Imágenes de páginas

To spoil the spoiler as we may,

Wild as the scream of the curlew, And from the robber rend the prey?

From crag to crag the signal flew.3 Ay, by my soul !-While on yon plain

Instant, through copse and heath, arosa The Saxon rears one shock of grain;

Bonnets and spears and bended bows; While, of ten thousand herds, there strays

On right, on left, above, below, But one along yon river's maze,

Sprung up at once the lurking foe; The Gael, of plain and river heir,

From shingles grey their lances start, Shall, with strong hand, redeem his share.'

The bracken bush sends forth the dart, Where live the mountain Chiefs who hold,

The rushes and the willow-wand That plundering Lowland field and fold

Are bristling into axe and brand, Is aught but retribution true?

And every tuft of broom gives life 5 Seek other cause 'gainst Roderick Dhu.”

To plaided warrior arm’d for strife.

That whistle garrison'd the glen

At once with full five hundred men,
Answer'a Fitz-James,—“ And, if I sought,

As if the yawning hill to heaven Think'st thou no other could be brought ?

subterranean host had given. What deem ye of my path waylaid ?

Watching their leader's beck and will,7 My life given o'er to ambuscade?”

All silent there they stood, and still. “ As of a meed to rashness due:

Like the loose crags, whose threatening masa Hadst thou sent warning fair and true,

Lay tottering o'er the hollow pass, I seek my hound, or falcon stray'd,

As if an infant's touch could urge I seek, good faith, a Highland maid,

Their headlong passage down the verge, Free hadst thou been to come and go;

With step and weapon forward Aung, But secret path marks secret foe.

Upon the mountain-side they hung. Nor yet, for this, even as a spy,

The Mountaineer cast glance of pride Hadst thou, unheard, been doom'd to die,

Along Benledi’s living side, Save to fulfil an augury.”—

Then fix'd his eye and sable brow “ Well, let it pass; nor will I now

Full on Fitz-James_“ How say'st thou now? Fresh cause of enmity avow,

These are Clan-Alpine’s warriors true;
To chafe thy mood and cloud thy brow.

And, Saxon,,I am Roderick Dhu!”
Enough, I am by promise tied
To match me with this man of pride:

Twice have I sought Clan-Alpine’s glen

Fitz-James was brave:– Though to his heart In peace; but when I come agen,

The life-blood thrillid with sudden start, I come with banner, brand, and bow,

He mann'd himself with dauntless air, As leader seeks his mortal foe.

Return'd the Chief his haughty stare, For love-lorn swain, in lady's bower,

His back against a rock he bore, Ne’er panted for the appointed hour,

And firmly placed his foot before :As I, until before me stand

“ Come one, come all! this rock shall fly This rebel Chieftain and his band !”__ 3

From its firm base as soon as I.”8

Sir Roderick mark’d--and in his eyes

Respect was mingled with surprise,
“ Have, then, thy wish!”-he whistled shrill, And the stern joy which warriors feel
And he was answer'd from the hill;

In foemen worthy of their steel.

I See Appendix, Note 3 I.

breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 2 MS.-" This dark Sir Roderick

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came and his band." This savage Chieftain )

into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an ex2 MS.-" From copee to copee the signal flew.

ceeding great army.”-Chap. xxxvii. v. 9, 10. Instant, through copse and crans, arose."

7 MS.--"All silent, too, they stood, and still, 4 MS.-" The bracken bush shoot forth the dart."

Watching their leader's beck and will,
SMS.-" And each lone tuft of broom gives life

While forward step and weapon show
To plaided warrior arm’d for strife.

They long to rush upon the foe,
That whistle mann'd the lonely glen

Like the loose crags, whose tottering mass
With full five hundred armed men."

