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Moves our free course by such fixed cause Wrenching from ruined Lowland swain As gives the poor mechanic laws ?
His herds and harvest reared in vain,Enough, I sought to drive away
Methinks a soul like thine should scorn The lazy hours of peaceful day;
The spoils from such foul foray borne.” Slight cause will then suffice to guide
I marked thee send delighted eye,
Far to the south and east, where lay,
Extended in succession gay, “Thy secret keep, I urge thee not;
Deep-waving fields and pastures green, Yet, ere again ye sought this spot,
With gentle slopes and groves between; Say, heard ye nought of Lowland war, These fertile plains, that softened vale, Against Clan-Alpine, raised by Mar?”- Were once the birthright of the Gael; “No, by my word;—of bands prepared The stranger came with iron hand, To guard King James's sports I heard; And from our fathers reft the land. Nor doubt I aught, but, when they hear Where dwell we now? See, rudely swell This muster of the mountaineer,
Crag over crag, and fell o'er fell. Their pennons will abroad be flung,
Ask we this savage hill we tread, Which else in Doune had peaceful hung.” For fattened steer or household bread;
Free be they flung!--for we were loth Ask we for flocks these shingles dry,
Your own good blades must win the rest.'
The Saxon rears one shock of grain ; Who, in the Regent's court and sight, While, of ten thousand herds, there strays With ruffian dagger stabbed a knight; But one along yon river's maze, --Yet this alone might from his part
The Gael, of plain and river heir, Sever each true and loyal heart."
Shall with strong hand redeem his share. VIII.
Where live the mountain Chiefs who hold Wrathful at such arraignment foul, That plundering Lowland field and fold Dark lowered the clansman's sable scowl. Is aught but retribution true ?A space he paused, then sternly said,- Seek other cause 'gainst Roderick Dhu.”And heardst thou why he drew his blade?
X. Heardst thou that shameful word and Answered Fitz-James—“And, if I sought, blow
Think'st thou no other could be brought? Brought Roderick's vengeance on his foe? What deem ye of my path waylaid? What recked the Chieftain if he stood My life given o'er to ambuscade?". On Highland heath or Holy-Rood?
As of a meed to rashness due. He rights such wrong where it is given, Hadst thou sent warning fair and true, If it were in the court of Heaven.".
'I seek my hound or falcon strayed, -"Still was it outrage;—yet, 'tis true, I seek, good faith, a Highland maid,'Not then claimed sovereignty his due; Free hadst thou been to come and go; While Albany, with feeble hand,
But secret path marks secret foe.
Save to fulfil an augury.”-
To chafe thy mood and cloud thy brow.
XI. “Have, then, thy wish !"--he whistled
shrill, And he was answered from the hill; Wild as the scream of the curlew, From crag to crag the signal flew. Instant, through copse and heath, arose Bonnets and spears and bended bows; On right, on left, above, below, Sprung up at once the lurking foe; From shingles gray their lances start, The bracken bush sends forth the dart, The rushes and the willow-wand Are bristling into axe and brand, And every tuft of broom gives life To plaided warrior armed for strife! That whistle garrisoned the glen At once with full five hundred men, As if the yawning hill to heaven A subterranean host had given. Watching their leader's beck and will, All silent there they stood, and still : Like the loose crags whose threatening
Sir Roderick marked-and in his eyes
jack, The next, all unreflected, shone On bracken green and cold gray stone.
XIII. Fitz-James looked round--yet scarce be
lieved The witness that his sight received; Such apparition well might seem Delusion of a dreadful dream. Sir Roderick in suspense he eyed, And to his look the Chief replied :Fear nought--nay, that I need not
sayBut, doubt not ought from mine array. Thou art my guest;--I pledged my word As far as Coilantogle ford : Nor would I call a clansman's brand For aid against one valiant hand, Though on our strife lay every vale Rent by the Saxon from the Gael. So move we on;-I only meant To show the reed on which you leant, Deeming this path you might pursue Without a pass from Roderick Dhu." They moved:-I said Fitz-James was brave, As ever knight that belted glaive; Yet dare not say, that now his blood Kept on its wont and tempered flood, As, following Roderick's stride, he drew That seeming lonesome pathway through, Which yet, by fearful proof, was rife With lances, that, to take his life Waited but signal from a guide So late dishonoured and defied. Ever, by stealth, his eyes sought round The vanished guardians of the ground; And still, from copse and heather deep, Fancy saw spear and broad-sword peep,
Lay tottering o'er the hollow pass,
XII. Fitz-James was brave :--Though to his
heart The life-blood thrilled with sudden start, He manned himself with dauntless air, Returned the Chief his haughty stare; His back against a rock he bore, And firmly placed his foot before :
Come one, come all ! this rock shall fly From its firm base as soon as I.”
And in the plover's shrilly strain
Along a wide and level green,
Combat between Fitz-James and Roderick Dhu: Fitz-James the victor-At the sound of his horn his attendants
appear-- Return to Stirling Castle.
