Oswald. The next wave will come up to the chair. It is folly to stay. We shall be covered with salt water.

Canute. Well, does the sea obey my commands ? If it be my subject, it is a very rebellious subject. See how it swells, and dashes the angry foam and salt spray over my sacred person! Vile sycophants ! did you think I was the dupe of your base lies ? that I believed your abject flatteries? Know, there is but one Being whom the sea will obey. He is Sovereign of heaven and earth, King of kings, and Lord of Lords. It is only he who can say to the ocean, “ Thus far shalt thou go, but no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” A king is but a man, and a man is but a worm. Shall a worm assume the power of the great God, and think the elements will obey him ? May kings learn to be humble from my example, and courtiers learn truth from your disgrace !



Alexander. What, art thou the Thracian robber, of whose exploits I have heard so much ?

Robber. I am a Thracian, and a soldier.

Alex. A soldier !-a thief, a plunderer, an assassin! the pest of the country! I could honor thy courage, but I must detest and punish thy crimes.

Robber. What have I done of which you can complain ? »

Alex. Hast thou not set at defiance my authority; violated the public peace, and passed thy life in injuring the persons and properties of thy fellow subjects ?

Robber. Alexander ! I am your captive — I must hear what you please to say, and endure what you please to inflict. But my soul is unconquered; and if I reply at all to your reproaches, I will reply like a free man

Alex. Speak freely. Far be it from me to take the advantage of my power to silence those with whom I deign to converse !

Robber. I must then answer your question by another. How have you passed your life.

Alex. Like a hero. Ask Fame, and she will tell you. Among the brave, I have been the bravest : among sovereigns, the noblest : among conquerors, the mightiest.

Robber. And does not Fame speak of me too? Was there ever a bolder captain of a more valiant band? Was there ever — But I scorn to boast. You yourself know that I have not been easily subdued.

Alex. Still, what are you but a robber-a base dishonest robber?

Robber. And what is a conqueror ? Have not you, too, gone about the earth like an evil genius, blasting the fair fruits of peace and industry : plundering, ravaging, killing, without law, without justice, merely to gratify an insatiable lust for dominion ? All that I have done to a single district with a hundred followers, you have done to whole nations with a hundred thousand. If I have stripped individuals, you have ruined kings and princes. If I have burned a few hamlets, you have desolated the most flourishing kingdoms and cities of the earth. What is then the difference, but that as you were born a king, and I a private man, you have been able to become a mightier robber than I ?

Alex. But if I have taken like a king, I have given like a king. If I have subverted empires, I have founded greater. I have cherished arts, commerce, and philosophy.

Robber. I, too, have freely given to the poor, what I took from the rich. I have established order and discipline among the most ferocious of mankind; and have stretched out my protecting arm over the oppressed. I know little of the philosophy you talk of; but I believe neither you nor I shall ever repay to the world the mischiefs we have done it.

Alex. Leave me — take off his chains and use him well. (Exit robber.) Are we then so much alike?- Alexander a robber?— Let me reflect.



Seer. Lochiel ! Lochiel ! beware of the day
When the Lowlands shall meet thee in battle array !
For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight,
And the clans of Culloden are scattered in fight;
They rally, they bleed, for their kingdom and crown;
Wo, wo to the riders that trample them down !
Proud Cumberland prances, insulting the slain,
And their hoof-beaten bosoms are trod to the plain.
But hark! through the fast-flashing lightning of war,
What steed to the desert flies frantic and far ?
'Tis thine, O Glenullin! whose bride shall await,
Like a love lighted watchfire, all night at the gate.
A steed comes at morning; no rider is there;
But its bridle is red with the sign of despair.
Weep, Albyn, to death and captivity led !
O weep, but thy tears cannot number the dead;
For a merciless sword on Culloden shall wave,
Culloden ! that reeks with the blood of the brave.

