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O Caledonia! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Sole friends thy woods and streams are left;
Even in extremity of ill.
By Yarrow's stream still let me stray,
The bard may draw his parting groan.
Not scorn'd like me! to Branksome-hall
They blew their death-note in the van,
They sound the pipe , they strike the string,
IV. Me lists not at this tide declare The splendour of the spousal rite, How muster'd in the chapel fair Both maid and matron, squire and knight;
Me lists not tell of owches rare,
Of mantles green, and braided hair,
What plumage waved the altar round,
The changeful hue of Margaret's cheek,
Some bards have sung, the Ladye high Chapel or altar came not nigh;
Nor durst the rites of spousal grace,
So much she fear'd each holy place. False slanders these :—I trust right well She wrought not hy forbidden spell : (2) For mighty words and signs have power O'er sprites in planetary hour:
Yet scarce I praise their venturous part,
The Ladye by the altar stood,
With pearls emhroider'd and entwined,
Held by a leash of silken twist. VI.
The spousal rites were ended soon;
‘T was now the merry hour of noon,
And in the lofty arched hall
Was spread the gorgeous festival.
Steward and squire, with heedful haste, l\Iarshall'd the rank of every guest; 7
Pages, with ready blade, were there,
The mighty meal to carve and share: ,
And princely peacock's gilded train, (4) '
O'er ptarmigan and venison,
The priest had spoke his benison,
Then rose the riot and the din,
Above, beneath, without, within‘.
For, from the lofty balcony,
Bung trumpet, shalm, and psaltery;
Their clanging bowls old warriors quaff’d,
The hooded hawks, high perch'd on beam,
From Bourdeaux, Orleans, or the Rhine;
And all is mirth and revelry.
The goblin-page, omitting still
No opportunity of ill, _ Strove now, while blood ran hot and high, To rouse debate and jealousy;
Till Conrad, lord of Wolfenstein,
By nature fierce, and warm with wine, '\
lligh words to words succeeding still,
Whom men call Diccon Draw—the-sword.
Hunthill had driven these steeds away.
Then Howard, Home, and Douglas rose,
The kindling discord to compose:
Stern Rutherford right little said,
But hit his glove, and shook his head.—(8) A fortnight thence, in Inglewood,
Stout Conrad, cold, and drench'd in blood,
Was by a wood man's lyme-dog found;
Gone was his brand, both sword and sheath;
That Diccon wore a Cologne blade.
The Dwarf, who fear’d his master's eye
Now sought the castle buttery,
Where many a yeoman bold and free,
As those that sat in lordly selle.
Watt Tinlinn, there, did frankly raise
The pledge to Arthur Fire-the—Braes; (9)
To Howard's merry—men sent it round.
To quit them, on the English side,
Red Roland Forster loudly cried,
u A deep carouse to you fair bride!»
At every pledge, from vat and pail,
Foam'd forth, in floods, the nut-brown ale; While shout the riders every one,
Such day of mirth ne'er cheer'd their clan, Since old Buccleuch the name did gain, When in the cleuch the buck was ta'en. (to)
1X. The wily page, with vengeful thought, ltemember'd him of 'l‘inlinn's yew, And swore, it should be dearly bought, That ever he the arrow drew.
First, he the yeoman did molest,
With bitter gibe and taunting jest;
And how llob Armstrong cheer'd his wife :
With bodkin pierced him to the bone;
'T was All-souls’ eve, and Surrey's heart beat high;
He heard the midnight hell with anxious start, Which told the mystic hour, approaching nigh,
When wise Cornelius promised, by his art, To show to him the ladye of his heart,
Albeit betwixt them roar'd the ocean grim: Yet so the sage had hight to play his part,
That he should see her form in life and limb,
Dark was the vaulted room of gramarye,
To which the wizard led the gallant knight, Save that before a mirror, huge and high,
A hallow‘d taper shed a glimmering light On mystic implements of magic might;
On cross, and character, and talisman,
For fitful was the lustre, pale and wan,
XVIII. But soon, within that mirror huge and high, Was seen a self-emitted light to gleam,
Fair all the pageant—but Bow paging fair
The slender form, which lay on couch of Ind! O'er her white bosom strayfd her hazel hair,
Pale her dear check as if for love she pined; All in her night-robe loose she lay reclined,
And, pensive, read from tablet ohurnine Some strain, that seem'd her inmost sottl to find:
That favour'd strain was Sttrrey's ruptured line, That fair and lovely fortn, the Lady Geraldine.
