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Like being of superior kind,
The manue veil both face and eye,
Nor could her form's fair symmetry.»
Or the mermaid of the wave,
IX. Suspicious doubt and lordly scorn Lour'd on the haughty front of Lorn. From underneath his brows of pride, The stranger guests he sternly eyed, And whisper'd closely what the ear Of Argentine alone might hear;
Then question'd, high and brief, If, in their voyage, aught they knew Of the rebellious Scottish crew, Who to Rath-Erin's shelter drew,
With Carrick's outlaw'd ehief ? (4) And if, their winter's exile o'er, They harbour'd still by Ulster's shore, Or launch'd their galleys on the main, To vex their native land again ?
SONG CONTINUED. « No!-thy splendours nothing tell, Foreign art or faëry spell. Moulded thou for monarch's use, By the over-weening Bruce, When the royal robe he tied O'er a heart of wrath and pride; Thence in triumph wert thou torn, By the victor hand of Lorn!
« When the gem was won and lost,
SONG CONCLUDED. « Vain was then the Douglas brand, Vain the Campbeil's vaunted hand, (7) Vain Kirkpatrick's bloody dirk, Making sure of murder's work; (8) Barendown fled fast away, Fled the fiery De la Haye, (9) When this broach, triumphant borne, Beam'd upon the breast of Lorn.
With look of equal scorn ;-
I warn thee he has sworn,
To Allaster of Lorn.»
Brother, it better suits the time
Then whisper'd Argentine,
If right this guess of mine.»
« Farthest fled, its former lord
THE BROACH OF LORN. (5) «Whence the broach of burning gold, That clasps the chieftain's mantle-fold, Wrought and chased with rare device, Studded fair with gems of price, (6) On the varied tartans beaming, As, through night's pale rainbow gleaming, Fainter now, now seen afar, Fitful shines the northern star?
XIV. As glares the tiger on his foes, Hemm'd in by hunters, spears, and bows, And, ere he bounds upon the ring, Selects the object of his spring, Now on the bard, now on his lord, So Edward glared and grasp'd his swordBut stern his brother spoke, -« Be still! What! art thou yet so wild of will, After high deeds and sufferings long, To chafe thee for a menjal's song ?Well hast thou framed, old man, thy strains, To praise the hand that pays thy pains; (10) Yet something might thy song have told Of Lorn's three vassals, true and bold, Who rent their lord from Bruce's hold, As underneath his knee he lay, And died to save him in the fray.
« Gem, ne'er wrought on Highland mountain, Did the fairy of the fountain,
I've heard the Bruce's cloak and clasp
Glow'd 'twixt thre chieftains of Argyle,
XV. « Now, by Columba's shrine, I swear, And every saint that's buried there, 'T is he himself!» Lorn sternly cries, « And for my kinsman's death he dies.»— As loudly Ronald calls--« Forbear! Not in my sight while brand I wear, O'er-match'd by odds, shall warrior fall, Or blood of stranger stain
hall! This ancient fortress of my race Shall be misfortune's resting-place, Shelter and shield of the distress'd, No slaughter-house for shipwreck'd guest.» « Talk not to me,» fierce Lorn replied, «Of odds or match !-when Comyn died, Three daggers clash'd within his side! Talk not to me of sheltering hall, The Church of God saw Comyn fall! On God's own altar stream'd his blood, While o'er my prostrate kinsman stood The ruthless murderer-e'en as nowWith armed hand and scornful brow. Up, all who love me! blow on blow! And lay the outlawd felons low.»—
XVII. 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 Reluctant each the first to strike (For aye accursed in minstrel line Is he who brawls 'mid song and wine), And, matchi'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 burst the thunder on the hill. With blade advanced, each chieftain bold Show'd like the Sworder's form of old, As wanting still the torch of life, To wake the marble into strife.
XVI. Then up sprung many a main-land lord, Obedient to their chieftain's word. Barcaldine's arm is high in air, And Kinloch-Alline's blade is bare, Black Murthok's dirk has left its sheath, And clench'd is Dermid's hand of death. Their mutter'd threats of vengeance swell Into a wild and warlike yell; Onward they press with weapons high, The affrighted females shriek and fly, And, Scotland, then thy brightest ray Had darken'dere its noon of day, But every chief of birth and fame, That from the Isles of Ocean came, At Ronald's side that hour withstood Fierce Lorn's relentless thirst for blood.
