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I chanced, at early dawn, to pass
That when by Bruce's side I fight,
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
Each steersman kept the helm aright,
Faintly the moon's pale beams supply
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.
Then were each brave and patriot heart
“Dost thou not rest thee on my arm?
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
-" 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.
The yew-tree lent its shadow brown."
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."
.“ 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,
But, says the priest, a bark from Lorn'
His nerves hath strung—he will not yield !
- What thoughts are his, while all in vain
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,
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."
-" by terror wrung
“last human ill."
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,