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Have they not been on gibbet bound,
Their quarters flung to hawk and hound,
And hold we here a cold debate,
To yield more victims to their fate T
What! can the English leopard's mood
Never be gorged with northern blood!
Was not the life of Atbole .shed,
To soothe the tyrant'ssicken'd bed? (14)
And must his word, at dying day.
Be nought but quarter, hang, and slay!—(1 5)
Thou frown'st, De Argentine.—My gage
Is prompt to prove the strife I wage.»—

xxvn.

■ Nor deem,n said stout Dunvegau's knight,

« That thou shall brave alone the fight!

By saints of isle and main-land both,

Ry 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 friend* 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 Aibborn will

Smack of the wild Norwegian still;

Nor will I barter Freedom's cause

For England's wealth or Rome's applause.»—

xxvm.

The abbot seem'd with eye severe,

The hardy chieftain's speech to hear.

Then on King Robert lurn'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 qucslion'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,

Rids 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 meanest 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 hallow'd 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 nnhallow'd, ruthless deed.*—

XXIX.

« Abbot!* the Bruce replied, « thy charge

It boots not to dispute at large.

This much, howe'er, I bid tliee know,

No selfish vengeance dealt the blow,

ForComyn 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,

Ry Scotland's wrongs incensed to fire.

Heaven knows ray purpose to atone.

Far as I may, the evil done.

And hears a penitent's appeal

From papal curse and prelate's zeal.

My Grst 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 j 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 traoce.
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 Midianiie of old,

Who stood on Zoplum, Ilea ven-coatroll J

I feel within mine aged breast

A power that will not he repress'd. (19)

It prompts my voice, it swells my veins.

It burns, it maddens, it constrains !—

De Bruce, thy sacrilegious blow

Hath at God's altar slain thy foe:

O'ermaster'd yet by high behest,

I bless thee, and thou shalt be ble*'<l!»—

He spoke, and o'er the astonish'd throng

Was silence, awful, deep, and long.

XXXII.

Again that light lias fired his eye.
Again his form swells bold and high.

The broken voice of age is pone,

T is vigorous manhood's lofty lone:

« Thrice vanquisli'd on the batlli^plain,
Thy followers slaughter.!, (led, or la'en;
A hunted wanderer on the wild, (10)
On foreign shores a man exiled,
Disown'd, deserted, and distrcss'd,
I bless thee, and thou shall be bless'd;
Bless'd in the hall and in the field,
Coder the mantle as the shield.
.Avenger of thy country's shame.
Restorer of her injured fame,
Blessd in thy sceptre and thy sword,
De Bruce, fair Scotland's rightful lord,
Kless'd in thy deeds and in thy fame,
What lenglhen'd honours wail 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 Druce.
Co. then, triumphant! sweep along
Thy course, the theme of many a song!
The Power, whose dictates swell my breast,
Hath bless'd thee, and thou shall be bless'd!
Enough— my short-lived strength decays,
And sinks the momentary blaze.—
Heaven hath our destined purpose broke,
Not here must nuptial vow be spoke;
Brethren, our errand here is o'er.

Our task discharged.— Unmoor, unmoor!*

His priests received the cihauslcd monk,
As breathless in their arms he sunk.
Punctual his orders to obey,
The train refused all longer stay,
Embark'd, raised sail, aud bore away.

CANTO IH.

I.

n.rr thou not mark'd, when o'er thy startled head

Sodden and deep the thunder-peal lias roll'd, How, when its echoes fell, a silence dead

Sink on the wood, the meadow,and the wold? The rye-frax shakes not on the sod-built fold,

The rustling aspen s leaves are mule and still, The wait-flower waves not on the ruin d hold,

TUI, murmuring distant lis* then near aud shrill, The savage whirlwiud wakes,aud sweeps the groanimhill!

II.

Artornish ! such a silence sunk
Upon thy halls, when that gray monk

His prophet-speech had spoke;
And his obedient brethren's sail
vVai strelch'd to meet the southern gale

Before a whisper woke.
Then murmuring sounds of doubt and fear,
Close pour'd in many an anxious ear,

The solemn stillness broke;
And *lill they g.ued with ea|;er guess,
Where, in an oriel's deep recess,
The Islaud Prince scem'd bent to press

What Lorn, by his impatient cheer,
And gesture fierce, scarce deigu'd to hear.

HI.

Starting at length with frowniug look,
His hand lie clench'd, his head he shook.

