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To Argentine she turn'd her word,
But her eye sought the Island Lord.'
A flush like evening's setting fiame
Glow'd on his cheek; his hardy frame,
As with a brief convulsion, hook:
With hurried voice and eager look,-
“ Fear not,” he said, “my Isabel !
What said 1-Edith !--all is well-
Nay, fear not-I will well provide
The safety of my lovely bride
My bride?”—but there the accents clung
In tremor to his faltering tongue.

And by Columba's stone.
His monks have heard their hymnings high
Sound from the summit of Dun-Y,

To cheer his penance lone,
When at each cross, on girth and wold, 2
(Their number thrice a hundred-fold,)
His prayer he made, his beads he told,

With Aves many a one-
He comes our feuds to reconcile,
A sainted man from sainted isle ;
We will his holy doom abide,
The Abbot shall our strife decide.”3

XXII.
Scarcely this fair accord was o'er,
When through the wide revolving door

The black-stoled brethren wind; Twelve sandall’d monks, who relics bore. With many a torch-bearer before,

And many a cross behind.5
Then sunk each fierce uplifted hand,
And dagger bright and flashing brand

Dropp'd swiftly at the sight;
They vanish'd from the Churchman's eye,
As shooting stars, that glance and die,

Dart from the vault of night.

XX. Now rose De Argentine, to claim The prisoners in his sovereign's name, To England's crown, who, vassals sworn, 'Gainst their liege lord had weapon borne(Such speech, I ween, was but to hide His care their safety to provide ; For knight more true in thought and deed Than Argentine ne'er spurr'd a steed) And Ronald, who his meaning guess'd, Seem'd half to sanction the request. This purpose fiery Torquil broke:“ Somewhat we've heard of England's yoke," He said, “ and, in our islands, Fame Hath whisperd of a lawful claim, That calls the Bruce fair Scotland's Lord, Though dispossess'd by foreign sword. This craves reflection-but though right And just the charge of England's Knight, Let England's crown her rebels seize Where she has power ;-in towers like these, 'Midst Scottish Chieftains summon'd here To bridal mirth and bridal cheer, Be sure, with no consent of mine, Shall either Lorn or Argentine With chains or violence, in our sight, Oppress a brave and banish’d Knight.”

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XXIII.
The Abbot on the threshold stood,
And in his hand the holy rood;
Back on his shoulders flow'd his hood,

The torch's glaring ray
Show'd, in its red and flashing light,
His wither'd cheek and amice white,
His blue eye glistening cold and bright,

His tresses scant and grey.
“ Fair Lords,” he said, “ Our Lady's love,
And peace be with you from above,

And Benedicite!-
—But what means this ? no peace is here !
Do dirks unsheathed suit bridal cheer?

Or are these naked brands
A seemly show for Churchman's sight,
When he comes summond to unite
Betrothed hearts and hands ?”

XXI. Then waked the wild debate again, With brawling threat and clamour vain. Vassals and menials, thronging in, Lent their brute rage to swell the din; When, far and wide, a bugle-clang From the dark ocean upward rang.

“The Abbot comes !” they cry at once, “ The holy man, whose favour'd glance

Hath sainted visions known; Angels have met him on the way, Beside the blessed martyrs' bay,

XXIV. Then, cloaking hate with fiery zeal, Proud Lorn first answer'd the appeal ;

“ Thou comest, O holy Man, True sons of blessed church to greet, But little deeming here to meet

A wretch, beneath the ban

1 The MS. adds:

“ With such a frantic fond appcal,

As only lovers make and feel." 9 )!S.-" What time at every cross of old." * MS.-“ We will his holy rede obey,

The Abbot's voice shall end the fray," • MS.--"Scarce was this peaceful paction o'er."

5 MS.-“ Did slow procession wind;

Twelve monks, who stole and mantle wore
And chalice, pyx, and relics bore,

With many," &c. 6 The MS, here adds:

“ Men bound in her communion sweet,

And duteous to the Papal seat."

