Imágenes de páginas


Roderick, thie morn, in single fight, The offended Monarch rode apart,

Was inade our prisoner by a knight; With bitter thought and swelling heart,

And Douglas hath himself and cause And would not now vouchsafe again

Submitted to our kingdom's laws. Through Stirling streets to lead his train.

The tidings of their leaders lost “O Lennox, who would wish to rule

Will soon dissolve the mountain host, This changeling crowd, this common fool?

Nor would we that the vulgar feel, Hear'st thou,” he said, “ the loud acclaim,

For their Chief's crimes, avenging steel. With which they shout the Douglas name?

Bear Mar out message, Braco: fly!"-
With like acclaim, the vulgar throat

He turn'd his steed," My liege, I hie,-
Strain’d for King James their morning note; Yet, ere I cross this lily lawn,
With like acclaim they hail'd the day

1 fear the broadswords will be drawn.” When first I broke the Douglas' sway;

The turf the flying courser spurn'd,
And like acclaim would Douglas greet,

And to his towers the king return'd.
If he could hurl me from my seat.
Who o'er the herd would wish to reign,

Fantastic, fickle, fierce, and vain !

III with King James's mood that day, Vain as the leaf upon the stream,'

Suited gay feast and minstrel lav; And fickle as a changeful dream;

Soon were dismiss'd the courtly throng, Fantastic as a woman's mood,

And soon cut short the festal song. And fierce as Frenzy's fever'd blood.

Nor less upon the sadden'd town Thou many-headed monster-thing,

The evening sunk in sorrow down. O who would wish to be thy king!

The burghers spoke of civil jar,

Of rumour'd feuds and mountain war,

Of Moray, Mar, and Roderick Dhu, « But soft! what messenger of speed

All up in arms :-the Douglas too, Spurs hitherward his panting steed?

They mourn d him pent within the hold, I guess his cognizance afar

“ Where stout Earl William was of old"_* What from our cousin, John of Mar?”

And there his word the speaker staid, “ He prays, my liege, your sports keep bound And finger on his lip he laid, Within the safe and guarded ground:

Or pointed to his dagger blade. For some foul purpose yet unknown,

But jaded horsemen, from the west, Most sure for evil to the throne,

At evening to the Castle press d; The outlaw'd Chieftain, Roderick Dhu,

And busy talkers said they bore Has summond his rebellious crew;

Tidings of fight on Katrine's shore; 'Tis said, in James of Bothwell's aid

At noon the deadly fray begun, These loose banditti stand array'd.

And lasted till the set of sun. The Earl of Mar, this morn, from Doune,

Thus giddy rumour shook the town,
To break their muster march’d, and soon

Till closed the Night her pennons brown.
Your grace will hear of battle fought;
But earnestly the Earl besought,
Till for such danger he provide,
With scanty train you will not ride.”_3

The Lady of the Lake.
“ Thou warn'st me I have done amiss,
I should have earlier look’d to this:
I lost it in this bustling day.

The Guard-Boom.
--Retrace with speed thy former way;

1. Spare not for spoiling of thy steed,

The sun, awakening, through the smoky air The best of mine shall be thy meed.

Of the dark city casts a suilen glance, Say to our faithful Lord of Mar,

Rousing each caitiff to his task of care, We do forbid the intended war:

Of sinful man the sad inheritance;

[ocr errors]


I MS.--" Vain as the sick man's idle dream."

-“Who deserves greatness,
Deserves your hate ; and your affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your farours, swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?

With every minute you do change a mind;
And call him noble, that was now your hate,
Him vile that was your garland."

