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The tale wrapt up in your amazing words
Lady R. Alas! an ancient feud,
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 1–mighty God What had I done to merit such afflićtion ? Anna. My dearest lady! many a tale of tears I’ve listen’d to ; but never did I hear 3oo 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 lov’d Malcolm, in the battle fell ; They two alone were privy to the marriage. On silence and concealment I resolv’d, Till time should make my father's fortune mine. That very night on which my son was born, My nurse, the only confident I had, Set out with him to reach her sister's house: But nurse, nor infant have I ever seen, Or heard of, Anna, since that fatal hour. “My murder'd child —had thy fond Mother fear'd “The loss of thee, she had loud fame defy'd, “Despis'd her father's rage, her father's grief, “And wander'd with thee through the scorning world.” Anna. Not seen nor heard of then perhaps he lives. Lady R. No. It was dark December; wind and rain 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 hapless son of a most hapless sire! “But they are both at rest; and I alone “ Dwell in this world of woe, condemn'd to walk, “Like a guilt-troubled ghost, my painful rounds;” Nor has despiteful fate permitted me The comfort of a solitary sorrow. Though dead to love, I was compell'd to wed Randolph, who snatch'd me from a villain's arms; And Randolph now possesses the domains, That by Sir Malcolm's death on me devolv’d; Domains, that should to Douglas’ son have giv'n A baron's title and a baron's power. “Such were my soothing thoughts, while I bewail'd “The slaughter'd father of a son unborn. “And when that son came, like a ray from heav'n, “Which shines and disappears; alas ; my child! “How long did thy fond mother grasp the hope “Of having thee, she knew not how, restor’d. “Year after year hath worn her hope away; “But left still undiminish’d her desire.
“Anna. The hand that spins th’ uneven thread of
“May smooth the length that's yet to come of yours.
“Lady R. Not in this world; I have consider'd well “It’s various evils, and on whom they fall. “Alas! how oft does goodness wound itself?
“And sweet affection prove the spring of woe.”
Anna. Why speaks my lady thus of Randolph's heir Lady R. Because he's not the heir of Randolph's virtues. 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. “Self-denied, “And master of his appetites he seems : “But his fierce nature, like a fox chain'd up, “Watches to seize unseen the wish'd-for prey. “Never were vice and virtue pois'd so ill, “As in Glenalvon’s unrelenting mind.” 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.