페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

i

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,

15

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 Rand. 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 God! 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 Rand. 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 mine. That very night on which my son was born,

Vol. L -Q

My nurse, the only confidante 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 defied,

Despised 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 Rand. No. It was dark December: wind

and rain

Had beat all night. Across the Carron lay
The destined road; and in its swelling flood
My faithful servant perish'd with my child.
O 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 devolved;

Domains, that should to Douglas' son have given

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 heaven,

Which shines and disappears; alas! my child!

How long did thy fond mother grasp the hope

Of having thee, she knew not how, restored.

Year after year hath worn her hope away;

But left still undiminish'd her desire.

Anna. The hand, that spins the uneven thread

of life, May smooth the length that's yet to come of your's.

Lady Band. Not in this world: I have consi

der'd well

Its various evils, and on whom they fall.
Alas! how oft does goodness wound itself,
And sweet affection prove the spring of woe!
O! had I died when my loved husband fell!
Had some good angel oped 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 God, 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 hitherward he slowly stalks his way.

Lady Band. I will avoid him. An ungracious

person Is doubly irksome in an hour like this.

Anna. Why speaks my lady thus of Randolph's heir?

Lady Rand. 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 poised so ill,
As in Glenalvon's unrelenting mind.
Yet is he brave and politic in war,
And stands aloft in these unruly times.

« 이전계속 »