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He was stately, and young, and tall,
Dreaded in battle, and loved in hall :

And she, when love, scarce told, scarce hid,
Lent to her check a livelier red;

When the half sigh her swelling breast
Against the silken riband prcss'd:

When her blue eyes their secret told,

Though shaded by her locks of gold

Where would you find th'e peerless fair

With Margaret of Branksome might compare?

XXIX.

And now, fair dames, methinks I see

You listen to my minstrelsy;

Your waving locks ye backward throw,
And sidelong bend your necks of snow :
Ye ween to hear a melting tale

Of two true lovers in a dale;

And how the knight, with tender fire,

, To paint his faithful passion strove; Sworc, he might at her feet expire, 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 offiranstonn, 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 rcprove :
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, rn0ss'd o'er by eltl,
The haron's Dwarf his courser held, (17)

And held his crested helm and spear:
That Dwarf was scarcely an earthly man,

If the tales were true that of him ran

Through all the Border, far and rgear.

‘T was said, when the baron a—hunting rode
Through lledesdalds glens, but rarely trod,
He heard a voice cry, 1 Lost! lost! lost!-
And, like tennis-ball by racquet toss’tl,

A leap of thirty feet and three,

Made from the gorse this elfin 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.

XXXll.

Usc lessens marvel, it is suidr

This elfish Dwarf with the haron staid;
Little he ate, and less he spoke,

Nor mingled with the menial flock:
And oft apart his arms he tossll,

And often muttcr'd, it Lost! lost! lost!

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He was waspish, arch, and litherlic,

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.

XXX] ll. 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; (:8) The trysting-place was Newark Lee. Wat of l"la|'den came thither amain, And thither came John of Thirlestane, And thither came William of Deloraine; They were three hundred spears and three, Through Douglas-burn, up Yarrow stream; Tlieir horses prance, 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.

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Watts 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

How long, how deep, how zealously,

The preciousjuice the Minstrel quaff'd,-
And he, emboldetfd by the draught,
Look'd gaily 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.

' Wood-pigeon.

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VI.

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 ilinders flew.

But (jranstoun’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 SClt.ldl&f8Sl,

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 stretclfd upon the plain.

Vll.
But when he rein’d his courser round,
And saw his foeman on the ground
Lie senseless as the bloody clay,
He bade his page to staunch the wound,
And there beside the warrior stay,

And tend him in his doubtful state,
And lead him to Brunksome castle-gate:
His noble mind was inly moved

For the kinsman of the maid he loved.

it This shalt thou do without delay;

No longer here myself may stay:

Unless the swifter I speed away,

Short shrift will be at my dying day.n—

VIII. Away in speed Lord Cranstoun rode; The goblin-page behind abode; Ilis lord's command he ne'er withstood, Though small his pleasure to do good. As the corslet off he took, The Dwarf espied the mighty book! Much he marvell'd, a knight of pride Like a book-bosom'd priest should ride: (1) He thought not to search or staunch the wound, Until the secret he had found.

IX.

The iron band, the iron clasp,

Ilesisted long the elfin grasp;

For when the first he had undone,

lt closed as he the next begun.

Those iron clssps, that iron band,
Would not yield to unchristen'd hand,
Till he s|near'd the cover o'er

With the Bordcrcr's cttrdled gore; I
A moment then the volume spread,
And one short spell therein he read.
It had much of glamour ' might, (3)
Could make a ladye seem a knight;
The cobwebs on a dungeon wall
Seem tapestry in lordly hall;

A nut-shell seem a gilded barge,

A sheeliug2 seem a palace large, 0

' lllagicul delusion. ‘ A shepherd‘u hut.

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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 he mutter'd, and no more-
at Man of age, thou smitest sore!»

No more the elfin page durst try

Into the wondrous 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 ad8ress'd

To do his master'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.
\\'hate'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.

XII.

As he repass‘d the outer court,

He spied the fair young child at sport:

He thought to train him to the wood;
For, at a word, be it understood,

He was always for ill, and never for good.
Seem'd to the boy, some comrade gay
Led him forth to the woods to play;

On the draw-bridge the warders stout
Saw a terrier and lurcher passing out.

XIII.
He led the boy o'er -bank and fell,
Until they came to a woodland brook;
The running stream dissolved the spell, (5)
And his own elvish shape he took.

Could he have had his pleasure vilde,

He had crippled the joints of the noble child; Or, with his fingers long and lean,

Had strangled him in fiendish spleen.

But his awful mother he had in dread,
And also his power was limited;

So he but scow1’d on the startled child,
And darted through the forest wild;

1 Magic.

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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, hejourney'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 haying of a bound.

XV. And hark ! and hark! the deep-mouth'd bark Comes nigher still, and nighcr; 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 cheek glow'd 'twixt fear and ire!
Ile faced the blood-hound manfully,

And hold his little baton 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 gladc,
And when he saw the hound was stay'd,
He drew his tough how-string;

But a rough voice cried, {Shoot not, hoy!
Ho! shoot not, Edward—'t is a boy! vi

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 barrel-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 deer.

XVII. His kirtle, made of forest green, Reach'd scantly to his knee;

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XXI.

Although the child was led away,

In Ilranltsome 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.
lle tore Dame Maudlin’s silken tire,
And, as Sym Hall stood by the fire,
He lighted the match of his bandelier,'
And woefully scorclfd the hackbutteerfi
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 possessd!

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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;
Ben the rude watchman, on the tower,.
Enjoy'd and bless'd the lovely hour;

Far more fair Margaret loved and bIess'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 hand, Iler fair check rested on her hand,

Iler blue eyes sought the west afar,

For lovers love the western star.

XXV.

Is you 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‘aIl;

' Bandeller, belt for carrying ammunition. 1 Hackbuuerr, muslieteer.

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