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The grey-hair'd sires, who know the
To strangers point the Douglas-cast,
And moralize on the decay
Of Scottish strength in modern day.
The vale with loud applauses rang,
The Ladies' Rock sent back the clang.
The King, with look unmoved, be-
A purse well-fill'd with pieces broad.
Indignant smiled the Douglas proud,
And threw the gold among the crowd,
Who now, with anxious wonder, scan,
And sharper glance, the dark grey
Till whispers rose among the throng,
That heart so free, and hand so strong,
Must to the Douglas blood belong;
The old men mark'd, and shook the
To see his hair with silver spread;
And wink'd aside, and told each son,
Of feats upon the English done,
Ere Douglas of the stalwart hand
Was exiled from his native land.
The women praised his stately form,
Though wreck'd by many a winter's
The youth with awe and wonder saw
His strength surpassing Nature's law.
Thusjudged,as is their wont, the crowd,
Till murmur rose to clamours loud.
But not a glance from that proud ring
Of peers, who circled round the King,
With Douglas held communion kind,
Or call'd the banish'd man to mind;
No, not from those who, at the chase,
Once held his side the honour’d place,
Begirt his board, and, in the field,
Found safety underneath his shield;
For he, whom royal eyes disown,
When was his form to courtiers
The Monarch saw the gambols flag,
And bade let loose a gallant stag,
Whose pride, the holiday to crown,
Two favourite greyhounds should pull
That venison free, and Bourdeaux
Might serve the archery to dine.
But Lufra, whom from Douglas' sidz
Nor bribe nor threat could eler divide,
The fleetest hound in all the North,
Brave Lufra saw, and darted forth.
She left the royal hounds mid-way,
And dashing on the antler'd prey,
Sunk her sharp muzzle in his flank,
And deep the flowing life-blood drank.
The King's stout huntsman saw the
By strange intruder broken short,
Came up, and with his leash unbound,
In anger struck the noble hound.
The Douglas had endured, that morn,
The King's cold look, the nobles'
And last, and worst to spirit proud,
Had borne the pity of the crowd;
But Lufra had been fondly bred,
To share his board, to watch his bed,
And oft would Ellen Lufra's neck
In maiden glee with garlands deck;
They were such playmates, that with
Of Lufra, Ellen's image came.
His stifled wrath is brimming high,
In darken'd brow and flashing eye;
As waves before the bark divide,
The crowd gave way before his stride;
Needs but a buffet and no more,
The groom lies senseless in his gore.
Such blow no other hand could deal,
Though gauntleted in glove of steel.
Beware the Douglas. Yes! behold,
King James the Douglas, doom'd of
And vainly sought for near and far,
A victim to atone the war,
A willing victim, now attends,
Nor craves thy grace but for his friends.’
“Thus is my clemency repaid :
Presumptuous Lord!' the monarch
“Of thy mis-proud ambitious clan,
Thou, James of Bothwell, wert the man,
The only man, in whom a foe
My woman-mercy would not know:
But shall a Monarch's presence brook
Injurious blow, and haughty look?
What ho! the Captain of our Guard
Give the offender fitting ward.
Break off the sports!’—for tumult rose,
And yeomen 'gan to bend their bows.
‘Break off the sports '' he said, and
‘And bid our horsemen clear the
Then uproar wild and misarray
Marr'd the fair form of festal day.
The horsemen prick'd among the
Repell'd by threats and insult loud;
To earth are borne the old and weak,
The timorous fly, the women shriek ;
With flint, with shaft, with staff, with
The hardier urge tumultuous war.
At once round Douglas darkly sweep
The royal spears in circle deep,
And slowly scale the pathway steep;
While on the rear in thunder pour
The rabble with disorder'd roar.
With grief the noble Douglas saw
The Commons rise against the law,
And to the leading soldier said,
‘Sir John of Hyndford! 'twas my blade
That knighthood on thy shoulder laid;
For that good deed, permit me then
A word with these misguided men.
o xxvii.I. /Hear, gentle friends! ere yet for me, Ye break the bands of fealty. My life, my honour, and my cause, I tender free to Scotland's laws. Are these so weak as must require The aid of your misguided ire Or, if I suffer causeless wrong, Is then my selfish rage so strong, My sense of public weal so low, That, for mean vengeance on a foe, Those cords of love I should unbind, Which knit my country and my kind? Oh no Believe, in yonder tower It will not soothe my captive hour To know those spears our foes should dread For me in kindred gore are red; To know, in fruitless brawl begun, For me that mother wails her son ; For me that widow's mate expires; For me that orphans weep their sires; That patriots mourn insulted laws, And curse the Douglas for the cause. O let your patience ward such ill, And keep your right to love me still: XXIX. The crowd's wild fury sunk again In tears, as tempests melt in rain. With lifted hands and eyes, they pray'd For blessings on his generous head, Who for his country felt alone, And prized her blood beyond his own. Old men, upon the verge of life, Bless'd him who staid the civil strife; And mothers held their babes on high, The self-devoted Chief to spy, Triumphant over wrongs and ire, To whom the prattlers owed a sire: Even the rough soldier's heart was moved ; As if behind some bier beloved, With trailing arms and drooping head, The Douglas up the hill he led, And at the Castle's battled verge, With sighs resign'd his honour'd charge.
