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When I, by reason and by justice urg’d,
Full hardly can dissemble with these men
In nature’s pious cause *
Enter Lord RANDo LPH and GLENALvon.
Lord R. Yon gallant chief,
Of arms enamour'd, all repose disclaims.
Lady R. Be not, my lord, by his example sway’d.
Arrange the business of to-morrow now,
And when you enter, speak of war no more. [Exit.
Lord R. 'Tis so, by heav'n' her mein, her voice,
her eye, 280
And her impatience to be gone, confirm it.
Glen. He parted from her now. Behind the mount,
Amongst the trees, I saw him glide along.
Lord R. For sad sequester'd virtue she's renown'd.
Glen. Most true, my Lord.
Lord R. Yet this distinguish'd dame
Invites a youth, th’ acquaintance of a day,
Alone to meet her at the midnight hour.
This assignation [Shews a letter.] the assassin freed,
Her manifest affection for the youth,
Might breed suspicion in a husband’s brain,
Whose gentle consort all for love had wedded:
Much more in mine. Matilda never lov’d me.
Let no man, after me, a woman wed
Whose heart he knows he has not; though she brings
A mine of gold, a kingdom for her dowry.
For let her seem, like the night's shadowy queen,
Cold and contemplative—he cannot trust her:
She may, she will, bring shame and sorrow on him; The worst of sorrows, and the worst of shames' goo
Glen. Yield not, my lord, to such afflicting thoughts; But let the spirit of an husband sleep, Till your own senses make a sure conclusion. This billet must to blooming Norval go: At the next turn awaits my trusty spy; I'll give it him refitted for his master. In the close thicket take your secret stand; The moon shines bright, and your own eyes may judge Of their behaviour.
Lord R. Thou dost counsel well.
Glen. Permit me now to make one slight essay.
Of all the trophies which vain mortals boast,
By wit, by valour, or by wisdom won,
The first and fairest in a young man’s eye,
Is woman's captive heart. Successful love
With glorious fumes intoxicates the mind,
And the proud conqueror in triumph moves,
Air-born, exalted above vulgar men.
Lord R. And what avails this maxim:
Glen. Much, my lord. 329 Withdraw a little 1 I'll accost young Norval, And with ironical derisive counsel Explore his spirit. If he is no more Than humble Norval by thy favour rais'd, Brave as he is, he'll shrink astonish’d from me: But if he be the favourite of the fair, Lov’d by the first of Caledonia's dames, He'll turn upon me, as the lion turns
Upon the hunter's spear.
Lord R. 'Tis shrewdly thought.
Glen. When we grow loud, draw near. But let my
His rising wrath restrain. [Exit Randolph.
'Tis strange, by Heav'n
That she should run full tilt her fond career
To one so little known. She too that seem’d
Pure as the winter stream, when ice emboss'd,
Whitens its course. Even I did think her chaste,
Whose charity exceeds not. Precious sex
Whose deeds lascivious pass Glenalvon's thoughts!
Enter No RVAL.
His port I love; he's in a proper mood 340
To chide the thunder, if at him it roar'd. [Aside.
Has Norval seen the troops ?
Nor. The setting sun
With yellow radiance lighten’d all the vale;
And as the warriors mov’d each polish’d helm,
Corslet, or spear, glanc'd back his gilded beams.
The hill they climb'd, and halting at its top,
Of more than mortal size, tow’ring, they seem’d
An host angelic, clad in burning arms.
Glen. Thou talk'st it well; no leader of our host
In sounds more lofty speaks of glorious war.
Nor. If I shall e'er acquire a leader's name,
My speech will be less ardent. Novelty
Now prompts my tongue, and youthful admiration
Vents itself freely; since no part is mine
Of praise pertaining to the great in arms.
Glen. You wrong yourself, brave Sir; your martial
deeds Have rank'd you with the great. But mark me,
Norval; Lord Randolph's favour now exalts your youth Above his veterans of famous service. 360
Let me, who know these soldiers, counsel you.
Give them all honour: seem not to command;
Else they will scarcely brook your late sprung power,
Which nor alliance props, nor birth adorns.
Nor. Sir, I have been accustomed all my days
To hear and speak the plain and simple truth:
And tho’ I have been told that there are men
Who borrow friendship's tongue to speak their scorn,
Yet in such language I am little skill’d.
Therefore I thank Glenalvon for his counsel,
Although it sounded harshly. Why remind
Me of my birth obscure ? Why slur my power
With such contemptuous terms
Glen. I did not mean
To gall your pride, which now I see is great.
Nor. My pride
Glen. Suppress it, as you wish to prosper.
Your pride's excessive. Yet, for Randolph's sake,
I will not leave you to its rash direction.
If thus you swell, and frown at high-born men, 380
Will high-born men endure a shepherd's scorn ?
Nor. A shepherd's scorn!
Glen. Yes; if you presume
To bend on soldiers these disdainful eyes,
What will become of you ?
Nor. If this were told !
Hast thou no fears for thy presumptuous self?
Glen. Hall dost thou threaten me?
Nor. Didst thou not hear?
Glen. Unwillingly I did; a nobler foe
Had not been question'd thus. But such as thee—
Nor. Whom dost thou think me *
Nor. So I am
And who is Norval in Glenalvon's eyes?
Glen. A peasant's son, a wandering beggar-boy;
At best no more, even if he speaks the truth.
Nor. False as thou art, dost thou suspect my truth?
Glen. Thy truth I thou'rt all a lie; and false as hell
Is the vain-glorious tale thou told'st to Randolph.
Nor. If I were chain'd, unarm’d, and bed-rid old,
Perhaps I should revile; but as I am, 402
I have no tongue to rail. The humble Norval
Is of a race who strive not but with deeds.
Did I not fear to freeze thy shallow valour,
And make thee sink too soon beneath my sword,
I'd tell thee—what thou art. I know thee well.
Glen. Dost thou not know Glenalvon, born to com-
Ten thousand slaves like thee—
Nor. Villain, no more 1
Draw and defend thy life. I did design
To have defy'd thee in another cause: