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Some one glides in like midnight ghost-
And proffer'd him his sword,
And Scotland's rightful lord.
Who rebel falchion drew,
Paid homage just and true?»-« Alas! dear youth, the unhappy time,» Answer'd the Bruce, « must bear the crime,
Since, quiltier far than you,
«Lord Earl,» he said, -«I cannot chuse
Where we may meet io fight;
VI. « And I,» the princely Bruce replied,
Might term it stain on knighthood's pride,
But, for your brave request,
Upon my helmet-crest;
It shall be well redress'd.
Than this which thou hast given!
And then—what pleases Heaven.»
T T A BI
IX. They proffer'd aid, by arms and might, To repossess him in his right; But well their counsels must be weigh’d, Ere banners raised and musters made, For English hire and Lorn's intrigues Bound many chiefs in southero leagues. In answer, Bruce his purpose bold To his new vassals frankly told, « The winter worn in exile o'er, I long'd for Carrick's kindred shore; I thought upon my native Ayr, And long d to see the burly fare That Clifford makes, whose lordly call Now echoes through my father's hall. But first my course to Arran led, Where valiant Lennox gathers head, And on the sea, by tempest Loss'd, Our barks dispersed, our purpose cross d, Mine own, a hostile sail to shun, Far from her destined course had run, When that wise will, which masters ours, Compelld us to your friendly towers.)
VII. Thus parted they—for now, with sound Like waves rolld back from rocky ground,
The friends of Lorn retire;
And mortal hopes expire.
By beam and bolt and chain;
In confidence remain.
And soon they sunk away
Awake, or sleep for aye!..
Up, Edward, up, I say!
X. Then Torquil spoke: « The time craves speed! We must not linger in our deed, But instant pray our sovereign liege To shun the perils of a siege. The vengeful Lorn, with all his powers, Lies but too near Artornish towers, And England's light-arm'd vessels ride, Not distant far, the waves of Clyde, Prompt at these tidings to unmoor, And sweep each strait, and guard each shore; Then, till this fresh alarm pass by, Secret and safe my liege must lie In the far bounds of friendly Skye, Torquil thy pilot and thy guide.» « Not so, brave chieftain, Ronald cried;
« Myself will on my sovereign wait, And raise in arms the men of Sleate, Whilst thou, renown'd where chiefs debate, Shalt sway their souls by council sage, And awe them by thy locks of age.» —« And if my words in weight shall fail, This ponderous sword shall turn the scale.»
From out the haven bore;
And that for Erin's shore.
And take them to the oar,
Of Skye's romantic shore.
The sun's arising gleam;
Ile shot a western beam.
No human foot comes here,
And strike a mountain-deer?
A shaft shall mend our cheer.»
And left their skiff and train,
To mingle with the main.
Till the good Bruce to Ronald said,
« St Mary! what a scene is here!
But, by my halidome,
For rarely human eye has known
With its dark ledge of barren stone.
Through the rude bosom of the hill,
Tells of the outrage still.
And copse on Cruchan-Ben;
On mountain or in glen, Nor tree, nor shrub, nor plant, nor flower, Nor aught of vegetative power,
The weary eye may ken.
As if were here denied
For from the mountain hoar,
Loose crags had toppled o'er;
A mass no host could raise,
On its precarious base.
Now left their foreheads bare,
Dispersed in middle air.
As men who stalk for mountain-deer,
And when return the sun's glad beams, Whitend with foam a thousand streams
Leap from the mountain's crown.
« Not so, my liege-for by my life,
Save the black shelves we tread,
And yonder peak of dread,
Which seam its shiver'd head?»
XIX. Nich came the strangers, and more nigh; Still less they pleased the monarch's eye. Men were they all of evil mien, Down-look'd, unwilling to be seen ;(4) They moved with half-resolved pace, And bent on earth each gloomy face. The foremost two were fair array'd, With brogue and bonnet, trews and plaid, And bore the arms of mountaineers, Daggers and broadswords, bows and spears, The three, that lage'd small space behind, Seem'd serfs of more degraded kind; Goat-skins or deer-hides, o'er them cast, Made a rude fence against the blast; Their arms and feet and heads were bare, Matted their beards, anshorn their hair; For arms, the caitiffs bore in hand, A club, an axe, a rusty brand.
