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Bestow'd thy high designs to aid,
XXIII. 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! Oill 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 !"
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 splendors light and vain ?"
XXII. “No, Lady! in old eyes like mine, Gauds have 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 gray 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, “ 'T'is Scotland's hope, her joy, her pride! To meaner front was ne'er assign'd Such mastery o'er the common mind
XXIV. “Now lay these vain regrets aside, And be the unshaken Bruce !" she cried. "For more I glory to have shared The woes thy venturous spirit dared, When raising first thy valiant band In rescue of thy native land, Than had fair Fortune set me down The partner of an empire's crown. And grieve not that on Pleasure's stream No more I drive in giddy dream, For Heaven the erring pilot knew, And from the gulf the vessel drew, Tried me with judgments stern and great, My house's ruin, thy defeat, Poor Nigel's death, till, tamed, I own, My hopes are fix'd on Heaven alone; Nor e'er shall earthly prospects win My heart to this vain world of sin."
1 "Mr. Scott, we have said, contradicts himself. How will we discover the princess counting her beads and reading homihe explain the following facts to his reader's satisfaction ? lies in the cloister of St. Bride, in the Island of Arran! We The third canto informs us that Isabel accompanies Edward humbly beseech the · Mighty Minstrel to clear up this mat
to Ireland, there to remain till the termination of the war; ter."'--Critical Review.
Truly his penetrating eye
As the small cell would space afford;
He leant his weight on Bruce's sword, The monarch's mantle too he bore, And drew the fold his visage o'er. " Fear not for him--in murderous strife," Said Bruce, “his warning saved my life ;o Full seldom parts he from my side, And in his silence I confide, Since he can tell no tale again. He is a boy of gentle strain, And I have purposed he shall dwell In Augustin the chaplain's cell, And wait on thee, my Isabel.Mind not his tears; I've seen them flow, As in the thaw dissolves the snow. 'Tis a kind youth, but fanciful, Unfit against the tide to pull, And those that with the Bruce would sail, Must learn to strive with stream and gale. But forward, gentle IsabelMy answer for Lord Ronald tell.”—
My love was like a summer flower,
his fickle faith on me
XXVIII. With sudden impulse forward sprung The page, and on her neck he hung; Then, recollected instantly, His head he stoop'd, and bent his knee, Kiss'd twice the hand of Isabel, Arose, and sudden left the cell.--The princess, loosen'd from his hold, Blush'd
angry at his bearing bold;
XXVII. « This answer be to Ronald givenThe heart he asks is fix'd on heaven.
We would bow with veneration to the powerful and lugged genius of Scott. We would style him above all others, Homer and Shakspeare excepted, the Poet of Nature-of Nature in all her varied beauties, in all her wildest haunts. No appearance, however minute, in the scenes around him, escapes his penetrating eye; they are all marked with the nicest discrimination ; are introduced with the happiest effect. Hence, in bis similes, both the genius and the judgment of the poet are peculiarly conspicuous; his accurate observation of the appearances of nature, which others have neglected, imparts an originality to those allusions, of which the reader immediately recognizes the aptness and propriety; and only Wonders that what must have been so often witnessed should have been so uniformly passed unregarded by. Such is the
simile applied to the transient blush observed by Bruce on the countenance of Isabel upon his mention of Ronald."British Critic. 2 MS.—"And well I judge that Knight unknown."
earlier 3 MS.--"But that his plight forbade.”
former 4 MS.--"The Monarch's brand and cloak he bore." 5 MS.-" Answer'd the Bruce, he saved my life.'" 6 The MS. has,-
"Isabel's thoughts are fix'd on heaven;" and the two couplets which follow are interpolated on the
? See Appendix, Note 2 V.
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.-
choice the convent cell ;
But what have I with love to do!
The Lord of the Isles.
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 humor uncontrollid; 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.”
