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xix. • For such like need, my lord, I trow, Norham can find you guides enow; For here be some have prick'd as far, On Scottish ground, as to Dunbar; Have drunk the monks of St Bothan's ale, And driven the beeves of Lauderdale; Harried the wives of Greenlaw's goods, And given them light to set their hoods.” (14)
xv. • Now, in good sooth,” Lord Marmion cried, • Were I in warlike-wise to ride, A better guard I would not lack Than your stout forayers at my back : But as in form of peace I go, A friendly messenger, to know Why through all Scotland near and far, Their king is mustering troops of war; The sight of plundering Border spears Might justify suspicious fears, And deadly feud, or thirst for spoil, Break out in some unseemly broil: A herald were my fitting guide, Or friar, sworn in peace to bide; Or pardoner, or travelling priest, Or strolling pilgrim at the least.”—
xxi. The captain mused a little space, And pass'd his hand across his face. —a Fain would I find the guide you want, But ill may spare a pursuivant, The only men that safe can ride Mine errands on the Scottish side : And though a bishop built this fort, Few holy brethren here resort; Even our good chaplain, as I ween, Since our last siege we have not seen: The mass he might not sing or say, Upon one stinted meal a-day; So, safe he sat in Durham aisle, And pray'd for our success the while. Our Norman vicar, woe betide, Is all too well in case to ride. The priest of Shoreswood (15)—he could rein The wildest war-horse in your train; But then, no spearman in the hall. Will sooner swear, or stab, or brawl. Friar John of Tillmouth were the man; A blithesome brother at the can, A welcome guest in hall and bower, He knows each castle, town, and tower, In which the wine and ale are good, "Twixt Newcastle and Holyrood. But that good man, as ill befals, Hath seldom left our castle walls, Since, on the vigil of St Bede, In evil hour he cross'd the Tweed, To teach dame Alison her creed, Old Bughtrig found him with his wife, And John, an enemy to strife, Sans frock and hood, fled for liis life. The jealous churl hath deeply swore, That, if again he venture o'er,
He shall shrieve penitent no more.
xxii. Young Selby, at the fair hall-board Carved to his uncle and that lord, And reverently took up the word. • Kind uncle, woe were we each one, If harm should hap to brother John. He is a man of mirthful speech, Can many a game and gambol teach : Full well at tables can be play, And sweep, at bowls, the stake away. None can a lustier carol bawl; The need fullest among us all, When time hangs heavy in the hall, And snow comes thick at Christmas tide. And we can neither hunt, nor ride A foray on the Scottish side. The vow'd revenge of Bughtrig rude May end in worse than loss of hood. Let Friar John, in safety, still In chimney-corner snore his fill, Roast hissing crabs, or slagons swill. Last night to Norham there came one Will better guide Lord Marmion. -- Nephew," quoth Heron, a by my fay, Well hast thou spoke; say forth thy say.”—
• Here is a holy Palmer come,
And of that grot where olives nod,
St Rosalie retired to God. (16)
XXIV. “To stout St George of Norwich merry, St Thomas, too, of Canterbury, Cuthbert of Durham, and St Bede, For his sins pardon hall, he pray'd. He knows the passes of the north, And seeks far shrines beyond the Forth, Little he eats, and long will wake, And drinks but of the stream or lake. This were a guide o'er moor and dale: But, when our John hath quaff'd his ale, As little as the wind that blows, And warms itself against his nose, hens he, or carcs, which way he goes.”—
XXV. • Gramercy's quoth Lord Marmion, a full loth were I that Friar John, That venerable man, for me Were placed in fear or jeopardy. If this same Palmer will me lead From hence to Holyrood, Like his good saint l'll pay his meed, Instead of cockle-shell or bead, With angels fair and good. I love such holy ramblers; still They know to charm a weary hill, With song, romance, or lay: Some jovial tale, or glee, or jest, Some lying legend, at the least, They bring to cheer the way. a
xxvi. *Ah! noble sir, w young Selby said, And finger on his lip he laid, * This man knows much, perchance e'en more Than he could learn by holy lore. Still to himself he's muttering, And shrinks as at some unseen thing. Last night we listen’d at his cell; Strange sounds we heard, and, sooth to tell, He murmur'd on till morn, howe'er No living mortal could be near. Sometimes I thought I heard it plain, As other voices spoke again. I cannot tell—l like it not— Friar John hath told us it is wrote, No conscience clear and void of wrong Can rest awake, and pray so long. Himself still sleeps before his beads Have mark'd ten aves, and two creeds.”—(17)
• Let pass, a quoth Marmion; a by my fay,
On his broad shoulders wrought; (18)
Was from Loretto brought;
When as the Palmer came in hall, \er lord nor knight was there inore tall, 0; had a statelier step withal,
Or look d more high and keen; for no suiuting did he wait, but strode across the hall of state, And fronted Marinion where he sate,
As he his peer had been.
