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Darkens the air, and hides the sun from us.
King. It falls on those shall see the sun no more. The winged, the resistless plague is with them. How their vex'd host is reeling to and fro, Like the chafed whale with fifty lances in him! They do not see, and cannot shun the wound. The storm is viewless, as death's sable wing, Unerring as his sithe.
Per. Horses and riders are going down together. Tis almost pity to see nobles fall, And by a peasant's arrow.
Bal. I could weep them, Although they are my rebels. Chan. (aside to PERCY.) His conquerors, he means, who cast him out From his usurp'd kingdom. (Aloud.) 'Tis the worst of it,
That knights can claim small honour in the field
Not ended!-scarce begun!--What horse are these,
King. (hastily.) Hainaulters!-thou art blind-
Saint Andrew's silver cross?—or would they charge
Ribau. Most royal liege
King. A rose hath fallen from thy chaplet,' Ribaumont.
Ribau. I'll win it back, or lay my head beside it. [Exit.
King. Saint George! saint Edward! Gentlemen, to horse,
And to the rescue! Percy, lead the bill-men;
We may need good men's prayers. To the rescue, Lords, to the rescue! ha, saint George! saint Edward! [Exeunt. A part of the Field of Battle betwixt the two Main Armies; tumults behind the scenes; alarms, and cries of "Gordon! a Gordon!" "Swinton!" &c. Enter, as victorious over the English van-guard, VIPONT, REYNALD, and others. Vip. 'Tis sweet to hear these war-cries sound
Gordon and Swinton.
Rey. 'Tis passing pleasant, yet 'tis strange withal. Faith, when at first I heard the Gordon's slogan Sounded so near me, I had nigh struck down The knave who cried it.
Enter SWINTON and GORDON,
Swin. Pitch down my pennon in yon holly bush. Gor. Mine in the thorn beside it; let them wave, As fought this morn their masters, side by side.
Swin. let the men rally, and restore their ranks Here on this vantage-ground-disorder'd chase Leads to disorder'd flight; we have done our part, And if we're succour'd now, Plantagenet Must turn his bridle southward. Reynald, spur to the regent with the basnet Of stout De Grey, the leader of their van-guard; Say, that in battle-front the Gordon slew him,
Gor. And if I live and see my halls again, They shall have portion in the good they fight for. Each hardy follower shall have his field, His household hearth and sod-built home, as free As ever southron had. They shall be happy! And my Elizabeth shall smile to see it! have betray'd myself. Swin.
Do not believe it.
Vipont, do thou look out from yonder height,
And its rich painting, do seem then most glorious,
Gor. Must I then speak of her to you, sir Alan? The thought of thee, and of thy matchless strength, Hath conjured phantoms up amongst her dreams. The name of Swinton hath been spell sufficient To chase the rich blood from her lovely cheek, And would'st thou now know her's?
Swin. I would, nay, must Thy father in the paths of chivalry Should know the load-star thou dost rule thy course by.
Gor. Nay, then, her name is hark-Whispers. Swin. I know it well, that ancient northern
Gor. O, thou shalt see its fairest grace and ho
In my Elizabeth. And if music touch thee
Shall hush each sad remembrance to oblivion,
And choicest homage render to th' enchantress.
Of youth! There's scarce three minutes to decide
While I abide, no follower of mine
What sword shall for an instant stem yon host,
Vip. The noble youth speaks truth; and were he gone, There will not twenty spears be left with us,
Gor. No, bravely as we have begun the field, o let us fight it out. The regent's eyes, More certain than a thousand messages, Shall see us stand, the barrier of his host Against yon bursting storm. If not for honour, If not for warlike rule, for shame at least, He must bear down to aid us.
Swin. Must it be so? And am I forced to yield the sad consent, Devoting thy young life? O, Gordon, Gordon! I do it as the patriarch doom'd his issue; I at my country's, he at heaven's command; But I seek vainly some atoning sacrifice, Rather than such a victim!-(Trumpets.) Hark,
That music sounds not like thy lady's lute.
Gordon for Scotland and Elizabeth!"
Another part of the Field of Battle, adjacent to the former scene. Alarums. Enter SWINTON, followed by HOB HAT
Swin. Stand to it yet! The man who flies to-day, May bastards warm them at his household hearth! Hob Hat. That ne'er shall be my curse. My Magdalen
Is trusty as my broadsword.
Ha, thou knave,
I know, sir Alan,
You want no homeward guide; so threw my reins
[Exeunt. Loud and long alarums. After
Swin. All are cut down-the reapers have pass' d
And hie to distant harvest. My toil's over; There lies my sickle, [dropping his sword,] hand of mine again
Shall never, never wield it!
Gor. O valiant leader, is thy light extinguish'd! That only beacon flame which promised safety In this day's deadly wreck!
