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Some one glides in like midnight ghost-
-Nay, strike not !''t is our noble host.»
Advancing then his taper's flame,
Rouald stept forth, and with him came
Dunvegan's chief-each bent the knee
To Bruce, in sign of fealty,

And proffer'd him his sword,
And haild him, in a monarch's style,
As king of main-land and of isle,

And Scotland's rightful lord.
« And 0,» said Rovald, «Own'd of Heaven!
Say, is my erring youth forgiven,
By falsehood's arts from duty driven,

Who rebel falchion drew,
Yet ever to thy deeds of fame,
Een while I strove against thy claim,

Paid homage just and true?»-« Alas! dear youth, the unhappy time,» Answer'd the Bruce, « must bear the crime,

Since, quiltier far than you,
E'en (»—he paused; for Falkirk's woes
Upon his conscious soul arose. (2)
The chieftain to his breast he pressid,
And in a sigh conceal'd the rest.

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«Lord Earl,» he said, -«I cannot chuse
But yield such title to the Bruce,
Though name and earldom both are gone,
Since he braced rebel's armour on-
But, earl or serf-rude phrase was thine
Of late, and launch'd at Argentine;
Such as compels me to 'demand
Redress of honour at thy hand.
We need not to each other tell,
That both can wield their weapons well;
Then do me but the soldier grace,
This glove upon thy helm to place,

Where we may meet io fight;
And I will say, as still I've said,
Though by ambition far misled,
Thou art a noble knight.»-

VI. « And I,» the princely Bruce replied,

Might term it stain on knighthood's pride,
That the bright sword of Argentine
Should in a tyrant's quarrel shine;

But, for your brave request,
Be sure the honour'd pledge you gave
In every battle-field shall wave

Upon my helmet-crest;
Believe, that if my hasty tongue
Hath done thine honour causeless wrong,

It shall be well redress'd.
Nor dearer to my soul was glove,
Bestow'd in youth by lady's love,

Than this which thou hast given!
Thus, then, my noble foe / greet;
Health and high fortune till we meeh

And then—what pleases Heaven.»

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IX. They proffer'd aid, by arms and might, To repossess him in his right; But well their counsels must be weigh’d, Ere banners raised and musters made, For English hire and Lorn's intrigues Bound many chiefs in southero leagues. In answer, Bruce his purpose bold To his new vassals frankly told, « The winter worn in exile o'er, I long'd for Carrick's kindred shore; I thought upon my native Ayr, And long d to see the burly fare That Clifford makes, whose lordly call Now echoes through my father's hall. But first my course to Arran led, Where valiant Lennox gathers head, And on the sea, by tempest Loss'd, Our barks dispersed, our purpose cross d, Mine own, a hostile sail to shun, Far from her destined course had run, When that wise will, which masters ours, Compelld us to your friendly towers.)

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VII. Thus parted they—for now, with sound Like waves rolld back from rocky ground,

The friends of Lorn retire;
Each main-land chieftair with his train,
Draws to his mountain towers again,
Pondering how mortal schemes prove vain,

And mortal hopes expire.
But through the castle double guard,
By Ronald's charge, kepl wakeful ward,
Wicket and gate were trebly barr’d,

By beam and bolt and chain;
Then of the guests, in courteous sort,
He pray'd excuse for micth broke short,
And bade them in Artornish fort

In confidence remain.
Now torch and menial tendance led
Chieftain and knight to bower and bed,
And beads were told, and aves said,

And soon they sunk away
Into such sleep, as wont to shed
Oblivion on the weary head,
After a toilsome day.

VIII.
But soon up-roused, the monarch cried
To Edward, slumbering by his side,

Awake, or sleep for aye!..
E'en now there jarr'd a secret door-
A taper-light gleams on the floor-

Up, Edward, up, I say!

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X. Then Torquil spoke: « The time craves speed! We must not linger in our deed, But instant pray our sovereign liege To shun the perils of a siege. The vengeful Lorn, with all his powers, Lies but too near Artornish towers, And England's light-arm'd vessels ride, Not distant far, the waves of Clyde, Prompt at these tidings to unmoor, And sweep each strait, and guard each shore; Then, till this fresh alarm pass by, Secret and safe my liege must lie In the far bounds of friendly Skye, Torquil thy pilot and thy guide.» « Not so, brave chieftain, Ronald cried;

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« Myself will on my sovereign wait, And raise in arms the men of Sleate, Whilst thou, renown'd where chiefs debate, Shalt sway their souls by council sage, And awe them by thy locks of age.» —« And if my words in weight shall fail, This ponderous sword shall turn the scale.»

