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Till high Dunedin the blazes saw,
From Soltra and Dumpender Law;
And Lothian heard the regent's order,
That all should bowne" them for the Border.
The livelong night in Branksome rang
The ceaseless sound of steel;
The castle-bell, with backward clang, ‘.
Sent forth the larum peal;
Was frequent heard the heavy jar,
Where massy stone and iron bar
Were piled on echoing keep and tower,
To whelm the foe with deadly shewer;
Was frequent heard the changing guard,
And watchword from the sleepless ward;
While, wearied by the endless din,
Blood-hound and ban-dog yelled within.
The noble dame, amid the broil,
Shared the gray Seneschal's high toil,
And spoke of danger with a smile ;
Cheered the young knights, and council sage
Held with the chiefs of riper age.
No tidings of the foe were brought,
Nor of his numbers knew they ought,
Nor in what time the truce he sought.
Some said, that there were thousands ten;
And othersweened that it was mought
But Leven clans, or Tynedale men,
Who came together in black mail;"
And Liddesdale, with small avail,
Might drive them lightly back agen.
So passed the anxious might away,
And welcome was the peep of day.
CEAsed 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?
“Aye! once he had—but he was dead!”
Upon the harp he stooped 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.
* Protection money exacted by free-booters,
Sweet Teviot on thy silver tide
The glaring bale-fires blaze no more;
No longer steel-clad warriors ride
Along thy wild and willowed shore;
Where'er thou wind'st by dale or hill
All, all is peaceful, all is still,
As if thy waves, since time was born,
Since first they rolled their way to Tweed,
Had only heard the shepherd's reed,
Nor startled at the bugle-horn.
Unlike the tide of human time,
Which, though it change in ceaseless flow,
Retains each grief, retains each crime,
Its earliest course was doomed to know;
And, darker as it downward bears,
Is stained with past and present tears:
Low as that tide has ebbed with me,
It still reflects to memory's eye
The hour, my brave, my only boy,
Fell by the side of great Dundee.
Why, when the volleying musket played
Against the bloody Highland blade,
Why was I not beside him laid!—
Enough—he died the death of fame;
Enough—he died with conquering Graeme.
Now over border, dale and fell,
Full wide and far was terror spread;
For pathless marsh, and mountain cell,
The peasant left his lowly shed.
The frightened flocks and herds were pent
Beneath the peel's rude battlement;
And maids and matrons dropped the tear,
While ready warriors seized the spear.
From Branksome's towers, the watchman's
Dun wreaths of distant smoke can spy,
Which, curling in the rising sun,
Shewed southern ravage was begun.
Now loud the heedful gate-ward cried—
“Prepare ye all for blows and blood!
Wat Tinlinn, from the Liddle-side,
Comes wading through the flood.
Full oft the Tynedale snatchers knock
At his lone gate, and prove the lock;