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• For forty years a seneschal,
And if, their winter's exile o'er, To marshal guests in bower and hall They harbour'd still by Ulster's shore,
Has been my honour'd trade. Or launch'd their galleys on the main, Worship and birth to me are known To vex their native land again ? By look, by bearing, and by tone, Not by furr'd robe or broider'd zone; And 'gainst an oaken bough
That younger stranger, fierce and I'll gage my silver wand of state,
high, That these three strangers oft have sate At once confronts the Chieftain's eye In higher place than now.'
With lock of equal scorn;
Of rebels have we nought to show; 'I, too,' the aged Ferrand said,
But if of Royal Bruce thou’dst know,
I warn thce he has sworn, * Am qualified by minstrel trade Of rank and place to tell;
Ere thrice three days shall come and Mark'd ye the younger stranger's eye, His banner Scottish winds shall blow,
go, My mates, how quick, how keen, how high,
Despite each mean or mighty foe, How fierce its flashes fell,
From England's every bill and bow,
To Allaster of Lorn.'
Kindled the mountain Chieftain's ire, Because the owner might not brook
But Ronald quench'd the rising fire; On any save his peers to look ?
· Brother, it better suits the time And yet it moves me more,
To chase the night with Ferrand's That steady, calm, majestic brow,
rhyme, With which the elder chief even now
Than wake, 'midst mirth and wine, the Scann'd the gay presence o'er,
jars Like being of superior kind,
That flow from these unhappy wars.' In whose high-toned impartial mind
'Content,' said Lorn; and spoke apart Degrees of mortal rank and state
With Ferrand, master of his art, Seem objects of indifferent weight.
Then whisper'd Argentine, The lady too--though closely tied
* The lay I named will carry smart The mantle veil both face and eye,
To these bold strangers’ haughty heart, Her motions' grace it could not hide,
If right this guess of mine.'
He ceased, and it was silence all,
Until the minstrel waked the hall : metry.'
ix. Suspicious doubt and lordly scorn Lour'd on the haughty front of Lorn.
THE Brooch or LoRx. From underneath his brows of pride, · Whence the brooch of burning gold, The stranger guests he sternly eyed, That clasps the Chieftain's mantle-fold, And whisper'd closely what the car Wrought and chased with rare device, Of Argentine alone might hear; Studded fair with gems of price,
Then question'd, high and brief, On the varied tartans beaming, If, in their voyage, aught they knew As, through night's pale rainbow Of the rebellious Scottish crew,
gleaming, Who to Rath-Erin's shelter drew,
Fainter now, now seen afar, With Carrick's outlaw'd Chief? Fitful shines the northern star?
Gem! ne'er wrought on Highland
mountain, Did the fairy of the fountain,
As glares the tiger on his foes, Or the mermaid of the wave,
Hlemm'd in by hunters, spears, and Frame thee in some coral cave?
bows, Did, in Iceland's darksome mine,
And, ere he bounds upon the ring, Dwarf's swart hands thy metal twine?
Selects the object of his spring, Or, mortal-moulded, comest thou here
Now on the bard, now on his Lord, From England's love, or France's fear? So Edward glared and grasp'd his
But stern his brother spoke, ‘Be still:
What: art thou yet so wild of will, "No!- thy splendours nothing tell
After high deeds and sufferings long, Foreign art or faëry spell.
To chafe thee.for a menial's song? -Moulded thou for monarch's use,
Well hast thou framed, Old Man, thy By the overweening Bruce,
strains, When the royal robe he tied
To praise the hand that pays thy pains; O'er a licart of wrath and pride;
Yet something might thy song havetold Thence in triumph wert thou torn, Of Lorn's three vassals, true and bold, By the victor hand of Lorn!
Who rent their Lord from Bruce'shold
As underneath his knee he lay, When the gem was won and lost,
And died to save him in the fray. Widely was the war-cry toss'd !
I've heard the Bruce's cloak and clasp Rung aloud Bendourish fell,
Was clench'd within their dying grasp, Answer'd Douchart's sounding cell,
What time a hundred focmen more Fled the deer from wild Teyndrum,
Rush'd in, and back the victor borc, When the homicide, o'ercome,
Long after Lorn had left the strife, llardly 'scaped with scathe and scorn,
Full glad to 'scape with limb and life. Left the pledge with conquering Lorn! Enough of this; and, Minstrel, hold
As minstrel-hire this chain of gold,
For future lays a fair excuse Vain was then the Douglas brand,
To speak more nobly of the Bruce.' Vain the Campbell's vaunted hand, Vain Kirkpatrick's bloody dirk, Making sure of murder's work; Barendown flcd fast away,
Now, by Columba's shrine, I swear, Fled the fiery De la Haye,
And every saint that's buried there, When this brooch, triumphant borne, j 'Tis he himself!' Lorn sternly cries, Beam'd upon the breast of Lorn. And for my kinsman's death he dies.'
