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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,
His eyes 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.
XXIII. " Whose is the boy ?” again he said. “ By chance of war our captive 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.
66 Kind host,” he said, “our needs require
A separate board and separate fire ;
For knows 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,
66 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 ?”—
“ _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 scowl'd 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 stretch'd his limbs to slumber laid,
Not in his dangerous host confides
The King, but wary watch provides.