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I chanced, at early dawn, to pass
The chapel gate to snatch a mass.
I found the stripling on a tomb
Low-seated, weeping for the doom
That gave his youth to convent gloom.
I told my purpose, and his eyes
Flash'd joyful at the glad surprise.
He bounded to the skiff, the sail
Was spread before a prosperous gale,
And well my charge he hath obey'd;
For, see! the ruddy signal made,
That Clifford, with his merry-men all,
Guards carelessly our father's hall."

That when by Bruce's side I fight,
For Scotland's crown and Freedom's right,
The princess grace her knight to bear
Some token of her favoring care;
It shall be shown where England's best
May shrink to see it on my crest.
And for the boy-since weightier care
For royal Bruce the times prepare,
The helpless youth is Ronald's charge,
His couch my plaid, his fence my targe."
He ceased; for many an eager hand
Had urged the barges from the strand.
Their number was a score and ten,
They bore thrice threescore chosen men.
With such small force did Bruce at last
The die for death or empire cast !

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X. "O wild of thought, and hard of heart!" Answer'd the Monarch,“ on a part Of such deep danger to employ A mute, an orphan, and a boy ! Unfit for flight, unfit for strife, Without a tongue to plead for life! Now, were my right restored by Heaven, Edward, my crown I would have given, Ere, thrust on such adventure wild, I perild thus the helpless child.”— -Offended half, and half submiss, "Brother and Liege, of blame like this," Edward replied, “I little dream'd. A stranger messenger, I deem'd, Might safest seek the beadsman's cell, Where all thy squires are known so well. Noteless his presence, sharp his sense, His imperfection his defence. If seen, none can his errand guess ; If ta'en, his words no tale expressMethinks, too, yonder beacon's shine Might expiate greater fault than mine."“Rash," said King Robert, “was the deedBut it is done.—Embark with speed! Good Father, say to Isabel How this unhappy chance befell; If well we thrive on yonder shore, Soon shall my care her page restore. Our greeting to our sister bear, And think of us in mass and prayer.”—

XII. Now on the darkening main afloat, Ready and mann'd rocks every boat ; Beneath their oars the ocean's might Was dash'd to sparks of glimmering light. Faint and more faint, as off they bore, Their armor glanced against the shore, And, mingled with the dashing tide, Their murmuring voices distant died. “ God speed them !" said the Priest, as dark On distant billows glides each bark; “O Heaven! when swords for freedom shine, And monarch's right, the cause is thine ! Edge doubly every patriot blow! Beat down the banners of the foe! And be it to the nations known, That Victory is from God alone !" As up the hill his path he drew, He turn'd his blessings to renew, Oft turn'd, till on the darken'd coast All traces of their course were lost; Then slowly bent to Brodick tower, To shelter for the evening hour.

XI. " Aye!" said the Priest,“ while this poor hand Can chalice raise or cross command, While my old voice has accents' use, Can Augustine forget the Bruce !" Then to his side Lord Ronald press’d, And whisper'd, “ Bear thou this request,

XIII. In night the fairy prospects sink, Where Cumray's isles with verdant link Close the fair entrance of the Clyde; The woods of Bute, no more descried, Are gone and on the placid sea The rowers ply their task with glee, While hands that knightly lances bore Impatient aid the laboring oar. The half-faced moon shone dim and pale, And glanced against the whiten'd sail; But on that ruddy beacon-light

1 The MS. reads :

“Keeps careless guard in Turnberry hall." See Appendix, Note 3 A. 2 MS.-"Said Robert, to assign a part

Of such deep peril, to employ

A mute, a stranger, and a boy !!” 3 MS.

is thine alone !" 4 MS.-"Have sunk."

Or would thy dauntless heart endure
Once more to make assurance sure ?”—
"Hush !" said the Bruce, “we soon shall know,
If this be sorcerer's empty show,
Or stratagem of southern foe.
The moon shines out—upon the sand
Let every leader rank his band."


