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When in rude waves or roaring winds Some words of woe the muser finds, Until more loudly and more near, Their speech arrests the page's ear.1
“O brother! cruel to the last !”
XXIV. “ And was she thus,” said Clifford,“ lost? The priest should rue it to his cost ! What says the monk!”_“ The holy Sire Owns, that in masquer's quaint attire She sought his skiff, disguised, unknown To all except to him alone. But, says the priest, a bark from Lorno Laid them aboard that very morn, And pirates seized her for their prey. He proffer'd ransom-gold to pay, And they agreed—but ere told o'er, The winds blow loud, the billows roar; They sever'd, and they met no more. He deems—such tempest vex'd the coast Ship, crew, and fugitive, were lost. So let it be, with the disgrace And scandal of her lofty race ! 3 Thrice better she had ne'er been born, Than brought her infamy on Lorn!”
XXVI. And will he keep his purpose still, In sight of that last closing ill,7 When one poor breath, one single word, May freedom, safety, life, afford ? Can he resist the instinctive call, For life that bids us barter all ? Love, strong as death, his heart hath steeld, His nerves hath strung-he will not yield ! Since that poor breath, that little word, May yield Lord Ronald to the sword.—8 Clan-Colla's dirge is pealing wide, The griesly headsman 's by his side; Along the greenwood Chase they bend, And now their march has ghastly end! That old and shatter'd oak beneath, They destine for the place of death. -What thoughts are his, while all in vain His eye for aid explores the plain ? What thoughts, while, with a dizzy ear, He hears the death-prayer mutter'd near ? And must he die such death accurst, Or will that bosom-secret burst? Cold on his brow breaks terror's dew, His trembling lips are livid blue; The agony of parting life Has nought to match that moment's strife!
XXV. Lord Clifford now the captive spied ;“ Whom, Herbert, hast thou there;” he cried. “ A spy we seized within the Chase, A hollow oak his lurking place.”" What adings can the youth afford?”“ He plays the mute.”—“ Then noose a cordUnless brave Lorn reverse the doom For his plaid's sake.”—“ Clan-Colla's loom, Said Lorn, whose careless glances trace Rather the vesture than the face, “ Clan-Colla's dames such tartans twine ; Wearer nor plaid claims care of mine. Give him, if my advice you crave, His own scathed oak; 5 and let him wave In air, unless, by terror wrung, A frank confession find his tongue.-O Nor shall he die without his rite; -Thou, Angus Roy, attend the sight, And give Clan-Colla’s dirge thy breath, As they convey him to his death."
XXVII. But other witnesses are nigh, Who mock at fear, and death defy ! Soon as the dire lament was play'd, It waked the lurking ambuscade. The Island Lord look'd forth, and spied The cause, and loud in fury cried, 10 “ By Heaven, they lead the page to die, And mock me in his agony ! They shall abye it!”-On his arm Bruce laid strong grasp, “ They shall not
harm A ringlet of the stripling's hair; But, till I give the word, forbear.
"or roaring wind,
These words arrest the page's ear." 2 MS.-" To all save to himself alone.
Then, says he, that a bark from Lorn
Laid him aboard," &c. 3 In place of the couplet which follows, the MS, has :
* For, stood she there, and should refuse
The choice my better purpose views,
4 MS.-"A spy, whom, guided by our hound,
Lurking conceal'd this morn we found." 5 MS." Yon scathed oak." 6 MS.
“by terror wrung
To speech, confession finds his tongue." 7
“last human ill." 8 MS.--"Since that one word, that little breath,
May speak Lord Ronald's doom of death." 9 MS. -"Beneath that shatter'd old oak-tree,
Design'd the slaughter-place to be." 10 MS.-“Soon as the due lament was play'd,
The Island Lord in fury said,
Lost to resentment and to
each sense of pride and} shame."
-- Douglas, lead fifty of our force
Nor better was their lot who fled, Up yonder hollow water-course,
And met, ʼmid terror's wild career, And couch thee midway on the wold,
The Douglas's redoubted spear! Between the flyers and their hold:
Two hundred yeomen on that morn
The castle left, and none return.
Not on their flight press'd Ronald's brand. And, when thou hear’st the battle-din,
A gentler duty claim’d his band. Rush forward, and the passage win,
He raised the page, where on the plain Secure the drawbridge-storm the port,
His fear had sunk him with the slain: And man and guard the castle-court.
And twice, that morn, surprise well near The rest move slowly forth with me,
Betray'd the secret kept by fear; In shelter of the forest-tree,
Once, when, with life returning, came Till Douglas at his post I see.”