And sternly flung apart;—
« And deem'st thou me so mean of mood,
As to forget the mortal feud.
And clasp the hand with blood embrued

From my dear kinsman's heart!
Is this thy rede ?—a due return
For ancient league and friendship sworn!
But well our mountain proverb shows
The faith of Islesmen ebbs and flows.
Be it e'en so—believe, ere long.
He that now bears shall wreak the wrong.—
Call Edith—call the Maid of Lorn!
My sister, slaves!—for further scorn,
Be sure nor she nor I will stay.—
Away, De Argentine, away !—
W'e nor ally nor brother know,
In Brace's friend, or Euglaod's foc.»—

IV.
But who the chieftain's rage can tell,
When, sought from lowest dungeon cell
To highest lower the castle round,
No Lady Edith was there found!

He shouted, « Falsehood !—treachery!

Revenge and blood !—a lordly meed
To him that will avenge the deed!
A baron's lands'a—His frantic mood
Was scarcely by the news withstood.
That Morag shared his sister's (light,
And that, in hurry of the night,
'Scaped noteless, and without remark.
Two strangers sought the abbot's bark.
« Man every galley !—lly—pursue!
The priest his treachery shall rue!
Ay, and the time shall quickly come,
When we shall hear the thanks that Rome

Will pay his feigned prophecy!*

Such was tierce Lorn's indignant cry;
Aud Cormac Doil in haste ohey'd,
Hoisted his sail, his auchor weigh'd
(For, glad of each pretext for spoil,
A pirate sworn was Cormac Doil). (t)
But others, lingering, spoke apart,
« The maid has given her maiden heart

To Ronald of the Isles;
And, fearful lest her brother's word
Bestow her on that English lord,

Slio seeks lona's piles;
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,
« My horse, my mantle, and my train!
Let none who honours Lorn remain.'»
Courteous, but stem, a bold request
To Bruce De Argentine expressd—

.. Lord Earl,» he said,—«1 cannot chuse
Hut yield such title lo the Bruce,
Though name and earldom both are gone,
Since he braced rebel's armour on—
Dut, earl or serf-rude phrase was thine
Of late, and launch'd at Argentine;
Such as compels me to demand
Redress of honour at thy hand.
We need not lo each other tell,
That both can wield their weapons well;
Then do me but the soldier grace,
This glove upon thy helm to place,

Where we ma^ meet in fight;
And I will say, as still I 've said,
Though by ambition far misled,
Thou art a noble knlghl.»—
VI.
« And I,» the princely Bruce replied,
.< Might term it slain on knighthood's pride,
That the bright sword of Argentine
Should in a tyrants quarrel shine;

But, for your brave request,
Be sure the bonour'd pledge you gave
In every battle-field shall wave

Upon my helmcl-crest;
Believe, that if my hasty tongue
Hath done thine honour causeless wrong.

It shall be well redress'd.
Nor dearer to my soul was glove,
Bestow'd in youth by lady's love,

Than this which thou hast given!
Thus, then, my noble foe I greet;
Health and high fortune till we meet.
And then—what pleases Heaven."

VII. Thus parted they—for now, with sound Like waves roll'd back from rocky ground,

The friends of Lorn retire;
Each main-land chieftain with his train,
Draws lo his mountain towers again,
Pondering how mortal schemes prove vain,

And mortal hopes expire.
But through the castle double guard,
By Ronald's charge, kept wakeful ward,
Wicket and gale were trebly barr'd,

By beam and bolt and chain;
Then of the guests, in courteous sort,
He pray'd excuse for mirth broke short,
And bade them in Artornish fort

In confidence remain.
Now torch and menial tendance led
Chieftain and knight to bower and bed,
And beads were told, and aves said,

And soon they sunk away
Into such sleep, as wont to shed
Oblivion on the weary head,

Afler a toilsome day.
VIII.
But toon up-roused, the monarch cried
To Edward, slumbering by his tide,

« Awake, or sleep for aye!
E'en now there jarr'd a secret door—
A taper-light gleams on the floor-
Up, Edward, up, I siy!

Some one glides in like midnight ghost—
—Nay, strike not! 't is our noble bott.»—
Advancing then his taper's flame,
Ronald slept forth, and with him cam*
Dunvegan'a chief—each bent the knee
To Bruce, in sign of fealty,

And proffer'd him bis sword.
And hail'd him, in a monarch's style.
As king of main-land and of isle,

And Scotland's rightful lord.
« And 0,» said Ronald, « Own'd of Heaven!
Say, is my erring youth forgiven.
By falsehood's arts from duty driven.

