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Randolph has liv'd too long: his better fate
Had the ascendant once, and kept me down:
When I had seiz'd the dame, by chance he came,
Rescu'd, and had the lady for his labour;
I'scap'd unknown; a slender consolation!
Heav'n is my witness that I do not love
To sow in peril, and let others reap
The jocund harvest. Yet I am not safe :
By love or something like it, stung, inflam'd,
Madly I blabb'd my passion to his wife,
And she has threaten'd to acquaint him of it.
The way of woman's will I do not know :
But well I know the Baron's wrath is deadly.
I will not live in fear: the man I dread
Is as a Dane to me: ay, and the man
Who stands betwixt me and my chief desire.
No bar but he; she has no kinsman near;
No brother in his sister's quarrel bold;
And for the righteous cause, a stranger's cause,
I know no chief that will defy Glenalyon.
A Court, &c. Enter Servants and a Stranger at one door, and Lady RANDOLPH and ANNA at another.
WHAT means this clamour? Stranger, speak secure; Hast thou been wrong'd? Have these rude men presum'd
To vex the weary traveller on his way ?
F. Ser. By us no stranger ever suffered wrong: This man with outcry wild has called us forth; So sore afraid he cannot speak his fears.
Enter Lord RANDOLPH and a young man, with their swords drawn and bloody.
Lady R. Not vain the stranger's fears! how fares my lord.
Lord R. That it fares well, thanks to this gallant youth,
Whose valour sav'd me from a wretched death!
As down the winding dale I walk'd alone,
At the cross way four armed men attack'd me:
Rovers, I judge, from the licentious camp,
Who would have quickly laid lord Randolph low,
Had not this brave and generous stranger come,
Like my good angel, in the hour of fate,
And mocking danger, made my foes his own.
They turn'd upon him, but his active arm
Struck to the ground, from whence they rose no more,
The fiercest two; the others fled amain,
And left him master of the bloody field.
Speak, lady Randolph; upon beauty's tongue
Dwell accents pleasing to the brave and bold.
Speak noble dame, and thank him for thy lord.
Lady R. My lord, I cannot speak what now I feel.
My heart o'erflows with gratitude to Heav'n,
And to this noble youth, who, all unknown
and yours, deliberated not,
Nor paus'd at peril, but, humanely brave,
Fought on your side against such fearful odds.
Have you not learn'd of him, whom we should thank? Whom call the saviour of lord Randolph's life?
Lord R. I ask'd that question, and he answered not: But I must know, who my deliverer is.
[To the Stranger. Stran. A low-born man, of parentage obscure, Who nought can boast but his desire to be A soldier, and to gain a name in arms.
Lord R. Whoe'er thou art, thy spirit is ennobl'd By the great King of kings! thou art ordain'd And stamp'd a hero, by the sovereign hand Of Nature! blush not, flower of modesty As well as valour, to declare thy birth.
Stran. My name is Norval: on the Grampion hills My father feeds his flocks; a frugal swain, Whose constant cares were to increase his store, And keep his only son, myself, at home.
For I had heard of battles, and I long'd
To follow to the field some warlike lord:
And Heav'n soon granted what my sire deny'd.
This moon which rose last night, round as my shield,
Had not yet fill'd her horns, when, by her light,
A band of fierce barbarians, from the hills,
Rush'd like a torrent down upon the vale,
Sweeping our flocks and herds. The shepherds fled
For safety and for succour. I alone,
With bended bow, and quiver full of arrows,
Hover'd about the enemy, and mark'd
The road he took; thẹn hasted to my friends,
Whom, with a troop of fifty chosen men,
I met advancing. The pursuit I led.
'Till we o'ertook the spoil-encumber'd foe.
We fought and conquer'd. Ere a sword was drawn,
An arrow from my bow had pierc'd their chief,
Who wore that day the arms which now I wear.
Returning home in triumph, I disdain'd
The shepherd's slothful life; and having heard
That our good king had summoned his bold peers
To lead their warriors to the Carron side,
I left my father's house, and took with me
A chosen servant to conduct my steps:-
Yon trembling coward, who forsook his master.
Journeying with this intent, I pass'd these towers,
And, Heaven-directed, came this day to do
The happy deed that gilds my humble name.
Lord Ran. He is as wise as brave. Was ever tale With such a gallant modesty rehears❜d ?
My brave deliverer! thou shalt enter now
A nobler list, and in a monarch's sight
Contend with princes for the prize of fame.
I will present thee to our Scottish king,
Whose valiant spirit ever valour lov'd.
Ah! my Matilda, wherefore starts that tear?
Lady R. I cannot say for various affections,
And strangely mingled, in my bosom swell;
Yet each of them may well command a tear.
I joy that thou art safe; and I admire
Him and his fortunes, who hath wrought thy safety;
Yea, as my mind predicts, with thine his own.
Obscure and friendless, he the army sought,
Bent upon peril, in the range of death
Resolv'd to hunt for fame, and with his sword
To gain distinction which his birth denied.
In this attempt unknown he might have perish'd,
And gain'd with all his valour, but oblivion.
Now, grac'd by thee, his virtue serves no more
Beneath despair. The soldier now of hope
He stands conspicuous; fame and great renown
Are brought within the compass of his sword;
On this my mind reflected, whilst you spoke,
And bless'd the wonder-working Lord of Heaven.
Lord R. Pious and grateful ever are thy thoughts! My deeds shall follow where thou point'st the way. Next to myself, and equal to Glenalvon,
In honour and command shall Norval be.
Nor. I know not how to thank you. Rude I am,