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Woe to us and woe to Scotland !

O our sons, our sons and men !
Surely some have ’scaped the Southron,

Surely some will come again !”
Till the oak that fell last winter

Shall uprear its shattered stemWives and mothers of Dunedin,

Ye may look in vain for them.' But within the Council Chamber

All was silent as the grave, Whilst the tempest of their sorrow

Shook the bosoms of the brave. Well indeed might they be shaken

With the weight of such a blow: He was gone—their prince, their idol,

Whom they loved and worshipped so ! Like a knell of death and judgment

Rung from heaven by angel hand,
Fell the words of desolation

On the elders of the land.
Hoary heads were bowed and trembling,

Withered hands were clasped and wrung: God hath left the old and feeble,

He had ta'en away the young. Then the Provost he uprose,

And his lips were ashen white, But a flush was on his brow,

And his eye was full of light. “Thou hast spoken, Randolph Murray,

Like a soldier stout and true;
Thou hast done a deed of daring

Had been perilled but by few.
For thou hast not shamed to face us,

Nor to speak thy ghastly tale,
Standing - thou, a knight and captain-

Here, alive within thy mail !
Now, as my God shall judge me,

I hold it braver done,
Than hadst thou tarried in thy place,

And died above my son !
Thou needst not tell it : he is dead,

God help us all this day !
But speak—how fought the citizens

Within the furious fray?

For, by the might of Mary,

'Twere something still to tell That no Scottish foot went backward

When the Royal Lion fell !”

“No one failed him! He is keeping

Royal state and semblance still:
Knight and noble lie around him,

Cold on Flodden's fatal hill.
Of the brave and gallant-hearted,

Whom ye sent with prayers away,
Not a single man departed

From his monarch yesterday.
Had you seen them, O my masters !

When the night began to fall,
And the English spearmen gathered

Round a grim and ghastly wall !
As the wolves in winter circle

Round the leaguer on the heath, So the greedy foe glared upward,

Panting still for blood and death. But a rampart rose before them,

Which the boldest dared not scale; Every stone a Scottish body,

Every step a corpse in mail ! And behind it lay our monarch

Clenching still his shivered sword: By his side Montrose and Athol,

At his feet a southern lord. All so thick they lay together,

When the stars lit up the sky,
That I knew not who were stricken,

Or who yet remained to die.
Few there were when Surrey halted,

And his wearied host withdrew;
None but dying men around me,

When the English trumpet blew. Then I stooped, and took the banuer,

As ye see it, from his breast, And I closed our hero's eyelids,

And I left him to his rest.
In the mountains growled the thunder,

As I leaped the woeful wall,
And the heavy clouds were settling

Over Flodden, like a pall.”

So he ended. And the others

Cared not any answer then; Sitting silent, dumb with sorrow,

Sitting anguish-struck, like men Who have seen the roaring torrent

Sweep their happy homes away,
And yet linger by the margin,

Staring idly on the spray.
But, without, the maddening tumult

Waxes ever more and more,
And the crowd of wailing women

Gather round the Council door. Every dusky spire is ringing

With a dull and hollow knell,
And the Miserere's singing

To the tolling of the bell.
Through the streets the burghers hurry,

Spreading terror as they go;
And the rampart's thronged with watchers

For the coming of the foe. From each mountain-top a pillar

Streams into the torpid air, Bearing token from the Border

That the English host is there. All without is flight and terror,

All within is woe and fearGod protect thee, Maiden City,

For thy latest hour is near!

No! not yet, thou high Dunedin !

Shalt thou totter to thy fall; Though thy bravest and thy strongest

Are not there to man the wall. No, not yet! the ancient spirit

Of our fathers hath not gone;
Take it to thee as a buckler

Better far than steel or stone.
Oh, remember those who perished

For thy birthright at the time
When to be a Scot was treason,

And to side with Wallace, crime ! Have they not a voice among us,

Whilst their hallowed dust is here? Hear ye not a summons sounding

From each buried warrior's bier ?

Up !they say—and keep the freedom

Which we won you long ago:
Up! and keep our graves unsullied

From the insults of the foe !
Up! and if ye cannot save them,

Come to us in blood and fire: Midst the crash of falling turrets,

Let the last of Scots expire ! Still the bells are tolling fiercely,

And the cry comes louder in; Mothers wailing for their children,

Sisters for their slaughtered kin.
All is terror and disorder,

Till the Provost rises up,
Calm as though he had not tasted

Of the fell and bitter cup.
All so stately from his sorrow,

Rose the old undaunted Chief,
That you had not deemed, to see him,

His was more than common grief. “Rouse ye, sirs !” he said; “ we may not

Longer mourn for what is done; If our King be taken from us,

We are left to guard his son. We have sworn to keep the city

From the foe, whate'er they be, And the oath that we have taken

Never shall be broke by me. Death is nearer to us, brethren,

Than it seemed to those who died, Fighting yesterday at Flodden,

By their lord and master's side. Let us meet it then in patience,

Not in terror or in fear; Though our hearts are bleeding yonder,

Let our souls be steadfast here.
Up, and rouse ye! Time is fleeting,

And we yet have much to do;
Up! and haste ye through the city,

Stir the burghers stout and true!
Gather all our scattered people,

Fling the banner out once more, — Randolph Murray! do thou bear it,

As it erst was borne before: Never Scottish heart will leave it

When they see their monarch's gore !”



A legend of early Rome relates that the Etruscans, one of the Italian

tribes near the city, tried to restore the Tarquins, who had been driven out on account of their tyranny. The Etruscan army is here represented as having reached the bank of the Tiber in its march on Rome.

But the Consul's brow was sad,

And the Consul's speech was low,
And darkly looked he at the wall,

And darkly at the foe.
“Their van will be upon us

Before the bridge goes down;
And if they once may win the bridge,

What hope to save the town?

Then out spake brave Horatius,

The Captain of the Gate:
To every man upon this earth

Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,

And the temples of his Gods,

And for the tender mother

Who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses

His baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens

Who feed the eternal flame,
To save them from the false Sextus

That wrought the deed of shame?

“Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,

With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,

Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand

May well be stopped by three,
Now who will stand on either hand,

And keep the bridge with me?"

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