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And like acclaim would Douglas greet,
If he could hurl me from my seat.
Who o'er the herd would wish to reign,
Fantastic, fickle, fierce, and vain?
Vain as the leaf upon the stream,
And fickle as a changeful dream;
Fantastic as a woman's mood,
And fierce as frenzy's fever'd blood.
Thou many-headed monster thing,
O! who would wish to be thy king!-


"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 bound
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 Doune,
To break their muster march'd, and soon
Your grace will hear of battle fought;
But earnestly the earl besought,
Till for such danger he provide,
With scanty train you will not ride."-


"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 th' 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,
For their chiefs' crimes, avenging steel.
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,

They mourn'd him pent within the hold,
"Where stout Earl William was of old;"*.
And there his word the speaker stay'd,
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;
And busy talkers said they bore
Tidings of fight on Katrine's shore;
At noon the deadly fray begun,
And lasted till the set of sun.
Thus giddy rumour shook the town,
Till closed the night her pennons brown.



THE sun awakening, through the smoky air
Of the dark city casts a sullen glance,
Rousing each caitiff to his task of care,
Of sinful man the sad inheritance;
Summoning revellers from the lagging dance,
And scaring prowling robber to his den;
Gilding on battled tower the warder's lance,

And warning student pale to leave his pen, And yield his drowsy eyes to the kind nurse of men. What various scenes, and, O! what scenes of wo,

Are witness'd by that red and struggling beam! The fever'd patient, from his pallet low,

Through crowded hospitals beholds its stream; The ruin'd maiden trembles at its gleam;

The debtor wakes to thought of gyve and jail; The lovelorn wretch starts from tormenting dream; The wakeful mother, by the glimmering pale, Trims her sick infant's couch, and soothes his feeble wail.


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 torch's 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.

Stabbed by James II. in Stirling castle.


These drew not for their fields the sword,
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 th' Italian's clouded face;
The swarthy Spaniard's there you trace;
The mountain-loving Switzer there
More freely breathed in mountain air;
The Fleming there despised the soil,
That paid so ill the labourer's toil;

The rolls show'd French and German name;
And merry England's exiles came,
To share, with ill-conceal'd disdain
Of Scotland's pay the scanty gain.

All brave in arms, well train'd to wield
The heavy halbert, brand, and shield;
In camps licentious, wild, and bold;
In pillage, fierce and uncontroll'd;
And now, by holy-tide and feast,
From rules of discipline released.


They held debate of bloody fray,

Fought 'twixt Loch-Katrine and Achray.

Fierce was their speech, and 'mid their words,

Their hands oft grappled to their swords;

Nor sunk their tone to spare the ear
Of wounded comrades groaning near,
Whose mangled limbs, and bodies gored,
Bore token of the mountain sword,
Though neighbouring to the court of guard,
Their prayers and feverish wails were heard:
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 short,
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,
Like brethren of the brand and spear."



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 the 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,

* A bacchanalian interjection, borrowed from the Dutch.

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The warder's challenge, heard without,
Stay'd in mid roar the merry shout.
A soldier to the portal went-
"Here is old Bertram, sirs, of Ghent;
And, beat for jubilee the drum !

A maid and minstrel with him come."
Bertram, a Fleming, gray and scarr'd,
Was entering now the court of guard,
A harper with him, and in plaid
All muffled close, a mountain maid,
Who backward shrunk to 'scape the view

Of the loose scene and boisterous crew.
"What news?" they roar'd:-" I only know,
From noon till eve we fought the foe,

As wild and as untameable

As the rude mountains where they dwell.

On both sides store of blood is lost,
Nor much success can either boast."

"But whence thy captives, friend? such spoil

As theirs must needs reward thy toil.
Old dost thou wax, and wars grow sharp;
Thou now hast glee-maiden and harp!
Get thee an ape, and trudge the land,
The leader of a juggler band."-


"No, comrade; no such fortune mine.
After the fight, these sought our line,
That aged harper and the girl,
And, having audience of the earl,
Mar bade I should purvey them steed,
And bring them hitherward with speed.
Forbear your mirth and rude alarm,
For none shall do them shame or harm."
"Hear ye his boast?" cried John of Brent,
E'er to strife and jangling bent;
"Shall he strike doe beside our lodge,
And yet the jealous niggard grudge
To pay the forester his fee!

