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Then up sprung many a main-land lord,
And Kinloch-Alliue's blade is bare,
Onward they press with weapons high,
But every chief of birth and fame,
That from the Isles of Ocean came,
At Bonalds side that hour withstood
Brave Torquil from Dunvegan high,
Mac-Niel, wild Bara's ancient thane,
Soon as they saw the broadswords glance,
More prompt, that many an ancient feud, Full oft suppress'd, full oft rencw'd, Glow‘d 'twixt the chieftains of Argyle,
And many a lord of ocean's isle.
Wild was the scene—oach sword was hare, Back stream'd each chicftain‘s shaggy hair, In gloomy opposition set,
Eyes, hands, and brandish'd weapons met;
And soon those bridal lights may shine
While thus for blows and death prepared, Each heart was up, each weapon bared, Each foot advanced,—a surly pause
Still reverenced hospitable laws.
All menaced violence, but alike
(For aye accursed in minstrel line
Is he who brawls ‘mid song and wine), And, match'd in numbers and in might, Doubtful and desperate seem’d the fight. Thus threat and murmur died away,
Till on the crowded hall there lay
Such silence, as the deadly still,
Ere bursts the thunder on the hill.
With blade advanced, each chieftain bold
To wake the marble into strife.
That awful pause the stranger maid,
As to De Argentine she clung,
Away her veil the stranger flung,
And lovely, ‘mid her wild despair,
Fast stream'd her eyes, wide tIow'd her hair.
Thou, who in Judah well hast fought
When this poor hand has dealt the prize,
On the unequal strife to look,
When, butcher'd thus in peaceful hall, Those once thy friends, my brethren fall !» To Argentine she turnid her word,
But her eye sought the Island Lord.
A flush like evening's setting flame
With hurried voice and eager look,
\< Fear not,» he said, a my Isabel‘.
What said I-—Edith !—aIl is well
Nay, fear not—l will well provide
The safety of my lovely bride
My bride!»--but there the accents clung
Now rose De Argentine, to claim
The prisoners in his sovereign‘s name,
To England's crown, who, vassals sworn, 'Gainst their liege lord had weapon borne-— (Such speech, I ween, was but to hide
His care their safety to provide;
For knight more true in thought and deed
This purpose fiery Torquil broke :
n Somewhat we ‘ve heard of England's yoke,» He said, u and in our islands, Fame
Hath whisper'd of a lawful claim,
That calls the Bruce fair Scotland's lord,
Be sure, with no consent of mine,
Shall either Lorn or Argentine
With chains or violence, in our sight,
Then waked the wild debate again,
01 The abbot comes !» they cry at once,
Hath sainted visions known; Angels have met him on the way, Beside the blessed martyrs bay, And by Columba's stone. His monks have heard their hymnings high, Sound from the summit of Dun-Y, To cheer his penance lone, When at each cross, on girth and wold (Their number thrice an hundred-fold), His prayer he made, his beads he told, With aves many a one
He comes our feuds to reconcile,
A sninted man from sainted isle;
We will his holy doom abide,-—
The abbot shall our strife decide.»
Show'd, in its red and flashing light,
His wither’d cheek and amice white,
His blue eye glistening cold and bright,
It Fair lords.» he said, (K Our Lady's love,
And peace be with you from above,
—But what means this I no peace is here !-—
Do dirks unsheathed suit bridal cheer 7
A seemly show for churchman's sight,
When he comes summon'd to unite
Then, cloaking hate with fiery zeal,
a Thou comest, O holy man,
A wretch, beneath the ban Of pope and church, for murder done Even on the sacred altar-stone! Well mayst thou wonder we should know Such miscreant here, not lay him low, Or dream of greeting, peace, or truce, With excommunicated Bruce ! Yet well I grant, to end debate, Thy sainted voice decide his fate.»
Then Ronald pled the stranger’ s cause,
Brought prayers and tears to back the plea;
And wept, and Lorn for mercy pray'd.
u Hence,» he exclaim'd, a degenerate maid ! Was 't not enough to Ronald's bower
I brought thee, like a paramour, (1 1)
Or bond-maid at her master's gate,
His careless cold approach to wait '.'-—
But the bold' Lord of Cumberland,
The gallant Clifford, seeks thy hand;
His it shall be—Nay, no reply!
Hence! till those rebel eyes be dry.»-
Yet nought relax'd his brow of awe.
Then Argentine, in England's name,
So highly urged his sovereign’s claim,
N By English Edward had been shed,
For guarding well his fathers‘ land.
Have they not been on gibbet hound,
To yield more victims to their fate I
To soothe the tyrant's sicken’d bed! (14)
Be nought but quarter, hang, and slay !--(15)
<1 Nor deem,» said stout Dunvegan's knight, a That thou shalt brave alone the fight!
