« PreviousContinue »
A U C H IN D R A N E,
THE AYRSHIRE TRAGEDY.
JOAN MURE OF AUCHINDRANE, an Ayrshire Baron. ness to gayety, according to the impulse of the mo
He has been a follower of the Regent, Earl of ment; an amiable hypochondriac. Morton, during the Civil Wars, and hides an op- HILDEBRAND, a stout old Englishman, who by feats pressive, ferocious, and unscrupulous disposition, of courage, has raised himself to the rank of under some pretences to strictness of life and Sergeant-Major, (then of greater consequence than doctrine, which, howerer, nerer influence his con at present.) He, too, hus been disbanded, but canduct. He is in danger from the law, owing to his not bring himself to beliere that he has lost his having been formerly active in the assassination command over his Regiment. of the Earl of Cassilis.
Privates dismissed from the same Philip Mure, his son, a wild, debauched Profligate, ABRAHAM, Regiment in which QUENTIN and
professing and practising a contempt for his Fa- WILLIAMS, HILDEBRAND had served. These are ther's hypocrisy, while he is as fierce and licentious JENKIN, mutinous, and are much disposed as Auchindrane himself.
And Others, to remember former quarrels with GIFFORD, their Relation, a Courtier.
their late Officers. QUENTIN BLANE, a Youth, educated for a Clergy, Niel MACLELLAN, Keeper of Auchindrane Forest man, but sent by AUCHINDRANE to serve in a Band and Game. of Auriliaries in the Wars of the Netherlands, Earl of DUNBAR, commanding an Army as Licuand lately employed as Clerk or Comptroller to tenant of James I., for execution of Justice on the Regiment-Disbanded, however, and on his Ofenders. return to his native Country. He is of a mild,
Guards, Attendants, fc. foc. gentle, and rather feeble character, liable to be influenced by any person of stronger mind who MARION, Wife of NIEL MACLELLAN. will take the trouble to direct him. He is some- Isabel, their Daughter, a Girl of six years old what of a nervous temperament, varying from sad- | Other Children and Peasant Women.
And let him hear; he makes a bustle yonder,
And dreams of his authority, forgetting, A rocky Bay on the Coast of Carrick, in Ayrshire, We are disbanded men, o'er whom his halbert
not far from the Point of Turnberry. The Sea Has not such influence as the beadle's baton. comes in upon a bold rocky Shore. The remains of We are no soldiers now, but every one a small half-ruined Tower are seen on the right The lord of his own person. hand, overhanging the Sea. There is a vessel
WILLIAMS. at a distance in the offing. A Boat at the bottom A wretched lordship-and our freedom such of the Stage lands eight or ten Persons, dressed. As that of the old cart-horse, when the owner like disbanded, and in one or two cases like dis, Turns him upon the common. I for one abled Soldiers. They come straggling forward Will still continue to respect the sergeant, with their knapsacks and bundles. HILDEBRAND, | And the comptroller too,-while the cash lasts. the Sergeant, belonging to the Party, a stout elderly man, stands by the boat, as if superintending I scorn them both. I am too stout a Scotsman
ABRAHAM. the disembarkation. QUENTIN remains apart.
To bear a Southron's rule an instant longer
Than discipline obliges ; and for Quentin,
For shame! for shame! What, shall old comrades Farewell, the gallant field, and "Forward, pike jar thus,
And oh the verge of parting, and for ever! For the bridge-end, the suburb, and the lane; Nay, keep thy temper, Abraham, though a bad one.And, " Bless your honour, noble gentleman, Good Master Quentin, let thy song last night Remember a poor soldier !".
Give us once more our welcome to old Scotland. ABRAHAM.
ABRAHAM My tongue shall never need to smooth itself Ay, they sing light whose task is telling money, To such poor sounds, while it can boldly say,
When dollars clink for chorus. "Stand and deliver !''
I've done with counting silver,* honest Abraham, Hush, the sergeant hears you!
* (M9.-" I've done with counting dollars," &c.)
As thou, I fear, with pouching thy small share on't. | Nor the most petty threat of discipline.
If thou wilt lay aside thy pride of office,
And drop thy wont of swaggering and commanding, As if upon a field of battle gain'd,
Thou art our comrade still for good or evil. Our banners waved victorious.
