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LENNOX.

REGENT.

ROSS.

SUTHERLAND.

That soon must bring thee to the bay? Your custom,
Your most unchristian, savage, fiend-like custom, Nay, lordings, put no shame upon my counsels;
Binds Gordon to avenge his father's death.

I did but

say,

if we retired a little, SWINTON.

Wa should have fairer field and better vantage. Why, be it so! I look for nothing else ;

I've seen King Robert-ay, the Bruce himselfMy part was acted when I slew his father,

Retreat six leagues in length, and think no shame on 't. Avenging my four sons-Young Gordon's sword, If it should find my heart, can ne'er inflict there Ay, but King Edward sent a haughty message, A pang so poignant as his father's did.

Defying us to battle on this field, But I would perish by a noble hand,

This very hill of Halidon; if we leave it And such will his be if he bear him nobly,

Unfought withal, it squares not with our honour, Nobly and wisely on this field of Halidon.

SWINTON (apart),
Enter a PURSUIVANT.

A perilous honour, that allows the enemy,

And such an enemy as this same Edward,
PURSUIVANT.

To chuse our field of battle! He knows how
Sir Knights, to council !- 't is the Regent's order, To make our Scottish pride betray its master
That knights and men of leading meet him instantly Into the pitfall.
Before the royal standard. Edward's army

[During this speech the debate among

the Is seen from the hill-summit.

Nobles seems to continue.
SWINTON.

SUTHERLAND (aloud).
Say to the Regent, we obey his orders.

We will not back one furlong-not one yard,

[Exit PURSUIVANT. No, nor one inch; where'er we find the foe, [To Reynald.] Hold thou my casque, and furl my Or where the foe finds us, there will we fight him. penpon up

Retreat will dull the spirit of our followers, Close to the staff. I will not show my crest,

Who now stand prompt for batcle. Nor standard, till the common foe shall challenge them.

My lords, methinks great Morarchat has doubts, I'll wake no civil strife, nor tempt the Gordon

That, if his northern clans once turn the seam
With aught that's like defiance.

Of their check'd hose behind, it will be hard
VIPONT.

To halt and rally them.
Will he not know

your

features? SWINTON.

Say'st thou, Mac-Donnell !--Add another falsehood, He never saw me. In the distant north,

And name when Morarchat was coward or traitor! Against his will 't is said, his friends detain'd him

Thine island race, as chronicles can tell, During his nurture—caring not, belike,

Were oft affianced to the southron cause; To trust a pledge so precious near the Boar-tusks.

Loving the weight and temper of their gold,
It was a natural but needless caution

More than the weight and temper of their steel.
I wage no war with children, for I think
Too deeply on mine own.

Peace, my lords, ho!

Ross (throwing down his glove). I have thought on it, and will see the Gordon

Mac-Donnell will not peace! There lies my pledge, As we go hence to council. I do bear

Proud Morarchat, to witness thee a liar. which binds me to be Christian priest, As well as Christian champion. God may grant,

Brought I all Nithsdale from the Western Border; That I, at once his father's friend and yours,

Left I my towers exposed to foraying England, May make some peace betwixt you.

And thieving Annandale, to see such misrule? When that your priestly zeal, and knightly valour,

Who speaks of Annandale? Dare Maxwell slander Shall force the grave to render up the dead.

The gentle house of Lochwood ?
[Exeunt severally.

Peace, lordings, once again. We represent
SCENE II.

The Majesty of Scotland-in our presence
The summit of Halidon Hill, before the Regent's Tent. Brawling is treason.
The Royal Standard of Scotland is seen in the back

SUTHERLAND. ground, with the Pennons and Banners of the prin- Were it in presence of the king himself, cipal Nobles around it.

