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VIPONT

SWINTON

upon the

SWINTON

Lies deep before him and the sun is high.

SWINTON.
Thou 'lt follow

yon
old
pennon,
wilt thou not?

Templar, what think'st thou me!-See yonder rock,
*T is tatter'd since thou saw'st it, and the Boar-heads From which the fountain gushes-is it less
Look as if brought from off some Christmas board, Compact of adamant, though waters flow from it?
Where knives had notch'd them deeply.

Firm hearts have moister eyes. They are avenged ; VIPONT.

I wept not till they were-till the proud Gordon Have with them ne'ertheless. The Stuart's Chequer,

Had with his life-blood dyed my father's sword, The Bloody Heart of Douglas, Ross's Lymphads, In guerdon that he thinn'd my father's lineage, Sutherland's Wild-cats, nor the royal Lion,

And then I wept my sons; and, as the Gordon
Rampant in golden tressure, wins me from them. Lay at my feet, there was a tear for him,
We'll back the Boar-beads bravely. I see round them which mingled with the rest.-We had been friends,
A chosen band of lances--some well-known to me. Had shared the banquet and the chase together,
Where's the main body of thy followers ?

Fought side by side-and our first cause of strife,
SWINTON.

Woe to the pride of both, was but a light one.
Symon de Vipont, thou dost see them all
That Swinton's bugle-horn can call to battle,

You are at feud, then, with the mighty Gordon ?
However loud it rings. There's not a boy
Left in my halls, whose arm has strength enough At deadly feud. Here in this Border-land,
To bear a sword—there's not a man behind,

Where the sire's quarrels descend

son, However old, who moves without a staff.

As due a part of his inheritance Striplings and gray-beards, every one is here,

As the strong castle and the ancient blazon,
And here all should be-Scotland needs them all; Where private vengeance holds the scales of justice,
And more and better men, were each a Hercules, Weighing each drop of blood as scrupulously
And yonder handful centuplied.

As Jews or Lombards balance silver pence,
VIPONT.

Not in this land, 'twixt Solway and Saint Abb's, A thousand followers—such, with friends and kins- Rages a bitterer feud than mine and theirs, men,

The Swinton and the Gordon. Allies and vassals, thou wert wont to lead

VIPONT. A thousand followers shrunk to sixty lances

You, with some threescore lances and the Gordon In twelve years' space !- And thy brave sons, Sir Alan, Leading a thousand followers. Alas! I fear to ask.

SWINTON.

You rate him far too low. Since you sought Palestine, All slain, De Vipont. In my empty home

He hath had grants of baronies and lordships A puny babe lisps to a widow'd mother,

In the far-distant North. A thousand horse « Where is my grandsire? wherefore do you weep ?» His southern friends and vassals always number'd. But for that prattler, Lyulph's house is heirless. Add Badenoch kerpe, and horse from Dee and Spey, I'm an old oak, from which the foresters

He 'll counta thousand more.-And now, De Vipont, Have hew'd four goodly boughs, and left beside me If the Boar-heads seem in your eyes less worthy, Only a sapling, which the fawn may crush

For lack of followers-seek yonder standard As he springs over it.

The bounding Stag, with a brave host around it:

There the young Gordon makes his earliest field,
All slain-alas!

And pants to win his spurs.

His father's friend,
SWINTON.

As well as mine, thou wert-go, join his pennon, Ay, all, De Vipont. And their attributes,

And grace him with thy presence.
Johd with the Long Spear-Archibald with the Axe-
Richard the Ready-and my youngest darling, When you were friends, I was the friend of both,
My Fair-haired William-do but now survive

And now I can be enemy to neither;
In measures which the gray-hair'd minstrels sind, But my poor person, though but slight the aid,
When they make maidens weep.

Joins on this field the banner of the two

Which hath the smallest following.
These wars with England, they have rooted out
The flowers of Christendom. Knights, who might win Spoke like the generous knight, who gave up all,
The sepulchre of Christ from the rude heathen, Leading and lordship, in a heathen land
Fall in unholy warfare!

To fight a christian soldier-yet, in earnest,

I pray, De Vipont, you would join the Gordon Unholy warfare? ay, well hast thou named it; In this high battle. "T is a noble youth, But not with England-would her cloth-yard shafts So fame doth vouch him,-amorous, quick, and valiant; Had bored their cuirasses! Their lives liad been Takes knighthood, too, this day, and well may use Lost like their grandsire's, in the bold defence His spurs too rashly in the wish to win them. Of their dear country-but in private feud

A friend like thee beside him in the fight, With the proud Gordon, fell my Long-spear'd John, Were worth a hundred spears, to rein his valour He with the Axe, and he men call'd the Ready, And temper it with prudence :-'t is the aged cagle Ay, and my Fair-hair'd Wilt-the Gordon's wrath Teaches lois brood to gaze upon the sun, Devour'd my gallant issue.

With eye undazzled.

VIPONT.

VIPONT.

VIPONT.

SWINTON.

SWINTON

VIPONT

VIPONT.

Since thou dost weep, their death is unavenged ?

Alas, brave Swinton! Wouldst thou train the hunter

LENNOX

X

REGENT.

PURSUIVANT.

VIPONT.

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.

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

I've seen King Robert-ay, the Bruce himself-
My 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,

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 Raynald.] Hold thou my casque, and furl my Or where the foe finds us, there will we fight him.
pennon up

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

Who now stand prompi for battle.
Nor standard, till the common foe shall challenge

ROSS.
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

To halt and rally them.
Will he not know your features ?

SUTHERLAND.
SWINTON
He never saw me. In the distant north,

Say'st thou, Mac-Donnell !--Add another falsehood,

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

REGENT.
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.
A cross, 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?

JOHNSTONE.
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
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 saying--
Council of Scottish Nobles and Chiefs. SUTHERLAND,
Ross, LENNOX, MAXWELL, and other Nobles of the

Enter LINDESAY.
highest rank, are close to the Regent's person, and
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 wea-
Nobles are dressed in Highland or Lowland habits,
as 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.

VIPONT.

MAXWELL.

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SWINTON

REGENT.

SUTHERLAND.

LINDESAY.

pons clash

VIPONT.

SUTHERLAND.

GORDON.

REGENT.
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,
LENNOX.

Attracting while they chilld 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 is-Discretion 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. "Tis contagious

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

Being unknown in arms, to say that mine

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

SWINTON (shows emotion, but instantly subdues it). Suits him the best who counsellid 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,
That if I have not leading of the van,

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

And yet it yields no answer to my question.
ROSS.

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.
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,
Dishearlen 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

Joto revenge's glow. Ilow 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

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

you
( The Regent, Ross, SUTHERLAND, LENNOX, Who will nor seek nor shun him.

He draws his sword, and rushes towards me,
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 accepts 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.

GORDON

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!-Unband 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.
low 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.

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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.

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 iny father twice ere I can strike
At such gray bairs, and face of such command;
Yet my hand clenches on my falchion-bilt,
In token he shall die.

Know'st thou not the peonon?
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 !»

(Muses. VIPONT (apart). High blood and mettle, mix'd with early wisdom, Sparkle in this brave youth, If he survive This evil-omen'd 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 Swiolon! 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 Slage.

MAXWELL. 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.

VIPONT.

Enter the RECENT and Scottish Lords.

REGENT.

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

GORDON.
I'm calm, I will not seek-nay, I will shun it-
And 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 becp; and then the Cross Hath sunk before the Crescent Heaven's cause Won us not victory where wisdom was nol.-Behold yon English host come slowly on, With equal frout, rank marsliall d 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 batlle needs:- then look on ours,

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

0, 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 foc, say, -Swinton, speak, For king and country's sake!

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 counsell'd. - Bruce had bidden ye Review your battle-order, marsballd broadly Here on the bare hill-side, and bidden you mark Yon clouds of southron archers, bearing down To the green meadow-lands which streich beneathThe 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, ough 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.

SWINTON

REGENT.

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,

REGENT.
Who dares to say so?—Who is 't dare impeach
Our rule of discipline ?

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

SWINTON.
Never did armourer temper steel 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

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.

A poor knight of these Marches, good my lord;
Alan of Swinton, who hath kept a house here,
He 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 musters name no more.

SWINTON
I brought each man I had; aud 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 100,
Which plays as with a straw with this same mace, -
Which if a young arm here can wield more lightly,
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.
Áy, hear the Swinton-hear sloul old Sir Alan;
Maxwell and Johnstonc both agree for once.

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
Even thus was fought and won.

LENNOX.
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,

great battle

REGENT.

Where's your impatience now?
Lale you were all for battle, would not hear

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