Yes, Ellen, when disguised I stray
In life’s more low but happier way,
’Tis under name which veils my power
Nor falsely veils,—for Stirling’s tower
Of yore the name of Snowdoun claims,
And Normans call me James Fitz-James.
Thus watch I o’er insulted laws,
Thus learn to right the injured cause.’
Then, in a tone apart and low,—
’Ah, little traitress! none must know
What idle dream, what lighter thought
What vanity full dearly bought,
Joined to thine eye’s dark witchcraft, drew
My spell-bound steps to Benvenue
In dangerous hour, and all but gave
Thy Monarch’s life to mountain glaive!’
Aloud he spoke: ’Thou still cost hold
That little talisman of gold,
Pledge of my faith, Fitz-James’s ring,—
What seeks fair Ellen of the King?’
Full well the conscious maiden guessed
He probed the weakness of her breast;
But with that consciousness there came
A lightening of her fears for Graeme,
And more she deemed the Monarch’s ire
Kindled ’gainst him who for her sire
Rebellious broadsword boldly drew;
And, to her generous feeling true,
She craved the grace of Roderick Dhu.
’Forbear thy suit;—the King of kings
Alone can stay life’s parting wings.
I know his heart, I know his hand,
Have shared his cheer, and proved his brand;
My fairest earldom would I give
To bid Clan- Alpine’s Chieftain live!—
Hast thou no other boon to crave?
No other captive friend to save?’
Blushing, she turned her from the King,
And to the Douglas gave the ring,
As if she wished her sire to speak
The suit that stained her glowing cheek.
’Nay, then, my pledge has lost its force,
And stubborn justice holds her course.
Malcolm, come forth!’—and, at the word,
Down kneeled the Graeme to Scotland’s Lord.
’For thee, rash youth, no suppliant sues,
From thee may Vengeance claim her dues,
Who, nurtured underneath our smile,
Hast paid our care by treacherous wile,
And sought amid thy faithful clan
A refuge for an outlawed man,
Dishonoring thus thy loyal name.—
Fetters and warder for the Graeme!’
His chain of gold the King unstrung,
The links o’er Malcolm’s neck he flung,
Then gently drew the glittering band,
And laid the clasp on Ellen’s hand.
Harp of the North, farewell! The hills grow dark,
On purple peaks a deeper shade descending;
In twilight copse the glow-worm lights her spark,
The deer, half seen, are to the covert wending.
Resume thy wizard elm! the fountain lending,
And the wild breeze, thy wilder minstrelsy;
Thy numbers sweet with nature’s vespers blending,
With distant echo from the fold and lea,
And herd-boy’s evening pipe, and hum of housing bee.