What should prevent my sayingCouncil of Scottish Nobles and Chiefs. SUTHERLAND,

Enter LINDESAY. Ross, Lennox, Maxwell, and other Nobles of the highest rank, are close to the Regent's person, and

LINDESAY. in the act of keen debate. Vipont, with GORDON You must determine quickly. Scarce a mile and others, remain grouped at some distance on the Parts our van-guard from Edward's. On the plain, right hand of the stage. On the left, standing also Bright gleams of armour flash through clouds of dust, apart, is SWINTON, alone and bare-headed. The Like stars through frost-mist-steeds neigh, and weaNobles are dressed in Highland or Lowland habits

pons clashas historical costume requires. Trumpets, Heralds, And arrows soon will whistle-the worst sound etc. are in attendance.

That waits on English war.—You must determine.

:

REGENT

VIPONT

A cross,

MAXWELL.

SWINTON

JOHNSTONE.

REGENT.

REGENT,

LENNOX.

And

ROSS.

SWINTON.

VIPONT.
We are determined. We will spare proud Edward

Pray you, do not so;
Half of the ground that parts us.—Onward, lords; Anon I'll give you reason why you should not.
Saint Andrew strike for Scotland! We will lead

There 's other work in hand --
The middle ward ourselves, the royal standard

GORDON Display'd beside us; and beneath its shadow

I will but ask his name. There's in his presence Shall the young gallants whom we knight this day, Something that works upon me like a spell, Fight for their golden spurs. — Lennox, thou 'rt wise, Or like the feeling made my childish ear And wilt obey command: lead thou the rear.

Doat upon tales of superstitious dread,

Attracting while they chill'd my heart with fear. The rear!- why I the rear? The van were fitter Now, born the Gordon, I do feel right well For him who fought abreast with Robert Bruce. I'm bound to fear nought earthly-and I fear nought. SWINTON (apart).

I 'll know who this man isDiscretion hath forsaken Lennox too!

[Accosts Swinton. The wisdom he was forty years in gathering

Sir Knight, I pray you, of your gentle courtesy, Has left him in an instant. 'T is contagious

To tell your honour'd name. I am ashamed,
Even to witness frenzy.

Being unknown in arms, to say that mine
SUTHERLAND.

Is Adam Gordon.
The Regent hath determined well. The rear

3WINTON (shows emotion, but instantly subdues it). Suits him the best who counsell’d our retreat.

It is a name that soundeth in my ear
LENNOX.

Like to a death-knell—ay, and like the call
Proud northern thane, the van were soon the rear,

Of the shrill trumpet to the mortal lists; Were thy disorder'd followers planted there.

Yet 't is a name which ne'er hath been dishonour'd, SUTHERLAND.

And never will, I trust-most surely never Then, for that very word, I make a vow,

By such a youth as thou. By my broad earldom and my father's soul,

GORDON. That if I have not leading of the van,

There's a mysterious courtesy in this, I will not fight to-day!

yet it yields no answer to my question.

I trust, you hold the Gordon not unworthy
Morarchat! thou the leading of the van!

To know the name he asks ?
Not whilst Mac-Donnell lives.
Swinton (apart).

Worthy of all that openness and honour
Nay, then a stone would speak.

May show to friend or foe—but, for my name, (Addresses the Regent.) May 't please your grace, Vipont will show it you; and, if it sound And

yours, great lords, to hear an old man's counsel, Harsh in your ear, remember that it knells there That hath seen fights enow. These open bickerings But at your own request. This day, at least, Dishearten all our host. If that

your grace,

Though seldom wont to keep it in concealment, With these great earls and lords, must needs debate, As there's no cause I should, you had not heard it. Let the closed tent conceal your disagreement; Else 't will be said, ill fares it with the flock,

This strange
If shepherds wrangle when the wolf is nigh.

VIPONT.
The mystery is needful.

Follow me. The old knight counsels well. Let every lord

[They retire behind the side Scene. Or chief, who leads five hundred men or more,

SWINTON (looking after them). Follow to council-others are excluded

'T is a brave youth. How blush'd his noble cheek, We'll have no vulgar censurers of our conduct While youthful modesty, and the embarrassment

(Looking at Swinton. Of curiosity, combined with wonder,
Young Gordon, your high rank and numerous following And half suspicion of some slight intended,
Give you a seat with us, though yet unknighted. All mingled in the flush ; but soon 't will deepen
GORDON.