I'll have my share, howe'er it be,
Despite of Moray, Mar, or thee."
Bertram his forward step withstood;
And, burning in his vengeful mood,
Old Allan, though unfit for strife,
Laid hand upon his dagger-knife;
But Ellen boldly stepp'd between,
And dropp'd at once the tartan screen:
So, from his morning cloud, appears
The sun of May, through summer tears.
The savage soldiery amazed,
As on descendant angel gazed;

E'en hardy Brent, abash'd and tamed, Stood half admiring, half ashamed.


Boldly she spoke :-" Soldiers, attend!
My father was the soldier's friend;
Cheer'd him in camps, in marches led,
And with him in the battle bled.
Not from the valiant, or the strong,
Should exile's daughter suffer wrong."
Answer'd De Brent, most forward still
In every feat, or good or ill-

"I shame me of the part I play'd;
And thou an outlaw's child, poor maid!
An outlaw I by forest laws,

And merry Needwood knows the cause.
Poor Rose! if Rose be living now-'
He wiped his iron eye and brow-
"Must bear such age, I think, as thou.
Hear ye, my mates;-I go to call
The captain of our watch to hall;
There lies my halbert on the floor;
And he that steps my halbert o'er,
To do the maid injurious part,
My shaft shall quiver in his heart!
Beware loose speech, or jesting rough:
Ye all know John De Brent. Enough."


Their captain came; a gallant, young,
(Of Tullibardine's house he sprung,)
Nor wore he yet the spurs of knight;
Gay was his mien, his humour light,
And, though by courtesy controll❜d,
Forward his speech, his bearing bold:
The high-born maiden ill could brook
The scanning of his curious look
And dauntless eye;-and yet, in sooth,
Young Lewis was a generous youth;
But Ellen's lovely face and mien,
Ill-suited to the garb and scene,
Might lightly bear construction strange,
And give loose fancy scope to range.
"Welcome to Stirling towers, fair maid!
Come ye to seek a champion's aid,
On palfry white, with harper hoar,
Like errant damosel of yore?
Does thy high quest a knight require,
Or may the venture suit a squire ?"
Her dark eye flash'd;-she paused and sigh'd,
"O what have I to do with pride!

Through scenes of sorrow, shame, and strife,
A suppliant for a father's life,
I crave an audience of the king.

Behold, to back my suit, a ring,

The royal pledge of grateful claims,
Given by the monarch to Fitz-James."-


The signet ring young Lewis took,
With deep respect and alter'd look ;
And said "This ring our duties own;
And pardon, if to worth unknown,
In semblance mean obscurely veil'd,
Lady, in aught my folly fail'd.
Soon as the day flings wide his gates,
The king shall know what suitor waits.

Please you, meanwhile, in fitting bower
Repose you till his waking hour;
Female attendance shall obey
Your hest for service or array:
Permit I marshal you the way."
But, ere she follow'd, with the grace
And open bounty of her race,
She bade her slender purse be shared
Among the soldiers of the guard.
The rest with thanks their guerdon took;
But Brent, with shy and awkward look,
On the reluctant maiden's hold
Forced bluntly back the proffer'd gold;-
"Forgive a haughty English heart,
And O forget its ruder part;

The vacant purse shall be my share,
Which in my barret cap I'll bear,
Perchance, in jeopardy of war,

Where gayer crests may keep afar."

With thanks-'twas all she could-the maid His rugged courtesy repaid.


When Ellen forth with Lewis went, Allan made suit to John of Brent: "My lady safe, O let your grace Give me to see my master's face! His minstrel I-to share his doom Bound from the cradle to the tomb. Tenth in descent, since first my sires Waked for his noble house their lyres, Nor one of all the race was known But prized its weal above their own. With the chief's birth begins our care; Our harp must soothe the infant heir, Teach the youth tales of fight, and grace His earliest feat of field or chase; In peace, in war, our rank we keep, We cheer his board, we soothe his sleep. Nor leave him till we pour our verse, A doleful tribute! o'er his hearse. Then let me share his captive lot; It is my right-deny it not!"'— "Little we reck," said John of Brent, "We southern men, of long descent; Nor wot we how a name-a wordMakes clansmen vassals to a lord: Yet kind my noble landlord's part, God bless the house of Beaudesert! And, but I loved to drive the deer More than to guide the labouring steer, I had not dwelt an outcast here.

Come, good old minstrel, follow me Thy lord and chieftain shalt thou see."