Else take thy course apart, or with the clerk there[He sings, and the rest bear chorus. A sergeant thou, and he being all thy regiment.
Is't come to this, false kraves? And think you not,
That if you bear a name o'er other soldiers,
It was because you follow'd to the charge
One that had zeal and skill enongh to lead you
Where fame was won by danger?
We grant thy skill in leading, noble sergeant;
Witness some empty boots and sleeves amongst us,
Which else had still been tenanted with limbs 'Gainst Don Spaniard to go a-campaigning.
In the full quantity; and for the arguments
With which you used to back our resolution,
Our shoulders do record them. . At a word,
Will you conform, or must we part our company?
A bolt-flight farther to be made a general.
Of my poor sea-stores, it was, “Noble SergeantCut cheese or dibble onions with thy poniard, Heaven bless old Hildebrand-we'll follow him, And turn the sheath into a ferula?
At least, until we safely see him lodged
Within the merry bounds of his own England! QUENTIN. I am the prodigal in holy writ;
WILLIAMS. I cannot work, -to beg I am ashamed.
Ay, truly, sir ; but, mark, the ale was mighty, Besides, good mates, I care not who may know it, And the Geneva potent. Such stout liquor I'm e'en as fairly tired of this same fighting, Makes violent protestations. Skink it round, As the poor cur that's worried in the shambles
you have any left, to the same tune, By all the mastiff dogs of all the butchers;
And we may find a chorus for it still. Wherefcre, farewell sword, poniard, petronel,
ABRAHAM. And welcome poverty and peaceful labour.
We lose our time.- Tell us at once, old man, ABRAHAM
If thou wilt march with us, or stay with Quentin ? Clerk Quentin, if of fighting thou art tired,
Out, mutineers! Dishonour dog your heels :
Wilful will have his way. Adieu, stout Hildebrand! Thou dost belie him-I have seen him fight
[ The Soldiers go off laughing, and taking leare, Bravely enough for one in his condition.
with mockery, of the SERGEANT and QUENTIN, ABRAHAM.
who remain on the Stage. What he ? that counter-casting, smock-faced boy?
SERGEANT (after a pause.) What was he but the colonel's scribbling drudge, Fly you not with the rest ?--fail you to follow With men of straw to stuff the regiment roll;
Yon goodly fellowship and fair example ?
In loneliness, or with a single partner;
And right it is that I should scek for solitude,
Bringing but evil luck on them I herd with.
SERGEANT. The threats of an unmanner'd mutineer.
Thou’rt thankless. Had we landed on the coast, SERGEANT (interposes.)
Where our course bore us, thou wert far from home:
This is thy native land we disembark on.
True, worthy friend. Each rock, each stream I For I opine, that every back amongst you Hath felt the weight of the tough ashen staff,
Each bosky wood, and every frowning tower, Endlong or overth wart. Who is it
Awakens some young dream of infancy.
wishes A remembrancer now?
Yet such is my hard har, I might more safely (Raises his halberd. Have look'd on Indian cliffs, or Afric's desert, ABRAHAM.
Than on my native shores. I'm like a babe, Comrades, have you ears Doom'd to draw poison trom my nurse's bosom. To hear the old man bully? Eyes to see
Thou dreamest, young man. Unreal terrors haunt,
As I have noted, giddy brains like thine-
Flighty, poetic, and imaginative-
And, when it fades, fantastic misery.
QUENTIN. Like wiser men, from thy authority.
But mine is not fantastic. I can tell thee, 'Tis ended, howsoe'er, and we'll not suffer
Since I have known thee still my faithful friend A word of sergeantry, or halberd-staff,
In part at least the dangerous plight I stand in.
Ay, therein was Montgomery kind indeed;
Pointed to thrust thee on some desperate service, And revel of last night.-And I may aid thee; Which should most likely end thee. Yes, I may aid thee, comrade, and perchance
Bore I such letters ?-Surely, comrade, no.
Full deeply was the writer bound to aid me. May it prove well for both !-But note, my friend, Perchance he only meant to prove my mettle; I can but intimate my mystic story.