To the boy's lip Lord Ronald's name,
And hardly recollection drown'd
The accents in a murm ing sound;
when scarce he could resist Compellid to wait the signal blown,
The Chieftain's care to loose the vest, Hid, and scarce hid, by greenwood bough,
Drawn tightly o'er his labouring breast. Trembling with rage, stands Ronald now,
But then the Bruce's bugle blew,
For martial work was yet to do.
A harder task fierce Edward waits. And, heedful, measures oft the space
Ere signal given, the castle gates The Douglas and his band must trace,
His fury had assail'd ;* Ere they can reach their destined ground.
Such was his wonted reckless mood, Now sinks the dirge’s wailing sound,
Yet desperate valour oft made good, Now cluster round the direful tree
Even by its daring, venture rude, That slow and solemn company,
Where prudence might have faild. While hymn mistuned and mutter'd prayer
Upon the bridge his strength he threw;' The victim for his fate prepare.
And struck the iron chain in two, What glances o'er the greenwood shade?
By which its planks arose; The spear that marks the ambuscade !
The warder next his axe's edge “ Now, noble Chief ! I leave thee loose;
Struck down upon the threshold ledge, Upon them, Ronald !” said the Bruce.
'Twixt door and post a ghastly wedge !6
The gate they may not close.
Well fought the Southern in the fray,
But stubborn Edward forced his way? “ The Bruce, the Bruce !" in that dread word
Against a hundred foes. The knell of hundred deaths was heard.
Loud came the cry, “ The Bruce, the Bruce !" The astonish'a Southern gazed at first,
No hope or in defence or truce, Where the wild tempest was to burst,
Fresh combatants pour in; That waked in that presaging name.
Mad with success, and drunk with gore, Before, behind, around it came!
They drive the struggling foe before, Half-arm’d, surprised, on every side
And ward on ward they win. Hemm’d in, hew'd down, they bled and died. Unsparing was the vengeful sword, Deep in the ring the Bruce engaged,
And limbs were lopp'd and life-blood pour’d, And fierce Clan-Colla's broadsword raged!
The cry of death and conflict roard, Full soon the few who fought were sped,
And fearful was the din!
1 MS.-" Yet waiting for the trumpet tone."
Whose ire assail'd the castle gates." 6 XS" Where sober thought had failid.
Upon the bridge himself he threw."
6 MS." His are was steel of temper'd edge.
That truth the warder well might pledge,
The gate," &c.
And Lorn and Clifford play'd the men,
The startling horses plunged and Hung,
Yet steaming hot; with Southern gore
From hilt to point 'twas crimson’d o'er.
Bring here,” he said, “ the mazers four,
My noble fathers loved of yore.7
Thrice let them circle round the board,
The pledge, fair Scotland's rights restored!
And he whose lip shall touch the wine, On Ronald's broadsword stream'd his gore.
Without a vow as true as mine, But better hap had he of Lorn,
To hold both lands and life at nought, Who, by the foemen backward borne,
Until her freedom shall be bought,Yet gain'd with slender train the port,
Be brand of a disloyal Scot,
And lasting infamy his lot !8
Sit, gentle friends! our hour of glee
Is brief, we'll spend it joyously!
Blithest of all the sun's bright beams,
When betwixt storm and storm he gleams.
Well is our country's work begun,
But more, far more, must yet be done.
Speed messengers the country through;
Arouse old friends, and gather new;' The men of Carrick may descry
Warn Lanark's knights to gird their mail,
Rouse the brave sons of Teviotdale,
Let Ettrick's archers sharp their darts,
The fairest forms, the truest hearts!
Call all, call all ! from Reedswair-Path,
To the wild confines of Cape-Wrath;
The Northern Eagle claps his wing!”
To this poor speechless boy.
The Lord of the Isles.
In tottering infancy!
O who, that shared them, ever shall forget 10 To youth's unthinking glee!
The emotions of the spirit-rousing time, O first, to thee, all-gracious Heaven,
When breathless in the mart the couriers met, Then to my friends, my thanks be giveu!"- Early and late, at evening and at prime; He paused a space, his brow he cross d
When the loud cannon and the merry chime Then on the board his sword he tossid,
Hail'd news on news, as field on field was won,"
| The concluding stanza of “The Siege of Corinth" contains an obvious, though, no doubt, an unconscious imitation of the preceding nine lines, magnificently expanded through an extent of about thirty couplets :
" All the living things that heard
That deadly earth-shock disappear'd;
And burst his girth, and tore his rein," &c.
0; fate, of fury, and of power,
He 'counter'd Edward Bruce !"
6 See Appendix, Note 3 D.
And brand of a disloyal Scot!"