Hung threatening o'er the hollow pass. • The Monthly reviewer says —“ We now come to the chefl'aurre of Walter Scott,-a scene of more vigour, nature,

8 David de Strathbogie Earl of Athole, when about to en and animation, than any other in all his poetry.” Another gage Sir Andrew Moray at the battle of Kilblene, in 1335, in anonymous critic of the poem is not afraid to quote, with re

which he was slain, made an apostrophe of the same kind :ference to the effect of this passage, the sublime language of

At a little path was there the Prophet Ezekiel :-" Then said he unto me, Prophesy

All samen they assembled were anto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind,

Even in the path was Earl Davy Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, 0


a great that lay by

Short space he stood-then waved his hand : And in the plover's shrilly stram,
Down sunk the disappearing band;

The signal whistle heard again.
Each warrior vanish'd where he stood,

Nor breathed he free till far behind In broom or bracken, heath or wood;

The pass was left; for then they wind Sunk brand and spear and bended bow,

Along a wide and level green, In osiers pale and copses low;

Where neither tree nor tuft was seen, It seem'd as if their mother Earth

Nor rush nor bush of broom was near,
Had swallow'd up her warlike birth.

To hide a bonnet or a spear.
The wind's last breath had toss'd in air,
Pennon, and plaid, and plumage fair,-

The next but swept a lone bill-side,

The Chief in silence strode before, Where heath and fern were waving wide:

And reach'd that torrent's sounding shore, The sun's last glance was glinted back,

Which, daughter of three mighty lakes, From spear and glaive, from targe and

From Vennachar in silver breaks, jack,

Sweeps through the plain, and ceaseless mines The next, all unreflected, shone

On Bochastle the mouldering lines, On bracken green, and cold grey stone.

Where Rome, the Empress of the world,

Of yore her eagle wings unfurld.

And here his course the Chieftain staid,
Fitz-James look'd round-yet scarce believed Threw down his target and his plaid,
The witness that his sight received ;

And to the Lowland warrior said: Such apparition well might seem

“ Bold Saxon! to his promise just, Delusion of a dreadful dream.

Vich-Alpine has discharged his trust. Sir Roderick in suspense he eyed,

This murderous Chief, this ruthless man, And to his look the Chief replied,

This head of a rebellious clan, " Fear nought—nay, that I need not say—

Hath led thee safe, through watch and ward, But-doubt not aught from mine array.

Far past Clan-Alpine’s outmost guard. Thou art my guest ;-I pledged my word

Now, man to man, and steel to steel, As far as Coilantogle ford:

A Chieftain's vengeance thou shalt feel. Nor would I call a clansman's brand

See here, all vantageless I stand, For aid against one valiant hand,

Arm'd, like thyself, with single brand:7 Though on our strife lay every vale

For this is Coilantogle ford,
Rent by the Saxon from the Gael.

And thou must keep thee with thy sword.”
So move we on ;-I only meant
To show the reed on which you leant,

Deeming this path you might pursue

The Saxon paused :-“ I ne'er delay'd, Without a pass from Roderick Dhu." 3

When foeman bade me draw my blade; They moved :— I said Fitz-James was brave, Nay, more, brave Chief, I vow'd thy death: As ever knight that belted glaive;

Yet sure thy fair and generous faith, Yet dare not say, that now his blood

And my deep debt for life preserved, Kept on its wont and temper'd flood,

A better meed have well deserved : As, following Roderick's stride, he drew

Can nought but blood our feud atone ? That seeming lonesome pathway through,

Are there no means !"_“ No, Stranger, none! Which yet, by fearful proof, was rife

And hear,--to fire thy flagging zeal,With lances, that, to take his life,

The Saxon cause rests on thy steel; Waited but signal from a guide,

For thus spoke Fate, by prophet bred So late dishonour'd and defied.

Between the living and the dead; Ever, by stealth, his eye sought round

• Who spills the foremost foeman's life, The vanish'd guardians of the ground,

His party conquers in the strife.'”. And still, from copse and heather deep,

“ Then, by my word,” the Saxon said, Fancy saw spear and broadsword peep,*

“ The riddle is already read.

He said By God his face, we twa

him safely on his way the next morning, although he has The flight on us shall samen * ta."

spoken threatening and violent words against Roderick,

whose kinsman the mountaineer professes himself to be, * At the same time or together.

these circumstances are all admirably imagined and related." Note in the Author's MS. not affixed to any former edition -- Monthly Review. of the poem.

