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Where rising through the woodland green,
But though the beams of light decay,
But as. on Car-rick shore.
It kindled more and more.
Full strange lorchurchman's eye;
Aod helmets Hashing high;
While hastening all on board,
With many a haughty word.
Through that wild throng the father pass'd.
And reach'd the royal Bruce at last.
He leant against a stranded boat.
That the approaching tide must float,
And counted every rippling wave,
As higher yet her sides they lave,
And oft the distant fire he eyed,
Aod closer yet bis hauberk lied,
Aod loosen'd in its shealh his brand.
Edward and Lennox were at hand;
Douglas and Ronald had the care
The soldiers to the harks to share.—
Tbe mook approach'd and homage paid;
■ Aod art thou come," King Robert said, < So far, to bless us ere Wp part ?»— —•My liege, and witli a loyal heart!— But other charge I have to tell,"—
Aod spoke the best of Isabel.
—« Now, by Saint Giles,* the monarch cried,
• Thismoves me much!—this morning tide,
I tent the stripling to Saint Bride,
With my commandment there to bide.*—
—« Thither he came the port'ress show'd,
lot there, my liege, made brief abode.*—
■ T w« I,» said Edward, * found employ Of nobler import for the boy.
Deep pondering in my anxious mind,
« 0 wild of thought, and hard of heart!*
Answer'd the monarch, « on a part
Of such deep danger to employ
A mute, an orphan, and a hoy!
Unfit for flight, unfit for strife.
Without a tongue lo plead for life!
Now, were my right restored by Heaven,
Edward, my crown I would have given.
Ere, thrust on such adventure wild,
I peri I'd thus the helpless child.**—
—Offended haif, and half submiss,
« Brother and liege, of blame like this,*
Edward replied, « I little dream'd.
A stranger messenger, I dcem'd,
Might safest seek the beadsman's cell,
Where all thy squires are known so well.
Noteless his presence, sharp his sense,
His imperfection bis defence.
If seen, none can his errand guess;
If la'en, his words no tale express—
Methinks, too, yonder beacon's shine
Might expiate greater fault than mine.*—
« Hash... said King Robert, « was the deed—
But it is done.—Embark with speed!—
Good father, say to Isabel
How this unhappy chance befel;
If well we thrive on yonder shore,
Soon shall my care her page restore.
Our greeting to our sister bear,
Aod think of us iu mass and prayer.*—
«Ay!»—said the priest, -while this poor hand
Cau chalice raise or cross command,
While my old voice has accents' use,
Can Augustiu forget the Bruce?*
Then to his side Lord Ronald press'd
And whisper'd, « Bear thou this request,
That when by Bruce's side I fight.
For Scotland's crown and freedom's right.
The priucrss grace her knight to bear
Some token of her favouring care;
It shall be shown where EnglamUs best
May shrink lo see it on my crest.
And for the boy—since weightier care
For royal Bruce the times prepare,
The helpless youth is Ronald's charge.
His couch ray plaid, his fence my targe.»—
Now on the darkening main afloat.
Heady and mann'd rocks every boat;
Beneath their oars the ocean's might
Was dash'd to sparks of glimmering light.
Faint and more faint, as off they bore,
Their armour glanced against the shore,
Ami, mingled -with the dashing tide,
Their murmuring voices distant died.—
« God speed them !>» said the priest, as dark
On distant billows glides each bark;
« O Heaven! when swords for freedom shine.
And monarch's right, the cause is thine!
Edge doubly every patriot blow!
Beat down the banners of the foe!
And be it to the nations known,
That Victory is from God alone!»—
As up the hill his path he drew,
He iin in! bis blessings to renew,
Oft turn'd, till on the darken'd coast
All traces of their course were lost;
Then slowly bent to Brodick tower,
To shelter for the evening hour.
In night the fairy prospects sink,
« Now, good my liege, and brother sage. What think ye of mine elfin page I»— « Row on!» the noble king replied, « We'll learn the truth whate'er betide; Yet sure the beadsman and the child Could ne'er have waked that beacon
With that the boats approach'd the land.
But Edward's grounded on the sand;
The eager knight leap'd in the sea
Waist-deep, and first on shore was he,
Though every barge's hardy band
Contended which should gain the land.
When that strange light, which, seen afar,
Seem'd steady as the polar star,
Now, like a prophet's fiery chair,
Seem'd travelling the realms of air.
Wide o'er the sky the splendour glows.
As that portentous meteor rose;
Helm, axe, and falchion, glitierd bright.
And in the red and dusky light
His comrade's face each warrior saw,
Nor marvell'd it was pale wiih awe.
Then high in air the beams, were lost.
And darkness sunk upon the coast.—
Ronald to Heaven a prayer addre&s'd,
And Douglas cross'd his dauntless breast;
« Saint James protect usl»—Lennox cried,
But reckless Edward spoke aside,
« Dcem'st thou, Kirkpatrick, in that flame
Red Comyn's angry spirit came.
Or would thy dauntless heart endure
Once more to make assurance sure!"—
« Hush!» said the Bruce, « wc soon shall know.
