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He was stately, and young, and tall,
And now, fair dames, methinks I see
To paint his faithful passion strove;
But never, never, cease to love; And how she blush'd, and how she sigh'd, And, half consenting, half denied, And said that she would die a maid;— Yet, might the bloody feud be stay’d, Henry of Cranstoun, and only he, Margaret of Branksome's choice should be.
xxx. Alas' fair dames, your hopes are vain! My harp has lost the enchanting strain; Its lightness would my age reprove: My hairs are gray, my limbs are old, My heart is dead, my veins are cold : I may not, must not, sing of love.
xxxi. Beneath an oak, moss'd o'er by eld, The baron's Dwarf his courser held, (17) And held his crested helm and spear: That Dwarf was scarcely an earthly man, lf the tales were true that of him ran Through all the Border, far and near. T was said, when the baron a-hunting rode Through tiedesdale's glens, but rarely trod, He heard a voice cry, - Lost! lost! lost!" And, like tennis-ball by racquet toss'd, A leap of thirty feet and three, Made from the gorse this clfin shape, Distorted like some dwarfish ape, And lighted at Lord Cranstoun's knee. Lord Cranstoun was some whit dismay’d; T is said that five good miles he rade, To rid him of his company; But where he rode one mile, the Dwarf ran four, And the Dwarf was first at the castle door.
XXxii. Use lessens unarvel, it is said: This eitish Dwarf with the baron staid; Little he ate, and less he spoke, Normingled with the menial flock: And of apart his arms he toss'd, And often mutter'd, a Lost! lost! lost!"
He was waspish, arch, and litherlie,
But well Lord Cranstoun served he And he of his service was full fain; For once he had been ta'en or slain,
An it had not been his ministry. All between Home and Hermitage Talk'd of Lord Cranstoun's goblin-page.
MXXIII. For the baron went on pilgrimage, And took with him this elvish page, To Mary's chapel of the Lowes: For there, beside Our Lady's lake, An offering he had sworn to make, And he would pay his vows. But the Ladye of Branksome gather'd a band Of the best that would ride at her command ; (18) The trysting-place was Newark Lee. Wat of Harden came thither amain, And thither came John of Thirlestame, And thither came William of Deloraine; They were three hundred spears and three. Through Douglas-burn, up Yarrow stream, Their horses prince, their lances gleam. They came to St Mary's lake ere day; But the chapel was void, and the baron away. They burn'd the chapel for very rage, And cursed Lord Cranstoun's goblin-page.
XXXIV. And now, in Branksome's good green-wood, As under the aged oak he stood, The baron's courser pricks his ears, As if a distant noise he hears; The Dwarf waves his long lean arm on high, And signs to the lovers to part aud sly; No time was then to vow or sigh. Fair Margaret, through the hazel grove, Flew like the startled cushat-dove: 1 The Dwarf the stirrup held, and rein; Vaulted the knight on his steed amain, And, pondering deep that morning's scene, Rode eastward through the hawthorns green.
While thus he pour'd the lengthen'd tale, The Minstrel's voice began to fail: Full slyly smiled the observant page, And gave the wither'd hand of age A goblet, crown'd with mighty wine, The blood of Velez' scorched vine. He raised the silver cup on high, And, while the big drop fill'd his eye, Pray'd God to bless the duchess long, And all who cheer'd a son of song. The attending maidens smiled to see Ilow long, how deep, how zealously, The precious juice the Minstrel quaffd; And he, embolden'd by the draught, Look'd taily back to them, and laugh’d. The cordial nectar of the bowl Swell'd his old veins, and cheer'd his soul; A lighter, livelier prelude ran, Ere thus his tale again began.
And said I that my limbs were old;
ii. In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed; In war, he mounts the warrior's steed ; ln halls, in gay attire is seen; ln hamlets, dances on the green. Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, And men below, and saints above; For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
iii. So thought Lord Cranstoun, as 1 ween, While, pondering deep the tender scene, He rode through Branksome's hawthorn green. But the page shouted wild and shrill— And scarce his helmet could he don, When downward from the shady hill A stately knight came pricking on. That warrior's steed, so dapple-gray, Was dark with sweat, and splash'd with clay; His armour red with many a stain : He seem'd in such a weary plight, As if he had ridden the liveiong night; For it was William of Deloraine.
But no whit weary did he seem,
That mark'd the foenen's feudal hate,
Gave signal soon of dire debate.
In rapid round the baron bent;
He sigh’d a sigh, and pray'd a prayer; The prayer was to his patron saint,
The sigh was to his ladye fair. Stout Deloraine nor sigh’d nor pray'd, Nor saint nor ladye call'd to aid; But he stoop'd his head, and couch'd his spear, And spurr'd his steed to full career. The meeting of these champions proud Seem'd like the bursting thunder-cloud.
