat may their short swords avail, 'Gainst barbed horse and shirt of mail ? Amid their ranks the chargers sprung, High o'er their heads the weapons swung, And shriek and groan and vengeful shout Give note of triumph and of rout! Awhile, with stubborn hardihood, Their English hearts the strife made good. Borne down at length on every side, Compelld to flight, they scatter wide.Let stags of Sherwood leap for glee, And bound the deer of Dallom-Lee! The broken bows of Bannock's shore Shall in the greenwood ring no more ! Round Wakefield's merry May-pole now, The maids may twine the summer bough, May northward look with longing glance, For those that wont to lead the dance, For the blithe archers look in vain ! Broken, dispersed, in flight o’erta’en, Pierced through, trode down, by thousands slain, They cumber Bannock’s bloody plain.

XXIV. The King with scorn beheld their flight. “Are these,” he said, “our yeomen wighi Each braggart churl could boast before, Twelve Scottish lives his baldric bore ! Fitter to plunder chase or park, Than make a manly foe* their mark. Forward, each gentleman and knight! Let gentle blood show generous might, And chivalry redeem the fight!" To rightward of the wild affray, The field show'd fair and level way;

But, in mid-space, the Bruce's care Had bored the ground with many a pit. With turf and brushwood hidden yet,

That form'd a ghastly snare. Rushing, ten thousand horsemen came, With spears in rest, and hearts on flame,

That panted for the shock!
With blazing crests and banners spread,
And trumpet-clang and clamour dread,
The wide plain thunder'd to their tread,

As far as Stirling rock.
Down! down ! in headlong overthrow,
Horseman and horse, the foremost go,

Wild foundering on the field !
The first are in destruction's gorge,
Their followers wildly o'er them urge;-

The knightly helm and shield,
The mail, the acton, and the spear,
Strong hand, high heart, are useless

Loud from the mass confused the cry
Of dying warriors swells on high,
And steeds that shriek in agony !?
They came like mountain-torrent red,
That thunders o'er its rocky bed;
They broke like that same torrent's wave?
When swallow'd by a darksome cave.
Billows on billows burst and boil,
Maintaining still the stern turmoil,
And to their wild and tortured groan
Each adds new terrors of his own!

xxv. Too strong in courage and in might Was England yet, to yield the fight.

Her noblest all are here;

I MS -" Their brandish'd spears."

2 See Appendix, Note 3 Y. 3 See Appendix, Note 3 Z.

4 MS "An arın'd foe."

8 The MS. has

“When plunging down some darksomo cave,

Pillow on billow rushing on,

Follows the path the first had gone."
It is impossible not to recollect our author's own lines,

“ As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and steep

Receives her roaring linn,
As the dark caverns of the deep

Suck the wild whirlpool in;
So did the deep and darksome pass
Devour the battle's mingled mass.

Lady of the Lake, Canto vi. stans is.

ü MS.--"With many a pit the ground to bore,

With turf and brush wood cover'd o'er,

Had form'd," &c.

6 See Appendix, Note 4 A.

7 Soe Anpendix, Note 4 R.

| This Knight his youthful strength to prove,

And that to win his lady's love;
Some fought from ruffian thirst of blood,
From habit some, or hardihood.
But ruffian stern, and soldier good,

The noble and the slave,
From various cause the same wild road,
On the same bloody morning, trode,

To that dark inn, the grave !*

Names that to tear were never known,
Bold Norfolk's Earl De Brotherton,

And Oxford's famed De Vere.
There Gloster plied the bloody sword,
And Berkley, Grey, and Hereford,

Bottetourt and Sanzavere,
Ross, Montague, and Mauley, came,
And Courtenay's pride, and Percy's fame-
Names known too well ? in Scotland's war,
At Falkirk, Methven, and Dunbar,
Blazed broader yet in after years,
At Cressy red and fell Poitiers.
Pembroke with these, and Argentine,
Brought up the rearward battle-line.
With caution o'er the ground they tread,
Slippery with blood and piled with dead,
Till hand to hand in battle set,
The bills with spears and axes met,
And, closing dark on every side,
Raged the full contest far and wide.
Then was the strength of Douglas tried,
Then proved was Randolph's generous pride,
And well did Stewart's actions grace
The sire of Scotland's royal race !