If this be sorcerers empty show,
Or stratagem of southern foe.
The moon shines out—upon the sand
Let every leader rank bis band.*—
Faintly the moon's pale beams suppfy
That ruddy light's unnatural dye;
The dubious cold reflection lay
On the wet sands and quiet bay.
Beneath the nocks King Robert drew
His scatter'd files to order due.
Till shield compact and serried spear
In the cool light shone blue and clear.
Then down a path that sought the tide.
That speechless page was seen to glide;
He knelt him lowly on the sand.
And gave a scroll to Robert's hand.
« A torch,» the monarch cried; * What bo!
Now shall wc Cuthberl's tidings know.»—
But evil news the letters hare,
The Clifford's force was strong and ware.
Augmented, too, that very morn,
By mountaineers who came with Lorn
Long harrow'd by oppressor's hand.
Courage and Faith had fled the land.
And over Carrick, dark and deep.
Had sunk dejection's iron sleep.—
Guthbert had seen that beacon-flame,
Unwitting from what source it came
With effort faint and lengllien'd pause,
What may be done 1—the night is gone—
The Bruce's band moves swiftly on—
Eternal shame, if at the brunt
Lord Ronald grace not battle's front !—
« See yonder oak, within whose trunk
Decay a darken'd cell hath sunk—
Enter, and rest thee there a space,
Wrap in my plaid thy limbs, thy race.
I will not be, believe me, far;
Rut must not quit the ranks of war.
Well will I mark the bosky bourne,
And soon to guard thee hence, return.—
Nay, weep not so, thou simple boy!
Rut sleep in peace, and wake in joy.»—•
In sylvan lodging close bestow'd.
He placed the page, and onward strode
With strength put forth, o'er moss and brook,
And soon the marching band o'eriook.
Thus strangely left, long sobb'd and wept
To Amadine, Lorn's well-known word
« And was she thus,» said Clifford, « lost!
Lord Clifford now the captive spied; « Whom, Herbert, hast thou there!* he eriei « A spy was seized within the chase, An hollow oak his lurking-place.» « What tidings can the youth afford ?*— « He plays the route.**—« Then noose a cord— Unless brave Lorn reverse the doom For his plaid's sake.w—« Clan-Colla's loom," Said Lorn, wltose careless glances trace Rather the vesture than the face, « Clan-Colla's dames such tartans twine; Wearer nor plaid claims care of mine. Give him, if my advice you crave. His own scathed oak; and let him ware In air, unless, by terror wrung. A frank confession find his tongue— Nor shall he die without bis rite; —Thou, Angus Roy, attend the sight. And give Clan-Colla's dirge thy breath. As they convey him to his death.»— « O brother! cruel to the lastlyThrough the poor captive's bosom pass'd The thought, but, to his purpose true. He said not, though he sigh'd, « Adieu -•—
And will he keep his purpose still,
In sight of that last closing ill.
When one poor breath, ooe single word.
May freedom, safety, life, afford?
Can he resist the instinctive call.
For life that bids us barter all —
Lore, strong as death, his heart hath steel'd,
Bat other witoesses are nigh,
Who mock at fear, and death defy!
Soon as the dire lament was play'd,
It waked the lurking ambuscade.
The Island Lord look d forth, and spied
The cause, and Loud in fury cried,
■ By Heaven they lead the page to die,
And mock me in his agony!
They shall abye it!»—On his arm
Bruce laid strong grasp, *They shall not harm
A ringlet of the stripling's hair;
But, till I give the word, forbear.
—Douglas, lead fifty of our force
lp yonder hollow water-course,
And couch thee mid-way on the wold.
Between the flyers and their hold:
A spear above the copse display'd,
Be signal of the ambush made.
—Edward, with forty spearmen, straight
Through yonder copse approach the gate,
And, when thou hear*st the battle-din,
Bush forward, and the passage win,
Secure the draw-bridge—storm the port—
And man and guard the castle-court.—
The rest move slowly forth with me,
lo shelter of* the forest tree,
Till Douglas at his post 1 see.*
Like war-hor^e eager to rush on,
While hymn mistuned and mutter'd prayer
• The Bruce, the Bruce!» to well-known cry
His native rocks and woods reply.
« The Bruce, the Bruce!» in that dread word
The knell of hundred deaths was heard.
The astonish'd southern gazed at first.
Where the wild tempest was to burst.
That waked in that presaging name!
Before, behind, around it came!
Half-arm'd, surprised, on every side
Hemm'd in, hew'd down, they bled and died.
Deep in the ring the Bruce engaged.
And fierce Clan-Col las broadsword raged!
Full soon the few who fought were sped,
Nor better was their lot who fled,
And met, 'mid terror's wild career,
The Douglas's redoubted spear!
Two hundred yeomen on that morn
The castle left, and none return.
Not on their flight press d Ronald's brand,
A harder task fierce Edward waits.
His fury had assail'd;
Where prudence might have fail'd.
By which its planks arose;
The gate they may not close.
Against an hundred foes.
Fresh combatants pour in;