XX. Slow roll’d the clouds upon the lovely form, Antl swept the goodly vision all awaySo royal envy roll'd the murky storm O'er my beloved m'aster‘s glorious day. Thou jealous, ruthless tyrant! Heaven repay On thee, and on thy children's latest line, The wild capricc of thy despotic sway, The gory bridal bed, the plunder'd shrine, The murder'd Surrey‘! blood, the tears of Geraldine!
Both Scots and southern chiefs prolong
These hated Ilei1ry's name as death,
- Where erst,St Clairs held princely sway
And watclfd, the whilst, with visage pale,
Had rapture for the lonely child.
And mttch of wild and wonderful
In tltesc rude isles might fancy cull;
For thither came, in times afar,
Strrn Lochlin's sons of roving war,
The Norseman, train’d to spoil and blood,
llad wiluc-ss'd grim idolatry.
l Inrlt, isle.
O listen, listen, ladies gay‘.
No haughty feat of arms] tell; _ _ Soft is the note, and sad the lay,
That mourns the lovely Rosahelle. (20)
-< ‘T is not because Lord Lintlesay’s heir To-night at Roslin leads the ball,
But that my ladyc—mnther there
<<’T is not because the ring they ride, And Lindesay at the ring rides well,
But that my sire the wine will chitle, lf 't is not fill'd by Rosabelle.»——
And redder than the bright moon-beam. ‘t.
It glared on Roslin's castled rock,
»The elvish Dwarf was seen no more!
And each St Clair was buried there,
But the sea-caves rung, and the wild winds sung,
XXlV. So sweet was Harold's piteous lay, Scarce mark'd the guests the darlten‘d hall, Though, long before the sinking day, A wond‘rous shade involved them all :1 ll was not eddying mist or fog, l)rain'tl by the sun from fen or bog, Of no eclipse had sages told ; And yet, as it came on apaee, Each one could scarce his neighbour's face, Could scarce his own stretch'd hand behold. A secret horror cheek'd the feast, And chillid the soul of every guest; Even the high dame stood half aghast, She knew some evil on the blast; The elvish page fell to the ground, And, shuddering, mutter'd, u Found '. found! found 1»
Then sudden, through the darltetfd air
A flash of lightning came;
The castle seem’d on fl-'lll1t5'.
From sea to sea the larum rung;
To arms the startled warders sprung. , When ended was the dreadful roar,
Some heard a voice in Branksome-hall,
Some saw a sight, not seen by all;
That dreadful voice was heard by some,
Cry, with loud summons, KGYLBIN, come!» (23) And on the spot where burst the brand,
Just where the page had flung him down,
Some saw an arm, and some a hand,
And some the waving of a gown.
The anxious crowd, with horror pale,
All trembling heard the wondrous tale.
And he a solemn sacred plight
Did to St Bride of Douglas make, (2 5)
To lllelrose Abbey, for the sake
Of Michael's restless sprite.
Then each, to ease his troubled breast,
To some bless'd saint his prayers ad(lress’d;
Some to St Mary of the Lowes,
Some to the Holy-Rood of Lisle;
Some to our Ladye of the Isle;
Each did his patron witness make,
That he such pilgrimage would take,
And monks should sing, and bells should toll,
While vows were ta'eu, and prayers were pray’d
’T is said the noble dame, dismay'd,
Nought of the bridal will I tell,
Of penitence and prayer divine,
Sought Melrose' holy shrine.
With naked foot, and sackcloth vest,
Did every pilgrim go,-
Through all the lengthen'd row :