By saints of isle and main-land both,
By Woden wild (my grandsire's oath), (I6)
If Bruce shall e'er find friends again,
Once more to brave a battle-plain,
If Douglas couch again his lance,
Or Randolph dare another chance,
Old Torquil will not be to lack,
With twice a thousand at his back.
Nay, chafe not at my bearing bold,
Good abbot! for thou know‘st of old,
Nor will I barter Freedom's cause
For England's wealth or Rome’: applause.»
The abbot seem’d, with eye severe,
The hardy chieftain's speech to hear.
Twice fell his eye, his accents shook.
At length, resolved in tone and brow,
Why I denounce not on thy deed
That awful doom which canons tell
It blends the living with the dead,
Bids each good angel soar away,
And every ill one claim his prey;
Expels thee from the church’s care,
And deafens Heaven against thy prayer;
Bans all who aid thee in the strife,
Nay, each whose succour, cold and scant,
Bends honour's scutcheon from thy hearse,
And spurns thy corpse from hallow'd ground,
For sacrilcge, decreed by Rome;
And such the well-deserved mecd
Of thine uuhallow’d, ruthless dced.o—
u Abbot!» the Bruce replied, ~< thy charge It boots not to dispute at large.
This much, howe'er, 1 bid thee know,
No selfish vengeance dealt the blow,
For Comyn died his country's foe.
Nor blame I friends whose ill-timed speed Fulfill'd my soon-repented deed,
Nor censure those from whose stern tongue The dire anathema has rung.
I only blame mine own wild ire,
By Scotland's wrongs incensed to fire.
Far as I may, the evil done,
And hears a penitent's appeal
From papal curse and prelate's zeal.
My first and dearest task achieved,
Fair Scotland from her thrall relieved,
Say requiem for red Comyn's soul,
While I the blessed cross advance,
And expiate this unhappy chance,
In Palestine, with sword and lance. (17) But, while content the church should know My conscience owns the debt I owe,
Unto De Argentine and Lorn
The name of traitor I return,
Bid them defiance stern and high,
And give them in their throats the lie! These brief words spoke, I speak no more. Do what thou wilt; my shrift is o'er.»
Like man by prodigy amazed,
Upon the king the abbot gazed;
Then o’er his pallid features glance
His breathing came more thick and fast,
Flush'd is his brow, through every vein
And undistinguish'd accents broke
The awful silence are he spoke.
a De Bruce! I rose with purpose dread
To speak my curse upon thy head, (18)
To him who burns to shed thy gore ;—
Who stood on Zophim, Heaven-controll'd,
A power that will not be repress'd. (19)
It prompts my voice, it swells my veins, It burns, it maddens, it constraius!—
De Bruce, thy sacrilegions blow
Hath at God's altar slain thy foe:
I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless’d !»—
Again his form swells bold and high,
‘T is vigorous manhood’s lofty tone :-—
I bless thee, and thou shalt be bles-s'd
Bless‘d in thy sceptre and thy sword,
What leugthen'd honours wait thy name!
In distant ages, sire to son
Shall tell thy tale of freedom won,
And teach his infants, in the use
Of earliest speech, to falter Bruce,
Go, then, triumphant! sweep along
Thy course, the theme of many a song!
The Power, whose dictates swell my breast,
Heaven hath our destined purpose broke,
Our task discharged.—Unmoor, unmoor lu-
As breathless in their arms he sunk.
The train refused all longer stay,
Embark‘d, raised sail, and bore away.
What Lorn, by his impatient cheer,
0 And deem'st thou me so mean of mood, As to forget the mortal fend,
And clasp the hand with blood emhrued
From my dear kinsman‘s heart‘!
Is this thy rede t—a due return
For ancient league and friendship sworn '.'
He that now hears shall wreak the wrong.—
My sister, slaves !—for further scorn,
Be sure nor she nor I will stay.-—
Away, De Argentine, away!
We nor ally nor brother know,
In Bruce's friend, or England's foe.»
But who the chieftains rage can tell,
No Lady Edith was there found!
He shouted, tt Falsehood !—treachery!-—
To him that will avenge the deed !
A baron's lands !»—-His frantic mood
'Scaped noteless, and without remark,
(1 Man every galley!—fly—-pursue!
The priest his treachery shall rucl
Ay, and the time shall quickly come,
A pirate sworn was Cormac Doil). (I)
'4: The maid has given her maiden heart
To Ronald of the Isles;
And wisely deems it best to dwell
A votaress in the holy cell,
Until these feuds so fierce and fell
The abbot reconciles.»
As, impotent of ire, the hall
Echoed to Lorn‘s impatient call,
a My horse, my mantle, and my tflin !