Who rebel falchion drew,
Yet ever to thy deeds of fame,
E'en while I strove against thy claim,

Paid homage just and true?»— « Alas! dear youth, the unhappy time,» Answcrd the Bruce, « must bear the crime.

Since, guiltier far than you.
E'en I»—he paused; for Falkirk's woes
Upoo his conscious soul arose, (a)
The chieftain to his breast he press'd.
And in a sigh conceal d the rest.

IX.

They proffer'd aid, by arms and might,

I o repossess him in his right;

But well their counsels must be weigh'd.

Ere banners raised and musters made,

For English hiro and Loin's intrigues

Round many chiefs in southern leagues.

In answer, Bruce his purpose bold

To his new vassals frankly told.

« The wioter worn in exile o'er,

I long'd for Carrick's kindred shore;

I thought upon my native Ayr,

And long'd to sec 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 toss'd.

Our barks dispersed, our purpose cross d.

Mine own, a hostile sail to shun,

Far from her destined course had mn.

When that wise will, which masters own,

Compell'd us lo your friendly towers..

«S. Then Torquil spoke: «The time craves ipeed' We must not linger in our deed, nut iustant pray our sovereign Jiega To shun the perils of a siege. The vengeful Lorn, with all his power*. I,ies hut too dear Artornish towers. And England's light-arm'd vessels ride. Not distant far, the waves of Clyde. Prompt at these tidings lo 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 Skyc, Torquil thy pilot and thy guide.» « Not so. brave chieftain," Ronald cried;

■ Myself will ou my sovereign wait, And raise ia arras the men of Sleate, Whilst tbou, reoovn'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.w—

XL

•The scheme," said Bruce, « contents me well;

Meantime, t were best that Isabel,

For ufety, with my bark and crew,

Again to friendly Erin drew.

There Edward, too, shall with her wend,

In need to cheer her and defend.

And master up each scatterd friend.»—

Here *eem'd it as Lord Ronald's ear

Would other council gladlier hear;

But, all achieved as soon as plaim'd,

Both barks, in secret arin'd and mann'd,

From out the haven bore;
On different voyage forth they ply,
Tbii for the coast of winged Skye,

And thai-for Erin's shore.

XII.

With Bruce and Ronald bides the tale.
To fatouriog winds they gave the sail,
Till Mull's dark headlands scarce they knew,
Awl Anhfciniurchau's hills were blue.
Bat then the squalls blew close and hard,
And, fain to strike the galley's yard,

And take them to the oar,
With these rude seas, in weary plight.
They strove the livelong d.iy and night,
Nor till the dawning had a sight

Of Skye's romantic shore.
Where Coolin stoops him to the west,
They saw upon his shiver d crest

The sun's arising gleam;
But such the labour and delay,
Ere they were moor'd iu Scavigh bay
(For calmer heaven compcll'd to stay),

lit shot a wesjero beam.
Then Ronald said, « If true mine eye,
These are the savage wilds that lie
North of Strathaird ill and Dunskye; (3) •

No human foot comes here,
And, since these adverse breezes blow,
If my good liege love hunter's bow,
What binders that on land we go,

And strike a mountain-deer?
Allan, my page, shall with us wend,
A bow full deftly can he bend,
Aod, if we meet an herd, may send

A shaft shall mend our cheer.*—
Then each took bow and bolts in hand,
Their row«boat launch'd and leapt to band,

And left their skiff aod train,
Where a wild stream, with headlong shock,
Came brawling down its bed of rock,

To mingle with the main.

XIII.

Awhile their route they silent made,
As men who stalk for mountain-deer,

Till the good Bruce to Ronald said, « St Mary! what a scene is here!

I 've traversed many a mountain-strand.

Abroad and in my native land.

And it has been my lot to tread

Where safety wore than pleasure led;

Thus, many a waste I *ve wander'd o'er,

Clombe many a crag, cross'd many a moor, But, by my halidome,

A scene so rude, so wild as this,

Yet so sublime in barrenness,

Ne'er did my waudering footsteps press.
Where'er I bapp'd to roam.n—

XIV.

No marvel thus the monarch spake;

For rarely human eye has known A scene so stern as that dread lake.

