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Seek yonder brake beneath the cliti,--

Wlose brazen studs and tough bull-hide There lies Red Murdoch, stark and stiff.

Had death so often dash'd aside; Thus Fate has solved her prophecy,

For, train'd abroad his arms to wield, Then yield to Fate, and not to me.

Fitz-James's blade was sword and shield. To James, at Stirling, let us go,

He practised every pass and ward, When, if thou wilt be still his foe,

To thrust, to strike, to feint, to guard ; Or if the King shall not agree

While less expert, though stronger far, To grant thee grace and favour free,

The Gael maintain'd unequal war.” I plight mine honour, oath, and word,

Three times in closing strife they stood, That, to thy native strengths restored,

And thrice the Saxon blade drank Lloyd : With each advantage shalt thou stand,

No stinted draught, no scanty tide, That aids thee now to guard thy land.”

The gushing flood the tartans dyed.

Fierce Roderick felt the fatal drain,
XIV.

And shower'd his blows like wintry rain;
Dark lightning flash'd from Roderick's eye- And, as firm rock, or castle-roof,
“ Soars thy presumption, then, so high,

Against the winter shower is proof, Because a wretched kern ye slew,

The foe, invulnerable still, Homage to name to Roderick Dhu?

Foil'd his wild rage by steady skill; He yields not, he, to man nor Fate !!

Till, at advantage ta’en, his brand Thou add'st but fuel to my hate:-

Forced Roderick's weapon from his hand, My clansman's blood demands revenge.

And backward borne upon the lea,
Not yet prepared ?— By heaven, I change

Brought the proud Chieftain to his knee.
My thought, and hold thy valour light
As that of some vain carpet knight,

XVI.
Who ill deserved my courteous care,

“ Now, yield thee, or by Him who made And whose best boast is but to wear

The world, thy heart's blood dyes my blade!”A braid of his fair lady's hair."

Thy threats, thy mercy, I defy! “I thank thee, Roderick, for the word !

Let recreant yield, who fears to die."? It nerves my heart, it steels my sword;

-Like adder darting from his coil, For I have sworn this braid to stain

Like wolf that dashes though the toil, In the best blood that warms thy vein.

Like mountain-cat who guards her young, Now, truce, farewell! and, ruth, begone!

Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung;8 Yet think not that by thee alone,

Received, but reck'd not of a wound, Proud Chief ! can courtesy be shown;

And lock'd his arms his foeman round.Though not from copse, or heath, or cairn,

Now, gallant Saxon, hold thine own! Start at my whistle clansmen stern,

No maiden's hand is round thee thrown! Of this small horn one feeble blast

That desperate grasp thy frame might feel, Would fearful odds against thee cast.

Through bars of brass and triple steel !-But fear not-doubt not-which thou wilt

They tug, they strain ! down, down they go, We try this quarrel hilt to hilt."-

The Gael above, Fitz-James below. Then each at once his falchion drew,

The Chieftain's gripe his throat compressid, Each on the ground his scabbard threw,

His knee was planted in his breast; Each look”d to sun, and stream, and plain,

His clotted locks he backward threw, As what they ne'er might see again;

Across his brow his hand he drew, Then foot, and point, and eye opposed,

From blood and mist to clear his sight, In dubious strife they darkly closed.

Then gleam'd aloft his dagger bright!-

-But hate and fury ill supplied
XV.

The stream of life's exhausted tide,
Ill fared it then with Roderick Dhu,

And all too late the advantage came, That on the field his targe he threw,

To turn the odds of deadly game;

I MS.--" In lightning flash'd the Chief's dark eye." 2 MS.-" He stoops not, he, to James nor Fate."

3 “ The two principal figures are contrasted with uncom. mon felicity. Fitz-James, who more nearly resembles the French Henry the Fourth than the Scottish James V., is gay, amorous, fickle, intrepid, impetuons, affectionate, courteous, graceful, and dignified. Roderick is gloomy, vindictive, arrogant, undaunted, but constant in his affections, and true to his engagements; and the whole passage in which these personages are placed in opposition, froin their first meeting to

their final conflict, is conceived and written with a sublimit;
which has been rarely equalled."- Quarterly Review, 1810.