XI.
« The scheme,» said Bruce, « contents me well;
Meantime, 't were best that Isabel,
For safety, with my bark and crew,
Again to friendly Erin drew.
There Edward, too, shall with hier wend,
In need to cheer her and defend,
And muster up each scatter'd friend.»---
Here seem'd it as Lord Ronald's ear
Would other council gladlier hear;
But, all achieved as soon as plann'd,
Both barks, in secret arm'd and mann'd,

From out the haven bore;
On different voyage forth they ply,
This for the coast of winged Skye,

And that for Erin's shore.

XII.
With Bruce and Ronald bides the tale.
To favouring winds they gave the sail,
Till Mull's dark headlands scarce they knew,
And Ardnamurchan's hills were blue.
But then the squalls blew close and hard,
And, fain to strike the galley's yard,

And take them to the oar,
With these rude seas, in weary plight,
They strove the livelong day and night,
Nor till the dawning had a sight

Of Skye's romantic shore.
Where Coolin stoops him to the west,
They saw upon his shiver'd crest

The sun's arising gleam;
But such the labour and delay,
Ere they were moord in Scavigh bay
(For calmer heaven compelld to stay),

Ile shot a western beam.
Then Ronald said, « If true mine eye,
These are the savage wilds that lie
North of Strathnardill and Dupskye ; (3)

No human foot comes here,
And, since these adverse breezes blow,
If my good liege love hunter's bow,
What hinders that on land we go,

And strike a mountain-deer?
Allan, my page, shall with us wend,
A bow full deftly can be bend,
And, if we meet an herd, may send

A shaft shall mend our cheer.»
Then each took bow and bolts in hand,
Their row-boat launch'd and leapt to land,

And left their skiff and train,
Where a wild stream, with headlong shock,
Came brawling down its bed of rock,

To mingle with the main.

Till the good Bruce to Ronald said,

« St Mary! what a scene is here!
I've traversed many a mountain-strand,
Abroad and in my native land,
And it has been my lot to tread
Where safety more than pleasure led ;
Thus, many a waste I 've ler'd o'er,
Clombe many a crag, cross'd many a moor,

But, by my halidome,
A scene so rude, so wild as this,
Yet so sublime in barrenness,
Ne'er did my wandering footsteps press,
Where'er I happ'd to roam.»-

XIV.
No marvel thus the monarch spake;

For rarely human eye has known
A scene so stern as that dread lake,

With its dark ledge of barren stone.
Seems that primeval earthquake's sway
Hath rent a strange and shatter'd way

Through the rude bosom of the hill,
And that each naked precipice,
Sable ravine, and dark abyss,

Tells of the outrage still.
The wildest glen, but this, can show
Some touch of nature's genial glow;
On high Benmore green mosses grow,
And heath-bells bud in deep Glencroc,

And copse on Cruchan-Ben;
But here,-above, around, below,

On mountain or in glen, Nor tree, nor shrub, nor plant, nor flower, Nor aught of vegetative power,

The weary eye may ken.
For all is rocks at random thrown,
Black waves, bare crags, and banks of stone,

As if were here denied
The summer sun, the spring's sweet dew,
That clothe with many a varied hue
The bleakest mountain-side.

XV.
And wilder, forward as they wound,
Were the proud cliffs and Jake profound :
Huge terraces of granite black
Afforded rude and cumber'd track;

For from the mountain hoar,
Hurl'd headlong in some night of fear,
When yell’d the wolf and fled the deer,

Loose crags had toppled o'er;
And some, chance-poised and balanced, lay,
So that a stripling arm might sway

A mass no host could raise,
In nature's rage at random thrown,
Yet trembling like the Druid's Stone

On its precarious base.
The eveniug mists, with ceaseless change,
Now clothed the mountains' lofty range,

Now left their foreheads bare,
And round the skirts their mantle furld,
Or on the sable waters curid,
Or, on the eddying breezes whirld,

Dispersed in middle air.
And oft, condensed, at once they lower,
When, brief and fierce, the mountain shower
Pours like a torrent down,

XIII.
Awhile their route they silent made,

As men who stalk for mountain-deer,

And when return the sun's glad beams, Whitend with foam a thousand streams

Leap from the mountain's crown.

