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Right on De Boune, the whiles he pass’d,
For brave Lord Ronald, too, hath sworn, Fell that stern dint-the first-the last !
Not to regain the Maid of Lorn, Such strength upon the blow was put,
(The bliss on earth he covets most,) The helmet crash'd like hazel-nut;
Would he forsake his battle-post, The axe-shaft, with its brazen clasp,
Or shun the fortune that may fall Was shiver'd to the gauntlet grasp.
To Bruce, to Scotland, and to all. Springs from the blow the startled horse,
But, hark ! some news these trumpets tell; Drops to the plain the lifeless corse;
Forgive my haste-farewell !-farewell !”-First of that fatal field, how soon,
And in a lower voice he said, How sudden, fell the fierce De Boune !
“ Be of good cheer-farewell, sweet maid !"
XVI. One pitying glance the Monarch sped, Where on the field his foe lay dead; Then gently turn’d his palfrey's head, And, pacing back his sober way, Slowly he gain d his own array. There round their King the leaders crowd, And blame his recklessness aloud, That risk'd 'gainst each adventurous spear A life so valued and so dear. His broken weapon's shaft survey'd The King, and careless answer made, “My loss may pay my folly's tax; I've broke my trusty battle-axe." 'Twas then Fitz-Louis, bending low, Did Isabel's commission show; Edith, disguised at distance stands, And hides her blushes with her hands. The Monarch's brow has changed its hue, Away the gory axe he threw, While to the seeming page he drew,
Clearing war's terrors from his eye. Her hand with gentle ease he took, With such a kind protecting look,
As to a weak and timid boy Might speak, that elder brother's care And elder brother's love were there.
XVIII. “What train of dust, with trumpet-sound And glimmering spears, is wheeling round Our leftward fank ?” 2-the Monarch cried, To Moray's Earl who rode beside. “Lo ! round thy station pass the foes ! 8 Randolph, thy wreath bas lost a rose.” The Earl his visor closed, and said, “My wreath shall bloom, or life shall
fade.Follow, my household !”-And they go Like lightning on the advancing foe. “ My Liege,” said noble Douglas then, “ Earl Randolph has but one to ten:* Let me go forth his band to aid !" -“ Stir not. The error he hath made, Let him amend it as he may; I will not weaken mine array." Then loudly rose the conflict-cry, And Douglas's brave heart swell’d high, “ My Liege,” he said, “ with patient ear I must not Moray's death-knell hear!"“ Then go-but speed thee back again.”Forth sprung the Douglas with his train: But, when they won a rising hill, He bade his followers hold them still.“ See, see! the routed Southern fly! The Earl hath won the victory. Lo! where yon steeds run masterless, His banner towers above the press. . Rein up; our presence would impair The fame we come too late to share.” Back to the host the Douglas rode, And soon glad tidings are abroad, That, Dayncourt by stout Randolph slain, His followers fled with loosen'd rein.-That skirmish closed the busy day, And couch'd in battle's prompt array, Each army on their weapons lay.
XVII. “ Fear not,” he said, “young Amadine !" Then whisper'd, “Still that name be thine. Fate plays her wonted fantasy, Kind Amadine, with thee and me, And sends thee here in doubtful hour. But soon we are beyond her power; For on this chosen battle-plain, Victor or vanquish’d, I remain. Do thou to yonder hill repair; The followers of our host are there, And all who may not weapons bear.Fitz-Louis, have him in thy care.Joyful we meet, if all go well; If not, in Arran's holy cell Thou must take part with Isabel;
XIX. It was a night of lovely June, High rode in cloudless blue the moon,
Demayet smiled beneath her ray;
4 MS.-“ Earl Randolph's strength is one to ten."
-" her wonted pranks, I see." 9 See Appendix, Note 3 U.
}thy post have pass'a tie foes." th
* MS.-" Lo! (round
6 MS.- Back to his post the Douglas rode,
And soon the tidings are abroad."
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, Ard nd 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 them
Sunk banner, spear, and shield;
For pardon they have kneel’d.”_5
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 drum. Responsive from the Scottish host, Pipe-clang and bugle sound were toss'd, 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.3
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.
3 “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 contrasted repose and thoughtful anxiety by which it is intro duced, (stanzas xix. XX. xxi.)"-JEFFREY.
4 See Appendix, Note 3 W.
For mercy they have kneel'd."
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, Each 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 !” 9
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 what 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 wight Each braggart churl could boast before, Twelve Scottish lives his baldric bore ! 3 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 fame,
That panted for the shock!
As far as Stirling rock.
Wild floundering 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;
1 MS.-" Their brandish'd spears."
2 See Appendix, Note 3 Y.
8 See Appendix, Note 3 Z.
4 MS.-"An arm'd foe."
6 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. : See Appendix, Note 4 B
8 The MS. has
“When plunging down some darksome cave,
Billow 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,
Suck the wild whirlpool in;
Lady of the Lake, Canto vi. stanza 18
Names that to fear were never known,
This Knight his youthful strength to prove, Bold Norfolk's Earl De Brotherton,
And that to win his lady's love; And Oxford's famed De Vere.