But his gaunt frame was worn with toil;
XXIX. Lord Marmion then his boon did ask; The Palmer took on him the task, So he would march with morning tide, To Scottish court to be his guide. —- But I have solemn vows to pay, And may not linger by the way, To fair St Andrews bound, Within the ocean-cave to pray, Where good St Rule his holy lay, From midnight to the dawn of day, Sung to the billows sound; (19) Thence to St Fillan's blessed well, Whose spring can frenzied dreams dispel, And the crazed brain restore: (20) St Mary grant that cave or spring Could back to peace my bosom bring, Or bid it throb no more lo—
XXX. And now the midnight draught of sleep, Where wine and spices richly steep, ln massive bowl of silver deep, The page presents on knee. Lord Marmion drank a fair good rest, The captain pledged his noble guest, The cup went through among the rest, Who drain'd it merrily; Alone the Palmer pass'd it by, Though Selby press'd him courteously. This was the sign the feast was o'er; It hush'd the merry wassel roar, The minstrels ceased to sound. Soon in the castle nought was heard, But the slow footstep of the guard, Pacing his sober round.
xxxi. with early dawn Lord Marmion rose: And first the chapel doors unclose; Then, after morning rites were done (A hasty mass from Friar John), And knight and squire had broke their fast, On rich substantial repast, Lord Marmion's bugles blew to horse : Then came the stirrup-cup in course;
Between the baron and his host
INTRODUCTION TO CANTO II.
To THE REV, JOHN MARRIOT, M. A.
Ashestiel, Ettrick forest.
The scenes are desert now, and bare,
• IIere, in my shade, a methinks he'd say, • The mighty stat; at noontide lay: The wolf I've seen, a fiercer game (The neighbouring dingle bears his name), With lurching step around me prowl, And stop against the moon to howl; The mountain-boar, on battle set, His tusks upon mystem would whet; While doe and roe, and red-deer good, Have bounded by through gay green-wood. Then ost, from Newark's riven tower, Sallied a Scottish monarch's power: A thousand vassals muster'd round, With horse, and hawk, and horn, and hound; And I might see the youth intent Guard every pass with cross-bow bent; And through the brake the rangers stalk, And falconers hold the ready hawk;
And foresters, in green-wood trim, Lead in the leash the taze-hounds trim, Attentive, as the bratchet's bay From the dark covert drove the prey, To slip them as he broke away. The startled quarry bounds amain, As fast the tallant greyhounds strain: Whistles the arrow from the bow, Answers the arquebuss below: While all the rocking hills reply, To hoof-clang, hound, and hunter's cry, And bugles ringing lightsomely.”—
Of such proud huntings many tales Yet linger in our lonely dales, Up pathless Ettrick and on Yarrow, Where erst the outlaw drew his arrow. (2) But not more blithe that sylvan court, Than we have been at humbler sport; Though small our pomp, and mean our game, Our mirth, dear Marriot, was the same. Iteinenber'st thou my greyhounds true? O'er holi or hill there never flew, From slip or leash there never sprang, More fleet of foot, or sure of fang. Nor dull between each merry chase, Pass'd by the intermitted space; For we had fair resource in store, In classic, and in Gothic lore: We mark'd each memorable scene, And held poetic talk between; Nor hill nor brook we paced along But had its legend or its song. All silent now—for now are still Thy bowers, untenanted Bowhill! No longer from thy mountains dun The yeoman hears the well-known gun, And, while his honest heart glows warm At thought of his paternal farm, Round to his mates a brimmer sills, And drinks « the Chieftain of the Hills!» No fairy forms, in Yarrow's bowers, Trip o'er the walks, or tend the flowers, Fair as the clves whom Janet saw, isy moon-light, dance on Carterhaugh; No youthful baron's left to grace The Forest-sheriff's lonely chace, And ape, in manly step and tone, The majesty of Oberon : And she is gone, whose lovely face ls but her least and lowest grace; Though if to sylphid queen't were given, To show our earth the charms of heaven, She could not glide along the air, With form more light, or face more fair. No more the widow's deafen’d ear Grows quick that lady's step to hear: At moontide she expects her not, Nor busies her to trim the cot; Pensive she turns her humming wheel Or pensive cooks her orphans meal; Yet blesses, ere she deals their bread, The gentle band by which they're fed.
