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And bid thy noble father live;
I can but be thy guide, sweet maid,
With Scotland's King thy suit to aid.
No tyrant he, though ire and pride
May lead his better mood aside.
Come, Ellen, come !—'tis more than time,
He holds his court at morning prime."-
With beating heart, and bosom wrung,
As to a brother's arm she clung.
Gently he dried the falling tear,
And gently whispered hope and cheer;
Her faltering steps half led, half stayed,
Through gallery fair and high arcade,
Till, at his touch, its wings of pride
A portal arch unfolded wide.
26 Within 'twas brilliant all and light,
A thronging scene of figures bright;
It glowed on Ellen's dazzled sight,
As when the setting sun has given
Ten thousand hues to summer even,
And, from their tissue, fancy frames
Aërial knights and fairy dames
Still by Fitz-James her footing stayed ;
A few faint steps she forward made,
Then slow her drooping head she raised,
And fearful round the presence gazed;
For him she sought, who owned this state,
The dreaded prince whose will was fate!
She gazed on many a princely port,
Might well have ruled a royal court;
On many a splendid garb she gazed,--
Then turned bewildered and amazed,
For all stood bare; and, in the room,
Fitz-James alone wore cap and plume.
To him each lady's look was lent,
On him each courtier's eye was bent;
'Midst furs, and silks, and jewels sheen,
He stood, in simple Lincoln green,
The centre of the glittering ring -
And Snowdoun's Knight is Scotland's King! 27. As wreath of snow on mountain breast,
Slides from the rock that gave it rest,
Poor Ellen glided from her stay,
And at the Monarch's feet she lay;
No word her choking voice commands,--
She showed the ring, -she clasped her hands.
Oh! not a moment could he brook,
The generous prince, that suppliant look!
Gently he raised her-and the while
Checked with a glance the circle's smile.
Graceful, but grave, her brow he kissed,
And bade her terrors be dismissed ;-
“Yes, Fair; the wandering poor Fitz-James
The fealty of Scotland claims.
To him thy woes, thy wishes, bring;
He will redeem his signet ring.
Ask nought for Douglas,-yester even,
His prince and he have much forgiven :
Wrong hath he had from slanderous tongue,
I, from his rebel kinsmen, wrong.
We would not to the vulgar crowd
Yield what they craved with clamour loud ;
Calmly we heard and judged his cause,
Our council aided and our laws.
I stanched thy father's death-feud stern
With stout De Vaux and gray Glencairn ;
And Bothwell's Lord henceforth we own
The friend and bulwark of our Throne, —
But, luvely infidel, how now?
What clouds thy misbelieving brow?
Lord James of Douglas, lend thine aid ;
Thou must confirm this doubting maid.”-
28. Then forth the noble Douglas sprung,
And on his neck his daughter hung.
The Monarch drank, that happy hour,
The sweetest, holiest draught of Power,
When it can say, with godlike voice,
Arise, sad Virtue, and rejoice!
Yet would not James the general eye
On nature's raptures long should pry;
He stepped between—"Nay, Douglas, nay,
Steal not my proselyte away
The riddle 'tis my right to read
That brought this happy chance to speed. -
Yes, Ellen, when disguised I stray,
In life's more low but happier way,
'Tis under name which veils my power,
Nor falsely veils—for Stirling's tower
Of yore the name of Snowdoun claims,
And Normans call me James Fitz-James.
Thus watch I o'er insulted laws,
Thus learn to right the injured cause."-
Then, in a tone apart and low,
_"Ah! little traitress! none must know
What idle dream, what lighter thought,
What vanity full 'dearly bought,
Joined to thine eye's dark witchcraft, drew
My spell-bound steps to Ben-venue,
In dangerous hour, and all but gave
Thy monarch's life to mountain glaive!”—
Aloud he spoke:-“Thou still dost hold
That little talisman of gold,
Pledge of my faith, Fitz-James's ring-
What seeks fair Ellen of the King?"