Of Pope and Church, for murder done
Even on the sacred altar-stone !-1
Well mayst thou wonder we should know
Such miscreant here, nor lay him low,
Or dream of greeting, peace, or truce,
With excommunicated Bruce!
Yet well I grant, to end debate,
Thy sainted voice decide his fate.” 3

XXV.
Then Ronald pled the stranger's cause,
And knighthood's oath and honour's laws;*
And Isabel, on bended knee,
Brought pray’rs and tears to back the plea:
And Edith lent her generous aid,
And wept, and Lorn for mercy pray'd.5
“ Hence," he exclaim'd,“ degenerate maid!
Was't not enough to Ronald's bower
I brought thee, like a paramour,
Or bond-maid at her master's gate,
His careless cold approach to wait!
But the bold Lord of Cumberland,
The gallant Clifford, seeks thy hand;
His it shall be--Nay, no reply!
Hence! till those rebel eyes be dry."
With grief the Abbot heard and saw,
Yet nought relax'd his brow of awe.?

Since matchless Wallace first had been
In mock’ry crown’d with wreaths of green,
And done to death by felon hand,
For guarding well his father's land.
Where's Nigel Bruce ? and De la Haye,
And valiant Seton-where are they?
Where Somerville, the kind and free?
And Fraser, flower of chivalry ?10
Have they not been on gibbet bound,
Their quarters Alung to hawk and hound,
And hold we here a cold debate,
To yield more victims to their fate!
What! can the English Leopard's mood
Never be gorged with northern blood ?
Was not the life of Athole shed,
To soothe the tyrant's sicken'd bed ? 11
And must his word, till dying day,
Be nought but quarter, hang, and slay !- 12
Thou frown'st, De Argentine,-My gage
Is prompt to prove the strife I wage.”-

14

XXVII.
“ Nor deem,” said stout Dunvegan's

knight,13
“ That thou shalt brave alone the fight !
By saints of isle and mainland both,
By Woden wild, (my grandsire's oath.) **
Let Rome and England do their worst,
Howe'er attainted or accursed,
If Bruce shall e'er find friends again,
Once more to brave a battle-plain,
If Douglas couch again his lance,
Or Randolph dare another chance,
Old Torquil will not be to lack
With twice a thousand at his back.-
Nay, chafe not at my bearing bold,
Good Abbot! for thou know'st of old,

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1 MS.
"the blessed altar-stone."

7 The MS. adds 9 In place of the couplet which follows, the MS. has

“ He raised the suppliants from the floor,
“But promptly had my dagger's edge

And bade their sorrowing be o'er,
Avenged the guilt of sacrilege,

And bade them give their weeping o'er,
Save for my new and kind ally,

But in a tone that well explain'd
And Torquil, chief of stormy Skye,

How little grace their prayers had gaind;
(In whose wild land there rests the seed,

For though he purposed true and well,
Men say, of ancient heathen creed,)

Still stubborn and inflexible
Who would enforce me to a truce

In what he decm'd his duty high,
With excommunicated Bruce."

Was Abbot Ademar of Y." 8 The MS, adds:

8 MS." For Bruce's custody made claim."-In place o" “ Secure such foul offenders find

the two couplets which follow, the MS, has No favour in a holy mind."

And Torgnil, stout Dunvegan's Knight, 4 The MS. has:

As well defended Scotland's right. “ Alleged the hest of honour's laws,

Enough of," &c.
due to

9 See Appendix, Note W.
The succour
claim'd by
}storm-staid guest,
10 See Appendix, Note X.

11 Ibid, Note Y,
The refuge due to the distress'd,

19 See Appendix, Note Z.
The oath which binds each generous knight 13 In the MS. this couplet is wanting, and, without breaking
Still to prevent unequal fight;

the stanza, Lord Ronald continues,
And Isabel," &c.

" By saints of isle," &c. 6 MS." And wept alike and knelt and pray'd."—The nine 14 The MacLeods, and most other distinguished Hebridean lines which intervene betwixt this and the concluding couplet families, were of Scandinavian extraction, and some were late of the stan za are not in the MS.

or imperfect converts to Christianity. The family names of See Appendix, Note V.

Torquil, Thormod, &c. are all Norwegian.

