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Ile stoop'd his head against the mast,
With note prolong'd and varied strain, And bitter sobs came thick and fast,
Till bold Ben-Ghoil replied again. A grief that would not be repress’d,
Good Douglas then, and De la Haye, But seem'd to burst his youthful breast.
Had in a glen a hart at bay, His hands, against his forehead held,
And Lennox cheer'd the laggard hounds, As if by force his tears repell’d,
When waked that horn the greenwood bounda. But through his fingers, long and slight,
“ It is the foe!” cried Boyd, who came Fast trill’d the drops of crystal bright.
In breathless haste with eye of flame,Edward, who walk'd the deck apart,
“ It is the foe !- Each valiant lord First spied this conflict of the heart.
Fling by his bow, and grasp his sword !”Thoughtless as brave, with bluntness kind
“ Not so," replied the good Lord James, He sought to cheer the sorrower's mind;
“ That blast no English bugle claims. By force the slender hand he drew
Oft have I heard it fire the fight, From those poor eyes that stream'd with dew. Cheer the pursuit, or stop the flight. As in his hold the stripling strove,
Dead were my heart, and deaf mine ear, ('Twas a rough grasp, though meant in love,) If Bruce should call, nor Douglas hear! Away his tears the warrior swept,
Each to Loch Ranza's margin spring; And bade shame on him that he wept."
That blast was winded by the King!” “ I would to heaven, thy helpless tongue Could tell me who hath wrought thee wrong!
XIX. For, were he of our crew the best,
Fast to their mates the tidings spread, The insult went not unredress’d.
And fast to shore the warriors sped. Come, cheer thee; thou art now of age
Bursting from glen and greenwood tree, To be a warrior's gallant page;
High waked their loyal jubilee ! Thou shalt be mine!--a palfrey fair
Around the royal Bruce they crowd, O’er hill and holt my boy shall bear,
And clasp'd his hands, and wept aloud. To hold my bow in hunting grove,
Veterans of early fields were there, Or speed on errand to my love;
Whose helmets press'd their hoary hair, For well I wot thou wilt not tell
Whose swords and axes bore a stain The temple where my wishes dwell.”
From life-blood of the red-hair'd Dane; 8
And boys, whose hands scarce brook'd to wield XVII.
The heavy sword or bossy shield. Bruce interposed,—“ Gay Edward, no,
Men too were there, that bore the scars This is no youth to hold thy bow,
Impress’d in Albyn's woful wars, To fill thy goblet, or to bear
At Falkirk's fierce and fatal fight, Thy message light to lighter fair.
Teyndrum's dread rout, and Methven's flight; Thou art a patron all too wild
The might of Douglas there was seen, And thoughtless, for this orphan child.
There Lennox with his graceful mien ; See'st thou not how apart he steals,
Kirkpatrick, Closeburn's dreaded Knight; Keeps lonely couch, and lonely meals ?
The Lindsay, fiery, fierce, and light; Fitter by far in yon calm cell
The Heir of murder'd De la Haye, To tend our sister Isabel,
And Boyd the grave, and Seton gay. With father Augustin to share
Around their King regain'd they pressid, The peaceful change of convent prayer,
Wept, shouted, clasp'd him to their breast, Than wander wild adventures through,
And young and old, and serf and lord, With such a reckless guide as you.”—
And he who ne'er unsheathed a sword, “ Thanks, brother!” Edward answer'd gay, And he in many a peril tried, “ For the high laud thy words convey!
Alike resolved the brunt to bide,
And live or die by Bruce's side!
Oh, War! thou hast thy fierce delight, Launch we the boat, and seek the land.”
Thy gleams of joy, intensely bright!
Such gleams, as from thy polish'd shield
Fly dazzling o'er the battle-field!
Such transports wake, severe and high, And thrice aloud his bugle rung
Amid the pealing conquest-cry;
I MS." And as away the tears he swept,
He bade shame on him that he wept."
2 See Appendix, Note 2 T.
Scarce less, when, after battle lost,
XXII. “ No, Lady! in old eyes like mine, Gauds bave no glitter, gems no shine ; Nor grace his rank attendants vain, One youthful page is all his train. It is the form, the eye, the word, The bearing of that stranger Lord; His stature, manly, bold, and tall, Built like a castle's battled wall, Yet moulded in such just degrees, His giant-strength seems lightsome ease. Close as the tendrils of the vine His locks upon his forehead twine, Jet-black, save where some touch of grey Has ta'en the youthful hue away. Weather and war their rougher trace Have left on that majestic face;But 'tis his dignity of eye! There, if a suppliant, would I fly, Secure, 'mid danger, wrongs, and grief, Of sympathy, redress, reliefThat glance, if guilty, would I dread More than the doom that spoke me dead!"