Firmly they kept their ground;
As firmly England onward press’d,
And down went many a noble crest,
And rent was many a valiant breast,

And Slaughter revell’d round.

The tug of strife to flag begins,
Though neither loses yet nor wing.
High rides the sun, thick rolls the dust,
And feebler speeds the blow and thrust.
Douglas leans on his war-sword now,
And Randolph wipes his bloody brow;
Nor less had toil'd each Southern knight,
From morn till mid-day in the fight.
Strong Egremont for air must gasp,
Beauchamp undoes his visor-clasp,
And Montague must quit his spear,
And sinks thy falchion, bold De Vere!
The blows of Berkley fall less fast,
And gallant Pembroke's bugle-blast

Hath lost its lively tone;
Sinks, Argentine, thy battle-word,
And Percy's shout was fainter heard,

“ My merry-men, fight on!”

Unflinching foot 3 'gainst foot was set,
Unceasing blow by blow was met;

The groans of those who fell
Were drown'd amid the shriller clang
That from the blades and harness rang,

And in the battle-yell.
Yet fast they fell, unheard, forgot,
Both Southern fierce and hardy Scot;
And O! amid that waste of life,
What various motives fired the strife!
The aspiring Noble bled for fame,
The Patriot for his country's claim;

Bruce, with the pilot's wary eye,
The slackening of the storm could spy.

“ One effort more, and Scotland 's free!
Lord of the Isles, my trust in thee

Is firm as Ailsa Rock;
Rush on with Highland sword and targe,
I, with my Carrick spearmen, charge ; 8

Now, forward to the shock !"9
At once the spears were forward thrown,
Against the sun the broadswords shone;
The pibroch lent its maddening tone,
And loud King Robert's voice was known--

I MS." Ross, Tybtot, Neville, Mauley, came."

must wound every ear that has the least pretension to judge of 2 MS.--"Names known of yore," &c.

poetry; and no one, we should think, can miss the ridiculous 8 MS.—“ Unshifting foot," &c.

point of such a couplet as the subjoined, "All these, life's rambling journey done, Have found their home, the grave."-COWPER.

Each heart had caught the patriot spark o “ The dramatic, and even Shakspearian spirit of much of

Old man and stripling, priest and clerk.'" this battle must, we think, strike and delight the reader. We

Monthly Reviero. pass over much alternate, and much stubborn and unflinching'contest

8 " The adventures of the day are versified rather too lite* The tug of strife to flag begins,

rally from the contemporary chronicles. The following pagThough neither loses yet nor wins;'

sage, however, is emphatic; and exemplifies what this author but the description of it, as we have ventured to prophesy, arranged names, to excite lofty emotions, with little aid eithes

has so often exemplified, the power of well-chosen and well. çill last for ever.

from sentiment or description."-JEFFREY, “ It will be as unnecessary for the sake of our readers, as it would be useless for the sake of the author, to point out 7 MS.—“ The sinking," &c. many of the obvious defects of these splendid passages, or of others in the poem. Such a line as

8 See Appendix, Note 4 C. "The tag of strife to flag begins.'

9 MS.-" Then hurry to the shocki".

And, like a banner'd host afar,
Bear down on England's wearied war.

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The fresh and desperate onset bore
The foes three furlongs back and more,
I eaving their noblest in their gore.

