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Where every warrior on tip-toe stands
Of expectation, and impatient asks
Each who arrives, if he is come to tell,
The Danes are landed,
Lady R. Oh, may adverse winds
Far from the coast of Scotland drive their fleet !
And every soldier of both hosts return
In peace and safety to his pleasant home !
Lord R. Thou speak'st a woman's, hear a warrior's
Right from their native land, the stormy north,
May the wind blow, till every keel is fix'd
Immoveable in Caledonia's strand 1
Then shall our foes repent their bold invasion,
And roving armies shun the fatal shore.
Lady, farewell: I leave thee not alone;
Yonder comes one, whose love makes duty light.
Anna. Forgive the rashness of your Anna's love:
Urged by affection, I have thus presumed
To interrupt your solitary thoughts;
And warn you of the hours that you neglect,
And lose in sadness.
Lady R. So to lose my hours
Is all the use I wish to make of time.
Anna. To blame thee, lady, suits not with my
But sure I am, since death first prey'd on man,
Never did sister thus a brother mourn.
What had your sorrows been, if you had lost,
In early youth, the husband of your heart?
Lady R. Oh!
Anna. Have I distress'd you with officious love,
And ill-timed mention of your brother's fate?
Forgive me, lady: humble though I am,
The mind I bear partakes not of my fortune:
So fervently I love you, that to dry
These piteous tears, I'd throw my life away. -
Lady R. What power directed thy unconscious
To speak as thou hast done? to name
Anna. I know not :
But since my words have made my mistress tremble,
I will speak no more; but silent mix
My tears with hers.
Lady R. No, thou shalt not be silent.
I'll trust thy faithful love, and thou shalt be.
Henceforth th' instructed partner of my woes.
But what avails it? Can thy feeble pity
Roll back the flood of never-ebbing time 2
Compel the earth and ocean to give up
Their dead alive?
Anna. What means my noble mistress?
Lady R. Didst thou not ask what had my sorrows.
If I, in early youth, had lost a husband 3–
In the cold bosom of the earth is lodged,
Mangled with wounds, the husband of my youth;
And in some cavern of the ocean lies
My child and his
Anna. Oh! lady most revered
The tale, wrapt up in your amazing words,
Deign to unfold.
Lady R. Alas! an ancient feud,
Hereditary evil, was the source
Of my misfortunes. Ruling fate decreed,
That my brave brother should in battle save
The life of Douglas' son, our house's foe:
The youthful warriors vow'd eternal friendship.
To see the vaunted sister of his friend,
Impatient, Douglas to Balarmo came,
Under a borrow'd name—My heart he gain'd;
Nor did I long refuse the hand he begg'd: *
My brother's presence authorized our marriage.
Three weeks, three little weeks, with wings of down, Had o'er us flown, when my loved lord was call'd To fight his father's battles; and with him, In spite of all my tears, did Malcolm go. Scarce were they gone, when my stern sire was told, That the false stranger was Lord Douglas' son. Frantic with rage, the baron drew his sword, And question'd me. Alone, forsaken, faint, Kneeling beneath his sword, fault'ring I took An oath equivocal, that I ne'er would Wed one of Douglas' name. Sincerity: Thou first of virtues, let no mortal leave Thy onward path ! although the earth should gape, And from the gulph of hell destruction cry To take dissimulation's winding way. Anna. Alas ! how few of woman's fearful kind Durst own a truth so hardy! Lady R. The first truth Is easiest to avow. This moral learn, This precious moral, from my tragic tale.— In a few days the dreadful tidings came, That Douglas and my brother both were slain. My lord! my life! my husband!—mighty heaven l What had I done to merit such affliction ? Anna. My dearest lady! many a tale of tears I've listen'd to; but never did I hear A tale so sad as this. Lady R. In the first days Of my distracting grief, I found myself— As women wish to be, who love their lords. But who durst tell my father? The good priest, Who join'd our hands, my brother's ancient tutor, With his loved Malcolm in the battle fell: They two alone were privy to the marriage. On silence and concealment I resolved, Till time should make my father's fortune mune. That very night on which my son was born, My nurse, the only confidant I had,
Set out with me to reach her sister's house:
But nurse, nor infant, have I ever seen,
Or heard of, Anna, since that fatal hour.
Anna. Not seen, or heard of ! then perhaps he
Lady R. No. It was dark December; wind and
Had beat all night. Across the Carron lay
The destin'd road; and in its swelling flood
My faithful servant perish'd with my child.
Oh! had I died, when my loved husband fell!
Had some good angel open'd to me the book
Of Providence, and let me read my life,
My heart had broke, when I beheld the sum
Of ills which, one by one, I have endured
Anna. That power, whose ministers good angels are
Hath shut the book, in mercy to mankind.
But we must leave this theme: Glenalvon comes:
I saw him bend on you his thoughtful eyes,
And hitherwards he slowly stalks his way.
Lady R. I will avoid him. An ungracious person
Is doubly irksome in an hour like this.
Anna. Why speaks my lady thus of Randolph's
Lady R. Because he's not the heir of Randolph's
Subtle and shrewd, he offers to mankind
An artificial image of himself;
And he with ease can vary to the taste
Of different men, its features;
Yet is he brave and politic in war?
And stands aloft in these unruly times.
Why I describe him thus I'll tell hereafter;
Stay, and detain him till I reach the castle.
[Exit LADY RANDolph.
Anna. Oh, happiness where art thou to be found!
I see thou dwellest not with birth and beauty,
Tho' graced with grandeur, and in wealth array'd :
Nor dost thou, it would seem, with virtue dwell,
Else had this gentle lady miss'd thee not.
Glen. What dost thou muse on, meditating maid? Like some entranced and visionary seer, On earth thou stand'st, thy thoughts ascend to Heaven. Anna. Would that I were, e'en as thou say'st, a Seer, To have my doubts by heavenly vision clear'd Glen. What dost thou doubt of ! What hast thou to do With subjects intricate 2 Thy youth, thy beauty, Cannot be questioned : think of these good gifts; And then thy contemplations will be pleasing. Anna. Let women view yon monument of woe, Then boast of beauty: who so fair as she But I must follow ; this revolving day Awakes the men.ory of her ancient woes. [Exit ANNA, Glen. [Solus.] So!—Lady Randolph shuns me; by and by I'll woo her as the lion wooes his bride. The deed's a-doing now, that makes me lord Of these rich valleys, and a chief of power. The season is most apt ; my sounding steps Will not be heard amidst the din of arms. Randolph has lived too long; his better fate Had the ascendant once, and kept me down: When I had seiz'd the dame, by chance he came, Rescued, and had the lady for his labour: I scap'd unknown! a slender consolation! Heav'n is my witness that I do not love To sow in peril, and let others reap The jocund harvest. . Yet I am not safe: By love, or something like it, stung, inflamed, 3