Then, from a rusted iron hook,
A bunch of ponderous keys he took,
Lighted a torch, and Allan led
Through grated arch and passage dread.
Portals they pass'd, where, deep within,
Spoke prisoner's moan, and fetters' din;
Through rugged vaults, where loosely stored,
Lay wheel, and axe, and headsman's sword,
And many a hideous engine grim,
For wrenching joints, and crushing limb,

By artists form'd, who deem'd it shame
And sin to give their work a name.
They halted at a low-brow'd porch,
And Brent to Allan gave the torch,
While bolt and chain he backward roll'd,
And made the bar unhasp its hold.
They enter'd:-'twas a prison room
Of stern security and gloom,
Yet not a dungeon; for the day
Through lofty gratings found its way,
And rude and antique garniture
Deck'd the sad walls and oaken floor;
Such as the rugged days of old
Deem'd fit for captive noble's hold.
"Here," said De Brent, "thou mayst remain
Till the leach visit him again.
Strict is his charge, the warders tell,
To tend the noble prisoner well."
Retiring then, the bolt he drew,
And the lock's murmurs growl'd anew.
Roused at the sound, from lowly bed
A captive feebly raised his head;
The wondering minstrel look'd, and knew-
Not his dear lord, but Roderick Dhu!
For, come from where Clan-Alpine fought,
They, erring, deem'd the chief he sought.


As the tall ship, whose lofty prore Shall never stem the billows more, Deserted by her gallant band, Amid the breakers lies astrandSo, on his couch, lay Roderick Dhu! And oft his fever'd limbs he threw In toss abrupt, as when her sides Lie rocking in th' advancing tides; That shake her frame to ceaseless beat, Yet cannot heave her from her seat; O! how unlike her course at sea! Or his free step on hill and lea! Soon as the minstrel he could scan, -"What of thy lady? of my clan? My mother?-Douglas ?-tell me all! Have they been ruin'd in my fall? Ah, yes! or wherefore art thou here? Yet speak-speak boldly-do not fear." (For Allan, who his mood well knew, Was choak'd with grief and terror too.) "Who fought-who fled ?-Old man, be brief; Some might-for they had lost their chief. Who basely live?-who bravely died?" "O, calm thee, chief!" the minstrel cried, "Ellen is safe;"-" For that, thank heaven!" "And hopes are for the Douglas given; The Lady Margaret too is well, And, for thy clan-on field or fell, Has never harp of minstrel told, Of combat fought so true and bold. Thy stately pine is yet unbent, Though many a goodly bough is rent."


The chieftain rear'd his form on high,
And fever's fire was in his eye;
But ghastly, pale, and livid streaks
Checker'd his swarthy brow and cheeks.

-"Hark, minstrel! I have heard thee play,
With measure bold, on festal day,
In yon lone isle-again where ne'er
Shall harper play, or warrior hear!
That stirring air that peals on high
O'er Dermid's race our victory.
Strike it!-and then (for well thou canst)
Free from thy minstrel spirit glanced,
Fling me the picture of the fight,
When met my clan the Saxon might.
I'll listen, till my fancy hears

The clang of swords, the crash of spears!
These grates, these walls, shall vanish then,
For the fair field of fighting men,
And my free spirit bursts away,
As if it soar'd from battle fray."
The trembling bard with awe obey'd-
Slow on the harp his hand he laid;
But soon remembrance of the sight
He witness'd from the mountain's height,
With what old Bertram told at night,
Awaken'd the full power of song,
And bore him in career along;

As shallop launch'd on river's tide,
That slow and fearful leaves the side,
But, when it feels the middle stream,
Drives downward swift as lightning's beam.



"The minstrel came once more to view

The eastern ridge of Ben-venue,
For, ere he parted, he would say
Farewell to lovely Loch-Achray-
Where shall he find, in foreign land,
So lone a lake, so sweet a strand!
There is no breeze upon the fern,

No ripple on the lake,
Upon her eyrie nods the erne,

The deer has sought the brake;
The small birds will not sing aloud,

The springing trout lies still,

So darkly glooms yon thunder cloud, That swathes, as with a purple shroud, Benledi's distant hill.

Is it the thunder's solemn sound

That mutters deep and dread,
Or echoes from the groaning ground
The warrior's measured tread?
Is it the lightning's quivering glance
That on the thicket streams,
Or do they flash on spear and lance
The sun's retiring beams?

I see the dagger crest of Mar,
I see the Moray's silver star
Wave o'er the cloud of Saxon war,

That up the lake comes winding far! To hero boune for battle strife,

Or bard of martial lay,

'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life, One glance at their array!