Thus Fate has solved her prophecy; THE Chief in silence strode before,
Then yield to Fate, and not to me. And reached that torrent's sounding shore, To James, at Stirling, let us go; Which, daughter of three mighty lakes, When, if thou wilt be still his foe, From Vennachar in silver breaks,
Or if the King shall not agree Sweeps through the plain, and ceaseless To grant thee grace and favour free, mines
I plight mine honour, cath, and word, On Bochastle the mouldering lines,
That, to thy native strengths restored, Where Rome, the empress of the world, With each advantage shalt thou stand Of yore her eagle wings unfurled.
That aids thee now to guard thy land." And here his course the Chieftain stayed, Threw down his target and his plaid, Dark lightning flashed from Roderick's eye: And to the Lowland warrior said :
Soars thy presumption, then, so high, “Bold Saxon! to his promise just,
Because a wretched kern ye slew, Vich-Alpine has discharged his trust. Homage name to Roderick Dhu? This murderous Chief, this ruthless man, He yields not, he, to man nor Fate ! This head of a rebellious clan,
Thou add'st but fuel to my hate :Hath led thee safe, through watch and My clansman's blood demands revenge. ward,
Not yet prepared ?-By Heaven, I change
And whose best boast is but to wear
I thank thee, Roderick, for the word ! And thou must keep thee with thy sword.” It nerves my heart, it steels my sword ; II.
For I have sworn this braid to stain The Saxon paused :--“I ne'er delayed, In the best blood that warms thy vein. When foeman bade me draw my blade; Now, truce, farewell ! and, ruth, begone ! Nay more, brave Chief, I vowed thy death: Yet think not that by thee alone, Yet sure thy fair and gen'rous faith, Proud Chief! can courtesy be shown : And my deep debt for life preserved, Though not from copse, or heath, or cairn, A better meed have well deserved :
Start at my whistle clansmen stern, Can nought but blood our feud atone? Of this small horn one feeble blast Are there no means?”—“No, stranger, Would fearful odds against thee cast. none !
But fear not, doubt not, which thou wiltAnd hear,-to fire thy flagging zeal, We try this quarrel hilt to hilt.”The Saxon cause rests on thy steel;
Then each at once his falchion drew, For thus spoke Fate, by prophet bred Each on the ground his scabbard threw, Between the living and the dead :
Each looked to sun, and stream, and plain, Who spills the foremost foeman's life, As what they ne'er might see again ; His party conquers in the strife.'”.
Then foot, and point, and eye opposed, Then, by my word,” the Saxon said, In dubious strife they darkly closed! “The riddle is already read. Seek yonder brake beneath the cliff, Ill fared it then with Roderick Dhu There lies Red Murdoch, stark and stiff. That on the field his targe he threw,
Whose brazen studs and tough bull-hide Unwounded from the dreadful close,
But breathless all, Fitz-James arose.
VI. Fitz-James's blade was sword and shield. He faltered thanks to Heaven for life, He practised every pass and ward,
Redeemed, unhoped, from desperate strife: To thrust, to strike, to feint, to guard; Next on his foe his look he cast, While less expert, though stronger far, Whose every gasp appeared his last; The Gael maintained unequal war.
In Roderick's gore he dipped the braid, --Three times in closing strife they stood, Poor Blanche! thy wrongs are dearly And thrice the Saxon blade drank blood;- paid: No stinted draught, no scanty tide, Yet with thy foe must die or live The gushing flood the tartans dyed.
The praise that Faith and Valour give." Fierce Roderick felt the fatal drain, With that he blew a bugle note, And showered his blows like wintry rain; Undid the collar from his throat, And, as firm rock, or castle roof,
Unbonneted, and by the wave Against the winter shower is proof,
Sate down his brow and hands to lave. The foe, invulnerable still,
Then faint afar are heard the feet Foiled his wild rage with steady skill; Of rushing steeds in gallop fleet; Till, at advantage ta’en, his brand
The sounds increase, and now are seen Forced Roderick's weapon from his hand, Four mounted squires in Lincoln green, And, backwards borne upon the lea, Two who bear lance, and two who lead, Brought the proud Chieftain to his knee. By loosened rein, a saddled steed; V.
Each onward held his headlong course, “Now, yield thee, or by Him who made And by Fitz-James reined up his horse, The world, thy heart's blood dyes my With wonder viewed the bloody spot: blade!”_
“Exclaim not, gallants ! question not.“Thy threats, thy mercy, I defy!
