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Till hand to hand in battle set,
The bills with spears and axes met,
And, closing dark on every side,
Raged the full contest far and wide.
Then was the strength of Douglas tried,
Then proved was Randolph's generous pride,
And well did Stewart's actions grace
The sire of Scotland's royal race i
Firmly they kept their ground;
As firmly England onward press’d, .
And down went many a noble cresi,
And rent was many & valiant breast,
And Slaughter revell'd round.
Unflinching foot 'gainst foot was set,
Unceasing blow by blow was met ;
The groans of those who fell
Were drown'd amid the sbriller clang
That from the blades and harness rang,
And in the battle-yell.
Yet fast they fell, unheard, forgot,
Both Southern fierce and hardy Scot;
And 01 amid that waste of life,
What various motives fired the strife!
The aspiring Noble bled for fame,
The Patriot for his country's claim;
This Knight his youthful strength to prote,
And that to win his lady's lore;
Some fought from ruffian thirst of blood,
From habit some, or hardihood.
But ruffian stern, and soldier good,
The noble and the slave,
From various cause the same wild road,
On the same bloody morning, trode,
To that dark inn, the grave!
The tug of strife to flag begins,
Though neither loses yet, nor wins.
High rides the sun, thick rolls the dust,
And feebler speeds the blow and thrust
Douglas leans on his war-sword now,
And Randolpb wipes his bloody brow;
Nor less had toil'd each Southern knighe
From morn till mid-day in the fight.
Strong Egremont for air must gasp,
Beauchamp undoes his visor-clasp,
And Montague must quit his spear,
And sinks thy falchion, bold De Vere!
The blows of Berkley fall less fast,
And gallant Pembroke's bugle-blast
Hath lost its lively tone;
Sinks, Argentine, thy battle-word,
And Percy's shout was fainter heard
“My merry-men, fight on!"
Brace, with the pilot's wary eye,
The slackening of the storm could spy :-
“ One effort more, and Scotland's free!
Lord of the Isles, my trust in thee
Is firm as Ailsa Rock;
Rush on with Highland sword and targe,
1, with my Carrick spearmen, charge;1
Now, forward to the shock ”
At once the spears were forward thrown,
Against the sun the broadswords shone;
The pibroch lent its maddening tone,
And loud King Robert's voice was knowi!-
“ Carrick, press on-they fail, they fail!
Press on, brave sons of Innisgail,
The foe is fainting fast!
Each strike for parent, child, and wife,
For Scotland, liberty, and life, -
The battle cannot last!"
The fresh and desperate onset bore
The foes three furlongs back and more,
Leaving their noblest in their gore.
Alone, De Argentine
Yet bears on high his red-cross shield,
Gathers the relics of the field,
Renews the ranks where they have reelid,
And still makes good the line.
Brief strife, but fierce,-his efforts raise
A bright but momentary blaze.
Fair Editb heard the Southern shout,
Beheld them turning from the rout,
Heard the wild call their trumpets sent,
In notes 'twixt triumph and lament.
That rallying force combined anew,
Appeard in her distracted view,
To hem the Islesmen round: * o God the combat they renew,
And is no rescue found !
And ye that look thus tamely on,
And see your native land o'erthrown,
01 are your hearts of flesh or stone ? "
The multitude that watch'd afar,
Rejected from the ranks of war,
Håd not unmoved beheld the fight,
When strove the Bruce for Scotland's right:
Each heart had caught the patriot spark,
Old man and stripling, priest and clark,
Bondsman and serf; even female hand
Stretch'd to the hatchet or the brand;
But, when mute Amadine they heard
Give to their zeal his signal-word,
A frenzy fired the throng ;“ Portents and miracles impeach
Our sloth, the dumb our duties teach--
And he that gives the mute his speech,
Can bid the weak be strong.
To us, as to our lords, are given
A native earth, a promised heaven;
To us, as to our lords, belongs
The vengeance for our nation's wrongs;
The choice, 'twixt death or freedom, warms
Our breasts as theirs To arms I to arms!"
To arms they flew,-axe, club, or spear,--
And mimic ensigns high they rear,32
And, like a banner'd host afar,
Bear down on England's wearied war.
Already scatter'd o'er the plain,
Reproof, command, and counsel vain,
The rearward squadrons fled amain,
Or made but doubtful stay ;---
But when they mark'd the seeming show
Of fresh and fierce and marshall'd foe,
The boldest broke array,
O give their hapless prince his due !
