Page images

which is south; his power a beggar's dog would bark at, and the beggar himself would not bow to his greatness. And yet how often are we puffed up with these false attributes! Well, in losing the monarch I have found the man. But, hark! somebody sure is near.

What shall I do? Will my majesty protect me? No. Throw majesty aside, then, and let manhood do it.

Enter the Miller. Miller. I believe I hear the rogue. Who's there? King. No rogue, I assure you. Miller. Little better, friend, I believe. Who fired that gun? King. Not I, indeed. Miller. You lie, I believe. King. (Aside.) Lie, lie! how strange it seems to me to be talked to in this style. (Aloud.) Upon my word, I don't, sir.

Miller. Come, come, sir, confess : you have shot one of the king's deer, haven't you?

King. No, indeed; I owe the king more respect. I heard the report of a gun, to-be-sure, and was afraid some robbers were near.

Miller. I am not bound to believe this, friend. Pray, who are you? What's your name?

Milter. Name! ay, name. You have a name, haven't you? Where do you come from? What is your business here?

King. These are quest, have not been used to, honest

Miller. May-be so; but they are questions no honest man would be afraid to answer. So, if you can give no better account of yourself, I shall make bold to take you along with me,


you please. King. With you! What authority have you

toMiller. The king's authority, if I must give you an account. Sir, I am Jobn Cockle, the miller of Mansfield, one of his Majesty's keepers in the forest of Sherwood; and I will let no suspicious fellow pass this way, unless he can give a better account of himself than you have done, I promise you.

King. Very well, sir : I am very glad to hear the king has so good an officer; and, since I find you have his authority, I will give you a better account of myself, if you will do me the favor to hear it.

Miller. You don't deserve it, I believe; but let me hear what you can say for

yourself. King. I have the honor to belong to the king as well as you, and perhaps should be as unwilling to see any wrong done him.


I came down with him to hunt in this forest, and, the chase leading us to-day a great way from home, I am benighted in this wood, and have lost my way.

Miller. This does not sound well : if you have been hunting, pray, where is your horse ?

King. I tired my horse so that he lay down under me, and I was obliged to leave him.

Miller. If I thought I might believe this, now.
King. I do not lie, honest man.

Miller. What, do you live at court, and not lie? That's a likely story, indeed!

King. Be that as it may, I speak truth now, I assure you; and, to convince you of ity if you will attend me to Nottingham, or give me a night's lodging in your house, here is something to pay you for your trouble, (offering money;) and, if that is not sufficient, I will satisfy you in the morning to your utmost desire.

Miller. Ay, now I am convinced you are a courtier: here is a little bribe for to-day and a large promise for to-morrow, both in a breath. Here, take it again; John Cockle is no courtier. He can do what he ought without a bribe.

King. Thou art a very extraordinary man, I must acknowledge; and I should be glad, methinks, to be further acquainted with thee.

Miller. I pray thee, don't thee and thou me at this rate. I suppose

I am as good a man as yourself, at least. King. Sir, I beg pardon.

Miller. Nay, I am not an und; only I don't like to be too familiar with you until I am satisfied as to your honesty. .

King. You are right. But what am I to do?
Miller. You

may do what you please. You are twelve miles from Nottingham, and all the way through this thick wood; but, if you are resolved upon going thither to-night, I will put you in the road and direct you the best I can; or, if you will accept of such

poor entertainment as a miller can give, you shall be welcome to stay all night, and in the morning I will go with

you myself. King. And cannot you go with me to-night?

Miller. I would not go with you to-night if you were the king himself. Kiny. Then I must


I think. (Enter a courtier in haste.) Courtier. Ah! is your Majesty safe? We have hunted the forest over to find you.

Miller. How! Are you the king? (Kneels.) Your Majesty

with you,

[ocr errors]

will pardon the ill usage you have received. (The king draws his sword.) His Majesty surely will not kill a servant for doing his duty too faithfully!

