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Pensils and pennons wide were flung,
To heaven the Border slogan rung,
“Saint Mary for the young Buccleuch"
The English war-cry answered wide,
And forward bent each southern spear;
Each Kendal archer made a stride,
And drew the bow-string to his ear;
Each minstrel's war-mote loud was blown':-
But, ere a gray-goose shaft had flown,
A horseman galloped from the rear.
« Ah! noble lords!” he, breathless, said,
“What treason has your march betrayed;
What make you here, from aid so far,
Before you walls, around you war?
Your foemen triumph in the thought,
That in the toils the lion's caught.
Already on dark Ruberslaw
The Douglas holds his weapon-schaw;"
The lances, waving in his train,
Clothe the dun heath like autumn grain;
And on the Liddle's northern strand,
To bar retreat to Cumberland,
Lord Maxwell ranks his merry-men good,
Beneath the eagle and the rood;
And Jedwood, Eske, and Teviotdale,
Have to proud Angus come;
And all the Merse and Lauderdale
Have risen with haughty Home.
* Weapon-schaw, the military array of a younty,
An exile from Northumberland, In Liddesdale I've wandered long; But still my heart was with merry England, And cannot brook my country's wrong; And hard I've spurred all night, to show The mustering of the coming foe.”
“And let them come !” fierce Dacre cried;
“For soon yon crest, my father's pride,
That swept the shores of Judah's sea,
And waved in gales of Galilee,
From Branksome's highest towers displayed,
Shall mock the rescue's lingering aid!—
Level each harquebuss on row ;
Draw, merry archers, draw the bow;
Up, bill-men, to the walls, and cry,
Dacre for England, win or die!"—
“Yet hear,” quoth Howard, “calmly hear,
Nor deem my words the words of fear:
For who, in field or foray slack,
Saw the blanche lion e'er fall back?
But thus to risk our Border flower
In strife against a kingdom's power,
Ten thousand Scots'gainst thousands three,
Certes, were desperate policy.
Nay, take the terms the Ladye made,
Ere conscious of the advancing aid :
Let Musgrave meet fierce Deloraine
In single fight, and if he gain,
He gains for us; but if he's crossed,
'Tis but a single warrior lost:
The rest, retreating as they came,
Avoid defeat, and death, and shame.”
Ill could the haughty Dacre brook
His brother-warden's sage rebuke:
And yet his forward step he stayed,
And slow and sullenly obeyed.
But ne'er again the Borderside
Did these two lords in friendship ride ;
And this slight discontent, men say,
Cost blood upon another day.
The pursuivant-at-arms again
Before the castle took his stand;
His trumpet called, with parleying strain,
The leaders of the Scottish band;
And he defied, in Musgrave's right,
Stout Deloraine to single fight;
A gauntlet at their feet he laid,
And thus the terms of fight he said:-
“If in the lists good Musgrave's sword
vanquish the knight of Deloraine,
Your youthful chieftain, Branksome's lord ;
Shall hostage for his clan remain :
If Deloraine foil good Musgrave,
The boy his liberty shall have.
Howe'er it falls, the English band,
Unharming Scots, by Scots unharmed,
In peaceful march, like men unarmed,
Shall straight retreat to Cumberland.”
Unconscious of the near relief,
The proffer pleased each Scottish chief,
Though much the Ladye sage gainsayed;
For though their hearts were brave and true,
From Jedwood's recent sack they knew,
How tardy was the regent's aid :
And you may guess the noble dame
Durst not the secret prescience own,
Sprung from the art she might not name,
By which the coming help was known.
Closed was the compact, and agreed
That lists should be inclosed with speed,
Beneath the castle, on a lawn:
They fixed the morrow for the strife,
On foot, with Scottish axe and knife,
At the fourth hour from peep of dawn:
When Deloraine, from sickness freed,
Or else a champion in his stead,
Should for himself and chieftain stand,
Against stout Musgrave, hand to hand.
I know right well, that, in their lay,
Full many minstrels sing and say,
Such combat should be made on horse,
On foaming steed, in full career,
With brand to aid, when as the spear
Should shiver in the course:
But he, the jovial Harper, taught
Me, yet a youth, how it was fought,
In guise which now I say;
He knew each ordinance and clause
Of black lord Archibald's battle laws,
In the old Douglas'.day.
He brooked not, he, that scoffing tongue
Should tax his minstrelsy with wrong,
Or call his song untrue :
For this, when they the goblet plied,
And such rude taunt had chafed his pride,
The bard of Reull he slew.
On Teviot's side, in fight they stood,
And tuneful hands were stained with blood;
Where still the thorn's white branches wave,
Memorial o'er his rival's grave.
Why should I tell the rigid doom,
That dragged my master to his tomb ;
How Ousenam's maidens tore their hair,
Wept till their eyes were dead and dim,
And wrung their hands for love of him,
Who died at Jedwood Air P
He died ?–His scholars, one by one,
To the cold silent grave are gone;
And I, alas ! survive alone,
To muse o'er rivalries of yore,
And grieve that I shall hear no more
The strains, with envy heard before ;
For, with my minstrel brethren fled,
My jealousy of song is dead.