Lochiel. Go preach to the coward, thou death-telling seer !
Or if gory Culloden so dreadful appear,
Draw, dotard, around thy old wavering sight
This mantle, to cover the phantoms of fright.

Seer. Ha! laugh’st thou, Lochiel, my vision to scorn ?
Proud bird of the mountain, thy plume shall be torn!
Say, rushed the bold eagle exultingly forth,
From his home, in the dark rolling clouds of the north ?
Lo! the death-shot of foemen outspeeding, he rode
Companionless, bearing destruction abroad;
But down let him stoop from his havoc on high !
Ah ! home let him speed, for the spoiler is nigh.
Why flames the far summit? Why shoot to the blast
Those embers, like stars from the firmament cast ?

'Tis the fire shower of ruin, all dreadfully driven
From his eyrie that beacons the darkness of heaven.
Oh, crested Lochiel ! the peerless in might,
Whose banners arise on the battlements' height,
Heaven's fire is around thee, to blast and to burn :
Return to thy dwelling ! all lonely return !
For the blackness of ashes shall mark where it stood,
And a wild mother scream o'er her famishing brood.

Lochiel. False wizard, avaunt! I have marshalled my clan -
T'heir swords are a thousand, their bosoms are one !
They are true to the last of their blood and their breath,
And like reapers descend to the harvest of death.
Then welcome be Cumberland's steed to the shock!
Let him dash his proud foam like a wave on the rock!
But wo to his kindred, and wo to his cause,
When Albyn her claymore indignantly draws;
When her bonnetted chieftains to victory crowd,
Clanranald the dauntless, and Moray the proud ;
All plaided and plumed in their tartan array

Seer. — Lochiel ! Lochiel ! beware of the day!
For, dark and despairing, my sight I may seal,
But man cannot cover what God would reveal.
'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before.
I tell thee, Culloden's dread echoes shall ring,
With the bloodhounds that bark for thy fugitive king.
Lo! annointed by Heaven with the vials of wrath,
Behold, where he flies on his desolate path!
Now in darkness and billows he sweeps from my sight;
Rise! rise! ye wild tempests, and cover his flight!-
'Tis finished. Their thunders are hushed on the moors;
Culloden is lost, and my country deplores.
But where is the iron-bound prisoner? Where ?
For the red eye of battle is shut in despair.
Say, mounts he the ocean wave, banished, forlorn,.
Like a limb from his country cast bleeding and torn ?

Ah no! for a darker departure is near,—
The war drum is muffled, and black is the bier ;
His death bell is tolling! Oh, mercy! dispel
Yon sight that it freezes my spirit to tell !
Life flutters convulsed in his quivering limbs,
And his blood streaming nostril in agony swims;
Accursed be the faggots, that blaze at his feet,
Where his heart shall be thrown, ere it ceases to beat,
With the smoke of its ashes to poison the gale –

Lochiel. Down, soothless insulter! I trust not the tale :
For never shall Albyn a destiny meet,
So black with dishonor, so foul with retreat.
Though my perishing ranks should be strewed in their gore,
Like ocean weeds heaped on the surf-beaten shore,
Lochiel, untainted by flight or by chains,
While the kindling of life in his bosom remains,
Shall victor exult, or in death be laid low,
With his back to the field, and his feet to the foe!
And leaving in battle no blot on his name,
Look proudly to heaven from the death-bed of fame.


INDIGESTION. [Scene, Dr. Gregory's Study. Enter a plump Glasgow merchant.]

Patient. Good morning, Dr. Gregory; I'm just come into Edinburgh about some law business, and I thought when I was here, at any rate, I might just as weel tak your advice, sir, about my trouble.

Doctor. And pray what may your trouble be, my good sir ? .

Pa. Indeed, Doctor, I'm not very sure; but I'm thinking it's a kind of weakness that makes me dizzy at times, and a kind of pinkling about my stomach — I'm just na right.

Dr. You are from the west country, I should suppose, sir.
Pa. Yes, sir, from Glasgow.

« ElőzőTovább »