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No! though the orbs of heaven expire,
Thine, Freedom! is a quenchless fire;
And woe to him whose might would dare
The energies of thy despair !
No!— when thy chain, O Bruce! is cast
O'er thy land's charter'd mountain-blast,
Then in my yielding soul shall die
The glorious faith of Liberty !”
“Wild hopes ! o'er dreamer's mind that rise !"
With haughty laugh the Conqueror cries,
(Yet his dark cheek is flush'd with shame,
And his eye fill'd with troubled flame ;)
“ Vain, brief illusions ! doom'd to fly
England's red path of victory!
Is not her sword unmatch'd in might?
Her course, a torrent in the fight?
The terror of her name gone forth
Wide o'er the regions of the north?
Far hence, 'midst other heaths and snows,
Must freedom's footstep now repose.
And thou—in lofty dreams elate,
Enthusiast! strive no more with Fate!
'Tis vain — the land is lost and won
Sheathed be the sword—its task is done.
Where are the chiefs that stood with thee,
First in the battles of the free?
The firm in heart, in spirit high ? —
They sought yon fatal field to die.
Each step of Edward's conquering host
Hath left a grave on Scotland's coast.”
“ Vassal of England, yes! a grave Where sleep the faithful and the brave;
And who the glory would resign,
Of death like theirs, for life like thine ?
They slumber—and the stranger's tread
May spurn thy country's noble dead;
Yet, on the land they loved so well
Still shall their burning spirit dwell,
Their deeds shall hallow minstrel's theme,
Their image rise on warrior's dream,
Their names be inspiration's breath,
Kindling high hope and scorn of death,
Till bursts, immortal from the tomb,
The flame that shall avenge their doom!
This is no land for chains-away!
O'er softer climes let tyrants sway;
Think'st thou the mountain and the storm
Their hardy sons for bondage form?
Doth our stern wintry blast instil
Submission to a despot's will ?
No! we were cast in other mould
Than theirs by lawless power controllid;
The nurture of our bitter sky
Calls forth resisting energy,
And the wild fastnesses are ours,
The rocks with their eternal towers;
The soul to struggle and to dare,
Is mingled with our northern air,
And dust beneath our soil is lying
Of those who died for fame undying.
Tread'st thou that soil ! and can it be,
No loftier thought is roused in thee?
Doth no high feeling proudly start
From slumber in thine inmost heart?
No secret voice thy bosom thrill,
For thine own Scotland pleading still?
Oh! wake thee yet—indignant, claim
A nobler fate, a purer fame,
And cast to earth thy fetters riven,
And take thine offer'd crown from Heaven.
Wake! in that high majestic lot
May the dark past be all forgot;
And Scotland shall forgive the field
Where, with her blood, thy shame was seal'd.
E'en I—though on that fatal plain
Lies my heart's brother with the slain ;
Though reft of his heroic worth,
My spirit dwells alone on earth;
And when all other grief is past,
Must this be cherish'd to the last-
Will lead thy battles, guard thy throne,
With faith unspotted as his own,
Nor in thy noon of fame recall,
Whose was the guilt that wrought his fall."
Still dost thou hear in stern disdain ? Are Freedom's warning accents vain ? No! royal Bruce ! within thy breast Wakes each high thought, too long suppress’d. And thy heart's noblest feelings live, Blent in that suppliant word—“Forgive !" “ Forgive the wrongs to Scotland done! Wallace! thy fairest palm is won; And, kindling at my country's shrine, My soul hath caught a spark from thine. Oh! deem not, in the proudest hour Of triumph and exulting power —
And, kindly fairest palm.cotland done!
Deem not the light of peace could find
A home within my troubled mind.
Conflicts by mortal eye unseen,
Dark, silent, secret, there have been,
Known but to Him whose glance can trace
Thought to its deepest dwelling-place!
—'Tis past—and on my native shore
I tread, a rebel son no more.
Too blest, if yet my lot may be,
In glory's path to follow thee;
If tears, by late repentance pour'd,
May lave the blood-stains from my sword !"
Far other tears, O Wallace! rise
From the heart's fountain to thine eyes;
Bright, holy, and uncheck'd they spring,
While thy voice falters, “ Hail! my King!
Be every wrong, by memory traced,
In this full tide of joy effaced :
Hail! and rejoice !- thy race shall claim
A heritage of deathless fame,
And Scotland shall arise, at length,
Majestic in triumphant strength,
An eagle of the rock, that won
A way through tempests to the sun!
Nor scorn the visions, wildly grand,
The prophet-spirit of thy land:
By torrent-wave, in desert vast,
Those visions o'er my thought have pass'd;
Where mountain vapours darkly roll,
That spirit hath possess’d my soul;
And shadowy forms have met mine eye,
The beings of futurity;
Vol. I. 30
And a deep voice of years to be,
Hath told that Scotland shall be free!
He comes ! exult, thou Sire of Kings!
From thee the chief, th' avenger springs !
Far o'er the land he comes to save,
His banners in their glory wave,
And Albyn's thousand harps awake
On hill and heath, by stream and lake,
To swell the strains, that far around
Bid the proud name of Bruce resound !
And I—but wherefore now recall
The whisper'd omens of my fall ?
They come not in mysterious gloom-
There is no bondage in the tomb !
O'er the soul's world no tyrant reigns,
And earth alone for man hath chains !
What though I perish ere the hour
When Scotland's vengeance wakes in power ?
If shed for her, my blood shall stain
The field or scaffold not in vain :
Its voice to efforts more sublime
Shall rouse the spirit of her clime;
And in the noontide of her lot,
My country shall forget me not !”
Art thou forgot? and hath thy worth
Without its glory pass'd from earth ?
Rest with the brave, whose names belong
To the high sanctity of song,
Charter'd our reverence to control,
And traced in sunbeams on the soul,