Enough, enough,” the princess cried, “ 'Tis Scotland's hope, her joy, her pride! To meaner front was ne'er assign'd Such mastery o'er the common mindBestow'd thy high designs to aid, How long, O Heaven ! how long delay'd :Haste, Mona, haste, to introduce My darling brother, royal Bruce !"
XXI. 'Tis morning, and the Convent bell Long time had ceased its matin knell,
Within thy walls, Saint Bride! An aged Sister sought the cell Assign’d to Lady Isabel,
And hurriedly she cried, “ Haste, gentle Lady, haste—there waits A noble stranger at the gates; Saint Bride's poor vot’ress ne'er has seen A Knight of such a princely mien; His errand, as he bade me tell, Is with the Lady Isabel." The princess rose,-for on her knee Low bent she told her rosary, “ Let him by thee his purpose teach: I may not give a stranger speech.”— “ Saint Bride forefend, thou royal Maid!” The portress cross'd herself, and said, “ Not to be prioress might I Debate his will, his suit deny." “ Has earthly show then, simple fool, Power o'er a sister of thy rule, And art thou, like the worldly train, Subdued by splendours light and vain?”—
XXXII. They met like friends who part in pain, And meet in doubtful hope again. But when subdued that fitful swell, The Bruce survey'd the humble cell ;“ And this is thine, poor Isabel !That pallet-couch, and naked wall, For room of state, and bed of pall; For costly robes and jewels rare, A string of beads and zone of hair; And for the trumpet's sprightly call To sport or banquet, grove or hall, The bell's grim voice divides thy care, 'Twixt hours of penitence and prayer!-O ill for thee, my royal claim From the First David's sainted name! O woe for thee, that while he sought His right, thy brother feebly fought!"
1 MS.—“ If not on Britain's warlike ground."
When Ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead.
Byron's Corsair 3 See Appendix, Note 2 U.
4“Mr. Scott, we have said, contradicts himself. How will he explain the following facts to his reader's satisfaction ? The third canto informs us that Isabel accompanies Edward to Ireland, there to remain till the termination of the war; and in the fourth canto, the second day after her departure, we discover the princess counting her beads and reading homilies in the cloister of St. Bride, in the Island of Arran! We humbly beseech the Mighty Minstrel' to clear up this matter."-Critical Review.
5 MS." But when subsides," &c.
As the small cell would space afford;
He leant his weight on Bruce's sword,
I guess my brother's meaning well;
1 “We would bow with veneration to the powerful and the countenance of Isabel upon his mention of Ronald."rugged genius of Scott. We would style him above all others, British Critic. Homer and Shakspeare excepted, the Poet of Nature-of Nature in all her varied beauties, in all her wildest haunts. 2 MS.-“And well I judge that Knight unknown." No appearance, however minute, in the scenes around him, escapes his penetrating eye; they are all marked with the 3 MS.-“ But that his
I former i
plight forbade." nicest discrimation; are introduced with the happiest effect. Hence, in his similes, both the genius and the judgment of
4 MS.-" The Monarch's brand and cloak he bore." the poet are peculiarly conspicuous; his accurate observation of the appearances of nature, which others have neglected,
5 MS." Answer'd the Bruce, he saved my life.'” imparts an originality to those allusions, of which the reader immediately recognises the aptness and propriety; and only 6 The MS. haswonders that what must have been so often witnessed should “ Isabel's thoughts are fix'd on heaven;" have been so uniformly passed unregarded by. Such is the and the two couplets which follow are interpolated on the simile applied to the transient blush observed by Bruce on blank
And thou didst bid thy little band
XXIX. “ Brother, I well believe,” she said, “ Even so would Edward's part be play'd Kindly in heart, in word severe, A foe to thought, and grief, and fear, He holds his humour uncontroll'd; But thou art of another mould. Say then to Ronald, as I say, Unless before my feet he lay The ring which bound the faith he swore, By Edith freely yielded o'er, He moves his suit to me no more. Nor do I promise, even if now He stood absolved of spousal vow, That I would change my purpose made, To shelter me in holy shade.Brother, for little space, farewell! To other duties warns the bell.”_
But good King Robert cried, “ Chafe not-by signs he speaks his mind, He heard the plan my care design'd,
Nor could his transports hide.-
XXX. “ Lost to the world,” King Robert said, When he had left the royal maid, “ Lost to the world by lot severe, O what a gem lies buried here, Nipp'd by misfortune's cruel frost, The buds of fair affection lost!_2 But what have I with love to do? Far sterner cares my - Pent in this isle we may not lie,3 Nor would it long our wants supply. Right opposite, the mainland towers Of my own Turnberry court our powers - Might not my father's beadsman hoar, Cuthbert, who dwells upon the shore, Kindle a signal-flame, to show The time propitious for the blow? It shall be so—some friend shall bear Our mandate with despatch and care; -Edward shall find the messenger. That fortress ours, the island fleet May on the coast of Carrick meet.O Scotland! shall it e'er be mine To wreak thy wrongs in battle-line, To raise my victor-head, and see Thy hills, thy dales, thy people free,-That glance of bliss is all I crave, Betwixt my labours and my grave!” Then down the hill he slowly went, Oft pausing on the steep descent, And reach'd the spot where his bold train Held rustic camp upon the plain.