XVII. Answer'd the Bruce, « And musing inind Might here a graver moral find, These mighty cliffs, that heave on high Their naked brows to middle sky, indifferent to the sun or saow, Where nought can fade, and nought can blow, May they not mark a monarch's fate, Raised high 'mid storms of strife and state, Beyond life's lowlier pleasures placed, His soul a rock, his heart a waste? O'er hope and love and fear aloft High rcars his crowned head-But soft! Look, underneath yon jutting crag Are hunters and a slaughter'd stag. Who may they be? But late
steps these desert regions tread!»
XX. Onward, still mute, they kept the track; « Tell who ye be, or else stand back,» Said Bruce ; « In deserts when they meet, Men pass not as in peaceful street.» Still, at bis stern command, they stood, And proffer'd greeting brief and rude, But acted courtesy so ill, As seemd of fear, and not of will. « Wanderers we are, as you may be ; Men hither driven by wind and sea, Who, if you list to taste our cheer, Will share with you this fallow deer.»« If from the sea, where lies your bark?-« Ten fathom deep in ocean dark! Wreck'd yesternight; but we are men, Who little sense of peril ken. The shades come down-the day is shutWill you go with us to our hut?»-« Our vessel waits us in the bay; Thanks for your proffer-have good day.» « Was that your galley, then, which rode Not far from shore when evening glow'd ?»« It was.»-« Then spare your needless pain, There will she now be sought in vain. We saw her from the mountain-head, When with St George's blazon red A southern vessel bore in sight, And yours raised sail, and took to flight.»—
spy, by yonder slone, Five men—they mark us, and come on; And by their badge on bonuet borne, 1 fucss
them of the land of Lorn, Foes to my liege.»
.»-« So let it be; I've faced worse odds than five to three- But the poor page can little aid; Then be our battle thus array'd, If our free passage they contest; Cope thou with two, I'll match the rest.»
Slic glanced on him with favouring eyes,
Who bathes ber limbs in sunless well
- Ilark! hears he not the sea-nymph speak
XXVII. What spell was good King Robert's, say, To drive the weary night away? His was the patriot's burning thought, Of freedom's battle bravely fought, Of castles storm'd, of cities freed, Of deep design and daring deed, Of England's roses reft and torn, And Scotland's cross in triumph worn, Of rout and rally, war and truce,As heroes think, so thought the Bruce. No marvel, 'mid such musings high, Sleep shunn'd the monarch's thoughtful eye. Now over Coolin's eastern head The grayish light begins to spread, The otter to his cavern drew, And clamour'd shrill the wakening mew; Then watch'd the page-to needful rest The king resign'd his anxious breast,
And venged young Allan well!
The miscreant gasp'd and fell!
-O for a moment's aid,
Above his comrade laid !-
And, ere he shook biin loose,
While o'er him stands the Bruce.
XXVIII. To Allan's eyes was harder task, The weary watch their safeties ask, He trimm'd the fire, and gave to shine With bickering light the splinter'd pine, Then gazed awhile where, silent laid, Their hosts were shrouded by the plaid, But little fear waked in his mind, For he was bred of martial kind, And, if to manhood he arrive, May match the boldest knight alive, Then thought be of his mother's tower, His little sisters' green-wood bower, How there the Easter-gambols pass, And of Dan Joseph's lengthen d mass. But still before his weary eye In rays prolong'd the blazes dieAgaiu he roused him-on the lake Look'd forth, where now the twilight flake Of pale cold dawn began to wake. On coolin's cliffs the mist lay furld, The morning breeze the lake had curld; The short dark waves, heaved to the land, With ceaseless plash kiss'd cliff or sand;It was a slumb'rous sound-he turu'd To tales at which his youth had burn'd, Of pilgrim's path by demon crossid, Of sprightly elf or yelling ghost, Of the wild witch's baneful cot, And mermaid's alabaster grot,
Speak yet again, and speak the truth