WI. Stern was the dint the Borderer lent; The stately baron backwards bent; Bent backwards to his horse's tail, And his plumes went scattering on the gale; The tough ash spear, so stout and true, Into a thousand flinders flew. But Cranstoun's lance, of more avail, Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's mail; Through shield, and jack, and acton past, Deep in his bosom broke at last.— Still sate the warrior saddle-fast, Till, stumbling in the mortal shock, Down went the steed, the girthing broke, Hurl’d on a heap lay man and horse. The baron onward pass'd his course; Nor knew—so giddy roll'd his brain– His foe lay stretch'd upon the plain.
And youth seem age, and age seem youth— All was delusion, nought was truth.
X. He had not read another spell, When on his cheek a buffet fell, So fierce, it stretch'd him on the plain, Beside the wounded Deloraine. From the ground he rose dismay’d, And shook his huge and matted head; One word be mutter'd, and no more— a Man of age, thou smitest sore!" No more the elfin page durst try Into the wond rous book to pry; The clasps, though smear'd with Christian gore, Shut faster than they were before, He hid it underneath his cloak.Now, if you ask who gave the stroke, I cannot tell, so mot I thrive; It was not given by man alive. (4)
XI. Unwillingly himself he address'd To do his inaster's high behest : He lifted up the living corse, And laid it on the weary horse; He led him into Branksome-hall, Before the beards of the warders all; And each did after swear and say, There only pass'd a wain of hay. He took him to Lord David's tower, Even to the Ladye's secret bower; And, but that stronger spells were spread, And the door might not be opened, He had laid him on her very bed. Whate'er he did of gramarye,' Was always done maliciously; He flung the warrior on the ground, And the blood well'd freshly from the wound.
The woodland brook he bounding cross'd, And laugh'd, and shouted a Lost! lost! lost!"
XIV. Full sore amazed at the wond’rous change, And frighten'd, as a child might be, At the wild yell and visage strange, And the dark words of gramarye, The child, amidst the forest bower, Stood rooted like a lily flower, And when at length, with trembling pace, He sought to find where Branksome lay, He fear'd to see that grisly face Glare from some thicket on his way. Thus, starting oft, he journey'd on, And deeper in the wood is gone,— For aye the more he sought his way, The farther still he went astray,+ Until he heard the mountains round Ring to the baying of a hound. XW. t And hark! and hark! the deep-mouth'd bark Comes nigher still, and nigher; Bursts on the path a dark blood-hound, Ilis tawny muzzle track'd the ground, And his red eye shot fire. Soon as the wilder'd child saw he, He flew at him right furiouslie. I ween you would have seen with joy The bearing of the gallant boy, When, worthy of his noble sire, His wet check glow'd 'twixt fear and ire' He faced the blood-hound manfully, And held his little bat on high ; So fierce he struck, the dog, afraid, At cautious distance hoarsely bay'd, But still in act to spring, When dash'd an archer through the glade, And when he saw the hound was stay'd, He drew his tough bow-string; But a rough voice cried, - Shoot not, hoy! Ho! shoot not, Edward—"t is a boy!"
XVI. The speaker issued from the wood, And check'd his fellow's surly mood, And quell'd the ban-dog's ire: He was an English yeoman good, And born in Lancashire. Well could he hit a fallow-deer Five hundred feet him fro; with hand more true, and eye more clear, No archer bended bow. His coal-black hair, shorn round and close, Set off his sunburnt face; Old England's sign, St George's cross, His barret-cap did grace; His bugle-horn hung by his side, All in a wolf-skin baldric tied; And his short falchion, sharp and clear, had pierced the throat of many a decr.
XWii. His kirtle, made of forest green, Reach'd scantly to his knee;
And, at his belt, of arrows keen
And the leash, that was his blood-hound's band.
XVIII. He would not do the fair child harm, But held him with his powerful arm, That he might neither fight nor slee; For when the red cross spied he, The boy strove long and violently. • Now, by St George,” the archer cries, • Edward, methinks we have a prize! This boy's fair face, and courage free, Show he is come of high degree."
* Yes! I am come of high degree,
For I am the heir of bold Buccleuch; And if thou dost not set me free,
False southron, thou shalt dearly rue! For Walter of Harden shall come with speed, And William of Deloraine, good at need, And cvery Scott from Esk to Tweed; And, if thou dost not let me go, Despite thy arrows and thy bow, I'll have thee hang'd to feed the crow!,
• Gramercy, for thy good will, fair boy!
Our wardens had need to keep good order: My bow of yew to a hazel wand,
Thou It make them work upon the Border. Meantime, be pleased to come with me, For good Lord Dacre shalt thou see: I think our work is well begun, When we have taken thy father's son.”—
XXI. Although the child was led away, In Branksome still he seem'd to stay, For so the Dwarf his part did play; And, in the shape of that young boy, He wrought the castle much annoy. The comrades of the young Buccleuch He pinch'd, and beat, and overthrew; Nay, some of them he well nigh slew. Ile tore Dame Maudlin's silken tire, And, as Sym Ilall stood by the fire, He lighted the match of his bandelier," And woefully scorch'd the hackbutteer.” It may be hardly thought or said, The mischief that the urchin made, Till many of the castle guess'd That the young baron was possess'd
• Bandelier, belt for carrying ammunition. * Hackbusteer, musketeer.
