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That stand'st 'twixt me and him who slew my father.
Vip. You know not Swinton. Scarce one passing thought
Of his high mind was with you, now, his soul
Enter MAXWELL from the tent.
Swin. How go our councils, Maxwell, may I ask? Max. As wild, as if the very wind and sea With every breeze and every billow battled For their precedence.
Swin. Most sure they are possess'd! Some evil spirit,
To mock their valour, robs them of discretion. Fie, fie, upon't!-0 that Dunfermline's tomb Could render up the Bruce! that Spain's red shore Could give us back the good lord James of Douglas! Or that fierce Randolph, with his voice of terror, Were here, to awe these brawlers to submission! Vip. (to GORDON.) Thou hast perused him at more leisure now.
Gor. I ee the giant form which all men speak of, The stately port-but not the sullen eye, Not the blood-thirsty look, that should belong To him that made me orphan. I shall need To name my father twice ere I can strike At such gray hairs, and face of such command; Yet my hand clenches on my falchion-hilt, In token he shall die.
Vip. Need I again remind you, that the place Permits not private quarrel?
Gor. I'm calm, I will not seek-nay, I will
And yet methinks that such debate's the fashion.
Vip. Such it at times hath been; and then the
Hath sunk before the crescent. Heaven's cause
Vip. Heaven acts by human means. The artist's skill
Supplies in war, as in mechanic crafts,
Gor. I guess, but dare not ask. What band is yonder,
Arranged as closely as the English discipline
Vip. Know'st thou not the pennon?
One day, perhaps, thoul't see it all too closely, It is sir Alan Swinton's.
Gor. These, then, are his, the relics of his power; Yet worth an host of ordinary men. And I must slay my country's sagest leader, And crush by numbers that determined handful, When most my country needs their practised aid, Or men will say, "There goes degenerate Gordon; His father's blood is on the Swinton's sword, And his is in his scabbard!"
[Muses. Vip. (apart.) High blood and mettle, mix'd with early wisdom, Sparkle in this brave youth. If he survive This evil-omened day, 1 pawn my word, That, in the ruin which I now forebode, Scotland has treasure left. How close he eyes Each look and step of Swinton! Is it hate, Or is it admiration, or are both Commingled strangely in that steady gaze? [SWINTON and MAXWELL return from the bottom of the stage.
Max. The storm is laid at length amongst these counsellors:
See, they come forth.
Swin. And it is more than time; For I can mark the van-guard archery Handling their quivers-bending up their bows Enter the REGENT and Scottish lords. Reg. Thus shall it be then, since we may no better:
Reg. We'll keep the hill; it is the vantage ground
Swin. A poor knight of these marches, good my
Swin. It ne'er will join, while their light archery
Reg. You have brought here, even to this pitch- When he can conquer riskless, is to deem
In which the royal banner is display'd,
Swin. I brought each man I had; and chief, or
Thane, duke, or dignitary, brings no more:
An aged eye, which, what in England, Scotland,
And when shall Scotsman, till the last loud trumpet,
Len. This is the shortest road to bandy blows;
At the close tug shall foil the short-breathed south
Swin. I do not say the field will thus be won; The English host is numerous, brave, and loyal; Their monarch most accomplish'd in war's art, Skill'd, resolute, and wary
Reg. And if your scheme secure not victory, What does it promise us?
Which if a young arm here can wield more lightly,
Len. Hear him, my lord; it is the noble
He hath had high experience.
John. Ay, hear the Swinton-hear stout old sir
Maxwell and Johnstone both agree for once.
To bring us Bruce's counsel for the battle.
fought Long under Robert Bruce, may something guess, Without communication with the dead, At what he would have counsell'd.--Bruce had bidden ye
Review your battle-order, marshall'd broadly
The Bruce had warn'd you, not a shaft to-day
Blow shall meet blow, and none fall unavenged—
We shall not bleed alone.
Swin. Not all; for I would pray you, noble lords,
And, tho' blind men discharge them, find a mark.
To avenge old feuds or struggles for precedence;
Reg. Tush, tell not me! If their shot fall like (As well may chance) a debt of blood and hatred,
That's mother to us both.
Our men have Milan coats to bear it out.
Swin. Never did armourer temper steel on stithy
Reg. Who fears a wasp-sting?
