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For monarchs ill can rivals brook,
I mean that Douglas, sixth of yore,
On Lauder's dreary flat: Princes and favourites long grew tame, And trembled at the homely name
Of Archibald Bell-the-Cat. The same who left the dusky vale Of Hermitage in Liddisdale,
Its dungeons, and its towers, Where Bothwell's turrets brave the air, And Bothwell bank is blooming fair,
To fix his princely bowers. Though now, in age, he had laid down His armour for the peaceful gown,
And for a staff his brand, Yet often would flash forth the fire, That could, in youth, a monarch’s ire
And minion's pride withstand ; And even that day, at council board,
Unapt to sooth his sovereign's mood,
Against the war had Angus stood, And chafed his royal Lord.
Though fallen its muscles' brawny vaunt,
Huge-boned, and tall, and grim, and gaunt, Seemed o’er the gaudy scene 'to lower: '
His locks and beard in silver grew; .
While slightest hopes of peace remain,
Until my herald come again.- .
And, I bethink me, by Saint Stephen,
But e'en this morn to me was given A prize, the first fruits of the war, Ta'en by a galley from Dunbar, .
A bevy of the maids of heaven. Under your guard, these holy maids Shall safe return to cloister shades, And, while they at Tantallon stay, Requiem for Cochran's soul may say.”— And, with the slaughtered favourite's name, Across the Monarch's brow there came A cloud of ire, remorse, and shame.
XVI. In answer nought could Angus speak; His proud heart swelled well nigh to break : He turned aside, and down his cheek
A burning tear there stole..... His hand the Monarch sudden took, That sight his kind heart could not brook :
“ Now, by the Bruce's soul,
Angus, my hasty speech forgive!
I well may say of you,-.
More tender, and more true:* Forgive me, Douglas, once again.”— And, while the King his hand did strain, The old man's tears fell down like rain. To seize the moment Marmion tried, And whispered to the King aside :- , “ Oh! let such tears unwonted plead For respite short from dubious deed!
A child will weep a bramble's smart, · A maid to see her sparrow part,
A stripling for a woman's heart :
• 0, Dowglas! Dowglas!