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Fierce Roderick felt the fatal drain,
And shower'd his blows like wintry rain;
And, as firm rock, or castle-roof,

Against the winter shower is proof,
The foe, invulnerable still,

Foil'd his wild rage by steady skill;

Till, at advantage ta'en, his brand
Forced Roderick's weapon from his hand,
And backward borne upon the lea,
Brought the proud Chieftain to his knee.


'Now, yield thee, or by Him who made
The world, thy heart's blood dyes my blade!'-
'Thy threats, thy mercy, I defy!

Let recreant yield, who fears to die.'
-Like adder darting from his coil,
Like wolf that dashes through the toil,
Like mountain-cat who guards her young,
Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung;
Receiv'd, but reck'd not of a wound,
And lock'd his arms his foeman round.-
Now, gallant Saxon, hold thine own!
No maiden's hand is round thee thrown!
That desperate grasp thy frame might feel,
Through bars of brass and triple steel!—
They tug, they strain! down, down they go,
The Gael above, Fitz-James below.
The Chieftain's gripe his throat compress'd,
His knee was planted in his breast;

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His clotted locks he backward threw,
Across his brow his hand he drew,
From blood and mist to clear his sight,
Then gleam'd aloft his dagger bright!-
—But hate and fury ill supplied
The stream of life's exhausted tide,
And all too late the advantage came,
To turn the odds of deadly game;

For, while the dagger gleam'd on high,
Reel'd soul and sense, reel'd brain and eye.
Down came the blow! but in the heath
The erring blade found bloodless sheath.
The struggling foe may now unclasp
The fainting Chief's relaxing grasp;
Unwounded from the dreadful close,
But breathless all, Fitz-James arose.

Canto V

The Combat


He falter'd thanks to Heaven for life,
Redeem'd, unhoped, from desperate strife;
Next on his foe his look he cast,

Whose every gasp appear'd his last;

In Roderick's gore he dipp'd the braid,—
'Poor Blanche! thy wrongs are dearly paid;
Yet with thy foe must die, or live,

The praise that Faith and Valour give.'
With that he blew a bugle-note,

Undid the collar from his throat,

Unbonneted, and by the wave

Sat down his brow and hands to lave.

Canto V



Then faint afar are heard the feet
Of rushing steeds in gallop fleet;
The sounds increase, and now are seen
Four mounted squires in Lincoln green;
Two who bear lance, and two who lead,
By loosen'd rein, a saddled steed;
Each onward held his headlong course,
And by Fitz-James rein'd up his horse,-
With wonder view'd the bloody spot-
'Exclaim not, gallants! question not.-
You, Herbert and Luffness, alight,
And bind the wounds of yonder knight;
Let the grey palfrey bear his weight,
We destined for a fairer freight,
And bring him on to Stirling straight;
I will before at better speed,

To seek fresh horse and fitting weed.
The sun rides high;-I must be boune,
To see the archer game at noon;
But lightly Bayard clears the lea.-
De Vaux and Herries, follow me.


'Stand, Bayard, stand!'-the steed obey'd,
With arching neck and bended head,
And glancing eye and quivering ear,
As if he loved his lord to hear.

No foot Fitz-James in stirrup staid,
No grasp upon the saddle laid,

But wreath'd his left hand in the mane,

And lightly bounded from the plain.

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