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XXIII.
Now, clear the ring! for, hand to hand,
The manly wrestlers take their stand.

he guess

casion of the king's hunting in the park of Stirling, he casts himself to be in his way, as he was coming home to the castle. So soon as the king saw him afar off, ere he came near, ed it was he, and said to one of his courtiers, yonder is my Grey-Steill, Archibald of Kilspindie, if he be alive. The other answered, that it could not be he, and that he durst not come into the king's presence. The king approaching, he fell upon his knees and craved nardon, and promised from thenceforward to abstain from meddling in public affairs, and to lead a quiet and private life. The king went by without giving him any answer, and trotted a good round pace up the hill. Kilspindie followed, and, though he wore on him a secret, or shirt of mail, for his particular enemies, was as soon at the castle gate as the king. There he sat him down upon a stone without, and entreated some of the king's servants for a cup of drink, being weary and thirsty; but they, fearing the king's displeasure, durst give him none. When the king was set at his dinner, he asked what he had done, what he had said, and whither he had gone? It was told him that he had desired a cup of drink, and had gotten

The king reproved them very sharply for their discourtesy, and told them, that if he had not taken an oath that no Douglas should ever serve him, he would have received him into his service, for he had seen him sometime a man of great ability. Then he sent him word to go to Leith, and expect his farther pleasure. Then some kinsmen of David Falconer, the cannonier, that was slain at Tantallon, began to quarrel with Archibald about the matter, wherewith the king showed himself not well pleased when he heard of it. Then he commanded him to go to France for a certain space, till he heard farther from him. And so he did, and died shortly after. This gave occasion to the King of England, (Henry VIII.) to blame his nephew, alleging the old saying, That a king's face should give grace. For

none.

Two o'er the rest superior rose,
And proud demanded mightier foes,
Nor call'd in vain ; for Douglas came.
-For life is Hugh of Larbert lame;
Scarce better John of Alloa's fare,
Whom senseless home his comrades bear.
Prize of the wrestling match, the King
To Douglas gave a golden ring,
While coldly glanced his eye of blue,
As frozen drop of wintry dew.

1

this Archibald (whatsoever were Angus's or Sir George's fault) had not been principal actor of anything, nor no counsellor nor stirrer up, but only a follower of his friends, and that noways cruelly disposed."--HUME of Godscroft, ii. 107.

1 The usual prize of a wrestling was a ram and a ring, but the animal would have embarrassed my story. Thus, in the Cokes Tale of Gamelyn, ascribed to Chaucer :

“There happed to be there beside

Tryed a wrestling;
And therefore there was y-setten

A ram and als a ring."
Again the Litil Geste of Robin Hood :

“By a bridge was a wrestling,
And there taryed was he,
And there was all the best yemen

Of all the west countrey.
A full fayre game there was set up,

A white bull up y-pight,
A great courser with saddle and brydle,

With gold burnished full bryght;
A payre of gloves, a red golde ringe,

A pipe of wyne good fay;
What man bereth him best, I wis,
The prize shall bear away."

Ritsox's Robin Hood, vol. 1

Douglas would speak, but in his breast
His struggling soul his words suppress'd;
Indignant then he turn'd him where
Their arms the brawny yeomen bare,
To hurl the massive bar in air.
When each his utmost strength had shown,
The Douglas rent an earth-fast stone
From its deep bed, then heaved it high,
And sent the fragment through the sky,
A rood beyond the farthest mark ;
And still in Stirling's royal park,
The grey-hair'd sires, who know the past,
To strangers point the Douglas-cast,
And moralize on the decay
Of Scottish strength in modern day.'

XXIV.
The vale with loud applauses rang,
The Ladies' Rock sent back the clang.
The King, with look unmov'd, bestow'd
A

purse well fill'd with pieces broad. Indignant smiled the Douglas proud, And threw the gold among the crowd, Who with anxious wonder scan, And sharper glance, the dark grey man;

3

now,

! [MS.-'. Of mortal strength in inodern day."] [MS."

-“ A purse weigh'd down with pieces broad." s(MS. _ Scattered the gold among the crowd.")

2

Till whispers rose among the throng,
That heart so free, and hand so strong,
Must to the Douglas blood belong;
The old men mark'd, and shook the head,
To see his hair with silver spread,
And wink'd aside, and told each son,
Of feats upon the English done,
Ere Douglas of the stalwart hand'
Was exiled from his native land.
The women prais'd his stately form,
Though wreck'd by many a winter's storm ;'
The youth with awe and wonder saw
His strength surpassing Nature's law.
Thus judged, as is their wont, the crowd.
Till murmur rose to clamours loud.
But not a glance from that proud ring
Of peers who circled round the King,
With Douglas held communion kind,
Or call’d the banish'd man to mind;
No, not from those who, at the chase,
Once held his side the honour'd place,
Begirt his board, and, in the field,
Found safety underneath his shield;
For he, whom royal eyes disown,
When was his form to courtiers known!

3

i [MS.—“Ere James of Douglas' stalwart hand.”] 2 [MS.—“ Though worn by many a winter storm.") 3 [MS.-“ Or called his stately form to mind.")

XXV. The monarch saw the gambols flag, And bade let loose a gallant stag, Whose pride the holiday to crown, Two favourite greyhounds should pull down, That vension free, and Bourdeaux wine, Might serve the archery to dine. But Lufra,—whom from Douglas' side Nor bribe nor threat, could ere divide The fleetest hound in all the North, --Brave Lufra

saw,

and darted forth.
She left the royal hounds mid-way,
And dashing on the antler'd prey,
Sunk her sharp muzzle in his flank,
And deep the flowing life-blood drank.
The King's stout huntsman saw the sport
By strange intruder broken short,
Came up, and, with his leash unbound,
In
anger

struck the noble hound.
-The Douglas had endured, that morn,
The King's cold look, the nobles' scorn,
And last, and worst to spirit proud,
Had borne the pity of the crowd ;
But Lufra had been fondly bred,
To share his board, to watch his bed,
And oft would Ellen, Lufra's neck,
In maiden glee, with garlands deck;
They were such playmates, that with name
Of Lufra, Ellen's image came.

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