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Up, all who love me! blow on blow !
And lay the outlawed felons low !
Arg. I claim
The prisoners in my sovereign's name,
To England's crown, who, vassals sworn,
'Gainst their liege lord have weapon borne. Tor. Somewhat we've heard of England's yoke
And, in our islands, Fame
Hath whispered of a lawful claim,
That calls the Bruce fair Scotland's lord,
Though dispossessed by foreign sword.
Let England's crown her rebels seize,
Where she has power,-in towers like these,
Midst Scottish chieftains summoned here
To bridal mirth and bridal cheer,
Be sure with no consent of mine,
Shall either Lorn or Argentine
With chains or violence, in our sight,
Oppress a brave and banished knight.
Ron. The Abbot comes !
The holy man, whose favoured glance
Hath sainted visions known;
Angels have met him on the way,
Beside the blessed martyr's bay,
And by Columba's stone.
He comes our feuds to reconcile,
A sainted man from sainted isle.
We will his holy doom abide,
The Abbot shall our strife decide :
Fair lords, our lady's love,
And peace be with you from above,
And Benedicite !
-But what means this? No peace is here !
Do dirks unsheathed suit bridal cheer?
Or are these naked brands
A seemly show for churchman's sight,
When he comes summoned to unite
Betrothed hearts and hands?
Lorn. Thou com'st, O holy man,
True sons of blessed church to greet;
But little deeming here to meet
A wretch beneath the ban
Of pope and church, for murder done
Even on the sacred altar stone !
Well may'st thou wonder we should know
Such miscreant here, nor lay him low,
Or dream of greeting, peace or truce,
With excommunicated Bruce !
Yet well I grant, to end debate,
Thy sainted voice decide his fate.
Ron. Enough of noble blood,
By English Edward had been shed,
Since matchless Wallace first had been
In mockery crowned with wreaths of green,
And done to death by felon hand,
For guarding well his father's land.
What! can the English leopard's mood
Never be gorged with northern blood ?
Was not the life of Athol shed,
To sooth the tyrant's sickened bed
And must his word, at dying day,
Be nought but quarter, hang, and slay
Thou frown'st, De Argentine.—My gage
Is prompt to prove the strife I wage.
Torg. Nor deem
That thou shalt brave alone the fight !
By saints of isle and mainland both,
By Woden wild, (my grandsire's oath,)
Let Rome and England do their worst,
Howe'er attainted or accursed,
If Bruce shall e'er find friends again,
Once more to brave a battle plain,
If Douglas couch again his lance,
Or Randolph dare another chance,
Old Torquil will not be to lack
With twice a thousand at his back.-
Nay, chafe not at my bearing bold,
Good Abbot! for thou know'st of old
Torquil's rude thought, and stubborn will,
Smack of the wild Norwegian still;
Nor will I barter freedom's cause
For England's wealth or Rome's applause, Abbot. And thou,—[To Bruce.]
Unhappy! what hast thou to plead,
Why I denounce not on thy deed
That awful doom which canon's tell
Shuts paradise, and opens hell;
Anathema of power so dread,
Bids each good angel soar away,
And every ill one claim his prey ;
Expels thee from the church's care,
And deafens Heaven against thy prayer;
Haunts thee while living ;-and, when dead,
Dwells on thy yet devoted head.
Rends honour's scutcheon from thy hearse,
Stills o'er thy bier the holy verse,
And spurns thy corpse from hallowed ground,
Flung like vile carrion, to the hound !
Such is the dire and desperate doom,
For sacrilege decreed by Rome ;
And such the well-deserved meed
Of thine unhallowed, ruthless deed.
Abbot ! thy charge
It boots not to dispute at large.
This much howe'er I bid thee know :
No selfish vengeance dealt the blow;
For Comyn died his country's foe.
Nor blame I friends whose ill-timed speed
Fulfilled my soon repented deed,
Nor censure those from whose stern tongue
The dire anathema has rung:
I only blame mine own wild ire,
By Scotland's wrongs incensed to fire.
Heaven knows my purpose to atone,
Far as I may, the evil done,
And hears a penitent's appeal
From papal curse and prelate's zeal.
My first and dearest task achieved,
Fair Scotland from her thrall relieved,
Shall many a priest in cope and stole,
Say requiem for Red Comyn's soul,
While I the blessed cross advance,
And expiate this unhappy chance,
In Palestine, with sword and lance.
But while content the church should know
My conscience owns the debt I owe,
Unto De Argentine and Lorn
The name of traitor I return,
Bid them defiance stern and high,
And give them, in their throats, the lie!
These brief words spoke, I speak no more
Do what thou wilt: my shrift is o'er.
Abbot. De Bruce! I rose with purpose dread
To speak my curse upon thy head,
And give thee as an outcast o'er
To him who burns to shed thy gore ;
But like the Midianite of old,
Who stood on Zophian, heaven-controlled,
I feel, within mine aged breast,
A power that will not be repressed.
It prompts my voice; it swells my veins ;
It burns, it maddens, it constrains !
O’ermastered thus by high behest,
I bless thee, and thou shalt be bless'd !
Bless'd in thy sceptre and thy sword,
De Bruce, fair Scotland's rightful lord,-
Bless'd in thy deeds and in thy fame,
What lengthened honours wait thy name !
In distant ages, sire to son
Shall tell thy tale of freedom won,
And teach his infants, in the use
Of earliest speech, to falter · Bruce!'
The power, whose dictates swell my breast,
Hath bless'd thee, and thou shalt be bless'd !
Brethren, our errand here is o'er, [speaking to his at-
tendant monks,] Our task discharged.-Unmoor, unmoor !
EXERCISE LI.—THE FATE OF MCGREGOR.--Hogg. [This specimen of the superstitious belief of the Scottish highlanders, requires,--from the wild and preternatural character of the whole,
-an intensity of tone transcending all usual limit. The half whisper of horror, the literal whisper of terror, the scream of agony, all have their appropriate place, in the recitation of this piece. It is designed as a full exercise in the most impressive forms of powerful emotion.-One important result attending the practice of such pieces, is that heightened susceptibility of imagination, which is so powerful an instrument of expressive effect.] “McGregor, McGregor! remember our foemen, The moon rises broad o'er the brow of Ben Lomond, The clans are impatient, and chide thy delay,Arise !--let us bound to Glenlyon away!”
Stern scowled the McGregor, then silent and sullen,
He turned his red eye to the braes of Strathfillan,
"Go, Malcom, to sleep: let the clans be dismissed;
The Campbells, this night, for McGregor must rest.”
“McGregor, McGregor! our scouts have been flying
Three days round the hills of McNab and Glenlyon,-
Of riding and running such tidings they bear,
We must meet them at home, else they'll quickly be here."
“The Campbell may come, as his promises bind him,
And haughty McNab with his giants behind him ;
This night I am bound to relinquish the fray,
And do what it freezes my vitals to say.
Forgive me, dear brother, this horror of mind ;-
Thou knowest in the battle I was never behind ;
Nor ever receded a foot from the van,
Nor blenched at the ire or the prowess of man;
“ But I've sworn by the cross, by my God, and by all,--
An oath which I cannot and dare not recall,
Ere the shadows of midnight fall east from the pile,
To meet with a spirit, this night, in Glengyle.
“ Last night, in my chamber, all thoughtful and lone,
I called to remembrance some deeds I had done,
When entered a lady, with visage so wan,
And looks such as never were fastened on man.
“I knew her, O brother! I knew her full well :-
Of that once fair dame such a tale I could tell,
As would thrill thy bold heart; but how long she remained,
So racked was my spirit-my bosom so pained,
“ I knew not; but ages seemed short to the while :-
Though proffer the highlands,-nay, all the green isle,
With length of existence no man can enjoy,
The same to endure, the dread proffer I'd flyb
“ The thrice threatened pangs of last night to forego,
McGregor would dive to the mansions below!
Despairing and mad, to futurity blind,
The present to shun, and some respite to find,
“I swore, ere the shadows fall east from the pile,
To meet her alone by the brook of Glengyle!