« Not so, my liege-for by my life,
This sword shall meet the treble strife;
My strength, my skill in arms, more small,
And less the loss should Ronald fall.
But islesmen soon to soldiers grow,
Allan has sword as well as bow,
And were my monarchi's order given.
Two shafts should make our number even.
« No! not to save my life !» he said;
« Enough of blood rests on my head,
Too rashly spill'd-we soon sball know,
Whether they come as friend or foe,»--

XVI.
« This lake,» said Bruce, « whose barriers drear
Are precipices sharp and sheer,
Yielding no track for goai or deer,

Save the black shelves we tread,
How term you its dark waves ? and how,
Yon northern mountain's pathless brow

And yonder peak of dread,
That to the evening sun uplifts
The grisly gulfs and slaty rifts,

Which seam its shiver'd head?»
« Coriskin call the dark lake's name,
Coolin the ridge, as bards proclaim,
From old Cuchullin, chief of fame.
But bards, familiar in our isles
Rather with pature's frowns than smiles,
Full oft their careless humours please
By sportive names for scenes like these.
I would old Torquil were to show
His maidens with their breasts of snow,
Or that my noble liege were nigh
To hear his nurse sing lullaby
(The Maids- tall cliffs with breakers white,
The Nurse-a torrent's roaring might),
Or that your eye could see the mood
Of Corrievrekin's whirlpool rude,
When dons the Hag her whiten'd hood-
T is thus our Islesmen's fancy frames,
For scenes so stern, fantastic names,»

XIX. Nich came the strangers, and more nigh; Still less they pleased the monarch's eye. Men were they all of evil mien, Down-look'd, unwilling to be seen ;(4) They moved with half-resolved pace, And bent on earth each gloomy face. The foremost two were fair array'd, With brogue and bonnet, trews and plaid, And bore the arms of mountaineers, Daggers and broadswords, bows and spears, The three, that lage'd small space behind, Seem'd serfs of more degraded kind; Goat-skins or deer-hides, o'er them cast, Made a rude fence against the blast; Their arms and feet and heads were bare, Matted their beards, anshorn their hair; For arms, the caitiffs bore in hand, A club, an axe, a rusty brand.

XVII. Answer'd the Bruce, « And musing inind Might here a graver moral find, These mighty cliffs, that heave on high Their naked brows to middle sky, indifferent to the sun or saow, Where nought can fade, and nought can blow, May they not mark a monarch's fate, Raised high 'mid storms of strife and state, Beyond life's lowlier pleasures placed, His soul a rock, his heart a waste? O'er hope and love and fear aloft High rcars his crowned head-But soft! Look, underneath yon jutting crag Are hunters and a slaughter'd stag. Who may they be? But late

you

said No

steps these desert regions tread!»

XX. Onward, still mute, they kept the track; « Tell who ye be, or else stand back,» Said Bruce ; « In deserts when they meet, Men pass not as in peaceful street.» Still, at bis stern command, they stood, And proffer'd greeting brief and rude, But acted courtesy so ill, As seemd of fear, and not of will. « Wanderers we are, as you may be ; Men hither driven by wind and sea, Who, if you list to taste our cheer, Will share with you this fallow deer.»« If from the sea, where lies your bark?-« Ten fathom deep in ocean dark! Wreck'd yesternight; but we are men, Who little sense of peril ken. The shades come down-the day is shutWill you go with us to our hut?»-« Our vessel waits us in the bay; Thanks for your proffer-have good day.» « Was that your galley, then, which rode Not far from shore when evening glow'd ?»« It was.»-« Then spare your needless pain, There will she now be sought in vain. We saw her from the mountain-head, When with St George's blazon red A southern vessel bore in sight, And yours raised sail, and took to flight.»—

XVIII.
«So said 1-and believed, in sooth,»
Ronald replied, «I spoke the truth.
Yet now I

spy, by yonder slone, Five men—they mark us, and come on; And by their badge on bonuet borne, 1 fucss

them of the land of Lorn, Foes to my liege.»

.»-« So let it be; I've faced worse odds than five to three- But the poor page can little aid; Then be our battle thus array'd, If our free passage they contest; Cope thou with two, I'll match the rest.»

