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And thou, O sad and fatal mound !"
XXI. The castle gates were open flung, The quivering draw-bridge rock'd and rung, And echoed loud the flinty street Beneath the coursers clattering feet, As slowly down the deep descent Fair Scotland's king and nobles went, While all along the crowded way Wasjubilee and loud huzza. And ever James was bending low, To his white jennet's saddle-bow, 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, Gives to the dancers thanks aloud, And smiles and nods upon the crowd, Who rend the heavens with their acclaims, * Long live the commons' king, King James!» Behind the king throng d peer and knight, And noble dame and damsel bright, Whose fiery steeds ill brook'd the stay Of the steep street and crowded way. -But in the train you might discern Dirk louring brow and visage stern; There nobles mourn'd their pride restrain'd, And the mean burghers' joys disdain'd; And chiefs, who, hostage for their clan, Were each from home a banish'd man, There thought upon their own gray tower, Their waving woods, their feudal power, And deem'd themselves a shameful part Of pageant which they cursed in heart.
xvii. Now, in the castle-park, drew out Their chequerd bands the joyous rout.
''An eminence on the north-east of the castle, where state cri*** were executed. See Note.
And wink'd aside, and told each son
XXV. The monarch saw the gambols flag, And bade let loose a gallant stag, Whose pride, the holiday to crown, Two favourite greyhounds should pull down, That venison free, and Bordeaux wine Might serve the archery to dine. But Lufra,-whom from Douglas' side Nor bribe nor threat could eer divide, The fleetest hound in all the north, – Brave Lufra saw, and darted forth. She left the royal hounds mid-way, And, dashing on the antler'd prey, Sunk her sharp muzzle in his flank, And deep the flowing life-blood drank. The king's stout huntsman saw the sport By strange intruder broken short, Came up, and, with his leash unbound, In anger struck the noble bound. —The Douglas had endured, that morn, The king's cold look, the nobles' scorn, And last, and worst to spirit proud, Ilad borne the pity of the crowd; But Lufra had been fondly bred To share his board, to watch his bed, And oft would Ellen Lufra's neck, In maiden glee, with garlands deck; They were such play-mates, that, with name Of Lufra, Ellen's image came. 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 a main. But stern the baron's warning—a 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,
XXVIi. 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 path-way 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, And to the leading soldier said,— • Sir John of Hyndford!'t was my blade That knighthood on thy shoulder laid; For that good deed permit me then A word with these misguided men.—
XXVIII. • 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, Is then my selfish rage so strong, My sense of public weal so low, That, for mean vengeance on a foe, Those chords 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 For me, 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. Oh! let your patience ward such ill, And keep your right to love me still!»–
xxix. 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 the verge of life, Bless'd him who stav'd the civil strife; And mothers held their babes on high, The self-devoted chief to spy, Triumphant over wrong 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.
XXX. The offended inonarch rode apart, With bitter thought and swelling heart, And would not now vouchsafe again Through Stirling's 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, lf he could hurl me from my seat. Who o'er the herd would wish to reign, Fantastic, fickle, fierce, and vain Wain as the leaf upon the stream, 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, Oh! who would wish to be thy king 1–
xxxi. *But soft' what messenger of speed Spurs hitherward his panting steed? I guess his cognizance afar— What 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 summond his rebellious crew; T is 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."—
I lost it in this bustling day.
XXXiii. 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 dağ(;er 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.
What various scenes, and, O ! what scenes of woe,
The fever'd patient, from his pallet low,
The ruin'd maiden trembles at its gleam,
The love-lorn wretch starts from tormenting dream;
Trims her sick infant's couch, and soothes his feeble
II. At dawn the towers of Stirling rang With soldier-step and weapon-clang, While drums, with rolling note, foretel Relief to weary sentinel, Through narrow loop and casement barr'd, The sunbeams sought the court of guard, And, struggling with the smoky air, Deaden'd the torches' yellow glare. In comfortless alliance shone The lights through arch of blacken'd stone, And show’d wild shapes in garb of war, Faces deform'd with beard and scar, All haggard from the midnight watch, And fever'd with the stern debauch ; For the oak table's massive board, Flooded with wine, with fragments stored, And beakers drain'd, and cups o'erthrown, Show'd in what sport the night had flown. Sonne, weary, snored on floor and bench; Some labour'd still their thirst to quench : Some, chill'd with watching, spread their hands O'er the huge chimney's dying brands, While round them, or beside them flung, At every step their harness rung.