From Yair, which hills so closely bind, Scarce can the Tweed his passage find, Though much he fret, and chafe, and toil, Till all his eddying currents boil, Her long-descended lord is gone, And left us by the stream alone. And much I miss those sportive boys, Companions of my mountain joys, Just at the age 'twixt boy and youth, When thought is speech, and speech is truth. Close to my side with what delight They press'd to hear of Wallace wight, When, pointing to his airy mound, I call'd his ramparts holy ground ! : Kindled their brows to hear me speak; And I have smiled to feel inv cheek, Despite the difference of our years, Return again the glow of theirs. Ah, happy boys' such feelings pure, They will not, cannot, long endure; Condemn'd to stem the world's rude tide, You may not linger by the side; For Fate shall thrust you from the shore, And Passion ply the sail and oar. Yet cherish the remembrance still Of the lone mountain and the rill; For trust, dear boys, the time will come, When fiercer transport shall be dumb, And you will think right frequently, But, well I hope, without a sigh, On the free hours that we have spent, Together, on the brown hill's bent.
When, musing on companions gone, We doubly feel ourselves alone, Something, my friend, we yet may gain, There is a pleasure in this pain: It soothes the love of lonely rest, Deep in each gentler heart impress'd. T is silent amid worldly toils, And stifled soon by mental broils; But, in a boson thus prepared, Its still small voice is often heard, Whispering a mingled sentiment, "Twixt resignation and content. Oft in my mind such thoughts awake By lone St Mary's silent lake; (3) Thou know'st it well,—nor fen, nor sedge, Pollute the pure lake's crystal edge; Abrupt and sheer the mountains sink At once upon the level brink; And just a trace of silver sand Marks where the water meets the land. Far in the mirror, bright and blue, Each hill's huge outline you may view; Shaggy with heath, but lonely bare, Nor tree, nor bush, nor brake is there, Save where of land yon slender line Bears thwart the lake the scatter'd pine. Yet even this nakedness has power, And aids the feeling of the hour: Northicket, dell, nor copse you spy, where living thing conceal’d might lie;
There is on a high mountainous ridge above the farm of Ashes* * *** called wallace's Trench.
Nor point, retiring, hides a dell,
Nought living meets the eye or ear, But well I ween the dead are near; For though, in feudal strife, a foe Hath laid Our Lady's chapel low, (4) Yet still beneath the hallow'd soil, The peasant rests him from his toil, And, dying, bids his bones be laid Where erst his simple fathers pray d.
If age had tamed the passions strife, And fate had cut my ties to life, Here, have I thought, 't were sweet to dwell, And rear again the chaplain's cell, Like that same peaceful hermitage Where Milton long d to spend his age. "T were sweet to mark the setting day On Bourhope's lonely top decay; And, as it faint and feeble died On the broad lake and mountain's side, To say, a Thus pleasures fade away; Youth, talents, beauty, thus decay, And leave us dark, forlorn, and gray loThen gaze on Dryhope's ruin'd tower, And think on Yarrow's faded Flower: And when that mountain-sound I heard, Which bids us be for storm prepared, The distant rustling of his wings, As up his force the Tempest brings, ‘T were sweet, ere yet his terrors rave, To sit upon the Wizard's grave; That Wizard Priest's, whose bones are thrust From company of holy dust; (5) On which no sun-beam ever shines— (So superstition's creed d ivines,) Thence view the lake, with sullen roar, Heave her broad billows to the shore; And mark the wild swans mount the gale, spread wide through mist their snowy sail, And ever stoop again, to lave Their bosoms on the surging wave: Then, when against the driving hail No longer might my plaid avail, Back to my lonely home retire, And light my lamp, and trim my fire: There ponder o'er some mystic lay, Till the wild tale had all its sway, And, in the bitterm's distant shriek, I heard unearthly voices speak, And thought the Wizard Priest was come, To claim again his ancient home! And bade my busy fancy range, To frame him fitting shape and strange, Till from the task my brow I cleard, And smiled to think that I had fear'd.