3 See Appendix, Note 3 K. I MS." For aid against one brave-man's hand."

* MS.—“ And still, from copse and heather bush, 8 " This scene is excellently described. The frankness and

Fancy saw spear and broadsword rush." high-souled courage of the two warriors,--the reliance which 6 MS." On Bochastle the martial lines." the Lowlander places on the word of the Highlander to guide 6 See Appendix, Note 3 L

7 Ibid, Note 3

Seek yonder brake beneath the cliff,—
There lies Red Murdoch, stark and stiff.
Thus Fate has solved her prophecy,
Then yield to Fate, and not to me.
To James, at Stirling, let us go,
When, if thou wilt be still his foe,
Or if the King shall not agree
To grant thee grace and favour free,
I plight mine honour, oath, and word,
That, to thy native strengths restored,
With each advantage shalt thou stand,
That aids thee now to guard thy land.”

Wiose brazen studs and tough bull-hide
Had death so often dash'd aside;
For, train'd abroad his arms to wield,
Fitz-James's blade was sword and shield.
He practised every pass and ward,
To thrust, to strike, to feint, to guard;
While less expert, though stronger far,
The Gael maintain'd unequal war.s
Three times in closing strife they stood,
And thrice the Saxon blade drank blood;
No stinted draught, no scanty tide,
The gushing food the tartans dyed.
Fierce Roderick felt the fatal drain,
And shower'd his blows like wintry rain;
And, as firm rock, or castle-roof,
Against the winter shower is proof,
The foe, invulnerable still,
Foil'd his wild rage by steady skill;
Till, at advantage ta’en, his brand
Forced Roderick's weapon from his hand,
And backward borne upon the lea,
Brought the proud Chieftain to his knee.

XIV. Dark lightning flashd from Roderick's eye--! “ Soars thy presumption, then, so high, Because a wretched kern ye slew, Homage to name to Roderick Dhu? He yields not, he, to man nor Fate ! 2 Thou add'st but fuel to my hate:-My clansman's blood demands revenge. Not yet prepared !- By heaven, I change My thought, and hold thy valour light As that of some vain carpet knight, Who ill deserved my courteous care, And whose best boast is but to wear A braid of his fair lady's hair.” — “I thank thee, Roderick, for the word! It nerves my heart, it steels my sword; For I have sworn this braid to stain In the best blood that warms thy vein. Now, truce, farewell! and, ruth, begone! Yet think not that by thee alone, Proud Chief ! can courtesy be shown; Though not from copse, or heath, or cairn, Start at my whistle clansmen stern, Of this small horn one feeble blast Would fearful odds against thee cast. But fear not-doubt not—which thou wiltWe try this quarrel hilt to hilt." -Then each at once his falchion drew, Each on the ground his scabbard tlirew, Each look'd to sun, and stream, and plain, As what they ne'er might see again; Then foot, and point, and eye opposed, In dubious strife they darkly closed.3

Now, yield thee, or by Him who made
The world, thy heart's blood dyes my blade!"-
Thy threats, thy mercy, I defy!

Let recreant yield, who fears to die.” 7
--Like adder darting from his coil,
Like wolf that dashes though the toil,
Like mountain-cat who guards her young,
Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung;8
Received, but reck'd not of a wound,
And lock'd his arms his foeman round.-
Now, gallant Saxon, hold thine own!
No maiden's hand is round thee thouwn!
That desperate grasp thy frame might feel,
Through bars of brass and triple steel !--
They tug, they strain! down, down they go,
The Gael above, Fitz-James below.
The Chieftain’s gripe his throat compressid,
His knee was planted in his breast;
His clotted locks he backward threw,
Across his brow his hand he drew,
From blood and mist to clear his sight,
Then gleam'd aloft his dagger bright!