King. No, my good fellow. So far from having any thing to pardon, I am much your debtor. I cannot think but so good and honest a man will make a worthy and honorable knight. Rise, Sir John Cockle, and receive this sword as a badge of knighthood and a pledge of my protection; and, to support your nobility, and in some measure requite you for the pleasure you have done us, a thousand crowns a year shall be your revenue !




1. (paf4) “MACLAINE! you've scourged me like a hound':

You should have struck me to the ground';
You should have play'd a chieftain's part';

You should have stabb’d me to the heart'. 2. (24f+) “You should have crushed me into death';

But here I swear, with living breath',
That, for this wrong which you have done',

I'll wreak my vengeance on your son':
3. (p+f4)“On him, and you', and all your race'!"
(pf) He said, and, bounding from his place',

He seized the child with sudden hold',

A smiling infant, three years old'. 4. And, starting like a hunted stag',

He scaled the rock', he clomb the crag',
And reach'd, o'er many a wide abyss',

The beetling seaward precipice'.
5. And, leaning o'er its topmost ledge,

He held the infant o'er the edge :
“In vain thy wrath', thy sorrow vain';

No hand shall save it', proud Maclaine !" 6. With flashing eye and burning brow,

The mother follow'd', heedless how,
O’er crags with mosses overgrown',
And stair-like juts of slippery stone':

[ocr errors]

7. But, midway up the rugged steep',

She found a chasm she could not leap,
And, kneeling on its brink', she raised

Her supplicating hands', and gazed'.
8. (p*f) “Oh, spare my child', my joy', my pride'!

Oh, give me back my child" !" she cried : (pofs) “My child'! my child'!" with sobs and tears, She shriek'd


his callous ears'.
9. “Come', Evan'," said the trembling chief,

His bosom wrung with pride and grief,
“Restore the boy', give back my son',

And I'll forgive the wrong you've done'!" 10.

“I scorn forgiveness', haughty man'!
You've injured me before the clan';
And naught but blood shall wipe away

The shame I have endured to-day'."
11. And, as he spoke, he raised the child',

To dash it ’mid the breakers wild';
But, at the mother's piercing cry',

Drew back a step and made reply':12. “Fair lady', if your lord will strip,

And let a clansman wield the whip',
Till skin shall flay', and blood shall run',


little son!.” 13. The lady's cheek grew pale with ire,

The chieftain's eye flash'd sudden fire;
He drew a pistol from his breast,

Took aim,-then dropp'd it, sore distress'd. 14. “I might have slain my babe instead.

Come, Evan, come,” the father said,
And through his heart a tremor ran,

“We'll fight our quarrel man to man.” 15. “Wrong unavenged I've never borne,'

Said Evan, speaking loud in scorn;
“You've heard my answer', proud Maclaine:

I will not fight' you: think again." 16. The lady stood in mute despair,

With freezing blood and stiffening hair;
She moved no limb', she spoke no word';
She could not look upon her lord'.

I'll give you

17. He saw the quivering of her eye,

Pale lips, and speechless agony,
And, doing battle with his pride,
“Give back the boy: I yield,” he cried.

18. A storm of passion shook his mind',

Anger', and shame', and love combined";
But love prevail'd', and, bending low,
He bared his shoulders to the blow'.

19. “I smite you,” said the clansman true';

“Forgive me', chief', the deed I do'!
For, by yon heaven that hears me speak',
My dirk in Evan's heart shall reek!!"

20. But Evan's face beam'd hate and joy';

Close to his breast he hugg'd the boy':
“Revenge is just', revenge is sweet',

And mine, Lochbuy', shall be complete." 21. Ere hand could stir with sudden shock,

He threw the infant o’er the rock,
Then follow'd with a desperate leap,
Down fifty fathoms to the deep.

[ocr errors]

22. They found their bodies in the tide;

till the day she died,
Was that sad mother known to smile,-
The Niobe of Mulla's isle.

23. They dragg'd false Evan from the sea,

And hang'd him on a gallows tree;
And ravens fatten'd on his brain,
To sate the vengeance of Maclaine.

« PreviousContinue »