O GREAT AND GALLANT SCOTT,|
TRUE GENTLEMAN, HEART, BLOOD AND BONE,
I WOULD IT HAD BEEN MY LOT
TO HAVE SEEN THEE, AND HEARD THEE, AND KNOWN.
SIR, do you see this dagger? nay, why do you start aside?
I was not going to stab you, tho’ I am the Bandit’s bride.
You have set a price on his head: I may claim it without a lie.
Sir, I was once a wife. I had one brief summer of bliss.
And he dragg’d me up there to his cave in the mountain, and there one day
For he reek’d with the blood of Piero; his kisses were red with his crime,
In a while I bore him a son, and he loved to dandle the child,
No, by the Mother of God, tho’ I think I hated him less,
Listen! we three were alone in the dell at the close of the clay.
Then on a sudden we saw your soldiers crossing the ridge,
By the great dead pine—you know it—and heard as we crouch’d below,
Black was the night when we crept away—not a star in the sky—
I whisper’d ‘give it to me,’ but he would not answer me—then
We return’d to his cave—the link was broken—he sobb’d and he wept,
Ay, till dawn stole into the cave, and a ray red as blood
Glared on at the murder’d son, and the murderous father at rest, . . .
He was loved at least by his dog: it was chain’d, but its horrible yell
Till I felt I could end myself too with the dagger—so deafen’d and dazed—
With the grief that gnaw’d at my heart, and the weight that dragg’d at my hand;
And the band will be scatter’d now their gallant captain is dead,
|1. ‘I have adopted Sir Walter Scott’s version of the following story as given in his last journal (Death of Il Bizarro)—but I have taken the liberty of making some slight alterations. [back]|