[ocr errors]

It glow'd on Ellen's dazzled sight,
As when the setting sun has given
Ten thousand hues to summer even,
And from their tissue, fancy frames
Aerial knights and fairy dames.
Still by Fitz-James her footing staid;
A few faint steps she forward made,
Then slow her drooping head she raised.
And fearful round the presence gazed;
For him she sought, who own'd this state,”
The dreaded prince whose will was fate 1–
She gazed on many a princely port,
Might well have ruled a royal court;
On many a splendid garb she gazed,—
Then turn’d bewilder'd and amazed,
For all stood bare ; and, in the room,
Fitz-James alone wore cap and plume.
To him each lady's look was lent;
On him each courtier's eye was bent;
Midst furs and silks and jewels sheen,
He stood, in simple Lincoln green,
The centre of the glittering ring.—
And Snowdoun's Knight is Scotland's King!”

[merged small][ocr errors]

And at the Monarch's feet she lay;
No word her choking voice commands,-
She show'd the ring—she clasp'd her hands.
O! not a moment could he brook,
The generous prince, that suppliant looks
Gently he raised her, and, the while,
Check'd with a glance the circle's smile ;
Graceful, but grave, her brow he kiss'd,
And bade her terrors be dismiss'd :-
“Yes, Fair; the wandering poor Fitz-James
The fealty of Scotland claims.
To him thy woes, thy wishes, bring;
He will redeem his signet ring.
Ask nought for Douglas;–yester even,
His prince and he have much forgiven:
Wrong hath he had from slanderous tongue,
I, from his rebel kinsmen wrong.
We would not to the vulgar crowd
Yield what they craved with clamour loud;
Calmly we heard and judged his cause,
Our council aided, and our laws.
I stanch'd thy father's death-feud stern,
With stout De Vaux and Grey Glencairn;
And Bothwell's Lord henceforth we own
The friend and bulwark of our Throne.—
But, lovely infidel, how now?
What clouds thy misbelieving brow
Lord James of Douglas, lend thine aid;
Thou must confirm this doubting maid.”

XXVIII. Then forth the noble Douglas sprung, And on his neck his daughter hung. The monarch drank, that happy hour, The sweetest, holiest draught of Power, When it can say, with godlike voice, Arise, sad Virtue, and rejoice Yet would not James the general eye On Nature's raptures long should pry; He stepp'd between—“Nay, Douglas, nay, Steal not my proselyte away ! The riddle 'tis my right to read, That brought this happy chance to speed.— Yes, Ellen, when disguised I stray In life's more low but happier way,” 'Tis under name which veils my power, Nor falsely veils—for Stirling's tower Of yore the name of Snowdoun claims,”

1 [MS.—“In lowly life's more happy way.”]

2 William of Worcester, who wrote about the middle of the fifteenth century, calls Stirling Castle Snowdoun. Sir David Lindsay bestows the same epithet upon it in his complaint of the Papingo:

“Adieu, fair Snawdoun, with thy towers high,
Thy chapele-royal, park, and table round;
May, June, and July, would I dwell in thee,
Were I a man, to hear the birdis sound,
Whilk doth againe thy royal rock rebound.”

Mr. Chalmers, in his late excellent edition of Sir David Lindsay’s works, has refuted the chimerical derivation of


And Normans call me James Fitz-James.
Thus watch I o'er insulted laws,
Thus learn to right the injured cause.”—
Then, in a tone apart and low,
—“Ah, little trait’ress none must know
What idle dream, what lighter thought,
What vanity full dearly bought,
Join'd to thine eye's dark witchcraft, drew
My spell-bound steps to Benvenue,”
In dangerous hour, and almost gave
Thy Monarch's life to mountain glaive!”—
Aloud he spoke—“Thou still dost hold
That little talisman of gold,
Pledge of my faith, Fitz-James's ring—”
What seeks fair Ellen of the King?”

Snawdoun from snedding, or cutting. It was probably derived from the romantic legend which connected Stirling with King Arthur, to which the mention of the Round Table gives countenance. The ring within which justs were formerly practised, in the castle park, is still called the Round Table. Snawdoun is the official title of one of the Scottish heralds, whose epithets seem in all countries to have been fantastically adopted from ancient history or romance. It appears (see Appendix Note Q.) that the real name by which James was actually distinguished in his private excursions, was the Goodman of Ballenguich; derived from a steep pass leading up to the Castle of Stirling, so called. But the epithet would not have suited poetry, and would besides at once, and prematurely, have announced the plot to many of my countrymen, among whom the traditional stories above menticned are still current. 1 [MS.—“Thy sovereign back Thy sovereign's steps * [MS.—“Pledge of Fitz-James's faith, the ring.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Full well the conscious maiden guess'd
He probed the weakness of her breast :
But, with that consciousness, there came
A lightening of her fears for Graeme,
And more she deem'd the Monarch's ire
Kindled 'gainst him, who, for her sire,
Rebellious broadsword boldly drew ;
And, to her generous feeling true,
She craved the grace of Roderick Dhu.—
“Forbear thy suit:-the King of Kings
Alone can stay life's parting wings,
I know his heart, I know his hand,
Have shared his cheer, and proved his brand:—
My fairest earldom would I give
To bid Clan-Alpine's Chieftain live —
Hast thou no other boon to crave?
No other captive friend to save?”
Blushing, she turn'd her from the King,
And to the Douglas gave the ring,
As if she wish’d her sire to speak
The suit that stain’d her glowing cheek-
“Nay, then, my pledge has lost its force,
And stubborn justice holds her course.—

f 1 [MS.—“And in her breast strove maiden shame;
More deep she deem'd the Monarch's ire
Kindled 'gainst him, who, for her sire,
Against his Sovereign broadsword drew;
And, with a pleading, warm and true,
She craved the grace of Roderick Dhu.”]

« 前へ次へ »