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66 Hush !”said the Bruce ; " we soon shall know,
If this be sorcerer's empty show,
Or stratagem of southern foe. :
The moon shines out-upon the sand
Let every leader rank his band.”
Faintly the moon's pale beams supply
That ruddy light's unnatural dye;
The dubious cold reflection lay
On the wet sands and quiet bay.
Beneath the rocks 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.
6 A torch," the Monarch cried, " What, ho! Now shall we Cuthbert's tidings know." But evil news the letters bare,
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.
Cuthbert had seen that beacon-flame,
Unwitting from what source it came.
Doubtful of perilous event,
Edward's mute messenger he senty
If Bruce deceived should venture o'er,
To warn him from the fatal shore.
As round the torch the leaders crowd,
Bruce read these chilling news aloud.
“ What council, nobles, have we now?
To ambush us in green-wood bough,
And take the chance which fate may send
To bring our enterprise to end,
Or shall we turn us to the main
As exiles, and embark again ?"
Answer'd fierce Edward, “ Hap what may,
In Carrick, Carrick's Lord must stay.
I would not minstrels told the tale,
Wild-fire or meteor made us quail.?
Answer'd the Douglas, “ If my liege
May win yon walls by storm or siege,
Then were each brave and patriot heart
Kindled of new for loyal part.”—
Answer'd Lord Ronald, “ Not for shame
Would I that aged Torquil came,
And found, for all our empty boast,
Without a blow we fled the coast.
I will not credit that this land,
So famed for warlike heart and hand,
The nurse of Wallace and of Bruce,
Will long with tyrants hold a truce."-
• Prove we our fate--the brunt we'll bide !"
So Boyd and Haye and Lennox cried ;
So said, so vow'd, the leaders all;
The hour of payment soon shall come,
When with a rough and rugged host
Clifford may reckon to his cost.
Meantime, through well-known bosk and dell,
I'll lead where we may shelter well.”-
Now ask you whence that wond'rous light,
Whose fairy glow beguiled their sight ?-
It ne'er was known--yet grey-hair’d eld
A superstitious credence held,
That never did a mortal hand
Wake its broad glare on Carrick strand ;
Nay, and that on the self-same night
When Bruce crossd o'er, still gleams the light.
Yearly it gleams o'er mount and moor,
And glittering wave and crimson'd shore-
But whether beam celestial, lent
By Heaven to aid the King's descent,
Or fire hell-kindled from beneath,
To lure him to defeat and death,
Or were it but some meteor strange,
Of such as oft through midnight range,
Startling the traveller late and lone,
I know not-and it ne'er was known.
Now up the rocky pass they drew,
And Ronald, to his promise true,
Still made his arm the stripling's stay,
To aid him on the rugged way.
« Now cheer thee, simple Amadine !
Why throbs that silly heart of thine?"