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(3.) THE ESCAPE.
ALONE stood brave Horatius,
But constant still in mind; Thrice thirty thousand foes before,
And the broad flood behind. " Down with him!” cried false Sextus,
With a smile on his pale face. “Now yield thee," cried Lars Porsena,
“Now yield thee to our grace.” Round turn'd he, as not deigning
Those craven ranks to see; Nought spake he to Lars Porsena
To Sextus nought spake he; But he saw on Palatinus
The white porch of his home; And he spake to the noble river
That rolls by the towers of Rome:
“O Tiber ! father Tiber!
To whom the Romans pray;
Take thou in charge this day!"
The good sword by his side, And with the harness on his back
Plunged headlong in the tide.
But fiercely ran the current,
Swollen high by months of rain; And fast his blood was flowing,
And he was sore in pain,
And heavy with his armour,
And spent with changing blows:
But still again he rose.
Never, I ween, did swimmer,
In such an evil case,
Safe to the landing place :
By the brave heart within,
Bore bravely up his chin.
And now he feels the bottom
Now on dry earth he stands;
To press his gory hands.
And noise of weeping loud,
Borne by the joyous crowd.
THE ARRIVAL OF RANDOLPH MURRAY IN
EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN.
News of battle ! who hath brought it?
All are thronging to the gate;
Man-is this a time to wait?"
And the heavy gates are open'd :
Then a murmur long and loud, And a cry of fear and wonder
Bursts from out the bending crowd, For they see in batter'd harness
Only one hard-stricken man ; And his weary steed is wounded,
And his cheek is pale and wan : Spearless hangs a bloody banner
In his weak and drooping handWhat! can that be Randolph Murray,
Captain of the city band?
Round him crush the people, crying,
“Tell us all—oh, tell us true ! Where are they who went to battle,
Randolph Murray, sworn to you? Where are they, our brothers—children ?
Have they met the English foe?
Is it weal or is it woe?”
Looks from out his helm of steel;
Only with his armèd heel
Up the city streets they ride;
Shrieking, praying by his side. “By the God that made thee, Randolph !
Tell us what mischance hath come,” Then he lifts his riven banner,
And the asker's voice is dumb.
THE BATTLE OF KILLIECRANKIE.
SOON we heard a challenge trumpet
Sounding in the Pass below,
And the voices of the foe;
Till the Lowland ranks drew near,
When they scent the stately deer. From the dark defile emerging,
Next we saw the squadrons come, Leslie's foot and Leven's troopers
Marching to the tuck of drum; Through the scatter'd wood of birches,
O'er the broken ground and heath, Wound the long battalion slowly,
Till they gaind the field beneath ; Then we bounded from our covert.
Judge how look’d the Saxons then, When they saw the rugged mountain
Start to life with armed men ! Like a tempest down the ridges
Swept the hurricane of steel, Rose the slogan of Macdonald
Flash'd the broadsword of Lochiel Vainly sped the withering volley
'Mongst the foremost of our bandOn we pour'd until we met them,
Foot to foot and hand to hand. Horse and man went down like drift-wood
When the floods are black at Yule,
And their carcases are whirling
In the Garry's deepest pool.
Living foe there tarried none
When that stubborn fight was done.
And the evening star was shining
On Schehallion's distant head,
And return’d to count the dead.
Stretch'd upon the cumber'd plain,
In the thickest of the slain.
For within his dying ear
And the clansmen's clamorous cheer : So, amidst the battle's thunder,
Shot, and steel, and scorching flame, In the glory of his manhood,
Pass'd the spirit of the Graeme !
THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
THERE is a Reaper whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen, He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.