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By the moon’s light I saw, whirl’d round and round, A basket: soon I drew it to the bank, And nestled curious there an infant lay. Lady R. Was he alive? Pris. He was. Lady R. Inhuman that thou art 1 1 co How couldst thou kill what waves and tempests spared? Pris. I am not so inhuman. Lady R. Didst thou not Anna. My noble mistress, you are mov’d too much: This man has not the aspect of stern murder; Let him go on, and you, I hope, will hear Good tidings of your kinsman's long-lost child. Pris. The needy man who has known better days, One whom distress has spited at the world, Is he whom tempting fiends would pitch upon To do such deeds as make the prosperous men Lift up their hands and wonder who could do them. And such a man was I; a man declin'd, Who saw no end of black adversity: Yet, for the wealth of kingdoms, I would not Have touch'd that infant with a hand of harm. Lady R. Ha! dost thou say so; then perhaps he lives | Pris. Not many days ago he was alive. Lady R. O God of Heav'n' did he then die solately? Pris. I did not say he died; I hope he lives. Not many days ago these eyes beheld 12 I Him, flourishing in youth, and health, and beauty. Lady R. Where is he now? . Pris. Alas! I know not where.
Lady R. Oh, fate 1 I fear thee still. Thou riddler, speak Direct and clear; else I will search thy soul. Anna. “Permit me, ever honour’d Keen impatience, “Though hard to be restrain'd, defeats itself.”— Pursue thy story with a faithful tongue, To the last hour that thou didst keep the child. Pris. Fear not my faith, though I must speak my shame; Within the cradle where the infant lay, Was stow'd a mighty store of gold and jewels; Tempted by which, we did resolve to hide, From all the world this wonderful event, And like a peasant breed the noble child. That none might mark the change of our estate, We left the country, travell'd to the north, Bought flocks and herds, and gradually brought furth Our secret wealth. But God's all-seeing eye Beheld our avarice, and smote us sore. 1 49 For one by one all our own children died, And he, the Stranger, sole remain'd the heir Of what indeed was his. Fain then would I, Who with a father's fondness lov'd the boy, Have trusted him, now in the dawn of youth, With his own secret : but my anxious wife, Foreboding evil, never would consent. Meanwhile the stripling grew in years and beauty; And, as we oft observ’d, he bore himself, Not as the offspring of our cottage blood;
For nature will break out: mild with the mild,
But with the forward he was fierce as fire,
And night and day he talk’d of war and arms.
I set myself against his warlike bent;
But all in vain; for when a desperate band
Of robbers from the savage mountains came
Lady R. Eternal Providence I What is thy name *
Pris. My name is Norval; and my name he bears.
Lady R. 'Tis hel 'tis he himself. It is my son 16o
Oh, sovereign mercy! 'Twas my child I saw
No wonder, Anna, that my bosom burn'd.
Anna. Just are your transports: “ ne'er was woman's
“Prov’d with such fierce extremes. High fated dame!”
But yet remember that you are beheld
By servile eyes; your gestures may be seen
Impassion'd, strange; perhaps your words o'erheard.
Lady R. Well dost thou counsel, Anna: Heav'n be-
On me that wisdom which my state requires.
“Anna. The moments of deliberation pass,
“And soon you must resolve. This useful man
“Must be dismissed in safety, ere my lord
“Shall with his brave deliverer return.”
Pris. If I, amidst astonishment and fear,
Have of your words and gestures rightly judg’d,
Thou art the daughter of my ancient master;
The child I rescu'd from the flood is thine.
Lady R. With thee dissimulation now were vain,
I am indeed the daughter of Sir Malcolm;
The child thou rescu'dst from the flood is mine. 189
Pris. Blest be the hour that made me a poor man,
My poverty hath sav'd my master's house !
Lady R. Thy words surprize me : sure thou dost
The tear stands in thine eye; such love from thee
Sir Malcolm's house deserv’d not; if aright
Thou told's the story of thy own distress.
Pris. Sir Malcolm of our barons was the flower;
The fastest friend, the best, the kindest master.
But ah! he knew not of my sad estate.
After that battle, where his gallant son,
Your own brave brother, fell, the good old lord
Grew desperate and reckless of the world;
And never, as he erst was wont, went forth
To overlook the condućt of his servants.
By them I was thrust out, and them I blame:
May Heav'n so judge me as I judge my master!
And God so love me as I love his race!
Lady R. His race shall yet reward thee. On thy
Depends the fate of thy lov'd master’s house.
Rememb’rest thou a little lonely hut, 200
That like a holy hermitage appears
Among the cliffs of Carron
Pris. I remember the cottage of the cliffs.
Lady R. 'Tis that I mean:
There dwells a man of venerable age,
Who in my father's service spent his youth :
Tell kim I sent thee, and with him remain,
*Till I shall call upon thee to declare,
Before the king and nobles, what thou now
To me hast told. No more but this, and thou
Shalt live in honour all thy future days;
Thy son so long shall call thee father still,
And all the land shall bless the man who sav’d
The son of Douglas, and Sir Malcolm's heir.
Remember well my words; if thou shouldst meet
Him whom thou call'st thy son, still call him so;
And mention nothing of his nobler father.
Pris. Fear not that I shallmar so fair an harvest,
By putting in my sickle ere 'tis ripe.
Why did I leave my home and ancient dame 220
To find the youth, to tell him all I knew,
And make him wear these jewels in his arms,
Which might, I thought, be challeng’d, and so bring
To light the secret of his noble birth,
[Lady RANDo LPH goes towards the Servants.
Lady R. This man is not th'assassin you suspected,
Though chance combin’d some likelihoods against
He is the faithful bearer of the jewels
To their right owner, whom in haste he seeks.
'Tis meet that you should put him on his way,
Since your mistaken zeal hath dragg’d him hither.
[Exeunt Stranger and Servants.
My faithful Anna! dost thou share my joy
I know thou dost. Unparallel’d event
Reaching from heav'n to earth, Jehovah's arm
Snatch'd from the waves, and brings to me my son I