+ See Appendix, Note 3 N.
6 MS.--"Not Roderick thus, though stronger far,

More tall, and more inured to war."
6 This couplet is not in the MS.
7 See Appendix, Note 3 0.
BMS.--"* Yield they alone who fear to die.'

Like mountain-cat wl.o guards her young,
Full at Fitz jamos's throat he sprung."

For, while the dagger gleam'd on high,

No foot Fitz-James in stirrup staid, Reeld soul and sense, reeld brain and eye. No grasp upon the saddle laid, Down came the blow! but in the heath

But wreath d his left hand in the mane, The erring blade found bloodless sheath.

And lightly bounded from the plain, The struggling foe may now unclasp

Turn'd on the horse his armed heel, The fainting Chief's relaxing grasp ;

And stirr'd his courage with the steel. Unwounded from the dreadful close,

Bounded the fiery steed in air, But breathless all, Fitz-James arose.'

The rider sate erect and fair,

Then like a bolt from steel crossbow
XVII.

Forth launch'd, along the plain they go.
He falter'd thanks to Heaven for life,

They dash'd that rapid torrent through,
Redeem'd, unhoped, from desperate strife ; : And up Carhonie's hill they flew;
Next on his foe his look he cast,

Still at the gallop prick'd the Knight,
Whose every gasp appear'd his last;

His merry-men follow'd as they might. In Roderick’s gore he dipt the braid,

Along thy banks, swift Teith! they ride, “ Poor Blanche! thy wrongs are dearly paid: And in the race they mock thy tide; Yet with thy foe must die, or live,

Torry and Lendrick now are past, The praise that Faith and Valour give."

And Deanstown lies behind them cast; With that he blew a bugle-note,

They rise, the banner'd towers of Doune, Undid the collar from his throat,

They sink in distant woodland soon; Unbonneted, and by the wave

Blair-Drummond sees the hoofs strike fire, Sate down his brow and hands to lave.

They sweep like breeze through Ochtertyre; Then faint afar are heard the feet 3

They mark just glance and disappear Of rushing steeds in gallop fleet;

The lofty brow of ancient Kier; The sounds increase, and now are seen

They bathe their courser's sweltering sides, Four mounted squires in Lincoln green;

Dark Forth! amid thy sluggish tides, Two who bear lance, and two who lead,

And on the opposing shore take ground, By loosen'd rein, a saddled steed;

With plash, with scramble, and with bound. Each onward held his headlong course,

Right-hand they leave thy cliffs, Craig-Forth ! And by Fitz-James rein'd up his horse,

And soon the bulwark of the North, With wonder view'd the bloody spot

Grey Stirling, with her towers and town, “ Exclaim not, gallants! question not.-

Upon their fleet career look'd down.
You, Herbert and Luffness, alight,
And bind the wounds of yonder knight;

XIX.
Let the grey palfrey bear his weight,

As up the flinty path they strain’d? We destined for a fairer freight,

Sudden his steed the leader rein'd; And bring him on to Stirling straight;

A signal to his squire he flung, I will before at better speed,

Who instant to his stirrup sprung: To seek fresh horse and fitting weed.

“ Seest thou, De Vaux, yon woodsman grey, The sun rides high ;-I must be boune,

Who town-ward holds the rocky way, To see the archer-game at noon;

Of stature tall and poor array ! But lightly Bayard clears the lea.

Mark'st thou the firm, yet active stride, De Vaux and Herries, follow me.

With which he scales the mountain-side ?

Know'st thou from whence he comes, or whom?"XVIII.

« No, by my word;a burly groom “ Stand, Bayard, stand!”--the steed obey'd, He seems, who in the field or chase With arching neck and bended head,

A baron's train would nobly grace."And glancing eye and quivering ear

“ Out, out, De Vaux! can fear supply, As if he loved his lord to hear.

And jealousy, no sharper eye?

1 MS.--"Panting and breathless on the sands,

6 It may be worth noting, that the Poet marks the progress But all unwounded, now he stande."

of the King by naming in succession places familiar and dear : MS.-“ Redeem'd, unhoped, from deadly strife; to his own early recollections-Blair-Drummond, the seat of Next on his foe his look he {chrew.

the Homes of Kaimes; Kier, that of the principal family of

the name of Stirling ; Ochtertyre, that of John Ramsay, the Whose every breath appear'd his last." well-known antiquary, and correspondent of Bums; and * MS.-—" Faint and afar are heard the feet.”