Some fought from ruffian thirst of blood, There Gloster plied the bloody sword,
From habit some, or liardihood. And Berkley, Grey, and Hereford,
But ruffian stern, and soldier good, Bottetourt and Sanzavere,
The noble and the slave, Ross, Montague, and Mauley, came,'
From various cause the same wild road, And Courtenay's pride, and Percy's fame
On the same bloody morning, trode,
To that dark inn, the grave ! 4
The tug of strife to flag begins, Pembroke with these, and Argentine,
Though neither loses yet nor wins. Brought up the rearward battle-line.
High rides the sun, thick rolls the dust, With caution o'er the ground they tread,
And feebler speeds the blow and thrust. Slippery with blood and piled with dead,
Douglas leans on his war-sword now, Till hand to hand in battle set,
And Randolph wipes his bloody brow; The bills with spears and axes met,
Nor less had toild each Southern knight, And, closing dark on every side,
From morn till mid-day in the fight. Raged the full contest far and wide.
Strong Egremont for air must gasp, Then was the strength of Douglas tried,
Beauchamp undoes his visor-clasp, Then proved was Randolph's generous pride, And Montague must quit his spear, And well did Stewart's actions grace
And sinks thy falchion, bold De Vere! The sire of Scotland's royal race!
The blows of Berkley fall less fast, Firmly they kept their ground;
And gallant Pembroke's bugle-blast As firmly England onward press’d,
Hath lost its lively tone; And down went many a noble crest,
Sinks, Argentine, thy battle-word, And rent was many a valiant breast,
And Percy's shout was fainter heard, And Slaughter revell’d round.
“ 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
1 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, 4 "All these, life's rambling journey done, Have found their home, the grave."-COWPER.
* Each heart had caught the patriot spark 3 "The dramatic, and eren Shakspearian spirit of much of
Old man and stripling, priest and clerk.' this battle must, we think, strike and delight the reader. We
Donthly Revicu. pags over much alternate, and much stubborn and ‘unflinching' contest
6 “The adventures of the day are versified rather too lite* The tug of strife to flag begins,
rally from the contemporary chronicles. The following pasThough neither loses yet nor wins ;'
sage, however, is emphatic; and exemplifies what this author
has so often exemplified, the power of well-chosen and wellbut the description of it, as we have ventured to prophesy, arranged names, to excite lofty emotions, with little aid either
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 tug of strife to flag begins,'
9 MS. --" Then hurry to the shock !"
will last for ever.
“ Carrick, press on-they fail, they fail !
And, like a banner'd host afar,
Bear down on England's wearied war.
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 The foes three furlongs back and more,
Of fresh and fierce and marshalld foe, Leaving their noblest in their gore.
The boldest broke array. Alone, De Argentine
O give their hapless prince his due !5 Yet bears on high his red-cross shield,
In vain the royal Edward threw Gathers the relics of the field,
His person ’mid the spears, Renews the ranks where they have reel’d,
Cried, “ Fight!” to terror and despair, And still makes good the line.
Menaced, and wept, and tore his hair,6 Brief strife, but fierce,-his efforts raise
And cursed their caitiff fears; A bright but momentary blaze.
Till Pembroke turn'd his bridle rein, Fair Edith heard the Southron shout,
And forced him from the fatal plain. Beheld them turning from the rout,
With them rode Argentine, until Heard the wild call their trumpets sent,
They gaind the summit of the hill, In notes 'twixt triumph and lament.
But quitted there the train :That rallying force, combined anew,
“ In yonder field a gage I left,Appear'd in her distracted view,
I must not live of fame bereft; To hem the Islesmen round;
I needs must turn again. “O God! the combat they renew,
Speed hence, my Liege, for on your trace And is no rescue found!
The fiery Douglas takes the chase, And ye that look thus tamely on,
I know his banner well. And see your native land o’erthrown,
God send my Sovereign joy and bliss, 0! are your hearts of flesh or stone?”1
And many a happier field than this !
Once more, my Liege, farewell.”
Again he faced the battle-field, Had not unmoved beheld the fight,
Wildly they fly, are slain, or yield.? When strove the Bruce for Scotland's right;
“ Now then,” he said, and couch'd his spear, Each heart had caught the patriot spark,
“ My course is run, the goal is near; Old man and stripling, priest and clerk,
One effort more, one brave career, Bondsman and serf; even female hand
Must close this race of mine." Stretch'd to the hatchet or the brand;
Then in his stirrups rising high, But, when mute Amadine they heard
He shouted loud his battle-cry, Give to their zeal his signal-word,
“ Saint James for Argentine!” A frenzy fired the throng;
And, of the bold pursuers, four “ Portents and miracles impeach
The gallant knight from saddle bore; Our sloth-the dumb our duties teach
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, A native earth, a promised heaven;
Who press’d the chase with gory sword, To us, as to our lords, belongso
He rode with spear in rest, The vengeance for our nation's wrongs ;
And through his bloody tartans bored, The choice, 'twixt death or freedom, warms
And through his gallant breast. Our breasts as theirs—To arms, to arms!”
Nail'd to the earth, the mountaineer To arms they flew,-axe, club, or spear,
Yet writhed him up against the spear, And mimic ensigns high they rear,
And swung his broadsword round!
“ of lead or stone." 9 MS.—“To us, as well as them, belongs." 8 See Appendix, Note 4 D. 4 MS." And rode in bands away."
6 See Appendix, Note 4 E.
7 The MS. has not the seven lines which follow,