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Canto V

Turn'd on the horse his armed heel,
And stirr'd his courage with the steel.
Bounded the fiery steed in air,
The rider sate erect and fair,

Then like a bolt from steel crossbow
Forth launch'd, along the plain they go.
They dash'd that rapid torrent through,
And up Carhonie's hill they flew ;
Still at the gallop prick'd the Knight,
His merry-men follow'd as they might.
Along thy banks, swift Teith! they ride,
And in the race they mock thy tide;
Torry and Lendrick now are past,
And Deanstown lies behind them cast;
They rise, the banner'd towers of Doune,
They sink in distant woodland soon;
Blair-Drummond sees the hoofs strike fire,
They sweep like breeze through Ochter-

They mark just glance and disappear
The lofty brow of ancient Kier;

They bathe their coursers' sweltering sides,
Dark Forth! amid thy sluggish tides,
And on the opposing shore take ground,
With splash, with scramble, and with bound.
Right-hand they leave thy cliffs, Craig-

And soon the bulwark of the North,
Grey Stirling, with her towers and town,
Upon their fleet career look'd down.

The Combat

Canto V

The Combat


As up the flinty path they strain'd,
Sudden his steed the leader rein'd;
A signal to his squire he flung,

Who instant to his stirrup sprung:-
'See'st thou, De Vaux, yon woodsman grey
Who town-ward holds the rocky way,
Of stature tall and poor array ?

Mark'st thou the firm, yet active stride,

With which he scales the mountain-side?
Know'st thou from whence he comes, or

'No, by my word;-a burly groom
He seems, who in the field or chase
A baron's train would nobly grace.'-
'Out, out, De Vaux! can fear supply,
And jealousy, no sharper eye?

Afar, ere to the hill he drew,

That stately form and step I knew;
Like form in Scotland is not seen,
Treads not such step on Scottish green.
'Tis James of Douglas, by Saint Serle!
The uncle of the banish'd Earl.

Away, away, to court, to show

The near approach of dreaded foe.

The King must stand upon his guard;

Douglas and he must meet prepared.'

Then right-hand wheel'd their steeds, and straight

They won the castle's postern gate.


The Douglas, who had bent his way
From Cambus-Kenneth's abbey grey,
Now, as he climb'd the rocky shelf,
Held sad communion with himself:-
'Yes! all is true my fears could frame;
A prisoner lies the noble Græme,
And fiery Roderick soon will feel
The vengeance of the royal steel.
I, only I, can ward their fate,-
God grant the ransom come not late!
The Abbess hath her promise given,
My child shall be the bride of Heaven;-
-Be pardon'd one repining tear!
For He, who gave her, knows how dear,
How excellent! but that is by,

And now my business is-to die.

Ye towers! within whose circuit dread

A Douglas by his sovereign bled;

And thou, O sad and fatal mound!
That oft hast heard the death-axe sound,
As on the noblest of the land

Fell the stern headsman's bloody hand,-
The dungeon, block, and nameless tomb
Prepare-for Douglas seeks his doom!
---But hark! what blithe and jolly peal
Makes the Franciscan steeple reel?
And see! upon the crowded street,
In motley groups what masquers meet!
Banner and pageant, pipe and drum,
And merry morrice-dancers come.

Canto V

The Combat

Canto V

The Combat

I guess, by all this quaint array,

The burghers hold their sports to-day.
James will be there; he loves such show,
Where the good yeoman bends his bow,
And the tough wrestler foils his foe,
As well as where, in proud career,
The high-born tilter shivers spear.
I'll follow to the Castle-park,

And play my prize ;---King James shall mark,
If age has tamed these sinews stark,

Whose force so oft, in happier days,

His boyish wonder loved to praise.'


The Castle gates were open flung,
The quivering drawbridge rock'd and rung,
And echo'd loud the flinty street
Beneath the coursers' clattering feet,
As slowly down the steep descent
Fair Scotland's King and nobles went,
While all along the crowded way
Was jubilee and loud huzza.

And ever James was bending low,

To his white jennet's saddlebow,

Doffing his cap to city dame,

Who smiled and blush'd for pride and shame.
And well the simperer might be vain,—

He chose the fairest of the train.

Gravely he greets each city sire,
Commends each pageant's quaint attire,

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