Into revenge's glow. How slow is Vipont!-
I pray you pardon me. My youth's unfit

I wait the issue, as I've seen spectators
To sit in council, when that knight's gray hairs Suspend the motion even of the eye-lids,
And wisdom wait without.

When the slow

gunner,

with his lighted match,

Approach'd the charged cannon, in the act Do as you will; we deign not bid you twice.

To waken its dread slumbers.-Now 't is out;

lle draws his sword, and rushes towards me,
[The Regent, Ross, Sutherland, Lennox, who will nor seek nor shun him.

MAXWELL, etc., enter the Tent. The rest
remain grouped about the Stage.

Enter GORDON, withheld by VIPONT.
GORDON (observing Swinton).
That helmetless old knight, his giant stature,

Hold, for the sake of Heaven !-0, for the sake
His awful accents of rebuke and wisdom,

Of your dear country, hold !-Has Swinton slain your Have caught my fancy strangely. He doth seem

father, Like to some vision'd form which I have dream'd of, And must you, therefore, be yourself a parricide, But never saw with waking eyes till now.

And stand recorded as the selfish traitor, I will accost him.

Who, in her hour of need, his country's cause

GORDON.

REGENT.

REGENT.

VIPONT.

Broken, disjointed, as the tumbling surges
Which the winds wake at random. Look on both,
And dread the issue;-yet there might be succour.

GORDON.

We're fearfully o’ermatch'd in discipline; So even my inexperienced eye can judge. What succour save in Heaven?

VIPONT.

Deserts, that he may wreak a private wrong?-
Look to yon banner-that is Scotland's standard;
Look to the Regent-he is Scotland's general;
Look to the English--they are Scotland's foemen!
Bethink thee, then, thou art a son of Scotland,
And think on nought beside.

GORDON.
He hath come here to brave me!-Off!-Unhand me!
Thou canst not be my father's ancient friend,
That stand'st 'twixt me and him who slew my father.

VIPONT. You know not Swinton. Scarce one passing thought Of his high mind was with you; now, his soul Is fixed on this day's battle. You might slay him At unawares before he saw your blade drawn.Stand still, and watch him close.

Enter Maxwell from the Tent.

SWINTON.

How go our councils, Maxwell, may I ask ?

MAXWELL,
As wild, as if the very wind and sea
With every breeze and every billow battled
For their precedence.

SWINTON.
Most sure they are possess'd! Some evil spirit,
To mock their valour, robs them of discretion.
Fie, fie, upon 't!- that Dunfermline's tomb
Could render up the Bruce! that Spain's red shore
Could give us back the good Lord James of Douglas!
Or that fierce Randolph, with his voice of terror,
Were here, to awe these brawlers to submission!

VIPONT (to GORDON).
Thou hast perused him at more leisure now.

Heaven acts by human means. The artist's skill
Supplies in war, as in mechanic crafts,
Deficiency of tools. There's courage, wisdom,
And skill enough, live in one leader here,
As, flung into the balance, might avail
To counterpoise the odds 'twixt that ruled host
And our wild multitude.-I must not name him.

GORDON.
guess, but dare not ask.-What band is yonder,
Arranged as closely as the English discipline
Hath marshalld their best files?

VIPONT.
Know'st thou not the pennon?
One day, perhaps, thou ’lt see it all too closely.-
It is Sir Alan Swinton's.

GORDON.
These, then, are his,-the relics of his power;
Yet worth an host of ordinary men.-
And I must slay my country's sagest leader,
And crush by numbers that determined handful,
When most my country needs their practised aid,
Or men will say, « There goes degenerate Gordon;
His father's blood is on the Swinton's sword,
And his is in his scabbard !»