Craigforth, that of the Callenders of Craigforth, almost under * The ruins of Doune Castle, formerly the residence of the the walls of Stirling Castle ;-all hospitable roofs, under which Earls of Menteith, now the property of the Earl of Morar, he had spent many of his younger days. -Ed. are situated at the confluence of the Ardoch and the Teith. 7 MS.-“ As up the sleepy path they atrair'd." 3 MS.--" Blair Drummond saw their hoofs of fire."

* MS.-" With which he gains the nuntain-side"

Afar, ere to the hill he drew,
That stately form and step I knew;
Like form in Scotland is not seen,
Treads not such step on Scottish green.
'Tis James of Douglas, by Saint Serle !!
The uncle of the banish'd Earl.
Away, away, to court, to show
The near approach of dreaded foe:
The King must stand upon his guard;
Douglas and he must meet prepared.”
Then right-hand wheel’d their steeds, and straight
They won the castle's postern gate.

As well as where, in proud career,
The high-born tilter shivers spear.
I'll follow to the Castle-park,
And play my prize ;-King James shall mark,
If age has tamed these sinews stark,
Whose force so oft, in happier days,
His boyish wonder loved to praise.”

XX. The Douglas, who had bent his way From Cambus-Kenneth's abbey grey, Now, as he climb'd the rocky shelf, Held sad communion with himself:“ Yes! all is true my fears could frame; A prisoner lies the noble Grame, And fiery Roderick soon will feel The vengeance of the royal steel. I, only I, can ward their fate,God grant the ransom come not late! The Abbess hath her promise given, My child shall be the bride of Heaven ;-Be pardon'd one repining tear! For He, who gave her, knows how dear, How excellent! but that is by, And now my business is-to die. -Ye towers! within whose circuit dread A Douglas by his sovereign bled ; And thou, O sad and fatal mound !2 That oft hast heard the death-axe sound, As on the noblest of the land Fell the stern headsman's bloody hand, The dungeon, block, and nameless tomb Prepare for Douglas seeks his doom !

-- But hark! what blithe and jolly peal Makes the Franciscan steeple reel? And see! upon the crowded street, In motley groups what masquers meet! Banner and pageant, pipe and drum, And merry morrice-dancers come. I guess, by all this quaint array, The burghers hold their sports to-day.3 James will be there; he loves such show, Where the good yeoman bends his bow, And the tough wrestler foils his foe,

XXI. The Castle gates were open flung, The quivering drawbridge rock'd and rung, And echo'd loud the flinty street Beneath the coursers' clattering feet, As slowly down the steep descent Fair Scotland's King and nobles went, While all along the crowded way Was jubilee and loud huzza. And ever James was bending low, To his white jennet's saddle-bow, Doffing his cap to city dame, Who smiled and blush'd for pride and shame. And well the simperer might be vain,He chose the fairest of the train. Gravely he greets each city sire, Commends each pageant's quaint attire, Gives to the dancers thanks aloud, And smiles and nods upon the crowd, Who rend the heavens with their acclaims, “ Long live the Commons' King, King James !” Behind the King throng'd peer and knight, And noble dame and damsel bright, Whose fiery steeds ill brook'd the stay Of the steep street and crowded way. —But in the train you might discern Dark lowering brow and visage stern; There nobles mourn'd their pride restrain'd,5 And the mean burgher's joys disdain'd; And chiefs, who, hostage for their clan, Were each from home a banish'd man, There thought upon their own grey tower, Their waving woods, their feudal power, And deem'd themselves a shameful part Of pageant which they cursed in heart.

XXII. Now, in the Castle-park, drew out Their chequer'd bands the joyous rout. There morricers, with bell at heel, And blade in hand, their mazes wheel ; 8

I The Edinburgh Reviewer remarks on "that unhappy couplet, where the King himself is in such distress for a rhyme as to be obliged to apply to one of the obscurest saints in the calendar." The reading of the MS. is

" "Tis James of Douglas, by my word,

The uncle of the banish'd Lord." See Appendix, Note 3 P. 3 See Appendix, Note 3 Q. • MS.-" King James and all his nobles went -..

Ever the King was bending low
To his white jennet's saddle-bow,
Doffing his cap to burgher dame,
Who smiling bush'd for pride and bene."