Well I ween, the charm he held
On the stone threshold stretch'd along; She thought some spirit of the sky
Had done the bold moss-trooper wrong; Because, despite her precept dread, Perchance he in the book had read; But the broken lance in his bosom stood, And it was earthly steel and wood.
XXIII. She drew the splinter from the wound, And with a charm she staunch'd the blood; (7) She bade the gash be cleansed and bound: No longer by his couch she stood; But she has ta'en the broken lance, And wash’d it from the clotted gore, And salved the splinter o'er and o'er. (8) William of Deloraine, in trance, Whene'er she turn'd it round and round, Twisted as if she gall'd his wound. Then to her maidens she did say, That he should be whole man and sound, Within the course of a night and day. Full long she toil'd; for she did rue Mishap to friend so stout and true.
XXIV. So pass'd the day—the evening fell. 'T was near the time of curfew bell; The air was mild, the wind was calm, The stream was smooth, the dew was balm; Een the rude watchman, on the tower, Enjoy'd and bless'd the lovely hour; Far more fair Margaret loved and bless'd The hour of silence and of rest. On the high turret sitting lone, She waked at times the lute's soft tone; Touch'd a wild note, and, all between, Thought of the bower of hawthorns green. Her golden hair stream'd free from band, Her fair cheek rested on her hand, Her blue eyes sought the west afar, For lovers love the western star.
XXV. Is yon the star, o'er Penchryst Pen, That rises slowly to her ken, And, spreading broad its wavering light, Shakes its loose tresses on the night? Is yon red glare the western star?— O, "t is the beacon-blaze of war! Scarce could she draw her tighten’d breath, For well she knew the fire of death !
XXVI. The warder view'd it blazing strong, And blew his war-note loud and long, Till, at the high and haughty sound, Rock, wood, and river, rang around. The blast alarm'd the festal hall, And startled forth the warriors all;
Far downward, in the castle-yard,
The seneschal, whose silver hair was redden'd by the torches' glare, Stood in the midst, with gesture proud, And issued forth his mandates loud.— • On Penchryst glows a bale of fire, And three are kindling on Priesthaugh-swire; (9)
Ride out, ride out,
The foe to scout!
That ever are true and stout.—
xxviii. Fair Margaret, from the turret-head, Heard, far below, the coursers' tread, While loud the harness rang, As to their seats, with clamour dread, The ready horsemen sprang; And trampling hoofs, and iron coats, And leaders' voices, mingled notes, And out! and out! In hasty route, The horsemen gallop'd forth; Dispersing to the south to scout, And east, and west, and north, To view their coming enemies, And warn their vassals and allies.
The ready page, with hurried hand, Awaked the need-fire's slumbering brand,
And ruddy blush'd the heaven; For a sheet of flame, from the turret high, Waved like a blood-flag on the sky,
All flaring and uneven. And soon a score of fires, I ween, From height, and hill, and cliff, were seen; Each with warlike tidings fraught; Each from each the signal caught; Each after each they glanced to sight, As stars arise upon the night. They gleam'd on many a dusky tarn," Haunted by the lonely earn ;3 On many a cairn's" gray pyramid, Where urns of mighty chiefs lie hid; (11) Till high Dunedin the blazes saw, From Soltra and Dumpender Law;
* Pale, beacon-fagot. * Moot for Branksome was the gathering word of the Scotts. * Meet-fire, beacon.
* Tarn, a mountain lake.
* Earn, a Scottish eagle. | cairn, a pile of stones.
And Lothian heard the regent's order,
The livelong night in Branksome rang
The ceaseless sound of steel;
Sent forth the larum peal;
The noble dame, amid the broil,
Some said, that there were thousands ten, And others ween'd that it was nought
But Leven Clans, or Tynedale men,
Might drive them lightly back agen.
Crased the high sound—the listening throng Applaud the master of the song; And marvel much, in helpless age, So hard should be his pilgrimage. Had he no friend—no daughter dear, His wandering toil to share and cheer; No son, to be his father's stay, And guide him on the rugged way? • Ay, once he had—but he was dead!"— Upon the harp he stoop'd his head, And busied himself the strings withal, To hide the tear that fain would fall. In solemn measure, soft and slow, Arose a father's notes of woe.
I. Sweet Teviot! on thy silver tide The glaring bale-fires blaze no more; No longer steel-clad warriors ride Along thy wild and willow'd shore; Where'er thou wind'st, by dale or hill, All, all is peaceful, all is still,
* Borne, make ready. * Protection-money exacted by freebooters.