XIX. That awful pause the stranger maid, And Edith, seized to pray for aid. As to De Argentine she clung, Away her veil the stranger flung, And lovely, 'mid her wild despair, Fast stream'd her eyes, wide flow'd her hair. « O thou, of knighthood once the flower, Sure refuge in distressful hour, Thou, who in Judah well hast fought For our dear faith, and oft hast sought Renown in knightly exercise, When this poor hand has dealt the prize, Say, can thy soul of honour brook On the unequal strife to look, When, butcher'd thus in peaceful hall, Those once thy friends, my brethren fall !» To Argentine she turn'd her word, But her eye sought the Island Lord. A flush like evening's setting fame Glow'd on his cheek; his hardy frame, As with a brief convulsion, shook : With hurried voice and eager look,« Fear not,” he said, « my Isabel ! What said 1-Edith!-all is wellNay, fear not-1 will well provide The safety of my lovely brideMy bride ?»—but there the accents clung In tremor to his falt'ring tongue.
XVII. • Brave Torquil from Dunvegan high, Lord of the misty hills of Skye, Mac-Niel, wild Bara's ancient thane, Duart, of bold Clan Gillian's strain, Fergus, of Canna's castled bay, Mac-Duffith, Lord of Colonsay, Soon as they saw the broadswords glance, With ready weapons rose at once, More prompt, that many an ancient feud, Full oft suppress'd, full oft renewd,
Show'd, in its red and flashing light,
His tresses scaut and gray.
Or are these naked brands
« Thou comesi, 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, nor 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.»
(Such speech, I ween, was but to hide
Hath sainted visions known;
And by Columba's stone.
To cheer his penance lone,
With aves many a one-
The black-stoled brethren wind; Twelve sandall’d monks, who relics bore, With many a torch-bearer before,
And many a cross behind.
Dropp'd swiftly at the sigltt;
The torches' glaring ray
XXV. Then Ronald pled the stranger's cause, And knighthood's oath and honour's laws; And Isabel, on bended knee, Brought prayers and tears to back the plea; And Edith lent her generous aid, And wept, and Lorn for mercy pray'd. « Hence,» he exclaim'd, « degenerate maid! Was 't not enough to Ronald's bower J brought thee, like a paramour, (1) Or bond-maid at ber 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.»— With grief the abbot heard and saw, Yet nought relax'd his brow of awe.
By English Edward had been shed,
Have they not been on gibbet bound,
XXVII. « Nor deem,» said stout Dunvegan's knight, « That thou shalt brave alone the fight! By saints of isle and main-land both, By Woden wild (my grandsire's oath), (16) Let Rome and England do their worst, Howe'er attainted or accursed, 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, Torquil's rude thought and stubborn will Smack of the wild Norwegian still; Nor will I barter Freedom's cause For England's wealth or Rome's applause. »--
XXVIII. The abbot seem'd with eye severe, The hardy chieftain's speech to hear. Then on King Robert turn'd the monk, But twice his courage came and sunk, Confronted with the hero's look ; Twice fell his eye, his accents shook. At length, resolved in tone and brow, Sternly he question d him-« And thou, Unhappy! what hast thou to plead, Why I denounce not on thy deed That awful doom which canons tell Shuts paradise and opens hell; Anathema of power so dread, 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 ; Arms every hand against thy life, Bans all who aid thee in the strife, Nay, each whose succour, cold and scant, With mcanest alms relieves thy want; Haunts thee while living, -and, when dead, Dwells on thy yet devoted head, Rends honour's scutcheon from thy hearse, Stills o'er thy bier the holy verse, And spurns thy corpse from hallowd ground, Flung like vile carrion to the hound! Such is the dire and desperate doom, For sacrilege decreed by Rome; And such the well-deserved meed Of thine uphallow'd, ruthless deed.»
XXIX. « Abbot!» the Bruce replied, «thy charge It boots not to dispute at large. This much, howe'er, I bid thee know, No selfish vengeance dealt the blow, For Comyo died his country's foe. Nor blame 1 friends whose ill-timed speed Fulfilld 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. Heaven knows my purpose to atone, Far as I may, the evil done, And hears a penitent's appeal From papal curse and prelate's zeak My first and dearest task achieved, Fair Scotland from her thrall relieved, Shall many a priest in cope and stole 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.»
XXX. Like man by prodigy amazed, Upon the king the abbot gazed; Then o'er his pallid features glance Convulsions of ecstatic trance. His breathing came more thick and fast, And from his pale blue eyes were cast Strange rays of wild and wandering light ; Uprise his locks of silver white, Flush'd is his brow, through every vein In azure tide the currents strain, And undistinguish'd accents broke The awful silence ere he spoke.
XXXI. « De Bruce ! I rose with purpose dread To speak my curse upon thy head, (18) And give thee as an outcast o'er To him who burns to shed thy gore;But, like the Midianite of old, Who stood on Zophim, Heaven-controllid, I feel within mine aged breast A power
that will not be repress'd. (19)