1

4

Torquil's rude thought and stubborn will

Heaven knows my purpose to atone, Smack of the wild Norwegian still ;

Far as I may, the evil done, Nor will I barter Freedom's cause

And hears a penitent's appeal For England's wealth, or Rome's applause."

From papal curse and prelate's zeal.

My first and dearest task achieved,
XXVIII.

Fair Scotland from her thrall relieved, The Abbot seem'd with eye severe

Shall many a priest in cope and stole The hardy Chieftain's speech to hear;

Say requiem for Red Comyn's soul, Then on King Robert turn’d the Monk,?

While I the blessed cross advance, But twice his courage came and sunk,

And expiate this unhappy chance Confronted with the hero's look ;

In Palestine, with sword and lance.3 Twice fell his eye, his accents shook ;

But, while content the Church should know At length, resolved in tone and brow,

My conscience owns the debt I owe, Sternly he question’d him—“ And thou,

Unto De Argentine and Lorn Unhappy! what hast thou to plead,

The name of traitor I return, Why I denounce not on thy deed

Bid them defiance stern and high,5 That awful doom which canons tell

And give them in their throats the lie! Shuts paradise, and opens hell;

These brief words spoke, I speak no more. Anathema of power so dread,

Do what thou wilt; my shrift is o'er.”
It blends the living with the dead,
Bids each good angel soar away,

XXX.
And every ill one claim his prey;

Like man by prodigy amazed, Expels thee from the church's care,

Upon the King the Abbot gazed; And deafens Heaven against thy prayer;

Then o'er his pallid features glance, Arms every hand against thy life,

Convulsions of ecstatic trance. Bans all who aid thee in the strife,

His breathing came more thick and fast, Nay, each whose succour, cold and scant,

And from his pale blue eyes were cast With meanest alms relieves thy want;

Sirange rays of wild and wandering light; Haunts thee while living,-and, when dead,

Uprise his locks of silver white, Dwells on thy yet devoted head,

Flush'd is his brow, through every vein Rends Honour's scutcheon from thy hearse,

In azure tide the currents strain,
Stills o'er thy bier the holy verse,

And undistinguish'd accents broke
And spurns thy corpse from hallow'd ground, The awful silence ere be spoke.
Flung like vile carrion to the hound;
Such is the dire and desperate doom

XXXI.
For sacrilege, decreed by Rome;

“ De Bruce! I rose with purpose dread And such the well-deserved meed

To speak my curse upon thy head, Of thine unhallow'd, ruthless deed.”_

And give thee as an outcast o'er

To him who burns to shed thy gore; XXIX.

But, like the Midianite of old, “ Abbot!” The Bruce replied," thy charge

Who stood on Zophim, heaven-controll’d, 8 It boots not to dispute at large.

I feel within mine aged breast This much, howe'er, I bid thee know,

A power that will not be repress’d.o No selfish vengeance dealt the blow,

It prompts my voice, it swells my veins, For Comyn died his country's foe.

It burns, it maddens, it constrains ! Nor blame I friends whose ill-timed speed

De Bruce, thy sacrilegious blow Fulfill’d my soon-repented deed,

Hath at God's altar slain thy foe: Nor censure those from whose stern tongue

O’ermaster'd yet by high behest, The dire anathema has rung.

I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless'd !” I only blame mine own wild ire,

He spoke, and o'er the astonish'd throng By Scotland's wrongs incensed to fire.

Was silence, awful, deep, and long.

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The Lord of the Isles.

CANTO THIRD.

I.
Hast thou not mark’d, when o'er thy startled head
Sudden and deep the thunder-peal has rolld,
How, when its echoes fell, a silence dead
Sunk on the wood, the meadow, and the wold !
The rye-grass shakes not on the sod-built fold,
The rustling aspen's leaves are mute and still,
The wall-flower waves not on the ruin'd hold,

Till, murmuring distant first, then near and shrill,
The savage whirlwind wakes, and sweeps the groaning

hill.