But chief, 't were sweet to think such life (Though but escape from fortune's strife), Something most matchless, good, and wise, And great and grateful sacrifice; And deem each hour to musing given, A step upon the road to heaven.
Yet him whose heart is ill at ease Such peaceful solitudes displease: He loves to drown his bosoin's jar Amid the elemental war: And my black Palmer's choice had been Some ruder and more savage scene, Like that which frowns round dark Lochskene. (6) There eagles scream from isle to shore; Down all the rocks the torrents roar; O'er the black waves incessant driven, Dark mists infect the summer heaven; Through the rude barriers of the lake, Away its hurrying waters break, Faster and whiter dash and curl, Till down yon dark abyss they hurl. Rises the fog-smoke white as snow, Thunders the viewless stream below, Diving as if condemn'd to lave Some demon's subterranean cave, Who, prison'd by enchanter's spell, Shakes the dark rock with groan and yell. And well that Palmer's form and mien Had suited with the stormy scene, Just on the edge, straining his ken To view the bottom of the den, Where, deep deep down, and far within, Toils with the rocks the roaring linn; Then, issuing forth one foamy wave, And wheeling round the Giant's Grave, White as the snowy charger's tail, Drives down the pass of Moffatdale.
Marriot, thy harp, on Isis strung, To many a Border theme has rung: Then list to me, and thou shalt know Of this mysterious Man of Woe.
I. The breeze, which swept away the smoke, Round Norham Castle roll'd, When all the loud artillery spoke, With lightning-slash, and thunder-stroke, As Marinion left the hold. It curl’d not Tweed alone that breeze, For, far upon Northumbrian seas, It freshly blew, and strong, Where, from high Whitby's cloister'd pile, Bound to Saint Cuthbert's Holy Isle, (7) It bore a bark along. Upon the gale she stoop'd her side, And bounded o'er the swelling tide, As she were dancing home;
The merry seamen laugh'd to see
ii. 'Twas sweet to see these holy maids, Like birds escaped to green-wood shades, Their first flight from the cage, How timid, and how curious too, For all to them was strange and new, And all the common sights they view, Their wonderment engage. One eyed the shrouds and swelling sail With many a benedicite; One at the rippling surge grew pale, And would for terror pray: Then shrick'd because the sea-dog, nigh, His round black head, and sparkling eye, Reard o'er the foaming spray: And one would still adjust her veil, Disorder'd by the summer gale, – Perchance lest some more worldly eye Her dedicated charms might spy; Perchance, because such action graced Iler fair-turn'd arm and slender waist. Light was each simple bosom there, Save two, who ill might pleasure share, — The abbess, and the novice Clare.
III. The abbess was of noble blood, But early took the veil and hood, Ere upon life she cast a look, Or knew the world that she forsook. Fair too she was, and kind had been As she was fair, but ne'er had seen For her a timid lover sigh, Nor knew the influence of her eye. Love, to her ear, was but a name, Combined with vanity and shame; Her hopes, her fears, her joys, were all Bounded within the cloister wall : The deadliest sin her mind could reach, Was of monastic rule the breach; And her ambition's highest aim To emulate Stint Hilda's fame. For this she gave her ample dower, To raise the convent's eastern tower; For this, with carving rare and quaint, She deck'd the chapel of the saint, And gave the relique-shrine of cost, With ivory and gems embost. The poor her convent's bounty blest, The pilgrim in its halls found rest.
iW. Black was her garb, her rigid rule Reform'd on benedictine school; Her cheek was pale, her form was spare; Vigils, and penitence austere, Had early quench'd the light of youth, But gentle was the dame in sooth.