While our good blades are faithful to the hilts,
[GORDON shows much emotion during this and the preceding speech of SWINTON. Reg. It is a dream-a vision!-If one troop Rush down upon the archers, all will follow, And order is destroy'd-we'll keep the battle-rank Our fathers wont to do. No more on't.-Ho!
Where be those youths seek knighthood from our
Her. Here are the Gordon, Somerville, and Hay,
Gor. Who would drink purely, seeks the secret fountain,
How small soever-not the general stream,
Reg. Degenerate boy! Abject at once and insolent!
See, lords, he kneels to him that slew his father! Gor. (starting up.) Shame be on him who speaks such shameful word!
Shame be on him whose tongue would sow dissension,
When most the time demands that native Scots
Forget each private wrong!
Swin. (interrupting him.) Youth, since you crave
Crave the lord regent's pardon.
Gor. You task me justly, and I crave his pardon,
[The trumpets sound; the heralds cry, "Largessee;" and the attendants shout, "A Gordon! A Gordon!", Reg. Beggars and flatterers! Peace, peace, I say!
With his old pedigree and heavy mace,
We'll to the standard: knights shall there be made
Gor. Lord regent, you mistake; for if sir Alan
Reg. Why, God ha' mercy! This is of a piece. Let young and old e'en follow their own counsel, Since none will list to mine.
Ross. The border cockerel fain would be on
"Tis safe to be prepared for fight or flight:
To the false Norman blood.
Gor. Hearken, proud chief of Isles! Within my
I have two hundred horse; two hundred riders
Hear I this
From thee, young man, and on the day of battle!
To be your sire in chivalry, I remind you
Gor. 'Twas he that urged me; but I am rebuked.
Swin. Each hound must do so that would head the deer
'Tis mongrel curs which snatch at mate or master. Reg. Too much of this.-Sirs, to the royal
bid you, in the name of good king David, Sound trumpets--sound for Scotland and king
[The REGENT and the rest go off, and the scene closes. Manent GORDON, SWINTON, and VIPONT, with REYNALD and followers. LENNOX follows the REGENT; but returns and addresses SWINTON.
Len. O, were my western horsemen but come
I would take part with you!
Len. Farewell, brave friend!—and farewell, no-
Swin. We will so bear us, that as soon the
Shall halt, and take no part, what tiine his comrade
Len. Alas! thou dost not know how mean his
Swin. Then will we die, and leave the shame
Gor. I have been hurried on by a strong impulse,
And am I not still fatherless!
Swin. Gordon, no; For while we live, I am a father to thee. Gor. Thou, Swinton? no! that cannot, cannot be.
Swin. Then change the phrase, and say, that
Gordon shall be my son.
Gor. My hand and heart!—And freely nowto fight!
Vip. How will you act? [To SWINTON.] Gordon's band and thine
Are in the rearward left, I think, in scorn.
Sidelong the hill-some winding path there must
Hob Hattely, or, if you like it better,
Whose throat I've destined to the dodder'd oak Before my castle, these ten months and more. Was it not you, who drove from Simprim-mains, And Swinton-quarter, sixty head of cattle?
Hob. What then? If now I lead your sixty lances Upon the English flank, where they'll find spoil Is worth six hundred beeves?
O, for a well-skill'd guide!
HOB HATTELY starts up from a thicket. Hob. So here he stands.-An ancient friend, sir When the steel boot is doff'd.
Swin. Why, thou canst do it, knave. I would
not trust thee
With one poor bullock; yet would risk
The rearward of this hill, and opens secretly
Gor. Mount, sirs, and cry my slogan. Let all who love the Gordon follow me!
Per. The Scots still keep the hill-the sun grows high.
Would that the charge would sound!
Enter the ABBOT OF WALTHAMSTOW.
Ab. The king, methinks, delays the onset long. Chan. Your general, father, like your ratcatcher,
Pauses to bait his traps, and set his snares.
Swin. Ay, let all follow-but in silence follow. Scare not the hare that's couchant on her formThe cushat from her nest-brush not, if possible, The dew-drop from the spray
Let no one whisper, until I cry, "Havoc!"
Reverend sir, I will uphold it just. Our good king Edward Will presently come to this battle-field, And speak to you of the last tilting match, Or of some feat he did a twenty years since; But not a word of the day's work before him. Even as the artist, sir, whose name offends you, Sits prosing o'er his can, until the trap fall, Announcing that the vermin are secured, And then 'tis up, and on them.