Swin. My lamp hath long been dim. But thine, young Gordon,
Just kindled, to be quench'd so suddenly,
Gor. Five thousand horse hung idly on yon hill,
Had thy brave father held yon leading staff,
Gor. Alas! Alas! the author of the death-feud,
But thou, brave youth, whose nobleness of heart
Why should'st thou share our punishment?
Swin. Look on the field, brave Gordon, if thou
canst, And tell me how the day goes. But I guess, Too surely do I guess
Gor. All's lost! all's lost! Of the main Scottish host,
Some wildly fly, and some rush wildly forward; And some there are who seem to turn their spears Against their countrymen.
Swin. Rashness, and cowardice, and secret treason,
Combine to ruin us; and our hot valour,
I'm glad that these dim eyes shall see no more
Let thy hand close them, Gordon-I will think My fair-hair'd William renders me that office!
Gor. And, Swinton, I will think I do that duty To my dead father.
Enter DE VIPONT.
Vip. Fly, fly, brave youth! A handful of thy followers,
The scattered gleaning of this desperate day,
King. Disarm them-harm them not; though it was they
Made havoc on the archers of our van-guard, They and that bulky champion. Where is he? Chan. Here lies the giant! Say his name, young knight!
Gor. Let it suffice, he was a man this morning. Chan. I question'd thee in sport. I do not need Thy information, youth. Who that has fought Through all these Scottish wars, but knows that crest,
The sable boar chain'd to the leafy oak,
Grim chamberlain, who in my tent at Weardale,
Gor. (sinking down.) If thus thou know'st him, Thou wilt respect his corpse.
King. As belted knight and crowned king, I will
Sleep at his side, in token that our death
[He rushes on the English, but is made prisoner with VIPONT.
King. It is the Gordon!-Is there aught beside Edward can do to honour bravery, Even in an enemy?
Nothing but this:
Let not base Baliol, with his touch or look,
To buy the crown you aim at.
King, (to VIPONT.) Vipont, thy crossed shield shows ill in warfare
Against a christian king.
Vip. That christian king is warring upon Scot
Ballads and Lyrical Pieces.
LORD RONALD'S CORONACH.
For them the viewless forms of air obey,
They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
THE tradition upon which the following stanzas are founded runs thus: While two highland hunters were passing the night in a solitary bathy (a hut built for the purpose of hunting,) and making merry over their venison and whisky, one of them expressed a wish, that they had pretty lasses to complete their party. The words were scarcely uttered, when two beautiful young women, habited in green, entered the hut, dancing and singing. One of the hunters was seduced by the syren, who attached herself particularly to him, to leave the hut: the other remained, and, suspicious of the fair seducers, continued to play upon a trump, or Jew's harp, some strain consecrated to the virgin Mary. Day at length came, and the temptress vanished. Searching in the forest, he found the bones of his unfortunate friend, who had been torn to pieces and devoured by the fiend, into whose toils he had fallen. The place was from thence called, the Glen of the Green Women.
Glenfinlas is a tract of forest ground, lying in the highlands of Perthshire, not far from Callender, in Menteith. It was formerly a royal forest, and now belongs to the earl of Moray. This country, as well as the adjacent district of Balquidder, was, in times of yore, chiefly inhabited by the Macgregors. To the west of the forest of Glenfinlas lies Loch Katrine, and its romantic avenue called the Trosachs. Benledi, Benmore, and Benvoirlich, are mountains in the same district, and at no great distance from Glenfinlas. The river Teith passes Callender and the castle of Doune, and joins the Forth near Stirling. The pass of Lenny is immediately above Callender, and is the principal access to the highlands from that town. Glenartney is a forest near Benvoirlich. The whole forms a sublime tract of Alpine scenery.
O HONE a rie'! O hone a rie'!†
The pride of Albyn's line is o'er,
The chief that never fear'd a foe,
How deadly thine unerring bow!
How, on the Teith's resounding shore, The boldest lowland warriors fell,
As down from Lenny's pass you bore. But o'er his hills, on festal day,
How blazed lord Ronald's beltane tree;2 While youths and maids the light strathspey So nimbly danced, with highland glee. Cheered by the strength of Ronald's shell, E'en age forgot his tresses hoar;
Coronach is the lamentation for a deceased warrior, sung by the aged of the clan.
to hone a rie' signifles—“Alas for the prince, or chief."
But now the loud lament we swell,
The joys of Ronald's hall to find,
The seer's prophetic spirit found,3 As, with a minstrel's fire the while,
He waked his harp's harmonious sound. Full many a spell to him was known,
Which wandering spirits shrink to hear; And many a lay of potent tone,
Was never meant for mortal ear.
For there, 'tis said, in mystic mood,
High converse with the dead they hold, And oft espy the fated shroud,
That shall the future corpse enfold.