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Slic glanced on him with favouring eyes,
At Woodstock when he won the prize.
Nor, fair in joy, in sorrow fair,
In pride of place as 'mid despair,
Must shie alone engross his care.
His thoughts to his betrothed bride,
To Edith, turn-O how decide,
When here his love and heart are given,
And there his faith stands plight to Heaven!
No drowsy ward 't is bis to keep,
For seldom Jovers long for sleep.
Till sung his midnight hymn the owl,
Answer'd the dog-fox with his howl,
Then waked the king-at his request,
Lord Ronald stretch'd himself to rest.

Who bathes ber limbs in sunless well
Deep in Strathaird's enchanted cell. (5)
Thither in fancy rapt he flies,
And on his sight the vaults arise ;
That hut's dark walls he sees no more,
His foot is on the marble floor,
And o'er his head the dazzling spars
Gleam like a firmament of stars!

- Ilark! hears he not the sea-nymph speak
Her anger in that thrilling shriek !-
No! all too late, with Allan's dream
Mingled the captive's warning scream.
As from the ground he strives to start,
A ruffian's dagger finds his heart!
Upwards he casts his dizzy eyes, –
Murmurs his master's name, –and dies!

XXVII. What spell was good King Robert's, say, To drive the weary night away? His was the patriot's burning thought, Of freedom's battle bravely fought, Of castles storm'd, of cities freed, Of deep design and daring deed, Of England's roses reft and torn, And Scotland's cross in triumph worn, Of rout and rally, war and truce,As heroes think, so thought the Bruce. No marvel, 'mid such musings high, Sleep shunn'd the monarch's thoughtful eye. Now over Coolin's eastern head The grayish light begins to spread, The otter to his cavern drew, And clamour'd shrill the wakening mew; Then watch'd the page-to needful rest The king resign'd his anxious breast,

XXLX.
Not so awoke the king! his hand
Snatch'd from the flame a knotted brand,
The nearest weapon of his wrath ;
With this he crossd the murderer's path,

And venged young Allan well!
The spatter'd brain and bubbling blood
Hiss'd on the half-extinguish'd wood,

The miscreant gasp'd and fell!
Nor rose in peace the Island Lord;
One caitiff died

upon

his sword,
And one beneath his grasp lies prone,
In mortal grapple overthrown.
But wbile Lord Ronald's dagger drank
The life-blood from his panting flank,
The father-ruffian of the band
Behind him rears a coward hand!

-O for a moment's aid,
Till Bruce, who deals no double blow,
Dash to the earth another foe,

Above his comrade laid !-
And it is gain'd, the captive sprung
On the raised arm, and closely clung,

And, ere he shook biin loose,
The master'd felon press'd the ground,
And gasp'd beneath a mortal wound,

While o'er him stands the Bruce.

XXVIII. To Allan's eyes was harder task, The weary watch their safeties ask, He trimm'd the fire, and gave to shine With bickering light the splinter'd pine, Then gazed awhile where, silent laid, Their hosts were shrouded by the plaid, But little fear waked in his mind, For he was bred of martial kind, And, if to manhood he arrive, May match the boldest knight alive, Then thought be of his mother's tower, His little sisters' green-wood bower, How there the Easter-gambols pass, And of Dan Joseph's lengthen d mass. But still before his weary eye In rays prolong'd the blazes dieAgaiu he roused him-on the lake Look'd forth, where now the twilight flake Of pale cold dawn began to wake. On coolin's cliffs the mist lay furld, The morning breeze the lake had curld; The short dark waves, heaved to the land, With ceaseless plash kiss'd cliff or sand;It was a slumb'rous sound-he turu'd To tales at which his youth had burn'd, Of pilgrim's path by demon crossid, Of sprightly elf or yelling ghost, Of the wild witch's baneful cot, And mermaid's alabaster grot,

XXX.
« Miscreant! while lasts thy flitting spark,
Give me to know the purpose dark,
That arın'd thy hand with murderous knife,
Against offenceless stranger's life ?»---
« No stranger thou !» with accents fell,
Murmurd the wretch, « I know thee well;
And know thee for the foeman sworn
Of my high chief, the mighty Lorn.»-

Speak yet again, and speak the truth
For thy soul's sake!-- from whence this youth?
His country, birth, and name declare,
And thus ope evil decd repair.»
-« Vex me no more!-my blood runs cold-
No more I know than I have told.
We found him in a bark we sought
With different purpose-and I thought»-
Fate cul him short; in blood and broil,
As he had lived, died Cormac Doil.

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