Per. Chandos, you give your tongue too bold a license.
ACT II-SCENE I.
A rising ground immediately in front of the position of the English main body. PERCY, CHANDOS, RIBAUMONT, and other English and Norman nobles are grouped on the stage.
Chan. Percy, I am a necessary evil. King Edward would not want me, if he could, And could not, if he would. I know my value; My heavy hand excuses my light tongue. So men wear weighty swords in their defence, Although they may offend the tender shin,
Ab. My lord of Chandos, This is but idle speech on brink of battle, When christian men should think upon their sins: For as the tree falls, so the trunk must lie, Be it for good or evil. Lord, bethink thee, Thou hast withheld from our most reverend house, The tithes of Everingham and Settleton; Wilt thou make satisfaction to the church Before her thunders strike thee? I do warn thee In most paternal sort.
Chan. I thank you, father, filially, Though but a truant son of holy church, I would not choose to undergo her censures, When Scottish blades are waving at my throat. I'll make fair composition.
Ab. No composition; I'll have all or none. Chan. None, then-'tis soonest spoke. I'll take my chance,
And trust my sinful soul to heaven's mercy, Rather than risk my worldly goods with theeMy hour may not be come.
Hush! the king-the king! Enter KING EDWARD, attended by BALIOL, an
King (apart to CHANDOS.) Hark hither, Chandos!-Have the Yorkshire archers
Yet join'd the vanguard?
The loitering knaves, were it to steal my venison, Their steps were light enough.-How now, sir abbot?
Say, is your reverence come to study with us
Ab. I've had a lecture from my lord of Chandos,
Chan. O, I will prove it, sir!-These skipping
Have changed a dozen times 'twixt Bruce and
Quitting each house when it began to totter:
And we, as such, will smoke them in their fast
K. Ed. These rats have seen your back, my lord of Chandos,
And noble Percy's too.
Per. Ay; but the mass which now lies weltering
Ab. (bowing to the KING.) Would he were here!
K. Ed. There's something in that wish which wakes an echo
Within my bosom. Yet it is as well,
Per. Your grace ne'er met the Bruce?
K. Ed. Never himself; but, in my earliest field,
Ab. My liege, if I might urge you with a question, Will the Scots fight to-day?
And slept not in mine armour: my safe rest
(Aloud.) I have used that arm of flesh,
Ab. It was most sinful, being against the canon
King. (overhearing the last words.) Who may
And what is to be rued?
Chan. (apart.) I'll match his reverence for the tithes of Everingham.
The abbot says, my liege, the deed was sinful
K. Ed. (sharply.) Go look your breviary.
On that nice point. We must observe his humour.-
the next indulgence. Thou dost need it much. And greatly 'twill avail thee.
When Douglas gave our camp yon midnight ruffle,
Chan. Enough we're friends, and when occa-
I will strike in.——
K. Ed. Ay, by saint Edward!-I escaped right nearly.
1 was a soldier then for holidays,
[Looks as if towards the Scottish army. King. Answer, proud abbot, is my chaplain's soul,
If thou knowest aught on't, in the evil place? Chan. My liege, the Yorkshire men have gain'd the meadow.
You might have cause to know that Swinton lives,
Chan. (apart.) The abbot's vex'd, I'll rub the
sore for him.
King. (to the ABBOT.) Say'st thou my chaplain is in purgatory?
Ab. It is the canon speaks it, good my liege.
Ab. My lord, perchance his soul is past the aid
King. And if I thought my faithful chaplain there, Thou shouldst there join him, priest!-Go, watch, fast, pray,
And let me have such prayers as will storm hea
None of your maim'd and mutter'd hunting masses. Ab. (apart to CHANDOS.) For God's sake, take him off.
Chan. Wilt thou compound, then,
The tithes of Everingham?
King. I tell thee, if thou bear'st the keys of heaven,
Abbot, thou shalt not turn a bolt with them
Ab. (to CHANDOS.) We will compound, and grant thee, too, a share
Ab. That Swinton's dead, a monk of ours re- To speak of monks and chaplains?
Bound homeward from saint Ninian's pilgrimage,
Per. Father, and if your house stood on our
King. To hell with it, and thee! Is this a time
[Flourish of trumpets, answered by a distans
See, Chandos, Percy-Ha, saint George! saint
See it descending now, the fatal bail shower,
Which no mail-coat can brook. Brave English
How close they shoot together!-as one eye