Coriolanus, Act I, Scene I
3 MS.--" On distant chase you will not ride."
* Stabbed by James II. in Stirling Castle

Summoning revellers froni the lagsing dance, Their rolls show'd French and German name; Scaring the prowling robber to his den;

And merry England's exiles came,
Gilding on battled tower the warder's lance,

To share, with ill conceal'd disdain,
And warning student pale to leave his pen, Of Scotland's pay the scanty gain.
And yield his drowsy eyes to the kind nurse of men. All brave in arms, well train’d to wield

The heavy halberd, brand, and shield;
What various scenes, and, O! what scenes of woe, In camps licentious, wild, and bold;

Are witness'd by that red and struggling beam! In pillage fierce and uncontrollid;
The fever'd patient, from his pallet low,

And now, by holytide and feast,
Through crowded hospital beholds its stream; From rules of discipline released.
The ruin'd maiden trembles at its gleam,
The debtor wakes to thought of gyve and jail,

The love-lorn wretch starts from tormenting dream; They held debate of bloody fray,

The wakeful mother, by the glimmering pale, Fought 'twixt Loch Katrine and Achray. Trims her sick infant's couch, and soothes his feeble Fierce was their speech, and, ʼmid their words, wail.

Their hands oft grappled to their swords;

Nor sunk their tone to spare the ear

Of wounded comrades groaning near,
At dawn the towers of Stirling rang

Whose mangled limbs, and bodies gored, With soldier-step and weapon-clang,

Bore token of the mountain sword, While drums, with rolling note, foretell

Though, neighbouring to the Court of Guard, Relief to weary sentinel.

Their prayers and feverish wails were heard ; Through narrow loop and casement barr'd,

Sad burden to the ruffian joke, The sunbeams sought the Court of Guard,

And savage oath by fury spoke ! And, struggling with the smoky air,

At length up-started John of Brent, Deaden'd the torches' yellow glare.

A yeoman from the banks of Trent; In comfortless alliance shone ?

A stranger to respect or fear, The lights through arch of blacken'd stone,

In peace a chaser of the deer, And show'd wild shapes in garb of war,

In host a hardy mutineer, Faces deform’d with beard and scar,

But still the boldest of the crew, All haggard from the midnight watch,

When deed of danger was to do. And fever'd with the stern debauch;

He grieved, that day, their games cut short, For the oak table's massive board,

And marr'd the dicer's brawling sport, Flooded with wine, with fragments stored,

And shouted loud,“ Renew the bowl ! And beakers drain'd, and cups o'erthrown,

And, while a merry catch I troll, Show'd in what sport the night had flown.

Let each the buxom chorus bear,
Some, weary, snored on floor and bench;

Like brethren of the brand and spear.”
Some labour'd still their thirst to quench;
Some, chill'd with watching, spread their hands

O'er the huge chimney's dying brands,

Soldier's song. While round them, or beside them flung,

Our vicar still preaches that Peter and Poule At every step their harness rung.

Laid a swinging long curse on the bonny brown bowl,

That there's wrath and despair in the jolly black-jac., III.

And the seven deadly sins in a flagon of sack; These drew not for their fields the sword,

Yet whoop, Barnaby! off with thy liquor,
Like tenants of a feudal lord,

Drink upseesó out, and a fig for the vicar!
Nor ownd the patriarchal claim
Of Chieftain in their leader's name;

Our vicar he calls it damnation to sip
Adventurers they, from far who roved,

The ripe ruddy dew of a woman's dear lip, To live by battle which they loved.3

Says, that Beelzebub lurks in her kerchief so sly, There the Italian's clouded face,

And Apollyon shoots darts from her merry black eye; The swarthy Spaniard's there you trace;

Yet whoop, Jack! kiss Gillian tho quicker, The mountain-loving Switzer there

Till she bloom like a rose, and a fig for the vicar! More freely breathed in mountain-air; The Fleming there despised the soil,

Our vicar thus preaches—and why should he not? That paid so ill the labourer's toil;

For the dues of his cure are the placket and pot;

1 MS.-" Through blackend arch and casement barrd."

MS.-" The lights in strange alliance shone

Beneath the arch of blackend stone."

3 See Appendix, Note 3 U.
* MS.--" Sad burden to the ruffian jest,

And rude oaths vented by the rest."
5 Bacchanalian interjection, borrowed from the Dutch.

And 'tis right of his office poor laymen to lurch, “ Shall be strike doe beside our lodge,
Who infringe the domains of our good Mother Church. And yet the jealous niggard grudge
Yet whoop, bully-boys! off with your liquor,

To pay the forester his fee!
Sweet Marjorie's the word, and a fig for the vicar!' I'll have my share, howe'er it be,

Despite of Moray, Mar, or thee."