5 MS.--" Nobles icho mourn'd their pourr restrain'd,

And the poor burgher's jors disdain'd;
Dark chief, who, hostage for his clan,
Was from his home a banishid man,
Iho thought upon his own grey tower,
The waving woods, his feudal bower,
And deem'd himself a shameful part
Of pageant that he cursed in heart."

6 The MS. adds

* With awkward stride there city groom

Would part of fabled knight assume."

But chief, beside the butts, there sun.

Indignant smiled the Douglas prvud, Bold Robin Hood' and all his band,

And threw the gold among the crowd,? Friar Tuck with quarterstaff and cowl,

Who now, with anxious wonder, scan, Old Scathelocke with his surly scowl,

And sharper glance, the dark grey man ; Maid Marion, fair as ivory bone,

Till whispers rose among the throng, Scarlet, and Muteh, and Little John;

That heart so free, and hand so strong, Their bugles challenge all that will,

Must to the Douglas blood belong; In archery to prove their skill.

The old men mark'd, and sijook the head, The Douglas bent a bow of might,

To see his hair with silver spread, His first shaft centered in the white,

And wink'd aside, and told each son, And when in turn he shot again,

Of feats upon the English done, His second split the first in twain.

Ere Douglas of the stalwart hand a From the King's hand must Douglas tahe

Was exiled from his native land. A silver dart, the archer's stake ;

The women praised his stately form, Fondly he watch'd, with watery eye,

Though wreck'd by many a winter's storm ;* Some answering glance of sympathy,

The youth with awe and wonder saw No kind emotion made reply!

His strength surpassing Nature's law. Indifferent as to archer wight,

Thus judged, as is their wont, the crowd, The monarch gave the arrow bright.3

Til murmur rose to clarnours loud.

But not a glance from that proud ring
XXIII.

Of peers who circled round the King,
Now, clear the ring ! for, hand to hand,

With Douglas held communion kind, The manly wrestlers take their stand.

Or call’d the banish'd man to mind ; to Two o'er the rest superior rose,

No, not from those who, at the chase, And proud demanded mightier foes,

Once held his side the honour'd place, Nor call'd in vain ; for Douglas came.

Begirt his board, and, in the field, - For life is Hugh of Larbert lame ;

Found safety underneath his shield; Scarce better John of Alloa's fare,

For he, whom royal eyes disown,
Whom senseless home his comrades bear.

When was his form to courtiers known !
Prize of the wrestling match, the King
To Douglas gave a golden ring,"

XXV.
While coldly glanced his eye of blue,

The Monarch saw the gambols flag, As frozen drop of wintry dew.

And bade let loose a gallant stag, Douglas would speak, but in his breast

Whose pride, the holiday to crown, His struggling soul his words suppress'd ;

Two favourite greyhounds should pull Indignant then he turn'd him where

down, Their arms the brawny yeomen bare,

That venison free, and Bourdeaux wine, To hurl the massive bar in air.

Might serve the archery to dine. When each his utmost strength had shown,

But Lufra,--whom from Douglas' side The Douglas rent an earth-fast stone

Nor bribe nor threat could e'er divide, From its deep bed, then heaved it high,

The fleetest hound in all the North,And sent the fragment through the sky,

Brave Lufra saw, and darted forth. A rood beyond the farthest mark ;

She left the royal hounds mid-way, And still in Stirling's royal park,

And dashing on the antler'd prey, The grey-hair’d sires, who know the past,

Sunk her sharp muzzle in his flank, To strangers point the Douglas-cast,

And deep the flowing life-blood drank. And moralize on the decay

The King's stout huntsman saw the sport Of Scottish strength in modern day. 5

By strange intruder broken short,

Came up, and with his leash unbound,
XXIV.

In anger struck the noble hound.
The vale with loud applauses rang,

– The Douglas had endured, that morn, The Ladies' Rock sent back the clang.

The King's cold look, the nobles' scorn, The King, with look unmoved, bestow'd

And last, and worst to spirit proud, A purse well-fill’d with pieces broad.

Had borne the pity of the crowd ; I See Appendix, Note 3 R.