- But hate and fury ill supplied
The stream of life's exhausted tide,
And all too late the advantage came,
To turn the odds of deadly game;

XV. Ill fared it then with Roderick Dhu, That on the field his targe he threw,

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

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

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

4 See Appendix, Note 3 N.
5 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 30.
8 MS.-" .Yield they alone who fear to die.'

Like mountain-cat who guards her young,
Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung."

For, while the dagger gleam d on high,
Reeld soul and sense, reeld brain and eye.
Down came the blow! but in the heath
The erring blade found bloodless sheath.
The struggling foe may now unclasp
The fainting Chief's relaxing grasp;
Unwounded from the dreadful close,
But breathless all, Fitz-James arose.'

XVII. IIe falter'd thanks to Heaven for life, Redeem'd, unhoped, from desperate strife ;? Next on his foe his look he cast, Whose every gasp appear'd his last; In Roderick’s gore he dipt the braid, “ Poor Blanche! thy wrongs are dearly paid : Yet with thy foe must die, or live, The praise that Faith and Valour give.” With that he blew a bugle-note, Undid the collar from his throat, Unbonneted, and by the wave Sate down his brow and hands to lave. Then faint afar are heard the feet 3 Of rushing steeds in gallop fleet; The sounds increase, and now are seen Four mounted squires in Lincoln green; Two who bear lance, and two who lear, By loosen'd rein, a saddled steed; Each onward held his headlong course, And by Fitz-James rein’d up his horse,With wonder view'd the bloody spot

_“ Exclaim not, gallants! question not.You, Herbert and Luffness, alight, And bind the wounds of yonder knight; Let the grey palfrey bear his weight, We destined for a fairer freight, And bring him on to Stirling straight; I will before at better speed, To seek fresh horse and fitting weed. The sun rides high ;-I must be boune, To see the archer-game at noon; But lightly Bayard clears the lea.De Vaux and Herries, follow me.

No foot Fitz-James in stirrup staid,
No grasp upon the saddle laid,
But wreath'd his left hand in the manie,
And lightly bounded from the plain,
Turn'd on the horse his armed heel,
And stirr’d his courage with the steel.
Bounded the fiery steed in air,
The rider sate erect and fair,
Then like a bolt from steel crossbow
Forth launch’d, along the plain they go.
They dash'd that rapid torrent through,
And up Carhonie's hill they flew;
Still at the gallop prick'd the Knight,
His merry-men follow'd as they might.
Along thy banks, swift Teith! they ride,
And in the race they mock thy tide;
Torry and Lendrick now are past,
And Deanstown lies behind them cast;
They rise, the banner'd towers of Doune,
They sink in distant woodland soon;
Blair-Drummond sees the hoofs strike fire,
They sweep like breeze through Ochtertyre;
They mark just glance and disappear
The lofty brow of ancient Kier;
They bathe their courser's sweltering sides,
Dark Forth! amid thy sluggish tides,
And on the opposing shore take ground,
With plash, with scramble, and with bound.
Right-hand they leave thy cliffs, Craig-Forth !
And soon the bulwark of the North,
Grey Stirling, with her towers and town,
Upon their fleet carcer look'd down.

XIX. As up the flinty path they strain’d7 Sudden his steed the leader rein'd; A signal to his squire he flung, Who instant to bis stirrup sprung: “Seest thou, De Vaux, yon woodsman grey, Who town-ward holds the rocky way, Of stature tall and poor array? Mark'st thou the firm, yet active stride, With which he scales the mountain-side ?8 Know'st thou from whence he comes, or whom?”“ No, by my word;-a burly groom He seems, who in the field or chase A baron’s train would nobly grace.”— “ Out, out, De Vaux! can fear supply, And jealousy, no sharper eye!

XVIII. “ Stand, Bayard, stand!”--the steed obey'd, With arching neck and bended head, And glancing eye and quivering ear As if he loved his lord to hear.