XXXII.
Again that light has fired his eye,
Again his form swells bold and high,
The broken voice of age is gone,
'Tis vigorous manhood's lofty tone :--
“ Thrice vanquish'd on the battle-plain,
Thy followers slaughter'd, fled, or ta’en,
A hunted wanderer on the wild,
On foreign shores a man exiled,
Disown’d, deserted, and distress’d, 2
I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless'd !
Bless'd in the hall and in the field,
Under the mantle as the shield.
Avenger of thy country's shame,
Restorer of her injured fame,
Bless'd in thy sceptre and thy sword,
De Bruce, fair Scotland's rightful Lord,
Bless'd in thy deeds and in thy fame,
What lengthen'd honours wait thy name!
In distant ages, sire to son
Shall tell thy tale of freedom won,
And teach his infants, in the use
Of earliest speech, to falter Bruce.
Go, then, triumphant! sweep along
Thy course, the theme of many a song!
The Power, whose dictates swell my breast,
Hath bless'd thee, and thou shalt be bless'd !
Enough-my short-lived strength decays,
And sinks the momentary blaze.-
Heaven hath our destined purpose broke,
Not here must nuptial vow be spoke;3
Brethren, our errand here is o’er,
Our task discharged.-Unmoor, unmoor!”-
His priests received the exhausted Monki,
As breathless in their arms he sunk.
Punctual his orders to obey,
The train refused all longer stay,
Ernbark’d, raised sail, and bore away.*

II.
Artornish! such a silence gunk
Upon thy halls, when that grey Monk

His prophet-speech had spoke;
And his obedient brethren’s sail
Was stretch'd to meet the southern gale

Before a whisper woke.
Then murmuring sounds of doubt and fear,
Close pour'd in many an anxious car,

The solemn stillness broke;
And still they gazed with eager guess,
Where, in an oriel's deep recess,
The Island Prince seem'd bent to press
What Lorn, by his impatient cheer,
And gesture fierce, scarce deign'd to hear.

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1 See Appendix, Note 2 D.

characteristical beauties than of his characteristical faults. 9 “ On this transcendant passage we shall only remark, that The scene itself is not of a very edifying description ; nor is the of the gloomy part of the prophecy we hear nothing more want of agreeableness in the subject compensated by any de through the whole of the poem, and though the Abbot informs tached merit in the details. Of the language and versification the King that he shall be ‘On foreign shores a man exiled,' in many parts, it is hardly possible to speak favourably. The the poet never speaks of him but as resident in Scotland, up to same must be said of the speeches which the different characthe period of the battle of Bannockburn."—Critical Review. ters address to each other. The rude vehemence which they 3 The MS. has not this couplet.

display seems to consist much more in the loudness and gesti. 4 “The conception and execution of these stanzas consti- culation with which the speakers express themselves, than in tute excellence which it would be difficult to match from any the force and energy of their sentiments, which, for the most other part of the poem. The surprise is grand and perfect. part, are such as the barbarous chiefs, to whom they are atThe monk, struck with the heroism of Robert, forgoes the in- tributed, might, without any great premeditation, either as to tended anathema, and breaks out into a prophetic annuncia- the thought or language, have actually uttered. To find lantion of his final triumph over all his enemies, and the venera- guage and sentiments proportioned to characters of such extion in which his name will be held by posterity. These stan- traordinary dimensions as the agents in the poems of Homer zas, which conclude the second Canto, derive their chief title and Milton, is indeed an admirable effort of genius; but to to encomium from the emphatic felicity of their burden, make such as we meet with in the epic poetry of the present • I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless'd;'

day, persons often below the middle size, and never very

much above it, merely speak in character, is not likely to ocin which few and simple words, following, as they do, a series casion either much difficulty to the poet, or much pleasure to of predicated ills, there is an energy that instantaneously ap- the reader. As an example, we might adduce the speech of peals to the heart, and surpasses, all to nothing, the results of stout Dunvegan's knight, stanza xxvii., which is not the less passages less happy in their application, though more laboured wanting in taste, because it is natural and characteristic."and tortuous in their construction."--Critical R:vice. Quarterly Review

“ The story of the second canto exhibits fewer of Mr. Scott's 5 MS -" The rustling aspen bids his lef be still."

