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Old Stirling's towers arose in light,
Her winding river lay.'
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
Sunk banner, spear, and shield;
For pardon they have kneel’d.”_6
" 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 !
To all that bars his way!
| 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."
Upon the right, behind the wood,
The Scottish chivalry;
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!
As far as Stirling rock.
Wild foundering on the field !
The knightly helm and shield,
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."
“ As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and steep
Receives her roaring linn,
Suck the wild whirlpool in;
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;
The noble and the slave,
To that dark inn, the grave !*
Names that to tear were never known,
And Oxford's famed De Vere.
Bottetourt and Sanzavere,
Firmly they kept their ground;
And Slaughter revell’d round.
Hath lost its lively tone;
“ My merry-men, fight on!”
The groans of those who fell
And in the battle-yell.
“ One effort more, and Scotland 's free!
Is firm as Ailsa Rock;
Now, forward to the shock !"9
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,
Alone, De Argentine
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;
And is no rescue found!
Or made but doubtful stay;
The boldest broke array.
’mid the spears, Cried, “ Fight!” to terror and despair, Menaced, and wept, and tore his hair,
And cursed their caitiff fears;
I needs must turn again.
I know his banner well.
Once more, my Liege, farewell.”
But, when mute Amadine they heard
A frenzy fired the throng;
Can bid the weak be strong.
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."
“ Saint James for Argentine!”
An axe has razed his crest;
He rode with spear in rest,
And through his gallant breast.
And swung his broadsword round!
" 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,
The blood gush'd from the wound;
Hath turn'd him on the ground,
It stiffen'd and grew coll.
The arm in battle bold,
Fell faintly on his ear;
The wounded knight drew near;
The effort was in vain!
He stumbled on the plain.
“ Lord Earl, the day is thine!
Yet this may Argentine,
Yet mourn not, Land of Fame!
Since Norman William came.
Grudge not her victory,
To none so dear as thee !5
“ For the mute page had spoke.”-
To burst the English yoke.
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