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Scene, Lord Randolph's Castle at Balarmo in Scotland, on the banks of the Carron.
Time, a day and part of the night.
SCENE, The Court of a Castle surrounded
Enter Lady RANDOLPH.
Lady Rand. Ye woods and wilds, whose melancholy gloom
Accords with my soul's sadness, and draws forth
The voice of sorrow from my bursting heart,
Farewel a while: I will not leave you long.
O Douglas! Douglas! But departed spirits
Are not permitted (that we know) to view
The world they've left, nor hear a plaining voice,
Else would'st thou hear e'en now thy wretched wife
Weep for her husband slain, her infant lost.
My brother's timeless death I seem to mourn,
Who perish'd with thee on this fatal day.
But my real plaint no mortal ear has heard.
Another's now I'm call'd, my heart is thine.
Incapable of change, affection lies
Buried, my Douglas, in thy bloody grave.
But Randolph comes, whom now I own my Lord,
To chide my anguish, and defraud the dead.
Enter Lord RANDOLPH.
Lord Rand. Again these weeds of woe! say, do'st thou well
To feed a passion which consumes thy life?
The living claim some duty; vainly thou
Bestow'st thy cares upon the silent dead.
Lady Rand. Silent, alas! is he for whom I mourn: Childless, without memorial of his name, He only now in my remembrance lives. *This fatal day stirs my time-settled sorrow, Troubles afresh the fountain of my heart.' Lord Rand. When was it pure of sadness! These black weeds
Express the wonted colour of thy mind,
For ever dark and dismal. Seven long years
Are pass'd, since we were join'd by sacred ties:
Clouds all the while have hung upon thy brow,
Nor broke nor parted by one gleam of joy.'
Time, that wears out the trace of deepest anguish,
As the sea smooths the prints made in the sand,'
Has past o'er thee in vain.
Lady Rand. If time to come
Should prove as ineffectual, yet, my Lord,
Thou canst not blame me. When our Scottish youth
'Vy'd with each other for my luckless love,
Oft I besought them, I implor'd them all
Not to assail me with my father's aid,
Nor weakly blend their better hopes with mine,
For melancholy had congeal'd my blood,
And froze affection in my chilly breast.
At last my Sire, rous'd with the base attempt
To force me from him, which thou rend'red'st vain,
To his own daughter bow'd his hoary head,
Besought me to commiserate his age,
And vow'd he should not, could not die in peace,
Unless he saw me wedded and secur'd
From violence and outrage. Then, my Lord!
In my extreme distress I call'd on thee,
Thee I bespake, profess'd my strong desire
To lead a single solitary life,
And begg'd thy Nobleness not to demand
Her for a wife whose heart was dead to love.
How thou persisted'st after this thou know'st,
The forty-four following lines, except the three not printed between inverted commas, are not in the 8vo. edition of 1757, but are added from the 12mo.
And must confess that I am not unjust, 'Nor more to thee than to myself injurious. 'Lord Rand. That I confess; yet ever must regret The grief I cannot cure.' Would thou wert not Compos'd of grief and tenderness alone,
But hadst a spark of other passions in thee, Pride, anger, vanity, the strong desire Of admiration, dear to woman-kind; These might contend with, and allay thy grief, 'As meeting tides and currents smooth our firth. 'Lady Rand. To such a cause the human mind oft 'Its transient calm, a calm I envy not.'
Lord Rand. Sure thou art not the daughter of Sir
Strong was his rage, eternal his resentment:
For, when thy brother fell, he smil'd to hear
That Douglas' son in the same field was slain.
Lady Rand. Oh!` rake not up the ashes of
Implacable resentment was their crime,
And grievous has the expiation been.
Contending with the Douglas, gallant lives
Of either house were lost; my ancestors
Compell'd, at last, to leave their ancient seat
On Tiviot's pleasant banks; and now, of them
No heir is left. Had they not been so stern,
I had not been the last of all my race.
Lord Rand. Thy grief wrests to its purposes my words.
I never ask'd of thee that ardent love,
Which in the breasts of fancy's children burns.
Decent affection, and complacent kindness,
Were all I wish'd for; but I wish'd in vain :
Hence with the less regret my eyes behold
The storm of war that gathers o'er this land:
If I should perish by the Danish sword,
Matilda would not shed one tear the more.
Lord Rand. Strait to the camp,
Where every warrior on the tip-toe stands
Lady Rand. Thou do'st not think so: woeful as I am I love thy merit, and esteem thy virtues. But whither goest thou now?
Of expectation, and impatient asks
Each who arrives, if he is come to tell
The Danes are landed.
Lady Rand. O, may adverse winds,
Far from the coast of Scotland, drive their fleet!
And every soldier of both hosts return
In peace and safety to his pleasant home!
Lord Rand. Thou speak'st a woman's, hear a warrior's wish:
Right from their native land, the stormy north,
May the wind blow, till every keel is fix'd
Immoveable in Caledonia's strand!
Then shall our foes repent this bold invasion,
And roving armies shun the fatal shore.
Lady Rand. War I detest: but war with foreign foes, Whose manners, language, and whose looks are strange, Is not so horrid, nor to me so hateful,
As that which with our neighbours oft we wage.
A river here, there an ideal line
By fancy drawn, divides the sister kingdoms.
On each side dwells a people similar,
As twins are to each other, valiant both,
Both for their valour famous thro' the world.*
Yet will they not unite their kindred arms,
To repel the invaders of their common isle,
But with each other fight in cruel conflict..
Gallant in strife, and noble in their ire,
The battle is their pastime. They go forth
Gay in the morning, as to summer sport:
When ev'ning comes, the glory of the morn,
The youthful warrior, is a clod of clay.
Thus fall the prime of either hapless land;
And such the fruit of Scotch and English wars.
Lord Rand. I'll hear no more: this melody would A soldier drop his sword, and doff his arms,
* Cowper, at the beginning of the second book of the Task, has a very beautiful passage somewhat similar to this:
"Lands intersected by a narrow frith
"Abhor each other. Mountains interpos'd
"Make enemies of nations, who had else,
"Like kindred drops, been mingled into one."