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And sternly Alung apart ;« And deem'st thou me so mean of mood, As to forget the mortal feud, And clasp the hand with blood imbrued ?

From my dear Kinsman's heart? Is this thy rede!-a due return For ancient league and friendship sworn! But well our mountain proverb shows The faith of Islesmen ebbs and flows. Be it even so-believe, ere long, He that now bears shall wreak the wrong.Call Edith-call the Maid of Lorn! My sister, slaves !—for further scorn, Be sure nor she nor I will stay.-Away, De Argentine, away! We nor ally nor brother know, In Bruce's friend, or England's foe."

“ My horse, my mantle, and my train !
Let none who honours Lorn remain!"
Courteous, but stern, a bold request
To Bruce De Argentine express’d.
“ Lord Earl,” he said, “ I cannot chuse
But yield such title to the Bruce,
Though name and earldom both are gone,
Since he braced rebel's armour on-
But, Earl or Serf-rude phrase was thine
Of late, and launch'd at Argentine ;
Such as compels me to demand
Redress of honour at thy hand.
We need not to each other tell,
That both can wield their weapons well;

Then do me but the soldier grace,
This glove upon thy helm to place

Where we may meet in fight;
And I will say, as still I've said,
Though by ambition far misled,

Thou art a noble knight.”—

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IV.
But who the Chieftain's rage can tell,
When, sought from lowest dungeon cell
To highest tower the castle round,
No Lady Edith was there found !
He shouted, “ Falsehood !-treachery!
Revenge and blood !-a lordly meed
To him that will avenge the deed!
A Baron's lands!”-His frantic mood
Was scarcely by the news withstood,
That Morag shared his sister's flight,
And that, in hurry of the night,
'Scaped noteless, and without remark,
Two strangers sought the Abbot's bark.-
“ Man every galley !-fly-pursue !
The priest his treachery shall rue!
Ay, and the time shall quickly come,
When we shall hear the thanks that Rome
Will pay his feigned prophecy!”
Such was fierce Lorn's indignant cry;3
And Cormac Doil in haste obey'd,
Hoisted his sail, his anchor weigh’d,
(For, glad of each pretext for spoil,
A pirate sworn was Cormac Doil.) 4
But others, lingering, spoke apart,-
“ The Maid has given her maiden heart

To Ronald of the Isles,
And, fearful lest her brother's word
Bestow her on that English Lord,

She seeks Iona's piles,
And wisely deems it best to dwell

votaress in the holy cell,
Until these feuds so fierce and fell

The Abbot reconciles." 5

VI. “ And I,” the princely Bruce replied, “ Might term it stain on knighthood's pride, That the bright sword of Argentine Should in a tyrant's quarrel shine;

But, for your brave request,
Be sure the honour'd pledge you gave
In every battle-field shall wave

Upon my helmet-crest;
Believe, that if my hasty tongue
Hath done thine honour causeless wrong,

It shall be well redress'd.
Not dearer to my soul was glove,
Bestow'd in youth by lady's love,

Than this which thou hast given! Thus, then, my noble foe I greet; Health and high fortune till we meet,

And then—what plcases Heaven.”

VII. Thus parted they--for now, with sound Like waves roll’d back from rocky ground,

The friends of Lorn retire;
Each mainland chieftain, with his train,
Draws to his mountain towers again,
Pondering how mortal schemes prove vain,

And mortal hopes expire.
But through the castle double guard,
By Ronald's charge, kept wakeful ward,
Wicket and gate were trebly barr’d,

By beam and bolt and chain;
Then of the guests, in courteous sort,
He pray'd excuse for mirth broke short,
And bade them in Artornish fort

In confidence remain.

V. As, impotent of ire, the hall Echo'd to Lorn's impatient call,

1 MS.-" And clasp the bloody hand imbrued.” 2 MS.-“Nor brother we, nor ally know."

3 The MS. nas, -" Such was fierce Lorn's cry." See a note on a line in the Lay of the Last Minstrel, ante, p 12

4 See Appendix, Note 2 E.

5 MS.-" While friends shall labour fair and well

These feuds to reconcile."

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