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So fervently I love you, that to dry
These piteous tears, I'd throw my life away.
Lady R. What power directed thy unconscious
To speak as thou hast done? to name
Anna, I know not :
But since my words have made my mistress tremble,
I will speak no more; but silent mix
My tears with hers.
Lady R. No, thou shalt not be silent.
I'll trust thy faithful love, and thou shalt be
Henceforth'th' instructed partner of my woes.
But what avails it? Can thy feeble pity
Roll back the flood of never-ebbing time?
Compel the earth and ocean to give up
Their dead alive?
Anna. What means my noble mistress?
Lady R. Didst thou not ask what had my sorrows.
If I, in early youth, had lost a husband ?
In the cold bosom of the earth is lodged,
Mangled with wounds, the husband of my youth;
And in some cavern of the ocean lies
My child and his !
Anna. Oh! lady most revered !
The tale, wrapt up in your amazing words,
Deign to unfold.
Lady R. Alas! an ancient feud,
Hereditary evil, was the source
Of my misfortunes. Ruling fate decreed,
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, 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 R. 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 husband !--mighty heaven? 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 R. 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.
very night on which my son was bom, My nurse, the only confidant I had,
Set out with me to reach her sister's house :
But nurse, nor infant, have I ever seen,
Or heard of, Anna, since that fatal hour.
Anna. Not seen, or heard of ! then perhaps he
Lady R. No. It was dark December; wind and
Italia Had beat all night. Across the Carron lay The destin'd road; and in its swelling flood My faithful servant perish'd with my child. Oh! had I died, when my loved husband fell! Had some good angel open'd 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 power, 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 hitherwards he slowly stalks his way. Lady R. 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 2 Lady R. 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; Yet is he brave and politic in war? And stands aloft in these unruly times. Why I describe him thus I'll tell hereafter; Stay, and detain him till I reach the castle. [Erit LADY RANDolph. Anna. Oh, happiness where art thou to be found! I see thou dwellest not with birth and beauty, Tho' graced with grandeur, and in wealth array'd :
Nor dost thou, it would seem, with virtue dwell,
Else had this gentle lady miss'd thee not.
Glen. What dost thou muse on, meditating maid ?
Like some entranced and visionary seer,
On earth thou standst, thy thoughts ascend to
Anna. Would that I were, e'en as thou say'st, a
seer, To have my doubts by heavenly vision clear'd! Glen. What dost thou doubt of! What hast thou
With subjects intricate? Thy youth, thy beauty,
Cannot be questioned : think of these good gifts;
And then thy contemplations will be pleasing.
Anna. Let women view yon monument of woe,
Then boast of beauty : who so fair as she?
But I must follow; this revolving day
Awakes the men.ory of her ancient woes.
[Exit Anna, Glen. Solus.] So!-Lady Randolph shuns me; by
I'll woo her as the lion wooes his bride.
The deed's a-doing now, that makes me lord
Of these rich valleys, and a chief of power.
The season is most apt; my sounding steps
Will not be heard amidst the din of arms.
Randolph has lived too long : his better fate
Had the ascendant once, and kept me down:
When I had seiz'd the dame, by chance he came,
Rescued, and had the lady for his labour :
I 'scap'd unknown! a slender consolation !
my witness that I do not love
To sow in peril, and let others reap
The jocund harvest. . Yet I am not safe :
By love, or something like it, stung, inflamed,
Madly I blabb'd my passion to his wife,
And she has threaten’d to acquaint him of it.
The way of woman's will I do not know :
But well I know the Baron's wrath is deadly.
I will not live in fear; the man I dread
Is as a Dane to me: ay, and the man
Who stands betwixt me and my chief desire.
No bar but he; she has no kinsman near;
No brother in his sister's quarrel bold;
And for the righteous cause, a stranger's cause,
I know no chief that will defy Glenalvon. [Exit.
Enter SERVANTs and a STRANGER at one door, and LADY RANDolph and ANNA at another.
Lady R. What means this clamour? Stranger, speak secure ; Hast thou been wrong'd? Have these rude men presumed o To vex the weary traveller on his way? 1st Serv. By us no stranger ever suffer'd wrong: This man, with outcry wild, has call'd us forth; So sore afraid he cannot speak his fears.