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Vainly thy squadrons hide Assuava's plain,
With frantic charge and tenfold odds, in vain ! And what avails thee that, for CAMERON slain,
Wild from his plaided ranks the yell was givenVengeance and grief gave mountain-rage the rein,
And, at the bloody spear-point headlong driven,
To plead at thine imperious master's throne,
Deceived his hopes, and frustrated thine own; Say, that thine utmost skill and valour shown,
By British skill and valour were outvied ;
And if he chafe, be his own fortune tried-
How shall a bard, unknowing and unknown,
Or bind on every brow the laurels won ? Yet fain my harp would wake its boldest tone,
O'er the wide sea to hail CADOGAN brave;
Mindful of meeting brief that Fortune gave
To give each Chief and every field its fame :
And Red Barosa shouts for dauntless GRÆME! O for a verse of tumult and of flame,
Bold as the bursting of their cannon sound, To bid the world re-echo to their fame !
For never, upon gory battle-ground,
Who brought a race regenerate to the field,
Temper'd their headlong rage, their courage steeld, And raised fair Lusitania's fallen shield,
And gave new edge to Lusitania's sword, And taught her sons forgotten arms to wield
Shiver'd my harp, and burst its every chord, If it forget thy worth, victorious BERESFORD!
Not on that bloody field of battle won,
Though Gaul's proud legions roll'd like mist away, Was half his self-devoted valour shown,
He gaged but life on that illustrious day; But when he toil'd those squadrons to array,
Who fought like Britons in the bloody game, Sharper than Polish pike or assagay,
He braved the shafts of censure and of shame,
Beneath the warrior's vest affection's wound,
Danger and fate he sought, but glory found.
The wanderer went; yet, Caledonia ! still
He dream'd 'mid Alpine cliffs of Athole's hill,
Whose war-cry oft has waked the battle-swell,
Wild sounding when the Roman rampart fell ! By Wallace' side it rung the Southron's knell,
Alderne, Kilsythe, and Tibber, own'd its fame, Tummell's rude pass can of its terrors tell,
But ne'er from prouder field arose the name,
(With Spenser's parable I close my tale, )
And landward now I drive before the gale. And now the blue and distant shore I hail,
And nearer now I see the port expand,
And, as the prow light' touches on the strand,
R 0 KE BY:
IN SIX CANTOS.
JOHN B. S. MORRITT, ESQ.
The Scene of which is laid in his beautiful demesne of Rokeby,
IN TOKEN OF SINCERE FRIENDSHIP, BY
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The Scene of this poem is laid at Rokeby, near Greta Bridge, in Yorkshire, and shifts to the adjacent Fortress of Barnard Castle, and to other places in that Vicinity.
The Time occupied by the Action is a space of Five Days, Three of which are supposed to elapse between the end of the Fifth and the beginning of the Sixth Canto.
The Date of the supposed events is immediately subsequent to the great Battle of Marston Moor, 3d July, 1644. This period of public confusion has been chosen, without any purpose of combining the Fable with the Military or Political Events of the Civil War, but only as affording a degree of probability to the Fictitious narrative now presented to the Public,
It was two years and a half after the publication of the “ Lady of the Lake” before Scott gave his next poem to the world. During that interval he had moved from Ashestiel to Abbotsford, and the beginning of a great change was perceptible in the aspirations of his life. He had passed his fortieth year, his family was growing up around him; already the two boys had reached an age when, both being destined to active life, they would soon have to quit the paternal roof, and Scott had begun to speculate on their future. In the Introduction which he wrote for the 1830 edition of his poetical works, he speaks as though he had in a large degree given up field-sports, and taken to the quieter and more sedate occupation of planting, on account of advancing years and the absence of his sons, who used to be his companions in coursing and hunting. But it is evident that his choice of a new amusement had a deeper meaning than he then avowed or probably was conscious of.
For planting he had always, no doubt, entertained a strong partiality. Even in childhood, he says, his sympathies were stirred by reading the account of Shenstone's“ Leasowes," and in after life there was nothing which seemed to afford him so much pride and pleasure as in watching the naked hill-sides gradually sprouting with the saplings he had planted. “You can have no idea,” said Scott to Captain Basil Hall, “ of the exquisite delight of a planter; he is like a painter laying on his colours : at every moment he sees his effects coming out. There is no art or occupation comparable to this. It is full of past, present, and future enjoyment. I look back to the time when there was not a tree here, only bare heath; I look round, and see thousands of trees growing up, all of which, I may say almost each of which, have received my personal attention. I remember five years ago looking forward, with the most delighted expectation, to this very hour, and, as each year has passed, the expectation has gone on increasing. I do the same now: I anticipate what this plantation and that one will presently be, if only taken care of, and there is not a spot of which I do not watch the progress. 'Unlike building, or even painting, or indeed any other kind of pursuit
, this has no end, and is never interrupted, but goes on from day to day, and from year to year, with a perpetually augmenting interest." But he could hew as well as plant. He was expert with the axe, and one of the pleasantest sights of Abbotsford was to see the Sheriff and Tam Purdie, in their shirt-sleeves, thinning the woods, while Maida, the hound, looked gravely on.
It is not difficult to discover in this love of planting the germ of the ambition to which he now began to yield himself-to be a laird, and found a family. It was still under the modest title of cottage, or farm, that he spoke of Abbotsford ; but already his plans were expanding, and the farm-house was gradually acquiring the aspect and proportions of a mansion. Everything which flattered his sense of being a landed proprietor was dear to him. It was not enough that he had bought an estate ; he sought to make it his own in a more peculiar manner by converting the little farm into a gentleman's seat, and by calling into existence the woods which