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The tale wrapt up in your amazing words
Lady R. Alas! an ancient feud,
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 authorisid our marriage. Three weeks, three little weeks, with wings of down, Had o'er us flown, when my lov'd lord was callid 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
Anna. My dearest lady! many a tale of tears
300 A tale so sad as this.
Lady R. In the first days Of my distracting grief, I found myselfAs 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 lov'd Malcolm, in the battle fell : They two alone were privy to the marriage. On silence and concealment I resolv'd, Till time should make my father's fortune mine. That very night on which my son was born, My nurse, the only confident I had, Set out with him to reach her sister's house: But nurse, nor infant have I ever seen, Or heard of, Anna, since that fatal hour. “My murder'd child l-had thy fond Mother fear'd “ The loss of thee, she had loud fame defy'd, “ Despis’d her father's rage, her father's grief, " And wander'd with thee through the scorning
world.” Anna. Not seen nor heard of! then perhaps he lives. Lady R. No. It was dark December; wind and rain 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! hapless son of a most hapless sire! Há But they are both at rest; and I alone
“ Dwell in this world of woe, condemn’d to walk, “ Like a guilt-troubled ghost, my painful rounds;" Nor las despiteful fate permitted me The comfort of a solitary sorrow. Though dead to love, I was compelld to wed Randolph, who snatch'd me from a villain's arms; And Randolph now possesses the domains, That by Sir Malcolm's death on me devolv'd; Domains, that should to Douglas' son have givin A baron's title and a baron's power. “ Such were my soothing thoughts, while I bewail'd “ The slaughter'd father of a son unborn. “ And when that son came, like a ray from heav'n, “ Which shines and disappears; alas ; my child ! " How long did thy fond mother grasp the hope “ Of having thee, she knew not how, restor'd. “ Year after year hath worn her hope away ; " But left still undiminish'd her desire. “ Anna. The hand that spins th’uneven thread of
life, “ May smooth the length that's yet to come of yours.
“ Lady R. Not in this world; I have consider'd well " It's various evils, and on whom they fall. " Alas! how oft does goodness wound itself?
“ And sweet affection prove the spring of woe."
Anna. That God, whose ministers good angels are,
Lady R. I will avoid him. An ungracious persons Is doubly irksome in an hour like this. Anna. Why speaks my lady thus of Randolph's
heir ? 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. “ Self-denied, " And master of his appetites he seems : " But his fierce nature, like a fox chain'd up, • Watches to seize unseen the wish’d-for prey. “ Never were vice and virtue pois'd so ill, “ As in Glenalvon's unrelenting mind.” 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.
[Exit Lady RANDOLPH. Anna. Oh happiness ! where art thou to be found? I see thou dwellest not with birth and beauty, Tho'grac'd 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.
Enter GlenALVON. Glen. What dost thou muse on, meditating maid? Like some entranc'd and visionary seer, On earth thou stand'st, thy thoughts ascend to heaven. 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,
Anna. Let women view yon monument of woe,
Glen. (solus] So!-Lady Randolph shuns me; by
I'll woo her as the lion wooes his brides.