11 “Who can avoid conjuring up the idea of men with broad sheets of foolscap scored with victories rolled round their hats, and horns blowing loud defiance in each other's mouth, from the top to the bottom of Pall-Mall, or the Haymarket, when he reads such a passage? We actually hear the Park and Tower guns, and the clattering of ten thousand bells, as we read, and stop our ears from the close and sudden intrusion of the clamours of some hot and hornfisted patriot, blowing ourselves, as well as Bonaparte, to the devil! And what has all this to do with Bannockburn?"- Monthly Review.
When Hope, long doubtful,soar'd at length sublime,
And our glad eyes, awake as day begun, Watch'd Joy's broad banner rise, to meet the rising
O these were hours, when thrilling joy repaid
To sigh a thankful prayer, amid the glee,
And sister-like in love they dwell
Such news o'er Scotland's hills triumphant rode,
And many a fortress, town, and tower, was won, And Fame still sounded forth fresh deeds of glory done.
A vot’ress of the order now,
That stern and rigid vow,
IV. These days, these months, to years had
To that lone island's shore;
His son retain'd no more,
And they took term of truce,
To yield them to the Bruce.
To summon prince and peer,
With buckler, brand, and spear.
Forth marshall’d for the field;
With banner, blade, and shield!
For Neustria's knights obey'd, Gascogne bath lent her horsemen good, And Cambria, but of late subdued, Sent forth her mountain-multitude, And Connoght pour'd from waste and wood Her hundred tribes, whose sceptre rude
Dark Eth O'Connor sway'd.10
III. Believe, his father's castle won, And his bold enterprise begun, That Bruce's earliest cares restore The speechless page to Arran's shore : Nor think that long the quaint disguise Conceal'd her from a sister's eyes ;
With menace deep and dread;
Round the pale pilgrim's head.
MS.—“ Watch'd Joy's broad banner rise, watch'd
Triumph's Hashing gun." See Appendix, Note 3 G.
3 Ibid, Note 3 H. See Appendix, Note 3 1.
5 Ibid, Note 3 K.
6 See Appendix, Note 3 L.
7 Ibid, Note 3 M. 8 The MS. has not this line. 9 See Appendix, Note 3 N.
10 lbid, Note 30 11 MS.-" The gathering storm of war rulls on."
Not with such pilgrim's startled eye
Resolved the brunt to bide,
To combat at his side.
To battle for the right!
All boun'd them for the fight.
Nay, hush thee, too impatient maid, Until my final tale be said !-The good King Robert would engage Edith once more his elfin page, By her own heart, and her own eye, Her lover's penitence to try— Safe in his royal charge and free, Should such thy final purpose be, Again unknown to seek the cell, And live and die with Isabel.” Thus spoke the maid-King Robert's eye Might have some glance of policy; Dunstaffnage had the monarch ta’en, And Lorn had own'd King Robert's reign; Her brother had to England fled, And there in banishment was dead; Ample, through exile, death, and flight, D'er tower and land was Edith's right; This ample right o'er tower and land Were safe in Ronald's faithful hand.
Hath been to Isabel ?
The cheerless convent-cell
On happier fortunes fell.
Long since that mood is gone: Now dwells he on thy juster claims, And oft his breach of faith he blames
Forgive him for thine own!”
VIII. Embarrass'd eye and blushing cheek Pleasure and shame, and fear bespeak! Yet much the reasoning Edith made: “ Her sister's faith she must upbraid, Who gave such secret, dark and dear, In council to another's ear. Why should she leave the peaceful cell! How should she part with Isabel How wear that strange attire agen? How risk herself 'midst martial men? And how be guarded on the way! At least she might entreat delay.” Kind Isabel, with secret smile, Saw and forgave the maiden's wile, Reluctant to be thought to move At the first call of truant love.7
IX. Oh, blame her not !-when zephyrs wake, The aspen’s trembling leaves must shake; When beams the sun through April's shower, It needs must bloom, the violet flower; And Love, howe'er the maiden strive, Must with reviving hope revive! A thousand soft excuses came, To plead his cause 'gainst virgin shame. Pledged by their sires in earliest youth, He had her plighted faith and truth
VII. « No! never to Lord Ronald's bower Will I again as paramour”
1 MS._" Should instant belt them with the brand." 3 MS." From Solway's sands to wild Cape-Wrath,
From Ilay's Rinns to Colbrand's Path." 3 MS.-"And his mute page were one.
For, versant in the heart of man." 4 M8.-“If brief and rain repinings wake." 8 MS.—“ Her lover's alter'd mood to try.” 6 MS.-" Her aged sire had own'd his reign." 7 The MS. here presents, crased
" But all was overruled -a band
From Arran's mountains left the land; Their chief, MacLouis, had the care The speechless Amadine to bear
honour To Bruce, with
reverences To page the monarch dearly loved." With one verbal alteration these lines occur hereafter--the poet having postponed them, in order to apologize more at length for Edith's acquiescence in an arrangement not, cer tainly, at first sight, over delicate.