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XXXI. • But soft! what messenger of speed Spurs hitherward his panting steed? I guess his cognizance afarWhat from our cousin, John of Mar ?" “ He prays, my liege, your sports keep bound Within the safe and guarded ground: For some foul purpose yet unknown Most sure for evil to the throne, The outlaw'd Chieftain, Roderick Dhu, Has summon’d his rebellious crew; 'Tis said, in James of Bothwell's aid These loose banditti stand array'd. The Earl of Mar, this morn, from Doune, To break their muster march’d, and soon Your grace will hear of battle fought; But earnestly the Earl besought, Till for such danger he provide, With scanty train you will not ride.” 1

“ Thou warn'st me I have done amiss,
I should have earlier looked to this :
I lost it in this bustling day.
Retrace with speed thy former way;
Spare not for spoiling of thy steed,
The best of mine shall be thy meed.

* (MS.—“On distant chase you will pot

Say to our faithful Lord of Mar,
We do forbid the intended war :
Roderick, this morn, in single fight,
Was made our prisoner by a knight;
And Douglas hath himself and cause
Submitted to our kingdom's laws.
The tidings of their leaders lost
Will soon dissolve the mountain host,
Nor would we that the vulgar feel,
For their Chief's crimes avenging steel.
Bear Mar our message, Braco : fly!":
He turn'd his steed, -"My liege, I hie ----
Yet, ere I cross this lily lawn,
I fear the broadswords will be drawn."
The turf the flying courser spurn'd,
And to his towers the King return'd.

Ill with King James's mood that day,
Suited gay feast and minstrel lay;
Soon were dismiss'd the courtly throng,
And soon cut short the festal song.
Nor less upon the sadden'd town
The evening sunk in sorrow down.
The burghers spoke of civil jar,
Of rumour'd feuds and mountain war,
Of Moray, Mar, and Roderick Dhu,
All up in arms :--the Douglas too,

They mourn'd him pent within the hold,
" Where stout Earl William was of old.”!
And there his word the speaker staid,
And finger on his lip he laid,
Or pointed to his dagger blade.
But jaded horsemen, from the west,
At evening to the Castle press'd;
And busy talkers said they bore
Tidings of fight on Katrine's shore;
At noon the deadly fray begun,
And lasted till the set of sun.
Thus giddy rumour shook the town,
Till closed the Night her pennons brown.

1 Stabbed by James II. in Stirling Castla

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