Bertram his forward step withstood;*
The warder's challenge, heard without,

And, burning in his vengeful mood, Staid in mid-roar the merry shout.

Old Allan, though unfit for strife, A soldier to the portal went,--

Laid hand upon his dagger-knife ; “ Here is old Bertram, sirs, of Ghent;

But Ellen boldly stepp'd between, And,-beat for jubilee the drum!

And dropp'd at once the tartan screen :A maid and minstrel with him come.”

So, from his morning cloud, appears Bertram, a Fleming, grey and scarr’d,

The sun of May, through summer tears. Was entering now the Court of Guard,

The savage soldiery, amazed, A harper with him, and in plaid

As on descended angel gazed; All muffled close, a mountain maid,

Even hardy Brent, abash'd and tamed, Who backward shrunk to 'scape the view

Stood half admiring, half ashamed. Of the loose scene and boisterous crew. “What news!" they roar'd :-" I only know,

VIII. From noon till eve we fought with foe,

Boldly she spoke,-“Soldiers, attend ! As wild and as untameable

My father was the soldier's friend; As the rude mountains where they dwell;

Cheer'd him in camps, in marches led, On both sides store of blood is lost,

And with him in the battle bled. Nor much success can either boast.”

Not from the valiant, or the strong, “ But whence thy captives, friend? such spoil Should exile's daughter suffer wrong." As theirs must needs reward thy toil.2

Answer'd De Brent, most forward still Old dost thou wax, and wars grow sharp;

In every feat or good or ill,Thou now hast glee-maiden and harp!

“ I shame me of the part I play'd : Get thee an ape, and trudge the land,

And thou an outlaw's child, poor maid ! The leader of a juggler band.”_3

An outlaw I by forest laws,

And merry Needwood knows the cause.

Poor Rose--if Rose be living now,"_7 “ No, comrade ;-no such fortune mine.

He wiped his iron eye and brow,After the fight these sought our line,

“ Must bear such age, I think, as thou.That aged harper and the girl,

Hear ye, my mates ;—I go to call And, having audience of the Earl,

The Captain of our watch to hall: Mar bade I should purvey them steed,

There lies my halberd on the floor; And bring them hitherward with speed.

And he that steps my halberd o'er, Forbear your mirth and rude alarm,

To do the maid injurious part, For none shall do them shame or harm.”

My shaft sball quiver in his heart ! “ Hear ye his boast ?” cried John of Brent,

Beware loose speech, or jesting rough: Ever to strife and jangling bent;

Ye all know John de Brent. Enough."

?“ The greatest blemish in the poem, is the ribaldry and assist at the festival of the townsmen, (though borrowed in a dull vulgarity which is put into the mouths of the soldiery in considerable degree from Dryden's Palamon and Arcite,) and the guard-room. Mr. Scott has condescended to write a song the guard-room at the beginning of the last canto, all show for them, which will be read with pain, we are persuaded, extraordinary powers of description. If he wrote less and even by his warmest admirers; and his whole genius, and more carefully, he would be a very considerable poet."-SIN even his power of versification, seems to desert him when he SAMUEL ROMILLY, (Oct. 1810.] – Life, Vol. ii. p. 342. attempts to repeat their conversation. Here is some of the

2 The MS. reads after this stuff which has dropped, in this inauspicious attempt, from

Get thee an ape, and then at once the pen of one of the first of poets of his age or country," &c.

Thou may'st renounce the warder's lance, &c.-JEFFREY.

And trudge through borough and through land. “ The Lady of the Lake is said to be inferior, as a poem, to

The leader of a juggler band." Walter Scott's former productions, but really one hardly knows how to examine such compositions as poems. All

8 See Appendix, Note 3 V.

his that one can look for is to find beautiful passages in them, 4 MS." Bertram {


violence withstood." and I own that there are some parts of the Lady of the Lake which please me more than any thing in Walter Scott's for

5 MS." While the rude soldiery, amazed." mer poems. He has a great deal of imagination, and is cer

6 MS." Should Ellen Douglas suffer wrong." tainly a very skilful painter. The meeting between Douglas 7 MS.-"My Rose, '—he wiped his iron eye and brow.and his daughter, the king descending from Stirling Castle to

* Poor Rose, -if Rose be living now.'"