And it was but a trick of my bad fortune Some of it lies so secret, ---even the winds
That gave his letters ill interpretation. That whistle round us must not know the whole
Ay, but thy better angel wrought for good,
Whatever ill thy evil fate designed thee.
In the rough field for labour in the tent,
More fit for thy green years and peaceful habits. QUENTIN. I was an orphan boy, and first saw light
QUENTIN. Not far from where we stand--my lineage low,
Even there his well-meant kindness injured me. But honese in its poverty. A lord,
My comrades hated, undervalued me, The master of the soil for many a mile,
And whatsoe'er of service I could do them, Dreaded and powerful, took a kindly charge
They guerdon'd with ingratitude and envyFor my advance in letters, and the qualities
Such my strange doom, that if I serve a man Of the poor orphan lad drew some applause.
At deepest risk, he is my foe for ever! The kinght was proud of me, and, in his halls,
SERGEANT. I had such kind of welcome as the great
Hast thou worse fate than others if it were so? Give to the humble, whom they love to point to Worse even than me, thy friend, thine officer, As objects not unworthy their protection,
Whom yon ungrateful slaves have pitch'd ashore Whose progress is some honour to their patron As wild waves heap the sea-weed on the beach, A cure was spoken of, which I might serve,
And left him here, as if he had the pest
They think at least you have the worst of plagues, Was of the best, good friend. Few lords had cared The worst of leprosies,-they think you poor. If thou couldst read thy grammar or thy psalter. Thou hadst been valued couldst thou scour a harness, They think like lying villains then. I'm rich,
SERGEANT. And dress a steed distinctly.
And they too might have felt it. I've a thoughtQUENTIN.
But stay-what plans your wisdom for yourself? My old master Held different doctrine, at least it seem'd so But he was mix'd in many a deadly feud-
My thoughts are wellnigh desperate. But I purpose
Return to my stern patron--there to tell him
That wars, and winds, and waves, have cross'd his
pleasure, Of a dread secret, and the knowledge on't
And cast me on the shore from whence he banish'd Has wreck'd my peace for ever. It became My patron's will, that I, as one who knew More than I should, must leave the realm of Scot- Then let him do his will, and destine for me
A dungeon or a grave.
Now, by the rood, thou art a simple fool!
I can do better for thee. Mark me, Quentin,
I took my license from the noble regiment, As you wild Scotsmen call them.
Partly that I was worn with age and warfare,
Partly that an estate of yeomanry,
Of no great purchase, but enough to live on,
Has call'd me owner since a kinsman's death. I must not tell you more. Enough, my presence
It lies in merry Yorkshire, where the wealth Brought danger to my benefactor's house.
Of fold and furrow, proper to Old England, Tower after tower conceal'd me, willing still
Stretches by streams which walk no sluggish pace, To hide my ill-omen'd face with owls and ravens,t But dance as light as yours. Now, good friend And let my patron's safety be the purchase
Quentin, Of my severe and desolate captivity:
This copyhold can keep two quiet inmates, So thought I, when dark Arran, with its walls
And I am childless. Wilt thou be my son'? Of native rock, enclosed me. There I iurk'd,
QUENTIN. A peaceful stranger amid armed clans,
Nay, you can only jest, my worthy friend!
What claim have I to be a burden to you?
'The claim of him that wants, and is in danger, In that same legion of auxiliaries In which we lately served the Belgian.
On him that has, and can afford protection : Our leader, stout Montgomery, hath been kind
Thou wouldst not fear a foeinan in my cottage, Through full six years of warfare, and assign'd me
Where a stout mastiff slumber'd on the hearth, More peaceful tasks than the rough front of war,
And this good halberd hung above the chimney ? For which my education little suited me.
But come-I have it--thou shalt earn thy bread
+ [The MS. here adds :
"And then wild Arran with its d'rksome cleftia
I picided to take service in the lezion
Which lately has discharged us. Stout Montgomery,
Our colonel, hath been kind through five years'
Duly, and honourably, and usefully.
Ditlering in inanners, families, even language, 'Tis thou shall be promoted in his room ;
Seem'd a safe refuge for the humble wretch, And rather than thou wantest scholars, man, Whose highest hope was to remain unheard of. Myself will enter pupil. Better late,
But fate has baffled me-the winds and waves, Our proverb says, ihan never to do well.