Alone, De Argentine
Yet bears on high his red-cross shield,
Gathers the relics of the field,
Renews the ranks where they have reeld,

And still makes good the line. Brief strife, but fierce,-his efforts raise A bright but momentary blaze. Fair Edith heard the Southron shout, Beheld them turning from the rout, Heard the wild call their trumpets sent, In notes 'twixt triumph and lament. That rallying force, combined anew, Appear'd in her distracted view,

To hem the Islesmen round;
« () God! the combat they renew,

And is no rescue found!
And ye that look thus tamely on,
And see your native land o'erthrown,
0! are your hearts of flesh or stone?” I

Already scatter'd o'er the plain,
Reproof, command, and counsel vain,
The rearward squadrons fled amain,

Or made but doubtful stay;
But when they mark'd the seeming show
Of fresh and fierce and marshallid foe,

The boldest broke array.
O give their hapless prince his due ·
In vain the royal Edward threw
His person

’mid the spears, Cried, “ Fight!” to terror and despair, Menaced, and wept, and tore his hair,

And cursed their caitiff fears;
Till Pembroke turn'd his bridle rein,
And forced him from the fatal plain.
With them rode Argentine, until
They gain'd the summit of the hill,
But quitted there the train :-
“In yonder field a gage I left,-
I must not live of fame bereft;

I needs must turn again.
Speed hence, my Liege, for on your trace
The fiery Douglas takes the chase,

I know his banner well.
God send my Sovereign joy and bliss,
And many a happier field than this ! -

Once more, my Liege, farewell.”

The multitude that watch'd afar,
Rejected from the ranks of war,
Had not unmoved beheld the fight,
When strove the Bruce for Scotland's right;
Each heart had caught the patriot spark,
Old man and stripling, priest and clerk,
Bondsman and serf; even female hand
Stretch'd to the hatchet or the brand;

But, when mute Amadine they heard
Give to their zeal his signal-word,

A frenzy fired the throng;
“ Portents and miracles impeach
Our sloth—the dumb our duties teach-
And he that gives the mute his speech,

Can bid the weak be strong.
To us, as to our lords, are given
A native earth, a promised heaven;
To us, as to our lords, belongs ?
The vengeance for our nation's wrongs;
The choice, 'twixt death or freedom, warms
Our breasts as theirs—To arms, to arms!”
To arms they flew,-axe, club, or spear,-
And mimic ensigns high they rear,

XXXII. Again he faced the battle-field,Wildly they fly, are slain, or yield.? “ Now then," he said, and couch'd his speas, “ My course is run, the goal is near; One effort more, one brave career,

Must close this race of mine."
Then in his stirrups rising high,
He shouted loud his battle-cry,

“ Saint James for Argentine!”
And, of the bold pursuers, four
The gallant knight from saddle bore;
But not unharm’d-a lance's point
Has found his breastplate's loosen'd joint,

An axe has razed his crest;
Yet still on Colonsay's fierce lord,
Who press'd the chase with gory sword,

He rode with spear in rest,
And through his bloody tartans bored,

And through his gallant breast.
Nail'd to the earth, the mountaineer
Yet writhed him up against the spear,

And swung his broadsword round!

1 MS.

" of lead or stone." 2 MS.-" To us, as well as them, belongs." * See Appendix, Note 4 D. 4 M8.--"And rode in bands away."

8 See Appendix, Note 4 E. 6 MS.-“ And bade them hope amid despair."

7 The MS. has not the seven lines which follow.

-Stirrup, steel-boot, and cuish gave way,
Beneath that blow's tremendous sway,

The blood gush'd from the wound;
And the grim Lord of Colonsay

Hath turn'd him on the ground,
And laugh'd in death-pang, that his blade
The mortal thrust so well repaid.

It stiffen'd and grew coll.
“ And, O farewell !” the victor cried,
“ Of chivalry the flower and pride,

The arm in battle bold,
The courteous mien, the noblo race,
The stainless faith, the manly face !
Bid Ninian's convent light their shrine,
For late-wake of De Argentine.
O’er better knight on death-bier laid,
Torch never gleam'd nor mass was said!”

