Ten thousand slaves like thee?
NORVAL. Villain, no more: 380 Draw and defend thy life. I did design
To have defied thee in another cause:
But heaven accelerates its vengeance on thee. Now for my own and Lady Randolph's wrongs.
Enter LORD RANDOLPH.
LORD R. Hold, I command you both. The man that stirs 385 Makes me his foe.
NORVAL. Another voice than thine
That threat had vainly sounded, noble Randolph.
GLEN. Hear him, my lord; he's wondrous con-descending!
Mark the humility of shepherd Norval!
NORVAL. Now you may scoff in safety.
(Sheathes his sword.)
LORD R. Speak not thus, 390 Taunting each other; but unfold to me The cause of quarrel, then I judge betwixt you.
NORVAL. Nay, my good lord, though I revere you
My cause I plead not, nor demand your judgment.
I blush to speak; I will not, cannot speak 395 Th' opprobrious words that I from him have borne. To the liege-lord of my dear native land
I owe a subject's homage; but ev'n him
And his high arbitration I'd reject.
Within my bosom reigns another lord; 400 Honor, sole judge and umpire of itself. If my free speech offend you, noble Randolph,
Revoke your favors, and let Norval go
Hence as he came, alone, but not dishonored.
LORD R. Thus far I'll mediate with impartial voice: 405 The ancient foe of Caledonia's land
Now waves his banners o'er her frighted fields.
Suspend your purpose, till your country's arms
Repel the bold invader; then decide
The private quarrel.
GLEN. I agree to this. 410
NORVAL. And I.
SERV. The banquet waits.
LORD R. We come.
Exit [ LORD] RANDOLPH [with Servant].
Let not our variance mar the social hour,
Nor wrong the hospitality of Randolph.
Nor frowning anger, nor yet wrinkled hate,
Shall stain my countenance. Smooth thou thy 415 brow; Nor let our strife disturb the gentle dame.
NORVAL. Think not so lightly, sir, of my resentment:
When we contend again, our strife is mortal.
DOUGLAS. This is the place, the center of the
Here stands the oak, the monarch of the wood.
How sweet and solemn is this midnight-scene!
The silver moon, unclouded, holds her way
Through skies where I could count each little star. 5 The fanning west wind scarcely stirs the leaves; The river, rushing o'er its pebbled bed,
Imposes silence with a stilly sound.
In such a place as this, at such an hour,
If ancestry can be in aught believed,210 Descending spirits have conversed with man, And told the secrets of the world unknown.
Enter OLD NORVAL.
OLD NORVAL. 'Tis he. But what if he should
chide me hence?
His just reproach I fear.
(DOUGLAS turns and sees him.)
Can'st thou forgive the man, the selfish man, 15 Who bred Sir Malcolm's heir a shepherd's son?
DOUGLAS. Kneel not to me: thou art my father
Thy wished-for presence now completes my joy.
Welcome to me, my fortunes thou shalt share,
And ever honored with thy Douglas live. 20
OLD NORVAL. And dost thou call me father? O
I think that I could die to make amends
For the great wrong I did thee. 'Twas my crime
Which in the wilderness so long concealed
The blossom of thy youth.
DOUGLAS. Not worse the fruit, 25 That in the wilderness the blossom blowed.
Amongst the shepherds, in the humble cote,
I learned some lessons, which I'll not forget
When I inhabit yonder lofty towers.
I, who was once a swain, will ever prove 30 The poor man's friend; and, when my vassals bow, Norval shall smooth the crested pride of Douglas.
OLD NORVAL. Let me but live to see thine exalta-tion!
Yet grievous are my fears, O leave this place,
And those unfriendly towers.