Each steersman kept the helm aright,
And oft, for such the King's command,
That all at once might reach the strand,
From boat to boat loud shout and hail
Warn'd them to crowd or slacken sail.
South and by west the armada bore,
And near at length the Carrick-shore.
And less and less the distance grows,
High and more high the beacon rose;
The light, that seem'd a twinkling star,
Now blazed portentous, fierce, and far.
Dark-red the heaven above it glow'd,
Dark-red the sea beneath it flow'd,
Red rose the rocks on ocean's brim,
In blood-red light her islets swim;
Wild scream the dazzled sea-fowl gave,
Dropp'd from their crags on plashing wave.?
The deer to distant covert drew,
The black-cock deem'd it day, and crew.
Like some tall castle given to flame,
O'er half the land the lustre came.
“Now, good my Liege, and brother sage,
What think ye of mine elfin page !"-
“Row on!” the noble King replied,
“We'll learn the truth whate'er betide;
Yet sure the beadsman and the child
Could ne'er have waked that beacon wild."

Faintly the moon's pale beams supply
That ruddy light's unnatural dye;
The dubious cold reflection lay
On the wet sands and quiet bay.
Beneath the rocks King Robert drew
His scatter'd files to order due,
Till shield compact and serried spear
In the cool light shone blue and clear.
Then down a path that sought the tide,
That speechless page was seen to glide;
He knelt him lowly on the sand,
And gave a scroll to Robert's hand.
“A torch," the Monarch cried, " What, ho!
Now shall we Cuthbert's tidings know."
But evil news the letters bare,
The Clifford's force was strong and ware,
Augmented, too, that very morn,
By mountaineers who came with Lorn.
Long harrow'd by oppressor's hand,
Courage and faith had fled the land,
And over Carrick, dark and deep,
Had sunk dejection’s iron sleep.-
Cuthbert had seen that beacon-flame,
Unwitting from what source it came.
Doubtful of perilous event,
Edward's mute messenger he sent,
If Bruce deceived should venture o'er,
To warn him from the fatal shore.

XIV. With that the boats approach'd the land, But Edward's grounded on the sand; The eager Knight leap'd in the sea Waist-deep, and first on shore was he, Though every barge's hardy band Contended which should gain the land, When that strange light, which, seen afar, Seem'd steady as the polar star, Now, like a prophet's' fiery chair, Seem'd travelling the realms of air. Wide o'er the sky the splendor glows, As that portentous meteor rose; Helm, axe, and falchion glitter'd bright, And in the red and dusky light His comrade's face each warrior saw, Nor marvell’d it was pale with awe. Then high in air the beams were lost, And darkness sunk upon the coast.Ronald to Heaven a prayer address'd, And Douglas cross'd his dauntless breast; "Saint James protect us!” Lennox cried, But reckless Edward spoke aside, “Deem'st thou, Kirkpatrick, in that flame Red Comyn’s angry spirit came,

XVI. As round the torch the leaders crowd, Bruce read these chilling news aloud. “What council, nobles, have we now!To ambush us in greenwood bough, And take the chance which fate may send To bring our enterprise to end, Or shall we turn us to the main As exiles, and embark again ?"Answer'd fierce Edward, “Hap what may, In Carrick, Carrick's Lord must stay. I would not minstrels told the tale, Wildfire or meteor' made us quail."— Answer'd the Douglas, “ If my Liege May win yon walls by storm or siege,

1 MS.-"And from their crags plasb'd in the wave." 2 MS.-“With that the barges near'd the land.” 3 MS.--"A wizard's." 4 MS.-"Gallants be hush'd; we soon shall know,'

Said Bruce, if this be sorcerer's show." 6 MS.

** on the moisten'd sand." 6 MS.-" That Clifford's force in watch were ware." 7 MS.-"A wildfire meteor," &e.

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Then were each brave and patriot heart
Kindled of new for loyal part.”-
Answer'd Lord Ronald, “ Not for shame
Would I that aged Torquil came,
And found, for all our empty boast,
Without a blow we fled the coast.
I will not credit that this land,
So famed for warlike heart and hand,
The nurse of Wallace and of Bruce,
Will long with tyrants hold a truce.”
“ Prove we our fate—the brunt we'll bide !"
So Boyd and Haye and Lennox cried;
So said, so vow'd, the leaders all;
So Bruce resolved: “And in my hall
Since the Bold Southern make their home,
The hour of payment soon shall come,
When with a rough and rugged host
Clifford may reckon to his cost.
Meantime, through well-known bosk and dell,
I'll lead where we may shelter well.”

