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His stifled wrath is brimming high,
In darken'd brow and flashing eye;
As waves before the bark divide,
The crowd gave way before his stride ;
Needs but a buffet and no more,
The groom lies senseless in his gore.
Such blow no other hand could deal,
Though gauntleted in glove of steel.
XXVI. Then clamour'd loud the royal train, And brandish'd swords and staves amain. But stern the Baron's warning—“Back!? Back, on your lives, ye menial pack! Beware the Douglas.—Yes! behold, King James ! The Douglas, doom'd of old, And vainly sought for near and far, A victim to atone the war, A willing victim, now attends, Nor craves thy grace but for his friends."-.. “Thus is my clemency repaid ? Presumptuous Lord !” the monarch said ; “Of thy mis-proud ambitious clan, Thou, James of Bothwell, wert the man, The only man, in whom a foe My woman-mercy would not know :
[MS.-“Clamour'd his comrades of the train.") [MS.-—"But stern the warrior's warning-Back!"
But shall a Monarch's presence brook?
Injurious blow, and haughty look ? —
What ho! The Captain of our Guard !
Give the offender fitting ward.—
Break off the sports !”—for tumult rose,
And yeomen 'gan to bend their bows,-
“Break off the sports !” he said, and frown's
“And bid our horsemen clear the ground.”
Then uproar wild and misarray
Marr'd the fair form of festal day.
The horsemen prick'd among the crowd,
Repell’d by threats and insult loud ; ?
To earth are borne the old and weak,
The timorous fly, the women shriek ;
With flint, with shaft, with staff, with bar,
The hardier urge tumultuous war.
At once round Douglas darkly sweep
The royal spears in circle deep,
And slowly scale the pathway steep :
While on the rear in thunder pour
The rabble with disorder'd roar.
With grief the noble Douglas saw
The Commons rise against the law,
?[MS.—“But in my court, injurious blow,
And bearded thus, and thus out-dared!
What ho! the Captain of our Guard !”] : [MS.-" Their threats repelled by insult loud."]
And to the leading soldier said, -
“ Sir John of Hyndford ! 'twas my blade
That knighthood on thy shoulder laid ;
For that good deed, permit me then
A word with these misguided men.
“ Hear, gentle friends! ere yet for me,
Ye break the bands of fealty.
My life, my honour, and my cause,
I tender free to Scotland's laws.
Are these so weak as must require
The aid of your misguided ire ?
Or, if I suffer causeless wrong,
rage so strong,
My sense of public weal so low,
That, for mean vengeance on a foe,
Those cords of love I should unbind,
Which knit my country and my kind ?
Oh no! Believe in yonder tower
It will not soothe my captive hour,
To know those spears our foes should dread,
For me in kindred gore are red;
To know, in fruitless brawl begun,
that mother wails her son; For me, that widow's mate expires; For me, that orphans weep their sires; That patriots mourn insulted laws, And curse the Douglas for the cause.
O let your patience ward such ill,
And keep your right to love me still !"
The crowd's wild fury sunk again?
In tears, as tempests melt in rain.
With lifted hands and eyes, they pray'd
For blessings on his generous head,
Who for his country felt alone,
And prized her blood beyond his own.
Old men, upon
verge Bless'd him who staid the civil strife; And mothers held their babes on high, The self-devoted Chief to spy, Triumphant over wrongs and ire, To whom the prattlers owed a sire : Even the rough soldier's heart was moved; As if behind some bier beloved, With trailing arms and drooping head, The Douglas up the hill he led, And at the castle's battled verge, With sighs resign'd his honour'd charge.
The offended Monarch rode apart,
With bitter thought and swelling heart,
[MS.-" The crowd's wild fury ebb'd amain
In tears, as tempests sink in rain."]
And would not now vouchsafe again
Through Stirling streets to lead his train.
"O Lennox, who would wish to rule
This changeling crowd, this common fool?
Hear'st thou," he said, "the loud acclaim
With which they shout the Douglas name?
With like acclaim, the vulgar throat
Strain'd for King James their morning note :
With like acclaim they hail'd the day
When first I broke the Douglas' sway;
And like acclaim would Douglas greet,
If he could hurl me from my seat.
Who o'er the herd would wish to reign,
Fantastic, fickle, fierce, and vain !
Vain as the leaf
And fickle as a changeful dream;
Fantastic as a woman's mood,
And fierce as Frenzy's fever'd blood.
Thou many-headed monster thing,
O who would wish to be thy king!
1 [MS.—“Vain as the sick man's idle dream."]
2 [ ---" Who deserves greatness,
Deserves your hate; and your affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours, swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye!
With every minute you do change a mind;
And call him noble, that was now your hate,
Him vile that was your garland."
Coriolanus, Act I. Scene I.!