III. These drew not for their fields the sword, Like tenants of a feudal lord, Nor own'd the patriarchal claim Of chieftain in their leader's name; Adventurers they, (1) from far who roved, To live by battle which they loved. There the Italian's clouded face, The swarthy Spaniard's there you trace; The mountain-loving Switzer there More freely breathed in mountain air; The Fleming there despised the soil That paid so ill the labourer's toil; Their rolls show'd French and German name; And merry England's exiles came, To share, with ill-conceal’d disdain, Of Scotland's pay the scanty gain. All brave in arms, well train'd to wield The heavy halbert, brand, and shield; In camps licentious, wild, and bold; In pillage, fierce and uncontroll'd; And now, by holytide and feast, From rules of discipline released.
iW. They held debate of bloody fray, Fought 'twixt Loch Katrine and Achray. Fierce was their speech, and, 'mid their words, Their hands oft grappled to their swords;
Nor sunk their tone to spare the ear
V. soldier's song.
Our vicar still preaches that Peter and Poule
Our vicar he calls it damnation to sip
Cur vicar thus preaches—and why should he not?
WI. The warder's challenge, heard without, Staid in mid-roar the merry shout. A soldier to the portal went,« Here is old Bertrain, sirs, of Ghent; And,-beat for jubilee the drum ! A maid and minstrel with him corne. nBertrain, a Fleming, gray and scarr'd, Was entering now the court of guard, A harper with him, and in plaid All muffled close, a mountain maid, Who backward shrunk to 'scape the view Of the loose scene and boisterous crew. « What news?” they roar'd :—o I only know, From noon till eve we fought with foe, As wild and as untameable As the rude mountains where they dwell. On both sides store of blood is lost, Nor much success can either boast.”—
* A Bacchanalian interjection, borrowed from the Dutch.
• But whence thy captives, friend? such spoil
Wii. * No, comrade;—no such fortune mine. After the fight, these sought our line, That aged harper and the girl, And, having audience of the earl, Marbade I should purvey them steed, And bring them hitherward with speed. Forbear your mirth and rude alarm, For none shall do them shame or harm.”— • Hear ye his boast?» cried John of Brent, Ever to strife and jangling bent; • Shall he strike doe beside our lodge, And yet the jealous niggard grudge To pay the forester his fee! I'll have my share howe'er it be, Despite of Moray, Mar, or thee.”— Bertrain his forward step withstood; And, burning in his vengeful mood, Old Allan, though unfit for strife, Laid hand upon his dagger-knife; But Ellen boldly stepp'd between, And dropp'd at once the tarian screen: So, from his morning cloud, appears The sun of May, through summer tears. The savage soldiery amazed, As on descended angel gazed; Even hardy Brent, abash'd and tamed, Stood half admiring, half ashamed.
Will. Boldly she spoke, -a Soldiers, attend! My father was the soldier's friend; Cheerd him in camps, in marches led, And with him in the battle bled. Not from the valiant, or the strong, Should exile's daughter suffer wrong.»– Answer'd De Brent, most forward still In every feat, or good or ill,— • I shame me of the part I play'd : And thou an outlaw's child, poor maid! An outlaw I by forest laws, And merry Needwood knows the cause. Poor Rose, -if Rose be living now,”— He wiped his iron eye and brow, * Must bear such age, I think, as thouIlear ye, my mates, I go to call The captain of our watch to hall; There lies my halbert on the floor; And he that steps my halbert o'er, To do the maid injurious part, My shaft shall quiver in his heart'— Beware loose speech, or jesting rough : Ye all know John de Brent—Enough n
And, though by courtesy control’d,
X. The signet ring young Lewis took, With deep respect and alter'd look; And said, “ This ring our duties own; And, pardon, if to worth unknown, In semblance mean obscurely veil'd, Lady, in aught my folly fail'd. Soon as the day flings wide his gates, The king shall know what suitor waits. Please you, meanwhile, in fitting bower Repose you till his waking hour: Female attendance shall obey Your hest for service or array. Permit I marshal you the way.”— But, ere she follow'd, with the grace And open bounty of her race, She bade her slender purse he shared Among the soldiers of the guard. The rest with thanks their guerdon took; But Brent, with shy and awkward look, On the reluctant maiden's hold Forced bluntly back the proffer'd gold : • Forgive a haughty English heart, And O forget its ruder part! The vacant purse shall be my share, Which in my harret-cap I'll bear, Perchance, in jeopardy of war, Where gayer crests may keep afar.”With thanks,—'t was all she could,—the maid His rugged courtesy repaid.
xi. When Ellen forth with Lewis went, Allan made suit to John of Brent:— • My lady safe, O let your grace Give me to see my master's face! His minstrel I, to share his doom Bound from the cradle to the tomb. Tenth in descent, since first my sires Waked for his noble house their lyres,