As loudly Ronald calls, ' Forbcar! Farthest fled its former Lord,
Not in my sight, while brand I wear, Left his men to brand and cord, O‘ermatch'd by odds, shallwarrior fall, Bloody brand of Highland steel, Or blood of stranger stain my hall! English gibbet, axe, and wheel. This ancient fortress of my race Let him fly from coast to coast, Shall be misfortune's resting-place, Dogg‘d by Comyn's vengeful ghost, Shelter and shield of the distress'd, While his spoils, in triumph worn, No slaughter-house for shipwreck'd Long shall grace victorious Lorn!'
* Talk not to me,' fierce Lorn replied, Wild was the scene-each sword was ‘Of odds or match! when Comyn died bare, Three daggers clash'd within his side! Back stream'd each chieftain's shaggy Talk not to me of sheltering hall,
hair, The Church of God saw Comyn fall! In gloomy opposition set, On God's own altarstream'd his blood, Eyes, hands, and brandish'd weapons While o'er my prostrate kinsman
Blue gleaming o'er the social board, Theruthless murderer-c'en as now- Flash'd to the torches many a sword; With armed hand and scornful brow! And soon those bridal lights may shine Up, all who love me ! blow on blow! On purple blood for rosy wine. And lay the outlaw'd felons low!'
While thus for blows and death preThen upsprang many a mainland Lord,
Each heart was Obedient to their Chieftain's word.
up, each weapon Barcaldine's arm is high in air,
bared, And Kinloch-Alline's blade is bare,
Each foot advanced,-a surly pause Black Murthok's dirk has left its sheath, Still reverenced hospitable laws. Andclench'd is Dermid's hand of death. All menaced violence, but alike Their mutter'd threats of vengeance Reluctant cach the first to strike, swell
(For aye accursed in minstrel line Into a wild and warlike yell;
Is he who brawls 'mid song and Onward they press with weapons high,
wine,) The affrighted females shriek and fly, And, match'd in numbers and in might, And, Scotland, then thy brightest ray
Doubtful and desperate seem'd the Had darken'd ere its noon of day,
fight. But every chief of birth and fame,
Thus threat and murmur died away, That from the Isles of Ocean came,
Till on the crowded hall there lay At Ronald's side that hour withstood Such silence, as the deadly still Fierce Lorn's relentless thirst for Ere bursts the thunder on the hill. blood.
With blade advanced, each Chieftain XVII.
Show'd like the Sworder's form of old, Brave Torquil from Dunvegan high, Lord of the misty hills of Skye,
As wanting still the torch of life 1 Mac-Niel, wild Bara's ancient thane,
To wake the marble into strife. Duart, of bold Clan-Gillian's strain,
XIX. Fergus, of Canna's castled bay, That awful pause the stranger maid, Mac-Duffith, Lord of Colonsay, And Edith, seized to pray for aid. Soon as they saw the broadswords As to De Argentine she clung, glance,
Away her veil the stranger flung, With ready weapons rose at once, And, lovely ’mid her wild despair, More prompt, that many an ancient Fast stream'd her eyes, wide flow'd feud,
her hair. Full oft suppress'd, full oft renew'd, *Othou, of knighthood once the flower, Glow'd'twixt the chieftains of Argyle, . Sure refuge in distressful hour, Ind many a lord of ocean's isle.
[1 Qu. touch of life ?]
Thou, who in Judah well hast fought This craves reflection—but thouglı
And just the charge of England's When this poor hand has dealt the
| Let England's crown her rebels seize Say, can thy soul of honour brook Where she has power;-in towers On the unequal strife to look,
like these, When, butcher'd thus in peaceful hall, Midst Scottish Chieftains summon'd Those once thy friends, my brethren,
To bridal mirth and bridal cheer, To Argentine she turn'd her word, Be sure, with no consent of mine, But her eye sought the Island Lord. Shall either Lorn or Argentine A flush like evening's setting flame i With chains or violence, in our sight, Glow'd on his cheek; his hardy frame, ! Oppress a brave and banish'd Knight.' As with a brief convulsion, shook : With hurried voice and cager look, 'Fear not,' he said, 'my Isabel ! Then waked the wild deba again, What said I ?-Edith ! all is well ; With brawling threat and clamour vain. Nay, fear not; I will well provide Vassals and menials, thronging in, The safety of my lovely bride- Lent their brute rage to swell the din ; My bride ??--but there the accents When, far and wide, a bugle-clang clung
From the dark ocean upward rang. In tremor to his faltering tongue.