O so it fell, that on a day,
To rouse the red deer from their den, The chiefs have ta'en their distant way, And scoured the deep Glenfinlas' glen. No vassals wait, their sports to aid,
To watch their safety, deck their board: Their simple dress, the highland plaid;
Their trusty guard, the highland sword. Three summer days, through brake and dell, Their whistling shafts successful flew; And still, when dewy evening fell,
The quarry to their hut they drew.
In gray Glenfinlas' deepest nook
Which murmurs through that lonely wood
Steeped heathy bank and mossy stone. The moon, half hid in silvery flakes,
Afar her dubious radiance shed, Quivering on Katrine's distant lakes, And resting on Benledi's head. Now in their hut, in social guise,
Their sylvan fare the chiefs enjoy;
As many a pledge he quaffs to Moy.
Her panting breath and melting eye? "To chase the deer of yonder shades,
This morning left their father's pile The fairest of our mountain maids,
The daughters of the proud Glengyle. "Long have I sought sweet Mary's heart, And dropped the tear, and heaved the sigh: But vain the lover's wily art,
Beneath the sister's watchful eye.
"But thou may'st teach that guardian fair, While far with Mary I am flown, Of other hearts to cease her care,
And find it hard to guard her own. "Touch but thy harp, thou soon shalt see The lovely Flora of Glengyle,
Unmindful of her charge and me, Hang on thy notes, 'twixt tear and smile. "Or, if she choose a melting tale,
All underneath the green-wood bough, Will good St. Oran's rule prevail,4
Stern huntsman of the rigid brow?" "Since Enrick's fight, since Morna's death, No more on me shall rapture rise, Responsive to the panting breath,
Or yielding kiss, or melting eyes. "E'en then, when o'er the heath of wo, Were sunk my hopes of love and fame, I bade my harp's wild wailings flow,
On me the seer's sad spirit came. "The last dread curse of angry heaven,
With ghastly sights and sounds of wo, To dash each glimpse of joy, was given
The gift, the future ill to know.
"The bark thou saw'st, yon summer morn,
"The Fergus too, thy sister's son,
Thou saw'st, with pride, the gallant's power, As marching 'gainst the lord of Downe,
He left the skirts of huge Benmore. "Thou only saw'st their tartans* wave,
As down Benvoirlich's side they wound, Heard'st but the pibroch,† answering brave To many a target clanking round.
"I heard the groans, I marked the tears, I saw the wound his bosom bore, When on the serried Saxon spears
He poured his clan's resistless roar. "And thou, who bidst me think of bliss,
And bidst my heart awake to glee, And court, like thee, the wanton kiss,
That heart, O Ronald, bleeds for thee! "I see the death-damps chill thy brow;
I hear thy warning spirit cry; The corpse-lights dance-they're gone, and nowNo more is given to gifted eye!"
"Alone enjoy thy dreary dreams, Sad prophet of the evil hour! Say, should we scorn joy's transient beams, Because to-morrow's storm may lour? "Or false, or sooth, thy words of wo,
Clangillian's chieftain ne'er shall fear; His blood shall bound at rapture's glow, Though doomed to stain the Saxon spear. «E'en now, to meet me in yon dell,
My Mary's buskins brush the dew." He spoke, nor bade the chief farewell,
But called his dogs and gay withdrew. Within an hour returned each hound;
In rushed the rousers of the deer; They howled in melancholy sound,
Then closely couched beside the seer. No Ronald yet; though midnight came,
And sad were Moy's prophetic dreams, As, bending o'er the dying flame,
He fed the watch-fire's quivering gleams.
Tartans, the full highland dress, made of the che quered stuff so termed.
+ Pibroch, a piece of martial music, adapted to the highLand bagpipe.
Sudden the hounds erect their ears,
As softly, slowly, op'd the door,
As light a footstep pressed the floor.
All dropping wet her garments seem,
She wrung the moisture from her hair
"O gentle huutsman, hast thou seen, In deep Glenfinlas' moonlight glade,
A lovely maid in vest of green?
Far on the wind his tartans flow?"
Dare ye thus roam Glenfinlas' side?" "Where wild Loch Katrine pours her tide, Blue, dark, and deep, round many an isle, Our father's towers o'erhang her side,
The castle of the bold Glengyle.
"To chase the dun Glenfinlas deer,
Our woodland course this morn we bore, And haply met, while wandering here, The son of great Macgillianore.
"O aid me, then, to seek the pair,
"Yes, many a shrieking ghost walks there; Then, first, my own sad vow to keep, Here will I pour my midnight prayer, Which still must rise when mortals sleep." "O first, for pity's gentle sake,
Guide a lone wanderer on her way! For I must cross the haunted brake,
And reach my father's towers ere day." "First, three times tell each ave-bead,
And thrice a pater-noster say; Then kiss with me the holy reed:
So shall we safely wind our way." "O shame to knighthood, strange and foul! Go, doff the bonnet from thy brow, And shroud thee in the monkish cowĺ, Which best befits thy sullen vow. "Not so, by high Dunlathmon's fire,
Thy heart was froze to love and joy,