[Bluses.
VIPONT (apart).
High blood and mettle, mix'd with early wisdom,
Sparkle in this brave youth. If he survive
This evil omen's day, I pawn my word,
That, in the ruin which I now forebode,
Scotland has treasure left.— How close he eyes
Each look and step of Swinton! Is it hate,
Or is it admiration, or are both
Commingled strangely in that steady gaze?

[SWINTON and Maxwell return from the

bottom of the Stage.

GORDON

I see the giant form which all men speak of,
The stately port—but not the sullen eye,
Not the blood-thirsty look, that should belong
To him that made me orphan. I shall need
To name my father twice ere I can strike
At such gray hairs, and face of such command;
Yet my hand clenches on my falchion-hilt,
In token he shall die.

VIPONT.
Need I again remind you, that the place
Permits not private quarrel ?

MAXWELL

GORDON

The storm is laid at length amongst these counsellors;See, they come forth.

SWINTON.

And it is more than time;
For I can mark the van-guard archery
Handling their quivers—bending up their bows.

Enter the Regent and Scottish Lords.

REGENT.

I'm calm, I will not seek-nay, I will shun itAnd yet methinks that such debate 's the fashion. You've heard how taunts, reproaches, and the lie, The lie itself, hath flown from mouth to mouth; As if a band of

peasants were disputing About a foot-ball match, rather than chiefs Were ordering a battle. I am young, And lack experience; tell me, brave De Vipont, Is such the fashion of your wars in Palestine?

VIPONT. Such it at times hath been; and then the Cross Hath sunk before the Crescent. Heaven's cause Won us not victory where wisdom was not. Behold yon English host come slowly on, With equal front, rank marshalld upon rank, As if one spirit ruled one moving body; The leaders, in their places, each prepared To charge, support, and rally, as the fortune Of changeful battle needs :-then look on ours,

Thus shall it be then, since we may no better,
And, since no lord will yield one jot of way
To this high urgency, or give the van-guard
Up to another's guidance, we will abide them
Even on this bent; and as our troops are rankd,
So shall they meet the foe. Chief, nor thane,
Nor noble, can complain of the precedence
Which chance has thus assign'd him.
SWINTON (apart).

O sage discipline, That leaves to chance the marshalling of a battle!

GORDON. Move him to speech, De Vipont.

VIPONT. Move him ?-Move whom?

GORDON Even him, whom, but brief

space since, My hand did burn to put to utter silence.

VIPONT.
I'll move it to him.-Swinton, speak to them,
They lack thy counsel sorely.

SWINTON
Had I the thousand spears which once I led,
I had not thus been silent. But men's wisdom
Is rated by their means. From the poor leader
Of sixty lances, who seeks words of weight?

GORDON (steps forward).
Swinton, there's that of wisdom on thy brow,
And valour in thine eye, and that of peril
In this most urgent hour, that bids me say, —
Bids me, thy mortal foe, say,-Swinton, speak,
For king and country's sake!

SWINTON.
Nay, if that voice commands me, speak I will ;
It sounds as if the dead lay charge on me.

REGENT. (To Lennox, with whom he has been consulting.) "T is better than

you

think. This broad hill-side
Affords fair compass for our power's display,
Rank above rank rising in seemly tiers ;
So that the rear-ward stands as fair and open-

SWINTON
As e'er stood mark before an English archer.

Ourself pronounce a word-and now you gaze
On yon old warrior, in his antique armour,
As if he were arisen from the dead,
To bring us Bruce's counsel for the battle.