· The Ibbot comes:' they cry at
* The holy man, whose favour'd Now rosc De Argentine, to claim
glance The prisoners in his sovereign's name,
Hath sainted visions known ; To England's crown, who, vassals Angels have met him on the way, sworn,
Beside the blessed martyrs' bay, Gainst their liege lord had weapon
And by Columba's stone. borne
His monks have heard their hymn(Such specch, I ween, was but to hide ings high His care their safety to provide ;
Sound from the summit of Dun-Y', For knight more true in thought and To cheer his penance lone decd
When at each cross, on girth and wolel, Than Argentine ne'er spurr’d a Their number thrice a hundred-fold,) steed)-
llis prayer he made, his beads he told, And Ronald, who his meaning guess d,
With ves many a one Seem'd half to sanction the request.
He comes our feuds to reconcile, This purpose fiery Torquil broke: A sainted man from sainted isle ; • Somewhat we've heard of England's We will his holy doom abide, yoke,'
The Abbot shall our strife decide.' He said, and, in our islands, Fame Hath whisper'd of a lawful claim, That calls the Bruce fair Scotland's, Scarcely this fair accord was o'er, Lord,
When through the wide revolving door Though dispossess'd by foreign sword.! The black-stoled brethren wind;
Twelve sandall’d monks, who relics Or dream of greeting, peace, or truce, bore,
With excommunicated Bruce ! With many a torch-bearer before, Yet well I grant, to end debate,
And many a cross behind. Thy sainted voice decide his fate.' Then sunk cach fierce uplifted hand, And dagger bright and flashing brand
Dropp'd swiftly at the sight; Then Ronald pled the stranger's cause, They vanish'd from the Churchman's And knighthood's oath and honour's eye,
laws; As shooting stars, that glance and die, | And Isabel, on bended knee, Dart from the vault of night. Brought pray’rs and tears to back the
And Edith lent her generous aid, The Abbot on the threshold stood, And wept, and Lorn for mercy pray'd. And in his hand the holy rood; 'Hence,' he exclaim'd, degenerate Back on his shoulders flow'd his hood, maid! The torch's glaring ray
Was't not enough to Ronald's bower Show'd, in its red and flashing light, I brought thee, like a paramour, His wither'd cheek and amice white, Or bond-maid at her master's gate, His blue eye glistening cold and His careless cold approach to wait ? bright,
But the bold Lord of Cumberland, His tresses scant and grey. The gallant Clifford, seeks thy hand; • Fair Lords,' he said, “Our Lady's His it shall be- Nay, no reply ! love,
Hence! till those rebel eyes be dry.' And peace be with you from above, With grief the Abbot heard and saw, And Benedicite!
Yet nought relax'd his brow of awe. -But what means this ? no peace is here!
XXVI. Do dirks unsheathed suit bridal cheer? Then Argentine, in England's name,
Or are these naked brands So highly urged his sovereign's claim, A seemly show for Churchman's sight, | He waked a spark, that, long supWhen he comes summon’d to unite
press'd, Betrothed hearts and hands ?' Had smoulder'd in Lord Ronald's
And now, as from the flint the fire, Then, cloaking hate with fiery zeal, Flash'd forth at once his generous ire. Proud Lorn first answer'd the ap- · Enough of noble blood,' he said, peal;.
* By English Edward had been shed, • Thou comest, O holy Man, Since matchless Wallace first had been True sons of blessed church to greet, In mock’ry crown'd with wreaths of But little deeming here to meet
green, A wretch, beneath the ban And done to death by felon hand, Of Pope and Church, for murder done For guarding well his father's land. Even on the sacred altar-stone!-- Where's Nigel Bruce? and Ie la Haye, Well mayst thou wonder we should | And valiant Seton-where are they? know
Where Somerville, the kind and free? Such miscreant here, nor lay hiin low, And Fraser, flower of chivalry?