See Appendix, Note 2 V. 9 The MS here adds:
• She yields one shade of empty hope.
But well I guess her wily scope
And still my importunity." 3 This and the twelve succeeding lines are interpolated on the biauk page of the MS.
4 “ The fourth canto cannot be very greatly praised. It rontains, indeed, many pleasing passages; but the merit whluh They possess is too much detached from the general interest of the poem. The only business is Bruce's arrival at the isle of Arran. The voyage is certainly described with spirit; but the remainder of the canto is rather tedious, and might, without any considerable inconvenience, have been left a good deal to the reader's imagination. Mr. Scott ought to reserve
The Lord of the Isles.
Thou pledge of vows too well believed,
I. On fair Loch-Ranza stream'd the early day, Thin wreaths of cottage-smoke are upward curl'd From the lone hamlet, which her inland bay And circling mountains sever from the world. And there the fisherman his sail unfurld, The goat-herd drove his kids to steep Ben-Ghoil, Before the hut the dame her spindle twirl'd,
Courting the sunbeam as she plied her toil, For, wake where'er he may, Man wakes to care and
But other duties call'd each convent maid,
Upon the snowy neck and long dark hair,
And there were foot-prints seen
Their track effaced the green. The ivy twigs were torn and fray'd, As if some climber's steps to aid.But who the hardy messenger, Whose venturous path these signs infer?-“Strange doubts are mine !—Mona, draw nigh; - Nought ’scapes old Mona's curious eyeWhat strangers, gentle mother, say, Have sought these holy walls to-day ?”“ None, Lady, none of note or name; Only your brother's foot-page came, At peep of dawn-I pray'd him pass To chapel where they said the mass; But like an arrow he shot by, And tears seem'd bursting from his eye.”
II. She raised her eyes, that duty done, When glanced upon the pavement-stone, Gemm’d and enchased, a golden ring, Bound to a scroll with silken string, With few brief words inscribed to tell, “ This for the Lady Isabel.” Within, the writing farther bore, “ 'Twas with this ring his plight he swore, With this his promise I restore ; To her who can the heart command, Well may I yield the plighted hand. And O! for better fortune born, Grudge not a passing sigh to mourn Her who was Edith once of Lorn!” One single flash of glad surprise Just glanced from Isabel's dark eyes, But vanish'd in the blush of shame, That, as its penance, instant came. “O thought unworthy of my race ! Selfish, ungenerous, mean, and base, A moment's throb of joy to own, That rose upon her hopes o’erthrown !-
IV. The truth at once on Isabel, As darted by a sunbeam, fell.“ 'Tis Edith's self ! 3–her speechless woe, Her form, her looks, the secret show ! -Instant, good Mona, to the bay, And to my royal brother say, I do conjure him seek my cell, With that mute page he loves so well.”“What ! know'st thou not his warlike host At break of day has left our coast ? 4 My old eyes saw them from the tower. At eve they couch'd in greenwood bower, At dawn a bugle signal, made By their bold Lord, their ranks array'd; Up sprung the spears agh bush and tree, No time for benedicite !
as much as possible, the interlocutory part of his narrative, for occasions which admit of high and animated sentiment, or the display of powerful emotions, because this is almost the only poetical beauty of which speeches are susceptible. But to fill up three-fourths of a canto with a lover's asking a brother in a quiet and friendly manner for permission to address his sister in marriage, and a brother's asking his sister whether she has any objections, is, we think, somewhat injudicious."- Quarterly Review
2 MS.-"A single throb of joy to own." 3 MS._" 'Tis she herself."
4 MS." What! know'st thou not in sudden haste
The warriors from our woods have pass d.'