SWINTON.
'T is a proud word to speak; but he who fought
Long under Robert Bruce, may something guess,
Without communication with the dead,
At what he would have counselld.-Bruce had bidden

ye
Review your battle-order, marshalld broadly
Here on the bare hill-side, and bidden you mark
Yon clouds of southron archers, bearing down
To the green meadow-lands which stretch beneath-
The Bruce had warn'd you, not a shaft to-day
But shall find mark within a Scottish bosom,
If thus our field be order'd. The callow boys,
Who draw but four-foot bows, shall gall our front,
While on our mainward, and upon

the

rear,
The cloth-yard shafts shall fall like death's own darts,
And, though blind men discharge them, find a mark.
Thus shall we die the death of slaughter'd deer,
Which, driven into the toils, are shot at ease
By boys and women, while they toss aloft
All idly and in vain their branchy horns,
As we shall shake our unavailing spears.

REGENT.
Tush, tell not me! If their shot fall like hail,
Our men have Milan coats to bear it out.

SWINTON.
Never did armourer temper steal on stithy
That made sure fence against an English arrow;
A cobweb gossamer were guard as good
Against a wasp-sting.

REGENT.
Who fears a wasp-sting?

SWINTON.

I, my lord, fear none;
Yet should a wise man brush the insect off,
Or he may smart for it.

REGENT.
We'll keep the hill; it is the vantage-ground
When the main battle joins.

SWINTON.
It ne'er will join, while their light archery
Can foil our spearmen and our barbed horse.
To hope Plantagenet would seek close combat
When he can conquer riskless, is to deem
Sagacious Edward simpler than a babe
In battle-knowledge. Keep the hill, my lord,
With the main body, if it is your pleasure;
But let a body of your chosen horse
Make execution on yon waspish archers.
I've done such work before, and love it well;
If 't is your pleasure to give me the leading,
The dames of Sherwood, Inglewood, and Weardale,
Shall sit in widowhood and long for venison,
And long in vain. Whoe'er remembers Bannockburn, -
And when shall Scotsman, till the last loud trumpet,
Forget that stirring word !-knows that great battle
Even thus was fought and won.

• REGENT.

Who dares to say so?- Who is 't dare impeach Our rule of discipline?

SWINTON. A poor knight of these Marches, good my lord; Alan of Swinton, who hath kept a house here, lle and his ancestry, since the old days Of Malcolm, called the Maiden.

REGENT.

You have brought here, even to this pitched field,
In which the royal banner is display'd,
I think, some sixty spears, Sir Knight of Swinton :
Our inusters name no more.

SWINTON.

I brought each man 1 had; and chief, or earl,
Thane, duke, or dignitary, brings no more:
And with them brought I what may here be useful-
An aged eye, which, what in England, Scotland,
Spain, France, and Flanders, hath seen fifty battles,
And ta’en some judgment of them; a stark hand too,
Which plays as with a straw with this same mace,-
Which if a young arm here can wield more lighily,
I never more will offer word of counsel.

LENNOX.
Hear him, my lord; it is the noble Swinton-
He hath had high experience.

MAXWELL.

He is noted
The wisest warrior 'twixt the Tweed and Solway-
I do beseech you hear him.

JOHNSTONE
Ay, hear the Swinton-hear stout old Sir Alan;
Maxwell and Johnstone both agree for once.

LENNOX

REGENT.

This is the shortest road to bandy blows;
For when the bills step forth and bows go back,
Then is the moment that our hardy spearmen,
With their strong bodies, and their stubborn hearts,
And limbs well knit by mountain exercise,

Where's

your impatience now? Late you were all for battle, would not hear

At the close tug shall foil the short-breathed southron.

SWINTON

I do not say the field will thus be won;
The English host is numerous, brave, and loyal;
Their monarch most accomplish'd in war's art,
Skill’d, resolute, and wary--

GORDON Who would drink purely, seeks the secret fountain, How small soever--not the general stream, Though it be deep and wide. My lord, I seek The boon of knighthood from the honour'd weapon. Of the best knight, and of the sagest leader, That ever graced a ring of chivalry. - Therefore, I beg the boon on bended knee, Even from Sir Alan Swinton.

[Kneels.

REGENT.

REGENT,

Degenerate boy! Abject at once and insolent!--
See, lords, he kneels to him that slew his father!