29. Full well the conscious maiden guessed
He probed the weakness of her breast;
But, with that consciousness, there came
A lightening of her fears for Græme,
And more she deemed the Monarch's ire
Kindled 'gainst him who, for her sire,
Rebellious broad-sword boldly drew;
And to her generous feeling true,
She craved the grace of Roderick Dhu.--
“Forbear thy suit :—the King of Kings
Alone can stay life's parting wings,
I know his heart, I know his hand,
Have shared his cheer, and proved his brand ;-
My fairest earldom would I give
To bid Clan-Alpine's Chieftain live !--
Hast thou no other boon to crave?
No other captive friend to save ?"--
Blushing, she turned her from the King,
And to the Douglas gave the ring,
As if she wished her sire to speak
The suit that stained her glowing cheek.-
“Nay, then, my pledge has lost its force,
And stubborn justice holds her course.
Malcolm, come forth !"-And, at the word,
Down kneeled the Græme to Scotland's Lord.
“For thee, rash youth, no suppliant sues,
From thee may Vengeance claim her dues,
Who, nurtured underneath our smile,
Hast paid our care' by treacherous wile,
And sought amid thy faithful clan
A refuge for an outlawed man,
Dishonouring thus thy loyal name.-
Fetters and warder for the Græme!”-
His chain of gold the King unstrung,
The links o'er Malcolm's neck he flung,
Then gently drew the glittering band,
And laid the clasp on Ellen's hand.
Harp of the North, farewell! The hills grow dark,
On purple peaks a deeper shade descending ;
In twilight copse the glow-worm lights her spark,
The deer, half-seen, are to the covert wending.
Resume thy wizard elm! the fountain lending,
And the wild breeze, thy wilder minstrelsy ; Thy numbers sweet with Nature's vespers blending,
With distant echo from the fold and lens, And herd-boy's evening pipe, and hum of housing bee. Yet, once again, farewell, thou Minstrel Harp !
Yet, once again, forgive my feeble sway,
And little reck I of the censure sharp
May idly cavil at an idle lay.
Much have I owed thy strains on life's long way,
Through secret woes the world has never known, When on the weary night dawned wearier day,
And bitterer was the grief devoured alone. That I o'erlive such woes, Enchantress! is thine own. Hark! as my lingering footsteps slow retire,
Some Spirit of the Air has waked thy string! 'Tis now a Seraph bold, with touch of fire,
'Tis now the brush of Fairy's frolic wing. Receding now, the dying numbers ring
Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell, And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring
A wandering witch-note of the distant spell And now, 'tis silent all !-Enchantress, fare thee well!
"Quid dignum memorare tuis, Hispania, terris,
Vox humana valet !"--CLAUDIAN.
JOHN WHITMORE, ESQ.,
AND TO THE
COMMITTEE OF SUBSCRIBERS FOR RELIEF OF THE PORTUGUESE
SUFFERERS, IN WHICH HE PRESIDES,
THIS POEM, COMPOSED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE FUND UNDER THEIR MANAGEMENT, IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED BY
PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION, 1811. The following Poem is founded upon a Spanish Tradition, particularly detailed in the Notes ; but bearing, in general, that Don Roderick, the last Gothic King of Spain, when the Invasion of the Moors was impending, had the temerity to descend into an ancient vault near Toledo, the opening of which had been denounced as fatal to the Spanish monarchy. The legend adds, that his rash curiosity was mortified by an emblematical representation of those Saracens who, in the year 714, defeated him in battle, and reduced Spain under their dominion. I have presumed to prolong the Vision of the Revolutions of Spain down to the present eventful crisis of the Peninsula ; and to divide it, by a supposed change of scene, into THREE PERIODS. The FIRST of these represents the Invasion of the Moors, the Defeat and Death of Roderick, and closes with the peaceful occupation of the country by the Victors. The SECOND PERIOD embraces the state of the Peninsula, when the conquests of the Spaniards and Portuguese in the East and West Indies had raised to the highest pitch the renown of their arms: sullied, however, by superstition and cruelty. An allusion to the inhumanities of the Inquisition terminates this picture. The LAST PART of the Poem opens with the state of Spain previous to the unparalleled treachery of BUONAPARTE; gives a sketch of the usurpation attempted upon that unsuspicious and friendly kingdom, and terminates with the arrival of the British succours. It may be farther proper to mention, that the object of the Poem is less to commemorate or detail particular incidents, than to exhibit a general and impressive picture of the several periods brought upon the stage.