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From the sound of Teviot's tide,
The Ladye knew it well!
And he call'd on the Spirit of the Fell.
XV. Riven spinit. • Sleep'st thou, brother?» Mountain spin it. —w Brother, nay— On my hills the moon-beams play, From Craig-cross to Skelfhill-pen, By every rill, in every glen, Merry elves their morrice pacing, To aerial minstrelsy, Emerald rings on brown heath tracing, Trip it deft and merrily, Up, and mark their nimble feet! Up, and list their music sweet!
xvi. Riven spirit.
• Tears of an imprison'd maiden
Mix with my polluted stream; Margaret of Branksome, sorrow-laden,
Mourns beneath the moon's pale beam. Tell me, thou, who view'st the stars, When shall cease these feudal jars? What shall be the maiden's fate? Who shall be the maiden's mate?.
* Arthur's slow wain his course doth roll
But no kind influence deign they shower
On Teviot's tide, and Branksome's tower, Till pride be quell'd, and love be free."
xWiii. The unearthly voices ceased, And the heavy sound was still:— It died on the river's breast, It died on the side of the hill. But round Lord David's tower The sound still floated near; For it rung in the Ladye's bower, And it rung in the Ladye's ear. She raised her stately head, And her heart throbb'd high with pride:— “Your mountains shall bend, And your streams ascend, Ere Margaret be our foeman's bride!»
XIX. The Ladye sought the lofty hall, Where many a bold retainer lay,
And, with jocund din, among them all,
XX. The Ladye forgot her purpose high One moment—and no more; One moment gazed with a mother's eye, As she paused at the arched door: Then, from amid the armed train, She call'd to her William of Deloraine. (15)
xxi. A stark moss-trooping Scott was he, As e'er couch'd Border lance by knee: Through Solway sands, through Tarrass moss, Blindfold he knew the paths to cross; By wily turns, by desperate bounds, Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds; (16) In Eske, or Liddel, fords were none, But he would ride them, one by one; Alike to him was time or tide, December's snow, or July's pride; Alike to him was tide or time, Moonless midnight, or matin prime: Steady of heart and stout of hand, As ever drove prey from Cumberland; Five times outlawed had he been, By England's king and Scotland's queen.
• Sir William of Deloraine, good at need,
Say, that the fated hour is come,
To win the treasure of the tomb : For this will be St Michael's night, And, though stars be dim, the moon is bright; And the cross, of bloody red, Will point to the grave of the Mighty Dead.
xxiv. •0 swiftly can speed my dapple-gray steed, Which drinks of the Teviot clear ! Ere break of day,” the warrior 'gan say, • Again will I be here: And safer by none may thy errand be done, Than, noble dame, by me; Letter nor line know I never a one, Were 't my neck-verse at Hairibee.”
xxW. Soon in his saddle sate he fast, And soon the steep descent he past, Soon cross'd the sounding barbican,” And soon the Teviot side he won. Eastward the wooded path he rode, Green hazels o'er his basnet nod; He pass'd the Peel3 of Goldiland, And cross'd old Borthwick's roaring strand; Dimly he view'd the Moat-hill's mound, (17) Where Druid shades still flitted round: In Hawick twinkled many a light; Behind him soon they set in night; And soon he spurr'd his courser keen, Beneath the tower of Hazeldean. (18)
The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark;• Stand, ho! thou courier of the dark.” • For Branksome, ho!» the knight rejoin'd, And left the friendly tower behind. He turn'd him now from Teviot side
And, guided by the tinkling rill,
And gain'd the moor at Horsliehill;
xxvii. A moment now he slack'd his speed, A moment breathed his panting steed, Drew saddle-girth and corslet band, And loosen'd in the sheath his brand. On Minto-crags the moon-beams glint, (19) Where Barnhill hew'd his bed of flint; Who flung his outlaw'd limbs to rest Where falcons hang their giddy nest, Mid cliffs from whence his eagle eye . For many a league his prey could spy; Cliffs, doubling, on their echoes borne, The terrors of the robber's horn; Cliffs which, for many a later year, The warbling Doric reed shall hear, When some sad swain shall teach the grove Ambition is no cure for love!
