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Soon as the dire lament was play'd,
It waked the lurking ambuscade.
The Island Lord look'd forth, and spied
The cause, and loud in fury cried,
“ By Heaven they lead the page to die,
And mock me in his agony !
They shall abye it !"-On his arm
Bruce laid strong grasp, “ They shall not harm
A ringlet of the stripling's hair ;
But, till I give the word, forbear.
-Douglas, lead fifty of our force
Up yonder hollow water-course,
And couch thee midway on the wold,
Between the flyers and their Hold:
A spear above the copse display'd,
Be signal of the ambush made.
-Edward, with forty spearmen, straight
Through yonder copse approach the gate,
And, when thou hear'st the battle-din,
Rush forward, and the passage win,
Secure the drawbridge--storm the port-
And man and guard the castle-court.
The rest move slowly forth with me,
In shelter of the forest-tree,
Till Douglas at his post I see.”—
Like war-horse eager to rush on,
Compelld to wait the signal blown,
Hid, and scarce hid, by green-wood bough,
Trembling with rage, stands Ronald now,
And in his grasp his sword gleams blue,
Soon to be dyed with deadlier hue.-
Meanwhile the Bruce, with steady eye,
Sees the dark death-train moving by,
And heedful measures oft the space,
* The Douglas and his band must trace,
Ere they can reach their destined ground.
Now sinks the dirge's wailing sound,
Now cluster round the direful tree
That slow and solemn company,
While hymn mistuned and mutter'd prayer
The victim for his fate prepare.---
What glances o'er the green-wood shade ?
The spear that marks the ambuscade ! -
“ Now, noble Chief ! I leave thee loose;
Upon them, Ronald !" said the Bruce.
“ The Bruce, the Bruce !" to well-known cry His native rocks and woods reply. 66 The Bruce, the Bruce !” in that dread word
The knell of hundred deaths was heard.
The astonishid Southern gazed at first,
Where the wild tempest was to burst,
That waked in that presaging name.
Before, behind, around it came ! .
Half-arm’d, surprised, on every side
Hemm'd in, hew'd down, they bled and died.
Deep in the ring the Bruce engaged,
And fierce Clan-Colla's broadsword raged !
Full soon the few who fought were sped,
Nor better was their lot who fled,
And met, ʼmid terror's wild career,
The Douglas's redoubted spear !
Two hundred yeomen on that morn
The castle left, and none return.
Not on their flight press'd Ronald's brand, A gentler duty claim'd his hand. He raised the page, where on the plain His. fear had sunk him with the slain : · And twice, that morn, surprise well near Betray'd the secret kept by fear; : Once, when, with life returning, came To the boy's lip Lord Ronald's name, And hardly recollection drown'd The accents in a murmuring sound; And once, when scarce he could resist The Chieftain's care to loose the vest,
Drawn tightly o'er his låbouring breasta
But then the Bruce's bugle blew,
For martial work was yet to do.
A harder task fierce Edward waits.
Ere signal given, the castle gates
His fury had assail'd;
Such was his wonted reckless mood,
Yet desperate valour oft made good,
Even by its daring, venture rude,
Where prudence might have fail'd. Upon the bridge his strength he threw, And struck the iron chain in two
By which its planks arose; The warder next his axe's edge Struck down upon the threshold ledges 'Twixt door and post a ghastly wedge !
The gate they may not close.