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And with ironical derisive counsel
Explore his spirit. If he is no more
Than humble Norval, by thy favour raised,
Brave as he is, he'll shrink astonish'd from me:
But if he be the favourite of the fair,
Loved by the first of Caledonia's dames,
He'll turn upon me, as the lion turns
Upon the hunter's spear.
Lord R. 'Tis shrewdly thought.
Glen. When we grow loud, draw near. But let
His rising wrath restrain.— [Exit RANDolph.
'Tis strange, by Heaven!
That she should run full tilt her fond career
To one so little known. She, too, that seem'd
Pure as the winter stream, when ice, emboss'd,
Whitens its course. Even I did think her chaste,
Whose charity exceeds not. Precious sex!
Whose deeds lascivious pass Glenalvon's thoughts 1
Enter Norv AL.
His port I love: he's in a proper mood
To chide the thunder, if at him it roar'd,— [4side,
Has Norval seen the troops ?
Nor. The setting sun
With yellow radiance lighten’d all the vale;
And as the warriors moved, each polish'd helm,
Corslet, or spear, glanced back his gilded beams.
The hill they climbed, and, halting at its top,
Of more than mortal size, tow'ring, they seem'd
An host angelic, clad in burning arms.
Glen. Thou talk'st it well; no leader of our host
In sounds more lofty speaks of glorious war.
Nor. If I shall e'er acquire a leader's name,
My speech will be less ardent. Novelty
Now prompts my tongue, and youthful admiration
Vents itself freely; since no part is mine
Of praise pertaining to the great in arms.
Glen. You wrong yourself, brave sir, your martial
Have rank'd you with the great. But mark me,
Lord Randolph's favour now exalts your youtli
Above his veterans of famous service.
Let me, who know these soldiers, counsel you.
Give them all honour : seem not to command;
Else they will scarcely brook your
sprung power, Which nor alliance props, nor birth adorns.
Nor. Sir, I have been accustom'd all my days
To hear and speak the plain and simple truth :
And though I have been told, that there are men
Who borrow friendship's tongue to speak their scorn,
Yet in such language I am little skill'd.
Therefore I thank Glenalvon for his counsel,
Although it sounded harshly. Why remind
Me of iny birth obscure? Why slur my power
With such contemptuous terms ?
Glen. I did not mean
To gall your pride, which now I see is great..
Nor. My pride!
Glen. Suppress it, as you wish to prosper:
Your pride's excessive. Yet, for Randolph's sake,
I will not leave you to its rash direction.
If thus you swell, and frown at high-born men,
Think you, will they endure a shepherd's scorn?
Nor. A shepherd's scorn!
Glen. Unwillingly I did; a nobler foe
Had not been question’d thus. But such as thee
Nor. Whom dost thou think me?
Nor. So I am
And who is Norval in Glenalvon's eye?
Glen. A peasant's son, a wandering beggar boy ;
At best no more; even if he speaks the truth.
Nor. False as thou art, dost thou suspect my
truth ? Glen. Thy truth ! thou'rt all a lie; and false as
hell Is the vain-glorious tale thou told'st to Randolph.
Nor If I were chain’d, unarm'd, and bedrid old Perhaps I should revile; but as I am, I have no tongue to rail. The humble Norval Is of a race, who strive not but with deeds. Did I not fear to freeze thy shallow valour, And make thee sink too soon beneath my sword, I'd tell thee what thou art. I know thee well. Glen. Didst thou not know Glenalvon, born to
Ten thousand slaves like thee
Nor. Villain, no more!
Draw and defend thy life. I did design
To have defy'd thee in another cause;
But Heaven accelerates its vengeance on thee.
Now for my own and Lady Randolph's wrongs.
Lord R. Hold, I command you both. The mari
that stirs, Makes me his foe.
Nor. Another voice than thine
That threat had vainly sounded, noble Randolph.
Glen. Hear him, my lord ; he's wond'rous conde
Mark the humility of shepherd Norval !
Nor. Now you may scoff in safety.
Sheathes his sword.
Lord R. Speak not thus,
Taunting each other ; but unfold to me
The cause of quarrel; then I judge betwixt you.
Nor. Nay, my good lord, though I revere you
My cause I plead not, nor demand your judgment.
I blush to speak: I will not, cannot speak
The opprobrious words, that I from him have borne.
To the liege lord of my dear native land
I owe a subject's homage: but even him
And his high arbitration I'd reject.
Within my bosom reigns another lord ;
Honour, sole judge and umpire of itself.
If my free speech offend you, noble Randolph,
Revoke your favours, and let Norval go
Hence as he came, alone, but not dishonoured.
Lord R. Thus far I'll mediate with impartial voice
The ancient foe of Caledonia's land
Now waves his banners o'er her frighted fields;
Suspend your purpose till your country's arms
Repel the bold invader ; then decide
The private quarrel.
Glen. I agree to this.
Nor. And I.
Serv. The banquet waits.
Lord R. We come,
[Exit with SERVANT,
Let not our variance mar the social hour,
Nor wrong the hospitality of Randolph.
Nor frowning anger, nor yet wrinkled hate,
Shall stain my countenance. Smooth thou thy brow: Nor let our strife disturb the gentle dame.
Nor. Think not so lightly, sir, of my resentment. When we contend again, our strife is mortal.
Enter Douglas. Doug. This is the place, the centre of the grove; Here stands the oak, the monarch of the wood. How sweet and solemn is this midnight scene The silver moon, unclouded, holds her way Through skies, where I could count each little star. The fanning west wind scarcely stirs the leaves ; The river, rushing o'er its pebbled bed, Imposes silence, with a stilly sound. In such a place as this, at such an hour, If ancestry can be in aught believed, Descending spirits have conversed with man, And told the secrets of the world unknown.
Enter OLD NORVAL. Old Nor. 'Tis he. But what if he should chide me
hence ? His just reproach I fear.
[Douglas turns aside, and sees him. Forgive, forgive; Canst thou forgive the man, the selfish man, Who bred Sir Malcom's heir a shepherd's son?
Doug. Welcome to me. Thou art my father still :