Now toil'd the Bruce, the battle done.
To use his conquest boldiy won;'
And gave command for horse and spear
To press the Southron's scatter'd rear,
Nor let his broken force combine,
- When the war-cry of Argentine

Fell faintly on his ear;
« Save, save his life," he cried, “ O save
The kind, the noble, and the brave!”
The squadrons round free passage gave,

The wounded knight drew near;
He raised his red-cross shield no more,
Helm, cuish, and breastplate stream'd with

Yet, as he saw the King advance,
He strove even then to couch his lance

The effort was in vain!
The spur-stroke fails to rouse the horse;
Wounded and weary, in mid course

He stumbled on the plain.
Then foremost was the generous Bruce
To raise his head, his helm to loose ;

“ Lord Earl, the day is thine!
My Sovereign's charge, and adverse fate,
Have made our meeting all too late:

Yet this may Argentine,
As boon from ancient comrade, crave-
A Christian's mass, a soldier's grave.”

Nor for De Argentine alone,
Through Ninian's church these torches shono,
And rose the death-prayer's awful tone.2
That yellow lustre glimmer'd pale,
On broken plate and bloodied mail,
Rent crest and shatter'd coronet,
Of Baron, Earl, and Banneret;
And the best names that England knew,
Claim'd in the death-prayer dismal due.3

Yet mourn not, Land of Fame!
Though ne'er the leopards on thy shield
Retreated from so sad a field,

Since Norman William came.
Oft may thine annals justly boast
Of battles stern by Scotland lost;

Grudge not her victory,
When for her freeborn rights she strove;
Rights dear to all who freedom love,

To none so dear as thee !5

Turn we to Bruce, whose curious car
Must from Fitz-Louis tidings hear;
With him, a hundred voices tell
Of prodigy and miracle,

“ For the mute page had spoke.”-
Page!” said Fitz-Louis,“ rather say,
An angel sent from realms of day,

To burst the English yoke.

Bruce press'd his dying hand-its grasp
Kindly replied; but, in his clasp,

I MS.-“ Now toild the Bruce as leaders ought,

dwells fondly on the valour and generosity of the invaders, To use his conquest boldly bought."

but actually makes an elaborate apology to the English for 8 See Appendix, Note 4 F.

having ventured to select for his theme a story which records 3 MS.-" And the best names that England owns

their disasters. We hope this extreme courtesy is not inSwell the sad death-prayer's dismal tones." tended merely to appease critics, and attract readers in the 4 MS.-" When for her rights her sword was bare, southern part of the island-and yet it is difficult to see for what Rights dear to all who freedom share."

other purposes it could be assumed. Mr. Scott certainly need 5“ The fictitious part of the story is, on the whole, the not have been afraid either ofexciting rebellion among his coun. least interesting-though we think that the author has ha- trymen, or of bringing his own liberality and loyalty into ques zarded rather too little embellishment in recording the adven- tion, although, in speaking of the events of that remote period, tures of the Bruce. There are many places, at least, in which where an overbearing conqueror was overthrown in a lawless he has evidently given an air of heaviness and fatness to his attempt to subdue an independent kingdom, he had given full narration, by adhering too closely to the authentic history; expression to the hatred and exultation which must have and has lowered down the tone of his poetry to the tame level prevailed among the victors, and are indeed the only passions of the rude chroniclers by whom the incidents were originally which can be supposed to be excited by the story of their exrecorded. There is a more serious and general fault, however, ploits. It is not natural, and we are sure it is not poetical, to rein the conduct of all this part of the story,—and that is, that present the agents in such tremendous scenes as calm and inIt is not sufficiently national--and breathes nothing either of dulgent judges of the motives or merits of their opponents; and, that animosity towards England, or that exultation over her by lending such a character to the leaders of his host, the author defeat, which must have animated all Scotland at the period has actually lessened the interest of the mighty fight of Banto which he refers; and ought, consequently, to have been nockburn, to that which might be supposed to belong to a well the ruling passion of his poem. Mr. Scott, however, not only regulated tournament among friendly rivals.'Jeffrey

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