GORDON (starting up).
Shame be on him who speaks such shameful word!
Shame be on him whose tongue would sow dissension,
When most the time demands that native Scotsmen
Forget each private wrong!

SWINTON (interrupting him).

Youth, since you crave me To be

your sire in chivalry, I remind you
War has its duties, Office has its reverence;
Who governs in the sovereign's name is sovereign,
Crave the Lord Regent's pardon.

GORDON.

And if your scheme secure not victory,
What does it promise us?

SWINTON.

This much at least,Darkling we shall not die; the peasant's shaft, Loosen'd perchance without an aim or purpose, Shall not drink up the life-blood we derive From those famed ancestors, who made their breasts This frontier's barrier for a thousand years. We'll meet these southrons bravely hand to hand, And eye to eye, and weapon against weapon; Each man who falls shall see the foe who strikes him, While our good blades are faithful to the hilts. And our good hands to these good blades are faithful, Blow shall meet blow, and none fall unavenged We shall not bleed alone.

REGENT.

And this is all
Your wisdom hath devised!

SWINTON.
Not all; for I would pray you, noble lords
(If one, among the guilty quiltiest, might),
For this one day to charm to ten hours' rest
The never-dying worm of deadly feud,
That gnaws our vexed hearts--think no one foe
Save Edward and his host-days will remain,
Ay, days by far too many will remain,

old feuds or struggles for precedence;
Let this one day be Scotland's.-For myself,
If there is

any
here
may

claim from me (As well may chance) a debt of blood and hatred, My life is his to-morrow unresisting, So he to-day will let me do the best That my old arm may achieve for the dear country That's mother to us both.

To avenge

You task me justly, and I crave his pardon,

(Bows to the REGENT. His and these noble lords';

and

pray them all
Bear witness to my words.-Ye noble presence,
Here I remit unto the Knight of Swinton
All bitter memory of my father's slaughter,
All thoughts of malice, hatred, and revenge;
By no base fear or composition moved,
But by the thought, that in our country's battle
All hearts should be as one. I do forgive him
As freely as I pray to be forgiven,
And once more kneel to him to sue for knighthood.

Swinton (affected, and drawing his sword).
Alas! brave youth, 't is I should kneel to you,
And, tendering thee the hilt of the fell sword
That made thee fatherless, bid thee use the point
After thine own discretion.-For thy boon-
Trumpets be ready- In the holiest name,
And in Our Lady's and Saint Andrew's name,

[Touching his shoulder with the sword.
I dub thee Knight! Arise, Sir Adam Gordon!
Be faithful, brave, and O be fortunate,
Should this ill hour permit!

[The trumpets sound; the Heralds cry, « Lar

gesse!» and the Attendants shout, «A Gordon! A Gordon !>>

[GORDON shows much emotion during this and

the preceding speech of Swinton.

REGENT.

Beggars and flatterers! Peace, peace, I say!
We'll to the standard; knights shall there be made
Who will with better reason crave your clamour.

REGENT.
It is a dream-a vision !--if one troop
Rush down upon the archers, all will follow,
And order is destroy'd—we 'll keep the battle-rank
Our fathers wont to do. No more on 't.-Ho!
Where be those youths seek knighthood from our
sword?

HERALD
Here are the Gordon, Somerville, and Hay,
And Hepburn, with a score of gallants more.

REGENT.
Gordon, stand forth.

GORDON.
I
pray your grace, forgive me.

REGENT.
How! seek you not for knighthood?

GORDON.

I do thirst for 't, But, pardon me—'t is from another sword.

LENNOX.

What of Swinton's counsel ?
Here's Maxwell and myself think it worth noting.

REGENT (with concentrated indignation).
Let the best knight, and let the sagest leader-
So Gordon quotes the man who slew his father,-
With his old pedigree and heavy mace,
Essay the adventure if it pleases him,
With his fair threescore horse. As for ourselves,
We will not peril aught upon the measure:

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