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And Isabel, on bended knee,
Brought pray’rs and tears to back the plea ;
And Edith lent her generous aid,
And wept, and Lorn for mercy pray'd.
“ Hence,” he exclaim'd, “ degenerate maid !
Was't not enough to Ronald's bower
I brought thee, like a paramour,
Or bond-maid at her master's gate,
His careless cold approach to wait ?---
But the bold Lord of Cumberland,
The gallant Clifford, seeks thy hand ;
His it shall be- Nay, no reply!
Hence! till those rebel eyes be dry.”—
With grief the Abbot heard and saw,
Yet nought relax'd his brow of awe.
. XXVI. Then Argentine, in England's name, So highly urged his sovereign's claim,
He waked a spark, that, long suppress’d, Had smoulder'd in Lord Ronald's breast ;
And now, as from the flint the fire,
Flash'd forth at once his generous ire.
66 Enough of noble blood,” he said,
6 By English Edward had been shed,
Since matchless Wallace first had been
In mock’ry crown'd with wreaths of green,
And done to death by felon hand,
For guarding well his father's land.
Where's Nigel Bruce ? and De la Haye,
And valiant Seton-Where are they?
Where Somerville, the kind and free?
And Fraser, flower of chivalry ?
Have they not been on gibbet bound,
Their quarters flung to hawk and hound,
And hold we here a cold debate,
To yield more victims to their fate ?
What! can the English Leopard's mood
Never be gorged with northern blood ?
Was not the life of Athole shed,
To sooth the tyrant's sicken'd bed ?
And must his word, at dying day,
Be nought but quarter, hang, and slay !-
Thou frown'st, De Argentine,- My gage.
Is prompt to prove the strife I wage.”-
66 Nor deem," said stout Dunvegan's knight,
66 That thou shalt brave alone the fight!
By saints of isle and mainland both,
By Woden wild, (my grandsire's oath)
Let Rome and England do their worst,
Howe'er attainted or accursed,
If Bruce shall e'er find friends again,
Once more to brave a battle-plain,
If Douglas couch again his lance,
Or Randolph dare another chance,
Old Torquil will not be to lack ,
With twice a thousand at his back.-
Nay, chafe not at my bearing bold,
Good Abbot! for thou know'st of old,
Torquil's rude thought and stubborn will
Smack of the wild Norwegian still ;
Nor will I barter Freedom's cause
For England's wealth, or Rome's applause."-
The Abbot seem'd with eye severe,
The hardy Chieftain's speech to hear;
Then on King Robert turn'd the Monk,
But twice his courage came and sunk,
Confronted with the hero's look ;
Twice fell his eye, his accents shook ;
At length, resolved in tone and brow,
Sternly he question’d him " And thou,
Unhappy! what hast thou to plead,
Why I denounce not on thy deed
That awful doom which canons tell
Shuts paradise, and opens hell ;
Anathema of power so dread,
It blends the living with the dead,
Bids each good angel soar away,
And every ill one claim his prey;
Expels thee from the church's care,
And deafens Heaven against thy prayer;
Arms every hand against thy life,
Bans all who aid thee in the strife,
Nay, each whose succour, cold and scant,
With meanest alms relieves thy want;
Haunts thee while living, and, when dead,
Dwells on thy yet devoted head,
Rends Honour's scutcheon from thy hearse,
Stills o'er thy bier the holy verse,
And spurns thy corpse from hallow'd ground,
Flung like vile carrion to the hound !
Such is the dire and desperate doom,
For sacrilege decreed by Rome;
And such the well-deserved meed
Of thine unhallow'd, ruthless deed.”_