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“ Nor rests there light enough to show
If this their tale be true or no.
The men seem bred of churlish kind,
Yet rugged brows have bosoms kind;
We will go with them-food and fire
And sheltering roof our wants require.
Sure guard 'gainst treachery will we keep,
And watch by turns our comrades' sleep.-
Good fellows, thanks; your guests we'll be,
And well will pay the courtesy.
Come, lead us where your lodging lies--
-Nay, soft! we mix not companies.-
Shew us the path o'er crag and stone,
And we will follow you ;-lead on.
They reach'd the dreary cabin, made
Of sails against a rock display'd,
And there, on entering, found
A slender boy, whose form and mien
Ill suited with such savage scene,
In cap and cloak of velvet green,
Low seated on the ground.
His garb was such as minstrels wear,
Dark was his hue, and dark his hair,
His youthful cheek was marr’d by care,
in sorrow drown'd.
" Whence this poor boy ?"-As Ronald spoke,
The voice his trance of anguish broke;
As if awaked from ghastly dream,
He raised his head with start and scream,
And wildly gazed around; Then to the wall his face he turn'd,
And his dark neck with blushes burn'd.
6 Whose is the boy?” again he said.
“ By chance of war our captivo made;
He may be yours, if you should hold
That music has more charms than gold;
For, though from earliest childhood mute,
The lad can deftly touch the lute,
And on the rote and viol play,
And well can drive the time away
For those who love such glee;
For me, the favouring breeze, when loud
It pipes upon the galley's shroud,
Makes blither melody.”-
“ Hath he, then, sense of spoken sound ?”-
- Aye; so his mother bade us know, A crone in our late shipwreck drown'd,
And hence the silly stripling's woe.
More of the youth I cannot say,
Our captive but since yesterday ;
When wind and weather wax'd so grim,
We little listed think of him.
But why waste time in idle words?
Sit to your cheer-unbelt your swords.”_
Sudden the captive turn'd his head,
And one quick glance to Ronald sped.
It was a keen and warning look,
And well the Chief the signal took.
“ Kind host;" he said, “our needs require
A separate board and separate fire ;
For know, that on a pilgrimage
Wend I, my comrade, and this page.
And, sworn to vigil and to fast,
Long as this hallow'd task shall last,
We never doff the plaid or sword,
Or feast us at a stranger's board;
And never share one common sleep,
But one must still his vigil keep.
Thus, for our separate use, good friend,
We'll hold this hut's remoter end.”.
“ A churlish vow," the eldest said,
“ And hard, methinks, to be obey'd.
How say you, if, to wreak the scorn
That pays our kindness harsh return,
We should refuse to share our meal ?".
66 - 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
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.