“But soft! what messenger of speed
Spurs hitherward his panting steed
I guess his cognizance afar—
What from our cousin, John of Mar?'
“He prays, my liege, your sports keep
Within the safe and guarded ground:
For some foul purpose yet unknown—
Most sure for evil to the throne—
The outlaw'd Chieftain, Roderick Dhu,
Has summon'd his rebellious crew;
'Tis said, in James of Bothwell's aid
These loose banditti stand array'd.
The Earl of Mar, this morn, from
To break their muster march'd, and
‘Thou warn'st me I have done amiss;
I should have earlier look'd to this:
I lost it in this bustling day.
Retrace with speed thy former way;
Spare not for spoiling of thy steed,
The best of mine shall be thy meed.
Say to our faithful Lord of Mar,
We do forbid the intended war :
Roderick, this morn, in single fight,
Was made our prisoner by a knight;
And Douglas hath himself and cause
Submitted to our kingdom's laws.
The tidings of their leaders lost
Will soon dissolve the mountain host,
Nor would we that the vulgar feel,
Fortheir Chief's crimes, avengingsteel.
Bear Mar our message, Braco: fly!’
He turn'd his steed,—“My liege, I hie,
Yet, ere I cross this lily lawn,
I fear the broadswords will be drawn.”
The turf the flying courser spurn'd,
And to his towers the King return'd.
Ill with King James's mood, that day,
Suited gay feast and minstrel lay;
Soon were dismiss'd the courtly throng,
And soon cut short the festal song.
Nor less upon the sadden'd town
The evening sunk in sorrow down.
The burghers spoke of civil jar,
Of rumour’d feuds and mountain war,
Of Moray, Mar, and Roderick Dhu,
All up in arms:–the Douglas too,
Theymourn’d him pent within the hold
“Where stout Earl William was of old,’
And there his word the speaker staid,
And finger on his lip he laid,
Or pointed to his dagger blade.
But jaded horsemen, from the west,
At evening to the Castle press'd;
What various scenes, and, O ! what scenes of woe, Are witness'd by that red and struggling beam The fever'd patient, from his pallet low, Through crowded hospital beholds its stream ; The ruin'd maiden trembles at gleam, The debtor wakes to thought of gyve and jail, The love-lorn wretch starts from tormenting dream ; The wakeful mother, by the glimmering pale, Trims her sick infant's couch, and soothes his feeble wail.
II. At dawn the towers of Stirling rang With soldier-step and weapon-clang, While drums, with rolling note, foretell Relief to weary sentinel. Through narrow loop and casement barr'd, The sunbeams sought the Court of Guard, And, struggling with the smoky air, Deaden'd the torches' yellow glare. In comfortless alliance shone The lights through arch of blacken'd stone, And show’d wild shapes in garb of war, Faces deform'd with beard and scar, All haggard from the midnight watch, And fever'd with the stern debauch; For the oak table’s massive board, Flooded with wine, with fragments stored, And beakers drain'd, and cups o'erthrown, Show'd in what sport the night had flown. Some, weary, snored on floor and bench ; Some labour'd still their thirst to quench ; Some, chill'd with watching, spread their hands O'er the huge chimney's dying brands, While round them, or beside them flung, At every step their harness rung.
These drew not for their fields the
Like tenants of a feudal lord,
Nor own'd the patriarchal claim
Of Chieftain in their leader's name;
Adventurers they, from far who roved,
To live by battle which they loved.
There the Italian's clouded face,
The swarthy Spaniard's there you
They held debate of bloody fray,
Fought 'twixt Loch Katrine and
Fierce was their speech, and, 'mid
Their hands oft grappled to their
Nor sunk their tone to spare the ear
Of wounded comrades groaning near,
Whose mangled limbs, and bodies
Bore token of the mountain sword,
Though, neighbouring to the Court
Their prayers and feverish wails were
Sad burden to the ruffian joke,
And savage oath by fury spoke
At length up-started John of Brent,
A yeoman from the banks of Trent;
A stranger to respect or fear,
In peace a chaser of the deer,
In host a hardy mutineer,
But still the boldest of the crew,
When deed of danger was to do.
He grieved, that day, their games cut
And marr'd the dicer's brawling sport,
And shouted loud, ‘Renew the bowl |
And, while a merry catch I troll,
Let each the buxom chorus bear, Likebrethren of the brandandspear:—
‘Our vicar still preaches that Peter and Poule Laid a swinging long curse on the bonny brown bowl, That there’s wrath and despair in the jolly black-jack, And the seven deadly sins in a flagon
of sack; Yet whoop, Barnaby off with thy liquor, Drink upsees out, and a fig for the vicar!
Our vicar he calls it damnation to sip
The ripe ruddy dew of a woman's dear lip,
Says, that Beelzebub lurks in her kerchief so sly,
And Apollyon shoots darts from her merry black eye;
Yet whoop, Jack kiss Gillian the quicker,
Till she bloom like a rose, and a fig for the vicar !
Our vicar thus preaches—and why should he not
For the dues of his cure are the placket and pot;
And 'tis right of his office poor laymen to lurch,
Who infringe the domains of our good Mother Church.
Yet whoop, bully-boys | off with your liquor,
Sweet Marjorie's the word, and a fig for the vicar !’
The warder's challenge, heard without, Staid in mid-roar the merry shout.