BY JOHN HOME
The court of a castle surrounded with woods.
Enter LADY RANDOLPH.
[LADY R.] Ye woods and wilds, whose melan-choly gloom
Accords with my soul's sadness, and draws forth
The voice of sorrow from my bursting heart,
Farewell a while: I will not leave you long;
For in your shades I deem some spirit dwells, 5 Who from the chiding stream, or groaning oak, Still hears and answers to Matilda's moan.
O Douglas! Douglas! if departed ghosts
Are e'er permitted to review this world,
Within the circle of that wood thou art, 10 And with the passion of immortals hear'st My lamentation: hear'st thy wretched wife
Weep for her husband slain, her infant lost.
My brother's timeless1 death I seem to mourn,
Who perished with thee on this fatal day. 15 To thee I lift my voice; to thee address The plaint which mortal ear has never heard.
O disregard me not; though I am called
Another's now, my heart is wholly thine.
Incapable of change, affection lies 20 Buried, my Douglas, in thy bloody grave. -- But Randolph comes, whom fate has made my lord,
To chide my anguish, and defraud the dead.
Enter LORD RANDOLPH.
[LORD R.] Again these weeds of woe! Say, dost thou well
To feed a passion which consumes thy life? 25 The living claim some duty; vainly thou
Bestow'st thy cares upon the silent dead.
LADY R. Silent, alas! is he for whom I mourn:
Childless, without memorial of his name,
He only now in my remembrance lives. 30 ((This fatal day stirs my time-settled sorrow -- Troubles afresh the fountain of my heart.))
LORD R. ((When was it pure of sadness! These
Express the wonted color of thy mind,
Forever dark and dismal. Seven long years 35 Are passed, since we were joined by sacred ties: Clouds, all the while, have hung upon thy brow,
Nor broke, nor parted by one gleam of joy.))
Time, that wears out the trace of deepest anguish,
((As the sea smooths the prints made in the sand,)) 40
Has passed o'er thee in vain.
((LADY R. If time to come
Should prove as ineffectual, yet, my lord,
Thou canst not blame me. When our Scottish
Vied with each other for my luckless love,
Oft I besought them, I implored them all 45 Not to assail me with my father's aid, Nor blend their better destiny with mine.
For melancholy had congealed my blood,
And froze affection in my chilly breast.
At last my sire, roused with the base attempt 50 To force me from him, which thou rend'redst vain, To his own daughter bowed his hoary head,
Besought me to commiserate his age,
And vowed he should not, could not, die in peace,
Unless he saw me wedded, and secured 55 From violence and outrage. Then, my lord! In my extreme distress I called on thee,
Thee I bespake, professed my strong desire
To lead a single, solitary life,
And begged thy nobleness, not to demand 60 Her for a wife whose heart was dead to love. How thou persisted'st after this, thou know'st,
And must confess that I am not unjust,
Nor more to thee than to myself injurious.))
LORD R. ((That I confess; yet ever must regret 65 The grief I cannot cure.)) Would thou wert not
Composed of grief and tenderness alone,
((But hadst a spark of other passions in thee,
Pride, anger, vanity, the strong desire
Of admiration, dear to womankind; 70 These might contend with, and allay thy grief, As meeting tides and currents smooth our firth.2))
((LADY R. To such a cause the human mind oft
Its transient calm, a calm I envy not.))
LORD R. Sure thou art not the daughter of Sir
Malcolm: 75 Strong was his rage, eternal his resentment: For when thy brother fell, he smiled to hear
That Douglas' son in the same field was slain.
LADY R. Oh! rake not up the ashes of my fathers:
Implacable resentment was their crime, 80