3 See Appendix, Note 3 S. 4 See Appendix, Note 3 i. ? MS -“ Fondly he watch'd, with watery eye,

6 MS.-“Of mortal strength in modern day." For answering glance of sympathy,

6 MS.-"A purse weigh'd doren with pieces broad." Bul no emotion made reply!

7 MS.--" Scatter'd the gold among the crowd." Indifferent as to unknoren

8 MS.-" Ere James of Douglas' stalwart hand." Cold as to unknown yeoman)

9 MS.-" Though worn by many a winter storm." The king guve forth the arrow bright."

10 MS.-.“ Or call'd his slotein form to mind."

}wight,

But Lufra had been fondly bred,
To share his board, to watch his bed,
And oft would Ellen Lufra's neck
In maiden glee with garlands deck;
They were such playmates, that with name
Of Lufra, Ellen's image came.
His stifled wrath is brimming high,
In darken'd brow and flashing eye;
As waves before the bark divide,
The crowd gave way before his stride;
Needs but a buffet and no more,
The groom lies senseless in his gore.
Such blow no other hand could deal,
Though gauntleted in glove of steel.

While on the rear in thunder pour
The rabble with disorder'd roar.
With grief the noble Douglas saw
The Commons rise against the law,
And to the leading soldier said,-
“ Sir John of Hyndford ! 'twas my blade
That knighthood on thy shoulder laid ;
For that good deed, permit me then
A word with these misguided men.

XXVI. Then clamour'd loud the royal train,' And brandish'd swords and staves amain. But stern the Baron's warning-—“ Back !? Back, on your lives, ye menial pack ! Beware the Douglas.—Yes ! behold, King James ! the Douglas, doom'd of old, And vainly sought for near and far, A victim to atone the war, A willing victim, now attends, Nor craves thy grace but for his friends.”_ “ Thus is my clemency repaid ? Presumptuous Lord !” the monarch said; “ Of thy mis-proud ambitious clan, Thou, James of Bothwell, wert the man, The only man, in whom a foe My woman-mercy would not know : But shall a Monarch's presence brook 3 Injurious blow, and haughty look ? What ho! the Captain of our Guard ! Give the offender fitting ward. Break off the sports !”- for tumult

rose, And yeomen 'gan to bend their bows,“ Break off the sports !” he said, and

frown'd, “ And bid our horsemen clear the ground.”

XXVIII. “ Hear, gentle friends ! ere yet for me, Ye break the bands of fealty. My life, my honour, and my cause, I tender free to Scotland's laws. Are these so weak as must require The aid of your misguided ire? Or, if I suffer causeless wrong, Is then my selfish rage so strong, My sense of public weal so low, That, for mean vengeance on a foe, Those cords of love I should unbind, Which knit my country and my kind! Oh no! Believe, in yonder tower It will not soothe my captive hour, To know those spears our foes should dread, For me in kindred gore are red; To know, in fruitless brawl begun, For me, that mother wails her son; For me, that widow's mate expires; For me, that orphans weep their sires; That patriots mourn insulted laws, And curse the Douglas for the cause. O let your patience ward such ill, And keep your right to love me still !”

XXVII. Then uproar wild and misarray Marr'd the fair form of festal day. The horsemen prick'd among the crowd, Repellid by threats and insult loud ;* To earth are borne the old and weak, The timorous fly, the women shrick; With flint, with shaft, with staff, with bar, The hardier urge tumultuous war. At once round Douglas darkly sweep The royal spears in circle deep, And slowly scale the pathway steep ;

XXIX. The crowd's wild fury sunk again In tears, as tempests melt in rain. With lifted hands and eyes, they pray'a For blessings on his generous head, Who for his country felt alone, And prized her blood beyond his own. Old men, upon the verge of life, Bless'd him who staid the civil strife; And mothers held their babes on high, The self-devoted Chief to spy, Triumphant over wrongs and ire, To whom the prattlers owed a sire: Even the rough soldier's heart was moved ; As if behind some bier beloved, With trailing arms and drooping head, The Douglas up the hill he led, And at the Castle's battled verge, With sighs resign'd his honour'd charge.

4 MS.-" Their threats repell’d by insult loud.”

1 MS._"Clamour'd his comrades of the train."
2 MS." But stern the warrior's warning- Back!""
3 MS." But in my court, injurious blow,

And bearded thus, and thus out-dared ?
What ho! the Captain of our Guard !"

5 MS.-" The crowd's wild fury ebb'd amain

In tears, as tempests sink in rain."

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