“Dost thou not rest thee on my arm?
Do not my plaid-folds hold thee warm?
Hath not the wild-bull's treble hide
This targe for thee and me supplied ?
Is not Clan-Colla's sword of steel ?
And, trembler, canst thou terror feel?
Cheer thee, and still that throbbing heart;
From Ronald's guard thou shalt not part.”
-01 many a shaft at random sent,
Finds mark the archer little meant !
And many a word, at random spoken,
May soothe or wound a heart that's broken!
Half soothed, half grieved, half terrified,
Close drew the page to Ronald's side;
A wild delirious thrill of joy
Was in that hour of agony,

the steepy pass he strove, Fear, toil, and sorrow,

lost in love!

XVIL Now ask you whence that wondrous light, Whose fairy glow beguiled their sight! It ne'er was known-yet gray-hair'd eld A superstitious credence held, That never did a mortal hand Wake its broad glare on Carrick strand; Nay, and that on the self-same night When Bruce cross'd o'er, still gleams the light. Yearly it gleams o'er mount and moor, And glittering wave and crimson'd shoreBut whether beam celestial, lent By Heaven to aid the King's descent, Or fire hell-kindled from beneath, To lure him to defeat and death, Or were it but some meteor strange, Of such as oft through midnight range, Startling the traveller late and lone, I know not-and it ne'er was known.

XIX. The barrier of that iron shore, The rock's steep ledge, is now climb'd o'er ; And from the castle's distant wall, From tower to tower the warders call : The sound swings over land and sea, And marks a watchful enemy. They gain'd the Chase, a wide domain Left for the Castle’s silvan reign? (Seek not the scene—the axe, the plough, The boor's dull fence, have marr'd it now), But then, soft swept in elvet green The plain with many a glade between, Whose tangled alleys far invade The depth of the brown forest shade. Here the tall fern obscured the lawn, Fair shelter for the sportive fawn; There, tufted close with copsewood green, Was many a swelling hillock seen; And all around was verdure meet For pressure of the fairies' feet. The glossy holly loved the park, The yew-tree lent its shadow dark, And many an old oak, worn and bare, With all its shiver'd boughs, was there. Lovely between, the moonbeams fell On lawn and hillock, glade and delí. The gallant Monarch sigh’d to see These glades so loved in childhood free, Bethinking that, as outlaw, now, He ranged beneath the forest bough.'

XVIII. Now up the rocky pass they drew, And, Ronald, to his promise true, Still made his arm the stripling's stay, To aid him on the rugged way. “Now cheer thee, simple Amadine! Why throbs that silly heart of thine ?”-That name the pirates to their slave (In Gaelic 'tis the Changeling) gave

1 MS.

-" to play their part." 2 MS.-"Since Clifford needs will make his home,

The hour of reckoning soon shall come.' 3 MS.-"The Knight shall reckon," &c. 4 See Appendix, Note 3 B. 5 MS.--"Such as through midnight ether range,

Affrightening oft the traveller lone." 6 MS.--"Sounds sadly over land and sea."

7 See Appendix, Note 3 C.
8 MS." The dark-green holly loved the down,

The yew-tree lent its shadow brown."
9 “ Their moonlight muster on the beach, after the sudden
extinction of this portentous flame, and their midnight march
through the paternal fields of their royal leader, also display
much beautiful painting (stanzas 15 and 19). After the cas-
tle is won, the same strain is parsued."--JEFFREY.

XX. Fast o'er the moonlight Chase they sped. Well knew the band that measured tread, When, in retreat or in advance, The serried warriors move at once; And evil were the luck, if dawn Descried them on the open lawn. Copses they traverse, brooks they cross, Strain up the bank and o'er the moss. From the exhausted page's brow? Cold drops of toil are streaming now; With effort faint and lengthen'd pause, His weary step the stripling draws. “Nay, droop not yet !" the warrior said ;

Come, let me give thee ease and aid ! Strong are mine arms, and little care A weight so slight as thine to bear.-What! wilt thou not !-capricious boy! Then thine own limbs and strength employ. Pass but this night, and pass thy care, I'll place thee with a lady fair, Where thou shalt tune thy lute to tell How Ronald loves fair Isabel !" Worn out, dishearten'd, and dismay'd, Here Amadine let go the plaid; His trembling limbs their aid refuse," He sunk among the midnight dews !

XXII. Thus strangely left, long sobb’d and wept The page, till, wearied out, he sleptA rough voice waked his dream—“Nay, here, Here by this thicket, pass’d the deerBeneath that oak old Ryno staidWhat have we here !-a Scottish plaid, And in its folds a stripling laid ?Come forth! thy name and business tell !What, silent !—then I guess thee well The spy that sought old Cuthbert's cell, Wafted from Arran yester mornCome, comrades, we will straight return. Our Lord may choose the rack should teach To this young lurcher use of speech. Thy bow-string, till I bind him fast.”« Nay, but he weeps and stands aghast; Unbound we'll lead him, fear it not; 'Tis a fair stripling, though a Scot." The hunters to the castle sped, And there the hapless captive led.