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 stands.'

of the King by naming in succession places familiar and dear 8 MS.-" Redeem'd, unhoped, from deadly strife;

to his own early recollections-Blair-Drummond, the seat of

the Homes of Kaimes; Kier, that of the principal family of Next on his foe his look he{ cast,


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 8 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 vluch Earls of Menteith, now the property of the Earl of Moray, he had spent many of his younger days. -ED. are situated at the confidence of the Ardoch and the Teith. 7 MS.--" As up the steepy path they strain'd." 5 MS.—“ Blair-Drummond suw their hoofs of fire."

8 MS.--" With which he gains the mountain-side."

Afar, ere to the hill he drew,

As well as where, in proud career, That stately form and step I knew;

The high-born tilter shivers spear. Like form in Scotland is not seen,

I'll follow to the Castle-park, Treads not such step on Scottish green.

And play my prize ;-King James shall mark, "Tis James of Douglas, by Saint Serle!!

If age has tamed these sinews stark, The uncle of the banish'd Earl.

Whose force so oft, in happier days,
Away, away, to court, to show

His boyish wonder loved to praise.”
The near approach of dreaded foe:
The King must stand upon his guard;

Douglas and he must meet prepared.”

The Castle gates were open flung, Then right-hand wheeld their steeds, and straight The quivering drawbridge rock'd and rung, They won the castle's postern gate.

And echo'd loud the flinty street

Beneath the coursers' clattering feet,

As slowly down the steep descent
The Douglas, who had bent his way

Fair Scotland's King and nobles went, From Cambus-Kenneth's abbey grey,

While all along the crowded way Now, as he climb'd the rocky shelf,

Was jubilee and loud huzza. Held sad communion with himself:-

And ever James was bending low, “ Yes! all is true my fears could frame;

To his white jennet's saddle-bow, A prisoner lies the noble Grame,

Doffing his

сар to city dame, And fiery Roderick soon will feel

Who smiled and blush'd for pride and shame. The vengeance of the royal steel.

And well the simperer might be vain,I, only I, can ward their fate,

He chose the fairest of the train. God grant the ransom come not late!

Gravely he greets each city sire, The Abbess hath her promise given,

Commends each pageant's quaint attire, My child shall be the bride of Heaven;

Gives to the dancers thanks aloud, -Be pardon'd one repining tear !

And smiles and nods upon the crowd, For He, who gave her, knows how dear,

Who rend the heavens with their acclaims, How excellent! but that is by,

“ Long live the Commons' King, King James !” And now my business is to die.

Behind the King throng'd peer and knight, - Ye towers! within whose circuit dread

And noble dame and damsel bright, A Douglas by his sovereign bled;

Whose fiery steeds ill brook'd the stay And thou, O sad and fatal mound !2

Of the steep street and crowded way. That oft hast heard the death-axe sound,

—But in the train you might discern As on the noblest of the land

Dark lowering brow and visage stern ; Fell the stern headsman's bloody hand,

There nobles mourn’d their pride restrain’d, 5 The dungeon, block, and nameless tomb

And the mean burgher's joys disdain'd; Prepare for Douglas seeks his doom !

And chiefs, who, hostage for their clan, -But hark! what blithe and jolly peal

Were each from home a banish'd man, Makes the Franciscan steeple reel?

There thought upon their own grey tower, And see! upon the crowded street,

Their waving woods, their feudal power, In motley groups what masquers meet!

And deem'd themselves a shameful part
Banner and pageant, pipe and drum,

Of pageant which they cursed in heart.
And merry morrice-dancers come.
I guess, by all this quaint array,

The burghers hold their sports to-day.3

Now, in the Castle-park, drew out James will be there; he loves such show,

Their chequer'd bands the joyous rout. Where the good yeoman bends his bow,

There morricers, with bell at heel, And the tough wrestler foils his foe,

And blade in hand, their mazes wheel ;


1 * 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 ...

Eror the King was bending low
To his white jennet's saddle-how,
Doffing his cap to inırgher dame,
Who smiling blush'd for pride and shame."

5 MS.-"Nobles who mourn'd their pouer restrain'd,

And the poor burgher's joys disdain d;
Dark chief, uho, hostage for his clan,
Was from his home a banish'd man,
Who 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."

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