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We should refuse to share our meal ?”_
“_Then say we, that our swords are steel!
And our vow binds us not to fast,
Where gold or force may buy repast."-
Their host's dark brow grew keen and fell,
His teeth are clench'd, his features swell;
Yet sunk the felon's moody ire
Before Lord Ronald's glance of fire,
Nor could his craven courage brook
The Monarch's calm and dauntless look.
With laugh constrain'd," Let every man
Follow the fashion of his clan!
Each to his separate quarters keep,
And feed or fast, or wake or sleep."-
Their fire at separate distance burns,
By turns they eat, keep guard by turns;
For evil seem'd that old man's eye,
Dark and designing, fierce yet shy.
Still he avoided forward look,
But slow and circumspectly took
A circling, never-ceasing glance,
By doubt and cunning mark’d at once,
Which shot a mischief-boding ray,
From under eye-brows shagg'd and grey.
The younger, too, who seem'd his son,
Had that dark look, the timid shun ;
The half-clad serfs behind them sate,
And scowld a glare 'twixt fear and hate-
Till all, as darkness onward crept,
Couch'd down and seem'd to sleep, or slept.
Nor he, that boy, whose powerless tongue
Must trust his eyes to wail his wrong,
A longer watch of sorrow made,
But retch'd his limbs to slumber laid.
Not in his dangerous host confides
The King, but wary watch provides.
Ronald keeps ward till midnight past, Then wakes the King, young Allan last; "Thus rank'd, to give the youthful Page The rest required by tender age. -What is Lord Ronald's wakeful thought, To chase the languor toil had brought ? (For deem not that he deign'd to throw Much care upon such coward foe, He thinks of lovely Isabel, When at her foeman's feet she fell, Nor less when, placed in princely selle, She glanced on him with favouring eyes, At Woodstocke when he won the prize. Nor, fair in joy, in sorrow fair, In pride of place as 'mid despair, Must she alone engross his care. His thoughts to his betrothed bride, To Edith, turn how decide, When here his love and heart are given, And there his faith stands plight to Heaven !.
No drowsy ward 'tis his to keep,
For seldom lovers long for sleep.
Till sung his midnight hymn the owl,
Answer'd the clog-fox with his howl,
Then waked the King-at his request,
Lord Ronald stretch'd himself to rest.
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 greyish 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.
To Allan's eyes was harder task,
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 he of his mother's tower,
His little sisters' green-wood bower,