You, Herbert and Luffness, alight, Let recreant yield, who fears to die.” And bind the wounds of yonder knight; Like adder darting from his coil,
Let the gray palfrey bear his weight, Like wolf that dashes through the toil, We destined for a fairer freight, Like mountain-cat who guards her young, And bring him on to Stirling straight! Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung; I will before at better speed, Received, but recked not of a wound, To seek fresh horse and fitting weed. And locked his arms his foeman round!- The sun rides high; -I must be boune Now, gallant Saxon, hold thine own! To see the archer game at noon; No maiden's hand is round thee thrown! But lightly Bayard clears the lea.-That desperate grasp thy frame might feel De Vaux and Herries, follow me. Through bars of brass and triple steel ! They tug, they strain!--down, down they go, Stand, Bayard, stand !” The steed The Gael above, Fitz-James below!
obeyed, The Chieftain's gripe his throat compressed, With arching neck and bending head, His knee was planted on his breast; And glancing eye and quivering ear, His clotted locks he backward threw, As if he loved his lord to hear. Across his brow his hand he drew,
No foot Fitz-James in stirrup stayed, From blood and mist to clear his sight, No grasp upon the saddle laid, Then gleamed aloft his dagger bright!-- But wreathed his left hand in the mane, But hate and fury ill supplied
And lightly bounded from the plain, The stream of life's exhausted tide,
Turned on the horse his armèd heel, And all too late the advantage came, And stirred his courage with the steel. To turn the odds of deadly game;
Bounded the fiery steed in air, For, while the dagger gleamed on high, The rider sate erect and fair, Reeled soul and sense, reeled brain and
Then like a bolt from steel cross-bow eye.
Forth launched, along the plain they go. Down came the blow ! but in the heath They dashed that rapid torrent through, The erring blade found bloodless sheath, And up Carhonie's hill they flew; The struggling foe may now unclasp Still at the gallop pricked the Knight, The fainting Chief's relaxing grasp;-- His merry-men followed as they might.
Along thy banks, swift Teith! they ride, They bathe their coursers' sweltering And in the race they mock thy tide;
sides, Torry and Lendrick now are passed, Dark Forth ! amid thy sluggish tides, And Deanston lies behind them cast; And on the opposing shore take ground, They rise, the bannered towers of Doune, With plash, with scramble, and with bound. They sink in distant woodland soon; Right-hand they leave thy cliffs, CraigBlair-Drummond sees the hoofs strike fire, Forth, They sweep like breeze through Ochtertyre; And soon the bulwark of the North, They mark just glance and disappear Gray Stirling, with her towers and town, The lofty brow of ancient Kier;
Upon their fleet career looked down. ...
ELLEN AT STIRLING CASTLE.
SCENE.-The guard-room-Ellen shows the signet ring- The King as Fitz-James surprises Ellen-She is taken
by him into court-Recognises him as King--Presents the ring-Obtains the pardon of her father the Douglas, and her lover Malcolm Grame-She is united to Malcolm hy the sanction of the King.
Their rolls showed French and German AT dawn the towers of Stirling rang And merry England's exiles came, [name; With soldier-step and weapon clang, To share, with ill-concealed disdain, While drums, with rolling note, foretell Of Scotland's pay the scanty gain. Relief to weary sentinel.
All brave in arms, well trained to wield Through narrow loop and casement barred, The heavy halberd, brand, and shield; The sunbeams sought the Court of Guard, In camps, licentious, wild, and bold; And, struggling with the smoky air, In pillage, fierce and uncontrolled; Deadened the torches' yellow glare.
And now, by holytide and feast, In comfortless alliance shone
From rules of discipline released. ... The lights through arch of blackened stone,
III. And showed wild shapes in garb of war, The warder's challenge, heard without, Faces deformed with beard and scar, Stayed in mid-roar the merry shout. All haggard from the midnight watch, A soldier to the portal went,-And fevered with the stern debauch; Here is old Bertram, sirs, of Ghent; For the oak table's massive board,
And—beat for jubilee the drum! Flooded with wine, with fragments stored, A maid and minstrel with him come!” And beakers drained, and cups o'erthrown, Bertram, a Fleming, gray and scarred, Showed in what sport the night had flown. Was entering now the Court of Guard, Some, weary, snored on floor and bench; A harper with him, and in plaid Some laboured still their thirst to quench; All muffled close, a mountain maid, Some, chilled with watching, spread their Who backward shrunk to 'scape the view hands
Of the loose scene and boisterous crew. O'er the huge chimney's dying brands, “What news?” they roared. --“I only While round them, or beside them flung, know, At every step their harness rung.
From noon till eve we fought with foe, II.
As wild and as untameable These drew not for their fields the sword, As the rude mountains where they dwell. Like tenants of a feudal lord,
On both sides store of blood is lost, Nor owned the patriarchal claim
Nor much success can either boast.”Of chieftain in their leader's name;
"But whence thy captives, friend? such spoil Adventurers they, from far who roved, As theirs must needs reward thy toil. To live by battle which they loved.
Old dost thou wax, and wars grow sharp; There the Italian's clouded face,
Thou now hast glee-maiden and harp! The swarthy Spaniard's there you trace; Get thee an ape, and trudge the land, The mountain-loving Switzer there
The leader of a juggler band !”-More freely breathed in mountain air;
IV. The Fleming there despised the soil “No, comrade;--no such fortune mine. That paid so ill the labourer's toil;
After the fight, these sought our line,