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Had bored the earth with many a pit,
With turf and brushwood hidden yet,

That form'd a ghastly snare.
Rushing, ten thousand horsemen came,
With spears in rest, and hearts on flame,

That panted for the shock!
With blazing creșts and banners spread,
And trumpet-clang and clamour dread,
The wide plain thunder'd to their tread,

As far as Stirling rock.
Down! down ! in headlong overthrow,
Horseman and horse, the foremost go,'

Wild floundering on the field !
The first are in destruction's gorge,
Their followers wildly o'er them urge ;-

The knightly helm and shield,
The mail, the acton, and the spear,
Strong hand, high heart, are useless here!
Loud from the mass confused the cry
of dying warriors swells on high,
And steeds that shriek in agony !

1

* It is generally alleged by historians, that the English men-atarms fell into the hidden snare which Bruce had prepared for them. Barbour does not mention the circumstance. According to his account, Randolph, seeing the slaughter made by the cavalry on the right wing among the archers, advanced courageously against the main body of the English, and entered into close combat with them. Douglas and Stuart, who commanded the Scottish centre, led their division also to the charge, and the battle becoming general along the whole line, was obstinately maintained on both sides for a long space of time; the Scottish archers doing great execution among the English men-at-arms, after the bowmen of England were dispersed.

? I have been told that this line requires an explanatory note;

They came like mountain-torrent red,

That thunders o'er its rocky bed';
*They broke like that same torrent's wave,
When swallow'd by a darksome cave.
Billows on billows burst and boil,
Maintaining still the stern turmoil,
And to their wild and tortured groan
Each adds new terrors of his own!

XXV.
Too strong in courage and in might
Was England yet, to yield the fight.

Her noblest all are here;
Names that to fear were never known,
Bold Norfolk's Earl De Brotherton,

And Oxford's famed De Vere.
There Gloster plied the bloody sword,
And Berkley, Grey, and Hereford,

and, indeed, those who witness the silent patience with which horses submit to the most cruel usage, may be permitted to doubt, that, in moments of sudden or intolerable anguish, they utter a most melancholy cry. Lord Erskine, in a speech made in the House of Lords, upon a bill for enforcing humanity towards' animals, noticed this remarkable fact, in language which I will not mutilate by attempting to repeat it. It was my fortune, upon one occasion, to hear a horse, in a moment of agony, utter a thrilling scream, which I still consider the most melancholy sound I ever heard. * [It is impossible not to recollect our author's own lines

“ As Bracklinn's chasm, so black and steep,

Receives her roaring linn,
As the dark caverns of the deep

Suck the wild whirlpool in;
So did the deep and darksome pass
Devour the battle's mingled mass.”

Lady of the Lake, Canto vi. stanza 18.]

Bottetourt and Sanzavere, Ross, Montague, and Mauley, came, And Courtenay's pride, and Percy's fameNames known too well in Scotland's war, At Falkirk, Methven, and Dunbar, Blazed broader yet in after years, At Cressy red and fell Poitiers. Pembroke with these, and Argentine, Brought up the rearward battle-line. With caution o'er the ground they tread, Slippery with blood and piled with dead, Till hand to hand in battle set, The bills with spears and axes met, And, closing dark on every side, Raged the full contest far and wide. Then was the strength of Douglas tried, Then proved was Randolph's generous pr And well did Stewart's actions grace The sire of Scotland's royal race!

Firmly they kept their ground; As firmly England onward press’d, And down went many a noble crest, And rent was many a valiant breast, And Slaughter revell’d round.

XXVI.
Unflinching foot 'gainst foot was set,
Unceasing blow by blow was met;

The groans of those who fell
Were drown'd amid the shriller clang,
That from the blades and harness rang,

And in the battle-yell.
Yet fast they fell, unheard, forgot,
Both Southern fierce and hardy Scot;

And O! amid that waste of life,
What various motives fired the strife!
The aspiring Noble bled for fame,
The Patriot for his country's claim;
This Knight his youthful strength to prove,
And that to win his lady's love;
Some fought from ruffian thirst of blood,
From habit some, or hardihood.
But ruffian stern, and soldier good,

The noble and the slave,
From various cause the same wild road,
On the same bloody morning, trode,

To that dark inn, the Grave!!

XXVII. The tug of strife to flag begins, Though neither loses yet nor wins. High rides the sun, thick rolls the dust, And feebler speeds the blow and thrust. Douglas leans on his war-sword now, And Randolph wipes his bloody brow; Nor less had toild each Southern knight, From morn till mid-day in the fight. Strong Egremont for air must gasp, Beauchamp undoes his visor clasp, And Montague must quit his spear, And sinks thy falchion, bold De Vere! The blow of Berkley fall less fast, And gallant Pembroke's bugle-blast

Hath lost its lively tone;

"[“ All these, life's rambling journey done,
Have found their home, the grave."-

COWPER.)

Sinks, Argentine, thy battle-word,
And Percy's shout was fainter heard,
“My merry-men, fight on!”

XXVIII.
Bruce, with the pilot's wary eye,
The slackening of the storm could spy.

“ One effort more, and Scotland's free!
Lord of the Isles, my trust in thee

Is firm as Ailsa Rock;
Rush on with Highland sword and targe,
I, with my Carrick spearmen, charge;'

Now, forward to the shock !”
At once the spears were forward thrown,
Against the sun the broadswords shone:
The pibroch lent its maddening tone,
And loud King Robert's voice was known
“ Carrick, press on-they fail, they fail !
Press on, brave sons of Innisgail,

The foe is fainting fast !
Each strike for parent, child, and wife,
For Scotland, liberty, and life,-

The battle cannot last!”

When the engagement between the main bodies had lasted some time, Bruce made a decisive movement, by bringing up the Scottish reserve. It is traditionally said, that at this crisis, he addressed the Lord of the Isles in a phrase used as a motto by some of his descendants, “ My trust is constant in thee." Barbour intimates, that the reserve “assembled on one field,” that is, on the same line with the Scottish forces already engaged ; which lea Lord Hailes to conjecture that the Scottish ranks must have been much thinned by slaughter, since, in that circumscribed ground, there was room for the reserve to fall into the line. But the advance of the Scottish cavalry must have contributed a good deal to form the vacancy occupied by the reserve.

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