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The tale wrapt up in your amazing words
Deign to unfold.

Lady R. Alas! an ancient feud,
Hereditary evil, was the source
Of my misfortunes. Ruling fate decreed,
That

my

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!

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Lady R. The first truth
Is easiest to avow. This moral learn,
This precious moral from my tragic tale.
In a few days the dreadful tidings came
That Douglas and my brother both were slain.
My lord ! my life! my husband !-mighty God!
What had I done to merit such affliction ?

Anna. My dearest lady! many a tale of tears
I've listen’d to; but never did I hear

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."
Oh! had I died when my lov'd husband fell!
Had some good angel op'd to me the book
Of Providence, and let me read my life,
My heart had broke, when I beheld the sum
Of ills, which one by one I have endur'd.

Anna. That God, whose ministers good angels are,
Hath shut the book, in mercy to mankind ;
But we must leave this theme : Glenalvon comes :
I saw him bend on you his thoughtful eyes,
And hitherwards he slowly stalks his way.

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

to do

With subjects intricate ? Thy youth, thy beauty,
Cannot be questioned : think of these good gifts ;
And then thy contemplations will be pleasing.

Anna. Let women view yon monument of woe,
Then boast of beauty : who so fair as she?
But I must follow; this reyolving day
Awakes the mem'ry of her antient woes. Exit ANNA.

Glen. (solus] So!-Lady Randolph shuns me; by

and by

I'll woo her as the lion wooes his brides.
The deed's a doing now, that makes me lord
Of these rich valleys, and a chief of pow'r.
The season is most apt; my sounding steps
Will not be heard amidst the din of arms.

400

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