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BESIDE its embers, red and clear,
Bask'd, in his plaid, a mountaineer ;
And up he sprung with sword in hand,
“Thy name and purpose ! Saxon, stand !"-
"A stranger."'-"What dost thou require ?"-
“Rest and a guide, and food and fire.
My life's beset, my path is lost,
The gale has chill'd my limbs with frost."'-
“Art thou a friend to Roderick ?”—"No,"
" Thou darest not call thyself a foe?'
“I dare! to him and all the band
He brings to aid his murderous hand."-
“Bold words !-but though the best of game
The privilege of chace may claim,
Though space and law the stag we lend,
Ere hound we slip, or bow we bend,
Who ever reck'd, where, how, or when,
The prowling fox was trapp'd or slain ?
Thus treacherous scouts,-yet sure they lie,
Who say thou camest a secret spy!"-
“ They do, by Heaven !-Come, Roderick Dhu,
And of his clan the boldest two,
And let me but till morning rest,
I write the falsehood on their crest."-
“If by the blaze I mark aright,
Thou bear'st the belt and spur of knight. '-
“Then by these tokens may'st thou know
Each proud oppressor's mortal foe."
“Enough, enough; sit down and share
A soldier's couch, a soldier's fare."-
He gave him of his Highland cheer,
The harden'd flesh of mountain deer;
Dry fuel on the fire he laid,
And bade the Saxon share his plaid.
He tended him like welcome guest,
Then thus his further speech address'd.
“Stranger, I am to Roderick Dhu
A clansman born, a kinsman true;
Each word against his honour spoke,
Demands of me avenging stroke;
Yet more,-upon thy fate, 'tis said,
A mighty augury is laid.
It rests with me to wind my horn,
Thou art with numbers overborne:
It rests with me, here, brand to brand,
Worn as thou art, to bid thee stand :
Bat, not for clan, nor kindred's cause,
Will I depart from honour's laws,
To assail a wearied man were shame,
And stranger is a holy name;
Guidance and rest, and food and fire,
In vain he never must require.
Then rest thee here till dawn of day;
Myself will guide theo on the way,
O'er stock and stone, through watch and ward.
Till past Clan-Alpine's outmost guard,
As far as Coilantogle's ford :
From thence thy warrant is thy sword.”—
“I take thy courtesy, by Heaven,
As freely as 'tis nobly given !''
" Well, rest thee; for the bittern's cry
Sings us the lake's wild lullaby."-
With that he shook the gather'd heart,
And spread his plaid upon the wreath ;
And the brave foemen, side by side,
Lay peaceful down like brothers tried,
And slept until the dawning beam
Purpled the mountain and the stream.
By Jove, I am not covetous of gold,
Nor care I, who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires!
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
Doge. I tell thee-must I tell thee-what thy
father Would have required no words to comprehend ? Hast thou no feeling save the external sense Of torture from the touch ? hast thou no soulNo pride-no passion--no deep sense of honour ? Bertuccio Faliero. 'Tis the first time that honour
has been doubted, And were the last from any other skeptic. Doge. You know the full offence of this born
villain, This creeping, coward, rank, acquitted felon, Who threw his sting into a poisonous libel, And on the honour of-Oh, God ! my wife, The nearest, dearest part of all men's honour, Left a base slur to pass from mouth to mouth Of loose mechanics, with all coarse, foul comments, And villanous jests, and blasphemies obscene; While sneering nobles, in more polished guise, Whisper'd the tale, and smiled upon the lie Which made me look like themma courteous
wittol, Patient-ay, proud, it may be, of dishonour.
Ber. F. But still it was a lie--you knew it false And so did all men. Doge,
Nephew, the high Roman Said Cæsar's wife must not even be suspected," And put her from hi:n. Ber. F. True—but in those days
Doge. What is it that a Roman would not suffer, That a Venetian prince must bear? Old Dandolo Refused the diadem of all the Cæsars, And were the ducal cap I trample on, Because 'tis now degraded. Ber. F.
'Tis even so. Doge. It is—it is :- I did not visit on The innocent creature thus most vilely slandered Because she took an old man for her lord, For that he had been long her father's friend And patron of her house, as if there were No love in woman's heart but lust of youth And beardless faces;-I did not for this Visit the villain's infamy on her, But craved my country's justice on his head, The justice due unto the humblest being Who hath a wife whose faith is sweet to him, Who hath a home whose hearth is dear to him, Who hath a name whose honour's all to him, When these are tainted by the accursing breath Of calumny and scorn,