"Their light-arm'd archers far and near Survey'd the tangled ground,

Their centre ranks, with pike and spear,

A twilight forest frown'd,

Their barbed horsemen, in the rear,

The stern battalia crown'd.
No cymbal clash'd, no clarion rang,
Still were the pipe and drum ;
Save heavy tread, and armour's clang

The sullen march was dumb.

There breathed no wind their crests to shake,

Or wave their flags abroad;

Scarce the frail aspen seem'd to quake,

That shadow'd o'er their road.
Their va'ward scouts no tidings bring,

Can rouse no lurking foe,
Nor spy a trace of living thing,
Save when they stirr'd the roe;
The host moves like a deep sea wave,
Where rise no rocks its pride to brave,

High swelling, dark, and slow.
The lake is pass'd, and now they gain
A narrow and a broken plain,
Before the Trosach's rugged jaws;
And here the horse and spearmen pause,
While, to explore the dangerous glen,
Dive through the pass the archer men.


"At once there rose so wild a yell
Within that dark and narrow dell,
As all the fiends, from heaven that fell,
Had peal'd the banner cry of hell!
Forth from the pass in tumult driven,
Like chaff before the wind of heaven,

The archery appear:

For life for life! their flight they ply-
And shriek, and shout, and battle cry,
And plaids and bonnets waving high,
And broadswords flashing to the sky,
Are maddening in the rear.
Onward they drive, in dreadful race,

Pursuers and pursued;

Before that tide of flight and chase,
How shall it keep its rooted place,

The spearmen's twilight wood?

-Down, down,' cried Mar, 'your lances down!
Bear back both friend and foe!'
Like reeds before the tempest's frown,
That serried grove of lances brown

At once lay levell'd low;

And closely shouldering side to side,
The bristling ranks the onset bide.-

We'll quell the savage mountaineer,
As their Tinchel* cows the game!
They come as fleet as forest deer,

We'll drive them back as tame.'


"Bearing before them, in their course,
The relics of the archer force,

Like wave with crest of sparkling foam,
Right onward did Clan-Alpine come.

A circle of sportsmen, who, by surrounding a great space, and gradually narrowing, brought immense quantities of deer together, which usually made desperate efforts to break through the Tinchel.

Above the tide, each broadsword bright Was brandishing like beam of light,

Each targe was dark below;
And with the ocean's mighty swing,
When heaving to the tempest's wing,
They hurl'd them on the foe.

I heard the lance's shivering crash,
As when the whirlwind rends the ash;
I heard the broadsword's deadly clang,
As if a hundred anvils rang!

But Moray wheel'd his rearward rank
Of horsemen on Clan-Alpine's flank-

My banner man, advance!

I see,' he cried, their columns shake.-
Now, gallants! for your ladies' sake,
Upon them with the lance!"

The horsemen dash'd among the rout,

As deer break through the broom;
Their steeds are stout, their swords are out,
They soon make lightsome room.
Clan-Alpine's best are backward borne-
Where, where was Roderick then!
One blast upon his bugle horn

Were worth a thousand men.
And refluent through the pass of fear
The battle's tide was pour'd;
Vanish'd the Saxon's struggling spear,
Vanish'd the mountain sword.

As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and steep,
Receives her roaring linn,

As the dark caverns of the deep

Suck the wild whirlpool in,
So did the deep and darksome pass
Devour the battle's mingled mass;
None linger now upon the plain,
Save those who ne'er shall fight again.


"Now westward rolls the battle's din,
That deep and doubling pass within.
-Minstrel, away! the work of fate
Is bearing on its issue wait
Where the rude Trosach's dread defile
Opens on Katrine's lake and isle.
Gray Ben-venue I soon repass'd,
Loch-Katrine lay beneath me cast.
The sun is set ;-the clouds are met,
The lowering scowl of heaven
An inky hue of livid blue

To the deep lake has given;
Strange gusts of wind from mountain glen
Swept o'er the lake, then sunk agen.

I heeded not the eddying surge,

Mine eye but saw the Trosach's gorge,

Mine ear but heard the sullen sound,

Which like an earthquake shook the ground,

And spoke the stern and desperate strife,

That parts not but with parting life,
Seeming, to minstrel ear, to toll
The dirge of many a passing soul.
Nearer it comes-the dim wood glen
The martial flood disgorged agen,
But not in mingled tide;
The plaided warriors of the north,
High on the mountain thunder forth,
And overhang its side;

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