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 |
But other duties call'd each convent maid, Roused by the summons of the moss-grown bell;
1 The MS. here adds :-
"She yields one shade of empty hope ;
But well I guess her wily scope
And still my importunity." This and the twelve succeeding lines are interpolated on the blank page of the MS.
3" The fourth canto cannot be very greatly praised. It contains, indeed, many pleasing passages ; but the merit which 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 onght to reserve, 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. Bet 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 injudicions" -Quarterly Review.
Sung were the matins, and the mass was said,
Upon the snowy neck and long dark hair,
“Strange doubts are mine !-Mona, draw nigh;
And there were foot-prints seen On the carved buttress rising still, Till on the mossy window-sill
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 !-
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 ?* 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 through bush and
tree, No time for benedicite! Like deer, that, rousing from their lair, Just shake the dew-drops from their hair, And toss their armed crests aloft, Such matins theirs !"_“Good mother, softWhere does my brother bend his way?"-—* “As I have heard, for Brodick-Bay, Across the isle-of barks a score Lie there, 'tis said, to waft them o'er, On sudden news, to Carrick-shore.""If such their purpose, deep the need," Said anxious Isabel, “ of speed ! Call Father Augustine, good dame.” The nun obey'd, the Father came.
3 MS.-"'Tis she herself."
The warriors from our woods have pass'd ?'' 6 MS.-"Canst tell where they have bent their way?"
Away, good father! and take heed,
But as, on Carrick-shore,
It kindled more and more.
Full strange to churchman's eye;
And helmets flashing high.
While, hastening all on board,
With many a haughty word.
VI. Heavy and dull the foot of age, And rugged was the pilgrimage; But none was there beside, whose care Might such important message bear. Through birchen copse he wander'd slow, Stunted and sapless, thin and low; By many a mountain stream he pass'd, From the tall cliffs in tumult cast, Dashing to foam their waters dun, And sparkling in the summer sun. Round his gray head the wild curlew In many a fearless circle flew. O'er chasms he pass'd, where fractures wide Craved wary eye and ample stride ;? He cross'd his brow beside the stone Where Druids erst heard victims groan, And at the cairns upon the wild, O'er many a heathen hero piled," He breathed a timid prayer for those Who died ere Shiloh's sun arose. Beside Macfarlane's Cross he staid, There told his hours within the shade, And at the stream his thirst allay'd. Thence onward journeying slowly still, As evening closed he reach'd the hill, Where, rising through the woodland green, Old Brodick's gothic towers were seen, From Hastings, late their English lord, Douglas had won them by the sword.5 The sun that sunk behind the isle, Now tinged them with a parting smile.
VIII. Through that wild throng the Father pass’d, And reach'd the Royal Bruce at last. He leant against a stranded boat, That the approaching tide must float, And counted every rippling wave, As higher yet her sides they lave, And oft the distant fire he eyed, And closer yet his hauberk tied, And loosen'd in its sheath his brand. Edward and Lennox were at hand, Douglas and Ronald had the care The soldiers to the barks to share.The Monk approach'd and homage paid; “ And art thou come,” King Robert said, “So far to bless us ere we part !”—
-“My Liege, and with a loyal heart ! But other charge I have to tell,”— And spoke the hest of Isabel. —“Now by Saint Giles,” the monarch cried, “ This moves me much !-this morning tide, I sent the stripling to Saint Bride, With my commandment there to bide.”_“Thither he came the portress show'd, But there, my Liege, made brief abode."
Far distant in the south, the ray
IX. “ 'Twas I," said Edward, “found employ Of nobler import for the boy. Deep pondering in my anxious mind, A fitting messenger to find, To bear my written mandate o'er To Cuthbert on the Carrick-shore,
1 MS.--" And cross the island took his way,
O'er hill and holt, to Brodick-Bay." ? See Appendix, Note 2 W. 3 MS.—“He cross'd him by the Druids' stone,
That heard of yore the victim's groan." 4 See Appendix, Note 2 X.
5 See Appendix, Note 2 Y.
It brighten'd more and more.
And now amid," &c.