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Oft have I heard it fire the fight,
Cheer the pursuit, or stop the flight.
Dead were my heart, and deaf mine ear,
If Bruce should call, nor Douglas hear!
Each to Loch-Ranza's margin spring;
That blast was winded by the King !".
Fast to their mates the tidings spread,
And fast to shore the warriors sped.
Bursting from glen and green-wood tree,
High waked their loyal jubilee !
Around the royal Bruce they crowd,
And clasp'd his hands, and wept aloud.
Veterans of early fields were there,
Whose helmets press’d their hoary hair,
Whose swords and axes bore a stain
From life-blood of the red-hair'd Dane;
And boys, whose hands scarce brook'd to wield The heavy sword or bossy shield.
Men too were there, that bore the scars
Impress'd in Albyn's woeful wars,
At Falkirk's fierce and fatal fight,
Teyndrum's dread rout and Methven's flight;
The might of Douglas there was seen,
There Lennox with his graceful mien;
Kirkpatrick, Closeburn's dreaded Knight;
The Lindsay, fiery, fierce, and light;
The Heir of murder'd De la Haye,
And Boyd the grave, and Seton gay.
Around their King regain’d they press'd,
Wept, shouted, clasp'd him to their breast,
and old, and serf and lord,
And he who ne'er unsheath'd a sword,
And he in many a peril tried,
Alike resolved the brunt to bide,
And live or die by Bruce's side!
Oh, War! thou hast thy fierce delight,
Thy gleams of joy, intensely bright!
Such gleams, as from thy polish'd shield
Fly dazzling o'er the battle-field !
Such transports wake, severe and high,
Amid the pealing conquest-cry;
Scarce less, when, after battle lost,
Muster the remnants of a host,
And as each comrade's name they tell,
Who in the well-fought conflict fell,
Knitting stern brow o'er flashing eye,
Vow to avenge them or to die !-
Warriors !-and where are warriors found,
If not on martial Britain's ground?
And who, when waked with note of fire,
Love more than they the British lyre ?-
Know ye not-hearts to honour dear!
That joy, deep-thrilling, stern, severe,
At which the heart-strings vibrate high,
And wake the fountains of the eye ?
And blame ye, then, the Bruce, if trace
Of tear is on his manly face,
When, scanty reliques of the train
That haild at Scone his early reign,
This patriot band around him hung,
And to his knees and bosom clung ?
Blame ye the Bruce ?-his brother blamed,
But shared the weakness, while ashamed,
With haughty laugh his head he turn'd,
And dash'd away the tear he scorn'd.
'Tis morning, and the Convent bell Long time had ceased its matin knell,
Within thy walls, Saint Bride ! An aged Sister sought the cell Assign’d to Lady Isabel,
And hurriedly she cried, “ Haste, gentle Lady, haste-there waits A noble stranger at the gates ; Saint Bride's
vot'ress ne'er has seen A Knight of such a princely mien ;
His errand, as he bade me tell,
Is with the Lady Isabel.”.
The princess rose,--for on her knee
Low bent she told her rosary,
“ Let him by thee his purpose teach; I may not give a stranger speech." * Saint Bride forefend, thou royal Maid !" The portress cross'd herself, and said, “ Not to be prioress might I Debate his will, his suit deny,”“ Has earthly show then, simple fool, Power o'er a sister of thy rule, And art thou, like the worldly train, Subdued by splendours light and vain ?"
“ No, Lady! in old eyes like mine,
Gauds have no glitter, gems no shine;
Nor grace his rank attendants vain,
One youthful page is all his train.