Down from the lakes did raving come,
XXIX. At the first plunge the horse sunk low, And the I water broke o'er the saddle-bow; Above the foaming tide, I ween, Scarce half the charger's neck was seen; For he was barded" from counter to tail, And the rider was arm'd complete in mail: Never heavier man and horse Stemm'd a miduight torrent's force. The warrior's very plume, I say, Was daggled by the dashing spray; Yet, through good heart and Our Ladye's grace, At length he gain'd the landing-place.
Now Bowden Moor the march-man won,
And sternly shook his plumed head, As glanced his eye o'er Halidon;” (21)
For on his soul the slaughter red Of that unhallow'd morn arose, When first the Scott and Car were foes; When royal James beheld the fray Prize to the victor of the day; When Home and Douglas, in the van, Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan, Till gallant Cessford's heart-blood dear Reek'd on dark Elliot's Border spear.
XXXi. In bitter mood he spurred fast, And soon the hated heath was past; And far beneath, in lustre wan, Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran: (22) Like some tall rock, with lichens gray, Rose, dimly huge, the dark abbaye. when Hawick he pass'd, had curfew rung, Now midnight lauds” were in Melrose sung. The sound upon the fitful gale, In solemn wise did rise and fail, Like that wild harp, whose magic tone Is waken'd by the winds alone. But when Melrose he reach'd, 't was silence all; He meetly stabled his steed in stall, And sought the convent's lonely wall.
The duchess, and her daughters fair, And every gentle ladye there, Each after each, in due degree, Gave praises to his melody; His hand was true, his voice was clear, And much they long'd the rest to hear. Encouraged thus, the aged man, After meet rest, again began.
- I. If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moon-light; For the gay beams of lightsome day Gild but to flout the ruins gray. When the broken arches are black in night, And each shafted oriel glimmers white; When the cold light's uncertain shower Streams on the ruin’d central tower; When buttress and buttress alternately Seem framed of ebon and ivory; When silver edges the imagery,’ And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die; (1) When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave; Then go—but go alone the while— Then view St David's ruin'd pile; (2) And, home returning, soothly swear, Was never scene so sad and fair!
Short halt did Deloraine make there;
To fence the rights of fair Melrose;
Had gifted the shrine for their souls repose. (3)
III. Bold Deloraine his errand said ; The porter bent his humble head; With torch in hand, and feet unshod, And noiseless step, the path he trod: The arched cloisters far and wide Rang to the warrior's clanking stride; Till, stooping low his lofty crest, Ile enter'd the cell of the ancient priest, And lifted his barred aventayle,' To hail the Monk of St Mary's aisle.
IV. “The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me;
Says, that the fated hour is come,
'Aventayle, visor of the helmet.
And that to-night I shall watch with thee, To win the treasure of the tomb.”
From sackcloth couch the monk arose, With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd;
A hundred years had flung their snows On his thin locks and floating beard.
And strangely on the knight look'd he,
And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide; “And darest thou, warrior, seek to see
What heaven and hell alike would hide : My breast, in belt of iron pent,
With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn,
My knees those flinty stones have worn;
In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,
Then, daring warrior, follow me!»
“Penance, father, will I none;
Again on the knight look'd the churchman old,
And again he sighed heavily;
And fought in Spain and Italy.
Now slow and faint he led the way,
WIII. Spreading herbs and flowerets bright Glisten'd with the dew of night; Nor herb nor floweret glistend there, But was carved in the cloister'd arches as fair. The monk gazed long on the lovely moon, Then into the night he looked forth; And red and bright the streamers light Were dancing in the glowing north. So had he seen, in fair Castile, The youth in glittering squadrons start; Sudden the flying jennet wheel, And hurl the unexpected dart. (6) He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright, That spirits were riding the northern light.
IX. By a steel-clenched postern door, They enter'd now the chancel tall; The darken'd roof rose high aloof On pillars, lofty, and light, and small:
The key-stone, that lock'd each ribbed aisle,
Full many a scutcheon and banner, riven,
Around the screened altar's pale;
And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale! (8) Ofading honours of the dead : 0 high ambition, lowly laid!
xi. The moon on the east oriel shone (9) Through slender shafts of shapely stone, By foliaged tracery combined; Thou wouldst have thought some fairy's hand Twixt poplars straight the ozier wand, In many a freakish knot, had twined; Then framed a spell, when the work was done, And changed the willow-wreaths to stone. The silver light so pale and faint, Show'd many a prophet, and many a saint, Whose image on the glass was dyed; Full in the midst his cross of red Triumphant Michael brandished, And trampled the Apostate's pride. The moon-beam kiss'd the holy pane, And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.