XXIII. Stout Clifford in the castle-court Prepared him for the morning sport; And now with Lorn held deep discourse, Now gave command for hound and horse. War-steeds and palfreys paw'd the ground, And many a deer-dog howld around. To Amadine, Lorn's well-known word Replying to that Southern Lord, Mix'd with this clanging din, might seem The phantasm of a fever'd dream. The tone upon his ringing ears Came like the sounds which fancy hears, 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."

XXI. What may be done l--the night is gone The Bruce's band moves swiftly onEternal shame, if at the brunt Lord Ronald grace not battle's front ! "See yonder oak, within whose trunk Decay a darken'd cell hath sunk; Enter, and rest thee there a space, Wrap in my plaid thy limbs, thy face. I will not be, believe me, far; But must not quit the ranks of war. Well will I mark the bosky bourne, And soon, to guard thee hence, return.Nay, weep not so, thou simple boy ! But sleep in peace, and wake in joy." In silvan lodging close bestow'd," He placed the page, and onward strode With strength put forth, o'er moss and brook, And soon the marching band o'ertook.

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.

1 MS.-"From Amadyne's exhausted brow."
2 MS.--"And double toil," &c.
3 MS.-“Nay fear not yet,”' &c.
4 MS.-

.“ his weight refuse." 6“ This canto is not distinguished by many passages of extraordinary merit; as it is, however, full of business, and comparatively free from those long rhyming dialogues which are so frequent in the poem, it is, upon the whole, spirited and pleasing. The scene in which Ronald is described sheltering Edith under his plaid, for the love which he bears to Isabel, is, we think, more poetically conceived than any other in the whole

poem, and contains some touches of great pathos and beanty." -Quarterly Review.

6 MS." And mantle in my plaid thy face." 7 MS.-" In silvan castle warm bestow'd,

He left the page.” 8 MS.-"And row with Lorn he spoke aside,

And now to squire and yeoman cried.

War-horse and palfrey," &c. 9 MS.

-" or roaring wind,
Some words of woe his musings find,
Till spoke more loudly and more near
These words arrest the page's ear."

But, says the priest, a bark from Lorn'
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 !?
Thrice better she had ne'er been born,
Than brought her infamy on Lorn!"

His nerves hath strung—he will not yield !
Since that poor breath, that little word,
May yield Lord Ronald to the sword.—
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 naught 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 tidings 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;4 and let him wave In air, unless, by terror wrung, A frank confession find his tongue.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.”— “O brother! cruel to the last !" Through the poor captive's bosom pass'd The thought, but, to his purpose true, He said not, though he sigh’d, “ Adieu !"

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, “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. -Douglas, lead fifty of our force Up yonder hollow water-course, And couch thee midway on the wold, Between the flyers and their hold; A spear above the copse display'd, Be signal of the ambush made. -Edward, with forty spearmen, straight Through yonder copse approach the gate, And, when thou hear'st the battle-din, Rush forward, and the passage win, Secure the drawbridge-storm the port, And man and guard the castle-court.The rest move slowly forth with me, In shelter of the forest-tree, Till Douglas at his post I see."

XXVI. And will he keep his purpose still, In sight of that last closing ill, 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 steel'd,


1 MS.-" To all save to himself alone.

Then, says he, that a bark from Lorn

Laid him aboard,” &c. . In place of the couplet which follows, the MS. has :

* For, stood she there, and should refuse

The choice my better purpose views,
I'd spurn her like a bond-maid tame,
Lost to
resentment and to

shame." each sense of pride and 3 MS.-“ A spy, whom, guided by our hound,

Lorking conceal'd this morn we found."

4 MS.-" Yon scathed oak."
6 MS.

-" by terror wrung
To speech, confession finds his tongue."

“last human ill."
7 MS. -- " Since that one word, that little breath,

May speak Lord Ronald's doom of death." 8 MS.-" Beneath that shatter'd old oak-tree,

Design'd the slaughter-place to be." 9 MS.-“Soon as the due lament was play'd,

The Island Lord in fury said,
* By Heaven they lead,' &c.

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