With its dark ledge of barren stone.
Seems that primeval earthquake's sway
Hath rent a strange and shatter'd way

Through the rude bosom of the hill,
And that each naked precipice,
Sable ravine, and dark abyss,

Tells of the outrage still.
The wildest glen, but this, can show
Some touch of nature's genial glow;
On high Benmore green mosses grow,
And heath-bells bud in deep Gleucroe,

And copse on Cruehan-Ben;
But here,—above, around, below,

On mountain or in glen, Nor tree, nor shrub, nor plant, nor flower, Nor aught of vegetative power,

The weary eye may ken.
For all is rocks at random thrown,
Black waves, bare crags, and banks of stone,

As if were here denied
The summer sun, the spring's sweet dew,
That clothe with many a varied hue

The bleakest mountain-side,
XV.
And wilder, forward as they wound.
Were the proud cliffs and lake profound:
Huge terraces of granite black
Afforded rude and cumber d track;

For from the mountain hoar,
Hurl d headlong in some night of fear,
When ycll'd the wolf and lied the deer,

Loose crags had toppled o'er;
And some, chance-poised and balanced, lay,
So that a stripling arm might sway

A mass no host could raise.
In nature's rage at random thrown,
Yet trembling like the Druid's Stone

On its precarious base.
The evening mists, with ceaseless change,
Now clothed the mountains' lofty range,

Now left their foreheads bare.
And round the skirts their mantle furl'd,
Or on the sable waters curl'd,
Or, on the eddying breeies whirl'd,

Dispersed in middle air.
And oft, condensed, at once they lower.
When, brief and fierce, the mountain shower

Pours like a torrent down,

And when return the sun's glad beams,

W hi tend -with foam a thousand streams

Leap from the mountain's crown.

XVI.

« This lake,» said Bruce, « whose barriers drear
Are precipices sharp and sheer,
Yielding no track for goat or deer.

Save the black shelves we tread,
How term you its dark waves? and how.
Yon northern mountain's pathless brow

And yonder peak of dread,
That to the evening sun uplifts
The grisly gulfs and slaty rifts,

Which scam its shiver'd head?»—
« Coriskin call the dark lake's name, .
Coolin the ridge, as-bards proclaim,
From old Guchullin, chief of fame.
But bards, familiar in our isles
Rather with nature's frowns than smiles,
Full oft their careless humours please
By sportive names for scenes like these.
I would old Torquil were to show
His maidens with their breasts of snow,
Or that my noble liege were nigh
To hear his nurse sing lullaby
(The Maids—tall cliffs with breakers white,
The Nurse—a torrent's roaring might),
Or that your eye could see the mood
Of Corrievrekin's whirlpool rude,
When dons the Hag her whiten'd hood—
T is thus our Islcsmens fancy frames,
For scenes so stern, fantastic names."—

XVII.
Answer'd the Bruce, « And musing initid
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 rears his crowned head—Bat soft!
Look, underneath yon jutting crag
Are hunters and a slaughtered stag.
Who may they be? Itut late you said
No steps these desert regions tread!»

xvin.

• So said I—aud believed, in soolh,»

Ronald replied, « I spoke the truth.

Yet now I spy, by yonder stone.

Five men—they mark us, and come on;

And by their badge on bonnet borne,

1 guess them of the land of Lorn,

Foes to my liege.»—«So let it be;

I 've faced worse odds than live 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.»

« Not so, my liege—for by my life.

This sword shall meet the treble strife;

My strength, my skill in arms, more small,

And less the loss should Ronald fall.

But islesmen soon to soldiers grow,

Allan has sword as well as bow,

And were my monarch's order given.

Two shafts should make our number even.»

« No! not to save my life !» be said;

a Enough of blood rests on my head,

Too rashly spill'd—we soon shall know.

Whether they come as friend or foe.*—

xrx.

Nigh came the strangers, and more nigh;
Still less they pleased the monarch's eye.
Men were they all of evil mien,
Down-loqk'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 laggd small space behind,
Soem'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, unshorn their hair;
For arms, the caitiffs bore in hand,
A club, an axe, a rusty brand.

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 his stern command, they stood.
And proffer'd greeting brief and rude.
But acted courtesy so ill,
As seem'd 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 (his fallow deer.*—
«If from the sea, where lies your bark?*—
«Tcn fathom deep in ocean dark!
Wreck'd yesternight; but we are men,
Who little seuse of peril ken.
The shades come down—the day is shut—
Will 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.n—« Then spare your needless pain,
There will she now be sought in vain.
We saw her from the mounfain»head,
When with St George's blaxon red
A southern vessel bore in sight,
And'jours raised sail, and took to flight.*—

xx r.

«< Now, by the root), unwelcome news'* Thus with Lord Ronald communed Brace;

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