With force resistless, have impellid me hitherAnd look you, on the holydays I'd tell
Have driven me to the clime most dang'rous to me;
'Tis false, by Heaven, young man! This same Would I might take thy offer! But, alas!
despair, Thou art the hermit who compellid a pilgrim, Though showing resignation in its banner, In name of Heaven and heavenly charity,
Is but a kind of covert cowardice. To share his roof and meal, but found too late Wise men have said, that though our stars incline, That he had drawn a curse on him and his,
They cannot force us--Wisdom is the pilot, By sheltering a wretch foredoom'd of heaven! And if he cannot cross, he may evade them.
You lend an ear to idle auguries,
The fruits of our last reves-still most sad
Under the gloom that follows boisterous mirth, QUENTIN.
As carth looks blackest after brilliant sunshine. If I do, "Tis that I am a riddle to myself.
QUENTIN. Thou know'st I am by nature born a friend No, by my honest word. I join'd the sevel, To glee and merriment; can make wild verses;
And aided it with laugh, and song, and shout, The jest or laugh has never stopp'd with me, But my heart revell'd not; and, when the mirth When once 'twas set a rolling.
Was at the loudest, on yon galliot's prow
I stood unmark'd, and gazed upon the land, SERGEANT.
My native land-cach cape and cliff I knew. I have known thee "Behold me now," I said,
your destined victim?" A blithe companion still, and wonder now
So greets the sentenced criminal the headsman, Thou shouldst become thus crest-fallen.
Who slow approaches with his lifted axe.
“Hither I come," I said, "ye kindred hills,
quired me; For other causes, I did veil my feelings
See me now here, ye winds, whose plaintive wall, Beneath the mask of mirth, -laugh’d, sung, and On yonder distani shores, appear'd to call me carollid,
Summond, behold me.' And the winds and waves To gain some interest in my comrades' bosoms,
And the deep echoes of the distant mountain Although mine own was bursting.
Made answer-“Come, and die!"
Fantastic all! Poor boy, thou art distracted Of a new order,
With the vain terrors of some feudal tyrant,
Why seek his presence ?
Il'herefore does the moth Look you, kind Hildebrand, I would seem merry, Fly to the scorching taper? Why the bird, Lest other men should, tiring of my sadness,
Dazzled by lights at midnight, seek the net? Expel me from them, as the hunted wether
Why does the prey, which feels the fascination Is driven from the flock.
of the snake's glaring eye, drop in his jaws ? SERGEANT.
SERGEANT. Faith, thou hast borne it bravely out.
Such wild examples but refute themselves. Had I been ask'd to name the merriest fellow Let bird, let moth, let the coil'd adder's prey, Of all our muster-roll--that man wert thou.
Resist the fascination and be safe.
Thou goest not near this Baron--if thou goest, QUENTIN. See'st thou, my friend, yon brook dance down the which he in a whole life of peity feud
I will go with thee. Known in many a field, valley, And sing blithe carcls over broken rock
Has never dream'd of, I will teach the knight
To rule bim in this matter-be thy warrant, And tiny waterfall, kissing each shrub And each gay flower it nurses in its passage,
That far from him, and from his petty lordship
, Where, think'st thou, is its source, the bonny Thy presence shall alarnı his conscience more.
You sball henceforth tread English land, and never brook ?It flows from forth a cavern, black and gloomy,
QUENTIN. Sullen and sunless, like this heart of mine,
'Twere desperate risk for both. I will far rather Which others see in a false glare of gayety, Hastily guide thee through this dangerous prosince Which I have laid before you in its sadness. And seek thy school, thy yew-trees, and thy church
yard ;-SERGEANT. If such wild fancies dog thee, wherefore leave
The last, perchance, will be the first I find. The trade where thou wert safe midst others dan
I would rather face him, And venture to thy native land, where fate Like a bold Englishman that knows his right, Lies on the watch for thee? Had old Montgomery And will stand by his friend. And yet 'tis follyBeen with the regiment, thou hadat had no congé. Fancies like these are not to be resisted;