In vain the royal Edward threw
His person 'mid the spears,
Cried, “ Fight!” to terror and despair,
Menaced, and wept, and tore his hair,
And cursed their caitiff fears;
Till Pembroke turn'd his bridle rein,
And forced him from the fatal plain.
With them rode Argentine, until
They gaind the summit of the hill,
But quitted there the train :-
* In yonder field a gage I left,
I must not live of fame bereft;
I needs must turn again.
Speed hence, my Liege, for on your trace
The fiery Douglas takes the chase,
I know his banner well.
God send my Sovereign joy and bliss,
And many a happier field than this!
Once more, my Liege, farewell!”
XXXII. Again he faced the battle-fieldWildly they fly, are slain, or yield. “ Now then," he said, and couch'd his spear, "My course is run, the goal is near; One effort more, one brave career,
Must close this race of mine."
Then in his stirrups rising high,
He shouted loud his battle-cry-
“Saint James for Argentine !"
And, of the bold pursuers, four
The gallant knight from saddle bore ;
But not unharm'd-a lance's point
Has found his breastplate's loosen'd joint,
An axe has razed his crest;
Yet still on Colonsay's fierce lord,
Who press'd the chase with gory sword,
He rode with spear in rest,
And through his bloody tartans bored,
And through his gallant breast.
Nail'd to the earth, the mountaineer
Yet writhed him up against the spear,
And swung his broadsword round -Stirrup, steel-boot, and cuish gave way Beneath that blow's tremendous sway,
The blood gush'd from the wound;
And the grim Lord of Colonsay
Hath turn'd him on the ground.
And laugh'd in death-pang, that his blade,
The mortal thrust so well repaid.
Now toil'd the Bruce, the battle done,
To use his conquest boldly won;
And gave command for horse and spear
To press the Southron's scatter'd rear,
Nor let his broken force combine,
- When the war-cry of Argentino
Fell faintly on his ear;
* Save, save his life," he cried, “O sare
The kind, the noble, and the brave!"
The squadrons round free passage gave-
The wounded knight drew near;
He raised his red-cross shield no more,
Helm, cuish, and breastplate stream'd with gore,
Yet, as he saw the King advance,
He strove even then to couch his lance-
The effort was in vain!
The spur-stroke fail'd to rouse the horse
Wounded and weary, in mid course
He stumbled on the plain.
Then foremost was the generous Bruce
To raise his head, bis helm to loose;-
“Lord Earl, the day is thine !
My sovereign's charge, and adverse fate,
Have made our meeting all too late:
Yet this may Argentine,
As boon from ancient comrade, crave -
A Christian's mass, a soldier's grave.”
Bruce press'd his dying hand-its grasp
Kindly replied; but, in his clasp,
It stiffen'd and grew cold-
“ And, O farewell!” the victor cried,
“Of chivalry the flower and pride,
The arm in battle bold,
The courteous mien, the noble race,
The stainless faith, the manly face !--
Bid Ninian's convent light their shrine,
For late-wake of De Argentine.
O'er better knight on death-bier laid,
Torch never gleam'd, nor mass was said !"
Nor for De Argentine alone,
Through Ninian's church these torches shop,
And rose the death-prayer's awful tone.
That yellow lustre glimmer'd pale,
On broken plate and bloodied mail,
Rent crest and shatter'd coronet.
Of Baron, Earl, and Bannaret ;
And the best names that England knew,
Claim'd in the death-prayer dismal due.
Yet mourn not, Land of Fame ! Though ne'er the Leopards on thy shield Retreated from so sad a field,
Since Norman William came.
Oft may thine annals justly boast
Of battle's stern by Scotland lost;
Grudge not her victory,
When for her freeborn rights she strove
Rights dear to all who freedom love,
To none so dear as thee !
Turn we to Bruce, whose curious ear
Must from Fitz-Louis tidings hear;
With him, a hundred voices tell
Of prodigy and miracle,
" For the mute page had spoke."--“ Page " said Fitz-Louis, rather say, An angel sent from realms of day,
To burst the English yoke. I saw his plume and bonnet drop, When hurrying from the mountain top , A lovely brow, dark locks that wave, To his brigbt eyes new lustre gave, A step as light upon the green, As if his pinions waved unseen !""Spoke he with none?"_“With none-one word
Burst when he saw the Island Lord,
Returning from the battle-field.” — " What answer made the Chief ?"_" He kneelid