Perctance, in jeopardy of war,
Where gayer crests may keep afar.”
With thanks—'twas all she could—the maid
His rugged courtesy repaid.

IX. Their Captain came, a gallant young.(Of Tullibardine's house he sprung), Nor wore he yet the spurs of knight; Gay was his mien, his humour light, And, though by courtesy controllid, Forward his speech, his bearing bold. The high-born maiden ill could brook The scanning of his curious look Ard dauntless eye;-and yet, in sooth, Young Lewis was a generous youth; But Ellen's lovely face and mien, Ill suited to the garb and scene, Might lightly bear construction strange, And give loose fancy scope to range. “ Welcome to Stirling towers, fair maid ! Come ye to seek a champion's aid, On palfrey white, with harper hoar, Like errant damosel of yore? Does thy high quest a knight require, Or may the venture suit a squire ?”– der dark eye flash'd ;-she paused and sigh’d,“O what have I to do with pride ! Through scenes of sorrow, shame, and strife, A suppliant for a father's life, I crave an audience of the King. Behold, to back my suit, a ring, The royal pledge of gratet claims, Given by the Monarch to Fitz-James.”

XI. When Ellen forth with Lewis went, Allan made suit to John of Brent: “My lady safe, 0 let your grace Give me to see my master's face ! His minstrel 1,—to share his doom Bound from the cradle to the tomb. Tenth in descent, since first my sires Waked for his noble house their lyres, Nor one of all the race was known But prized its weal above their own. With the Chief's birth begins our care; Our harp must soothe the infant heir, Teach the youth tales of fight, and grace His earliest feat of field or chase; In peace, in war, our rank we keep, We cheer his board, we soothe his sleep, Nor leave him till we pour our verseA doleful tribute !-o'er his hearse. Then let me share his captive lot; It is my right-deny it not !"“ Little we reck," said John of Brent, “ We Southern men, of long descent; Nor wot we how a name-a wordMakes clansmen vassals to a lord: Yet kind my noble landlord's part,God bless the house of Beaudesert! And, but I loved to drive the deer, More than to guide the labouring steer, I had not dwelt an outcast here. Come, good old Minstrel, follow me; Thy Lord and Chieftain shalt thou see."

X. The signet-ring young Lewis took, With deep respect and alter'd look; And said, “This ring our duties own; And pardon, if to worth unknown, In semblance mean obscurely veil'd, Lady, in aught my folly fail'd. Soon as the day flings wide his gates, The King shall know what suitor waits. Please you, meanwhile, in fitting bower Repose you till his waking hour; Female attendance shall obey Your hest, for service or array. Permit I marshall you the way.” But, ere she followed, with the grace And open bounty of her race, She bade her slender purse be shared Among the soldiers of the guard. The rest with thanks their guerdon took ; But Brent, with shy and awkward look, On the reluctant maiden's hold Forced bluntly back the proffer'd gold ;“ Forgive a haughty English heart, And O forget its ruder part ! The vacant purse shall be my share, Which in my barret-cap I'll bear,

XII. Then, from a rusted iron hook, A bunch of ponderous keys he took, Lighted a torch, and Allan led Through grated arch and passage dread. Portals they pass’d, where, deep within, Spoke prisoner’s moan, and fetters' din ; Through rugged vaults, where, loosely

stored, Lay wheel, and axe, and headsman's sword, And many an hideous engine grim, For wrenching joint, and crushing* lini, By artist formd, who deem'd it shame And sin to give their work a name. They halted at a low-brow'd porch, And Brent to Allan gave the torch, While bolt and chain he backward roll d, And made the bar unhasp its hold.

MS.-" The Monarch gave to James Fitz-James." #MS.-"The silken purse shall serve for me,

And in my barret-cap shall flee."

3 MS." Louc broad raulis."

4 MS.--"Stretching."

They enter'd :-'twas a prison-room

XIV. Of stern security and gloom,

The Chieftain rear'd his form on high, Yet not a dungeon; for the day

And fever's fire was in his eye; Through lotty gratings found its way,

But ghastly, pale, and livid streaks And rude and antique garniture

Chequer'd his swarthy brow and cheeks. Deck'd the sad walls and oaken floor;'

_“ Hark, Minstrel! I have heard thee play, Such as the rugged days of old

With measure bold, on festal day, Deem'd fit for captive noble's hold.

In yon lone isle, ... again where ne'er “ Here,” said De Brent, “ thou mayst remain Shall harper play, or warrior hear!... Till the Leech visit him again.

That stirring air that peals on high, Strict is his charge, the warders tell,

O'er Dermid's race our victory.To tend the poble prisoner well.”

Strike it ! 5-and then, (for well thou canst,) Retiring then, the bolt he drew,

Free from thy minst rel-spirit glanced, And the lock's murmurs growl'd anew.

Fling me the picture of the fight, Roused at the sound, from lowly bed

When met my clan the Saxon might.
A captive feebly raised his head;

I'll listen, till my fancy hears
The wondering Minstrel look d, and knew- The clang of swords, the crash of spears !
Not his dear lord, but Roderick Dhu!

These grates, these walls, shall vanish then, For, come from where Clan-Alpine fought,

For the fair field of fighting men, They, erring, deem'd the Chief he sought.

And my free spirit burst away,

As if it soar'd from battle fray."

The trembling Bard with awe obey'd,-
As the tall ship, whose lofty prore

Slow on the harp his hand he laid; Shall never stem the billows more,

But soon remembrance of the sight Deserted by her gallant band,

He witness d from the mountain's height, Amid the breakers lies astrand,

With what old Bertram told at night, So, on his couch, lay Roderick Dhu!

Awaken'd the full power of song, And oft his fever'd limbs he threw

And bore him in career along In toss abrupt, as when her sides

As shallop launch'd on river's tide, Lie rocking in the advancing tides,

That slow and fearful leaves the side, That shake her frame with ceaseless beat,

But, when it feels the middle stream, Yet cannot heave her from her seat;

! Drives downward swift as lightning's beam. O! how unlike her course at sea !3 Or his free step on hill and lea!-

XV. Soon as the Minstrel he could scan,

Battle of Beal' an Duine.; “ What of thy lady -of my clan?

“ The Minstrel came once more to view My mother?-Douglas ?-tell me all?

The eastern ridge of Benvenue, Have they been ruin'd in my fall?

For, ere he parted, he would say Ah, yes! or wherefore art thou here?

Farewell to lovely Loch AchrayYet speak,--speak boldly,--do not fear."

Where shall he find, in foreign land, (For Allan, who his mood well knew,

So lone a lake, so sweet a strand! Was choked with grief and terror too.)

There is no breeze upon the fern, “ Who fought—who fled ?Old man, be brief ;- ! Nor ripple on the lake, Some might-for they had lost their Chief.

Upon her eyry nods the erne, Who basely live!_who bravely died !”

The deer has sought the brake; “ 0, calm thee, Chief !” the Minstrel cried,

The small birds will not sing aloud, « Ellen is safe;"_" For that, thank Heaven!”

The springing trout lies still, “ And hopes are for the Douglas given;

So darkly glooms yon thunder cloud, The Lady Margaret, too, is well;

That swathes, as with a purple shroud, And, for thy clan,---on field or fell,

Benledi's distant hill. Has never harp of minstrel told,

Is it the thunder's solemn sound Of combat fought so true and bold.

That mutters deep and dread, Thy stately Pine is yet unbent,

Or echoes from the groaning ground Though many a goodly bough is rent.”

The warrior's measured tread!


Flinty floor."

1 MS.

-" Thou may'st remain
And then, retiring, bolt and chain,
And rusty bar, he drew again.
Roused at the sound," &c.

3 MS._"Oh! how unlike her course on main!

Or his free step on bill and plain!" * MS.-"Shall nerer harp of minstrel tell,

Of combat fought so fierce and well." 5 See Appendix, Note 3 W. 6 The MS. has not this line. 7 See Appendix, Note 3 X

« AnteriorContinuar »