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Yet loves his sovereign to oppose,
More than to face his country's foes.
And, I bethink me, by Saint Stephen,
But e'en this morn to me was given
A prize, the first fruits of the war,
Ta'en by a galley from Dunbar,
A bevy of the maids of heaven.
Under your guard, these holy maids
Shall safe return to cloister shades,
And, while they at Tantallon stay,
Requiem for Cochran's soul may say."-
And, with the slaughtered favourite's name,
Across the Monarch's brow there came
A cloud of ire, remorse, and shame.
In answer nought could Angus speak ;
His proud heart swelled well nigh to break :
He turned aside, and down his cheek
A burning tear there stole.
His hand the Monarch sudden took ;
That sight his kind heart could not brook :
“ Now, by the Bruce's soul,
Angus, my hasty speech forgive !
For sure as doth his spirit live,
As he said of the Douglas old,
I well may say of you,-
That never king did subject hold,
In speech more free, in war more bold,
More tender, and more true : *
Forgive me, Douglas, once again.”—
And, while the King his hand did strain,
The old man's tears fell down like rain.
To seize the moment Marmion tried,
And whispered to the King aside :-
“ Oh! let such tears unwonted plead
For respite short from dubious deed!
* 0, Dowglas ! Dowglas !
Tendir and trew.
A child will weep a bramble's smart,
A maid to see her sparrow part,
A stripling for a woman's heart:
But woe awaits a country, when
She sees the tears of bearded men.
Then, oh! what omen, dark and high,
When Douglas wets his manly eye !"-
Displeased was James, that stranger viewed
And tampered with his changing mood.
“ Laugh those that can, weep those that may,"
Thus did the fiery Monarch say,
“ Southward I march by break of day;
And if within Tantallon strong,
The good Lord Marmion tarries long,
Perchance our meeting next may fall
At Tamworth, in his castle-hall.”—
The haughty Marmion felt the taunt,
And answered, grave, the royal vaunt:
“ Much honoured were my humble home, If in its halls King James should come ; But Nottingham has archers good, And Yorkshire men are stern of mood, Northumbrian prickers wild and rude. On Derby Hills the paths are steep; In Ouse and Tyne the fords are deep; And many a banner will be torn, And many a knight to earth be borne, * And many a gheaf of arrows spent, . Ere Scotland's King shall cross the Trent: Yet pause, brave prince, while yet you may."The Monarch lightly turned away, And to his nobles loud did call, “ Lords, to the dance,-a hall! a hall !” * Himself his cloak and sword flung by, And led Dame Heron gallantly; And minstrels, at the royal order, Rung out“ Blue Bonnets o'er the Border."
Leave we these revels now, to tell
What to Saint Hilda's maids befel,
Whose galley, as they sailed again
To Whitby, by a Scot was ta’en.
Now at Dun-Edin did they bide,
Till James should of their fate decide ;
And soon, by his command,
Were gently summoned to prepare
To journey under Marmion's care,
As escort honoured, safe, and fair,
Again to English land. The Abbess told her chaplet o’er, Nor knew which Saint she should implore ; For, when she thought of Constance, sore
She feared Lord Marmion's mood. And judge what Clara must have felt ! The sword, that hung in Marmion's belt,
Had drunk De Wilton's blood.