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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.5
Three times in closing strife they stood,
And thrice the Saxon blade drank blood;
No stinted draught, no scanty tide,
The gushing flood 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,
Foild 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 flash d 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 ! 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 wilt We try this quarrel hilt to hilt.” — Then each at once his falchion drew, Each on the ground his scabbard threw, 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

XVI. “ 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 theown! 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 compress’d, 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,

MS.—“In lightning flash'd the Chief's dark eye." 3 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, undaunted, 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 3 0.
B MS.--" «Yield they alone who fear to die.'

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

For, while the dagger gleamd on high,
Reel'd 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.

No foot Fitz-James in stirrup staid,
No grasp upon the saddle laid,
But wreath'd his left hand in the mare,
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.

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XVII. He 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 lead, 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.

5

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 his 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 ? 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 car 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 Next on his foe his look he{threw,

cast,

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 8 MS.—" Faint and afar are beard 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 wluch Earls of Menteith, now the property of the Earl of Moray, 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 steepy path they strain'd." S MS.—“ Blair-Drummond suw lheir hoofs of fire."

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

4

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;

XXI.
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,
XX.

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 cap 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 !

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 strect,

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,

XXII.
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."
2 See Appendix, Note 3 P. 3 See Appendix, Note 3 Q.
• MS.—" King James and all his nobles went -..

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

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

And the poor burgher's joys disdain d;
Dark chief, who, 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 deemd 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 stand
Bold Robin Hood' and all his band,
Friar Tuck with quarterstaff and cowl,
Old Scathelocke with his surly scowl,
Maid Marion, fair as ivory bone,
Scarlet, and Mutch, and Little John;
Their bugles challenge all that will,
In archery to prove their skill.
The Douglas bent a bow of might,
His first shaft centered in the white,
And when in turn he shot again,
His second split the first in twain.
From the King's hand must Douglas take
A silver dart, the archer's stake ;
Fondly he watch'd, with watery eye,
Some answering glance of sympathy, -
No kind emotion made reply !
Indifferent as to archer wight,
The monarch gave the arrow bright.3

Indignant smiled the Douglas proud,
And threw the gold among the crowd,?
Who now, with anxious wonder, scan,
And sharper glance, the dark grey man ;
Till whispers rose among the throng,
That heart so free, and hand so strong,
Must to the Douglas blood belong;
The old men mark’d, and shook the head,
To see his hair with silver spread,
And wink'd aside, and told each son,
Of feats upon the English done,
Ere Douglas of the stalwart hand 8
Was exiled from his native land.
The women praised his stately form,
Though wreck’d by many a winter's storm ;'
The youth with awe and wonder saw
His strength surpassing Nature's law,
Thus judged, as is their wont, the crowd,
Till murmur rose to clamours loud.
But not a glance from that proud ring
Of peers who circled round the King,
With Douglas held communion kind,
Or call’d the banish'd man to mind ; 10
No, not from those who, at the chase,
Once held his side the honour'd place,
Begirt his board, and, in the field,
Found safety underneath his shield;
For he, whom royal eyes disown,
When was his form to courtiers known !

XXIII. Now, clear the ring ! for, hand to hand, The manly wrestlers take their stand. Two o'er the rest superior rose, And proud demanded mightier foes, Nor call'd in vain ; for Douglas came. -For life is Hugh of Larbert lame; Scarce better John of Alloa's fare, Whom senseless home his comrades bear. Prize of the wrestling match, the King To Douglas gave a golden ring, * While coldly glanced his eye of blue, As frozen drop of wintry dew. Douglas would speak, but in his breast His struggling soul his words suppress d ; Indignant then he turn’d him where Their arms the brawny yeomen bare, To hurl the massive bar in air. When each his utmost strength had shown, The Douglas rent an earth-fast stone From its deep bed, then heaved it high, And sent the fragment through the sky, A rood beyond the farthest mark ;And still in Stirling's royal park, The grey-hair’d sires, who know the past, To strangers point the Douglas-cast, And moralize on the decay Of Scottish strength in modern day. 5

XXV.
The Monarch saw the gambols flag,
And bade let loose a gallant stag,
Whose pride, the holiday to crown,
Two favourite greyhounds should pull

down, That venison free, and Bourdeaux wine, Might serve the archery to dine. But Lufra,--whom from Douglas' side Nor bribe nor threat could e'er divide, The fleetest hound in all the North, Brave Lufra saw, and darted forth. She left the royal hounds mid-way, And dashing on the antler'd prey, Sunk her sharp muzzle in his flank, And deep the flowing life-blood drank. The King's stout huntsman saw the sport By strange intruder broken short, Came up, and with his leash unbound, In anger struck the noble hound. --The Douglas had endured, that morn, The King's cold look, the nobles' scorn, And last, and worst to spirit proud, Had borne the pity of the crowd ; 8 See Appendix, Note 3 S. 4 See Appendix, Note 3 I. 6 MS." Of mortal strength in modern day." O MS.-" A purse weigh'd down with pieces broad." 7 MS." Scatter'd the gold among the crowd." 8 MS.—“ Ere James of Douglas' stalwart hand." 9 MS.-" Though worn by many a winter storm." 10 MS.--" Or call'd his stulely form to mind."

XXIV.
The vale with loud applauses rang,
The Ladies' Rock sent back the clang.
The King, with look unmoved, bestow'd
A purse well-fill'd with pieces broad.
| See Appendix, Note 3 R.
MS.-“ Fondly he watch'd, with watery eye,

For answering glance of sympathy,
But no emotion made reply!
Indifferent as to unknown

} wight,
Cold as to unknoon yeoman
The king guve forth the arrow bright."

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, Elleu'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 !2 Back, on your lives, ye menial pack! Beware the Douglas.--Yes ! behold, King James ! the Douglas, doom'd of old, And rainly 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 8 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;

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 !”

For me,

XXVII. Then uproar wild and misarray Marr'd the fair form of festal day. The horsemen prick'd among the crowd, Repell’d by threats and insult loud ;* To earth are borne the old and weak, The timorous fly, the women shriek ; 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 5 In tears, as tempests melt in rain. With lifted hands and eyes, they pray'd 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 repellid 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 uur Guard !"

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

In tears, as tempests sink in rain."

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