They sate them down on a marble stone,
A Scottish monarch slept below; (1 o' Thus spoke the monk, in solemn tone—
• I was not always a man of woe; For Paynim countries I have trod, And fought beneath the cross of God: Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear, And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.
• In these far climes, it was my lot
A wizard of such dreaded fame,
The bells would ring in Notre Dame! (13) Some of his skill he taught to me; And, warrior, I could say to thee The words that cleft Eildon hills in three, And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone: (14) But to speak them were a deadly sin; And for having but thought them my heart within, A treble penance must be done.
xiv. • When Michael lay on his dying bed, His conscience was awakened;
" Carkets, the projections from which the arches spring, usually * is a faatasue face, or mask.
With beating heart to the task he went;
And, issuing from the tomb,
And kiss'd his waving plume.
Before their eyes the wizard lay,
Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea; His left hand held his book of might; A silver cross was in his right;
The lamp was placed beside his knee : High and majestic was his look, At which the fellest fiends had shook, And all unruffled was his face; They trusted his soul had gotten grace.
Often had William of Deloraine
And neither known remorse nor awe;
When this strange scene of death he saw. Bewilder'd and unnerved he stood, And the priest pray'd fervently and loud: With eyes averted prayed he; He might not endure the sight to see Of the man he had loved so brotherly.
XXI. And when the priest his death-prayer had pray'd, Thus unto Deloraine he said:— • Now speed thee what thou hast to do, Or, warrior, we may dearly rue; For those, thou mayst not look upon, Are gathering fast round the yawning stone!»— Then Deloraine, in terror, took From the cold hand the mighty book, With iron clasp'd, and with iron bound: He thought, as he took it, the dead man frown'd; (16) But the glare of the sepulchral light, Perchance, had dazzled the warrior's sight.
xxii. When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb, The night return'd in double gloom, For the moon had gone down, and the stars were few; And as the knight and priest withdrew, With wavering steps and dizzy brain, They hardly might the postern gain. T is said, as through the aisles they past, They heard strange noises on the blast; And through the cloister-galleries small, Which at mid-height thread the chancel wall, Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran, And voices unlike the voice of man; As if the fiends kept holiday, Because these spells were brought to day. I cannot tell how the truth may be; I say the tale as 't was said to me.
XXIII. « Now hie thee hence,” the father said, • And when we are on death-bed laid, O may Our dear Ladye, and sweet St John, Forgive our souls for the deed we have done!"
' A mountain on the border of England, above Jedburgh.
The monk return'd him to his cell,
xxiv. The knight breathed free in the morning wind, And strove his hardihood to find : He was glad when he pass'd the tomb-stones gray, Which girdle round the fair abbaye; For the mystic book, to his bosom press'd, Felt like a load upon his breast; And his joints, with nerves of iron twined, Shook, like the aspen leaves in wind. Full fain was he when the dawn of day Began to brighten Cheviot gray; He joy'd to see the cheerful light, And he said Ave Mary as well as he might.
XXV. The sun had brighten’d Cheviot gray, The sun had brighten'd the Carter's side, And soon beneath the rising day Smiled Branksome towers and Teviot tide. The wild birds told their warbling tale, And waken'd every flower that blows; And peeped forth the violet pale, And spread her breast the mountain-rose; And lovelier than the rose so red, Yet paler than the violet pale, She early left her sleepless bed, The fairest maid of Teviotdale.
xxvi. Why does fair Margaret so early awake, And don her kirtle so hastilie: And the silken knots, which in hurry she would make, Why tremble her slender fingers to tie; Why does she stop, and look often around, As she glides down the secret stair; And why does she pat the shaggy blood-hound, As he rouses him up from his lair; And though she passes the postern alone, Why is not the watchman's bugle blown
The ladye steps in doubt and dread,
XXVIII. The knight and ladye fair are met, And under the hawthorn's boughs are set. A fairer pair were never seen To meet beneath the hawthorn green.