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A TALE OF FLODDEN FIELD.
Alas! that Scottish maid should sing
The combat where her lover fell!
The triumph of our foes to tell !-LEYDEN.
on, ane ansain
ADVERTISEMENT. It is hardly to be expected that an Author, whom the public have honoured with some degree of applause, should not be again a trespasser on their kindness. Yet the Author of MARMION must be supposed to feel some anxiety concerning its siiccess, since he is sensible that lie hazards, by this second intrusion, any reputation which his first Poem may have procured him. The present story turns upon the private adventures of a fictitions character; but is called a Tale of Flodden Field, because the hero's fate is connected with that memorable defeat, and the causes which led to it. The design of the Author was, if possible, to apprise his readers, at the outset, of the date of his story, and to prepare them for the manners of the age in which it is laid. Any historical narrative, far more an attempt at Epic composition, exceeded his plan of a Romantic Tale; yet he may be permitted to hope, from the popularity of THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL, that an attempt to paint the manners of the feudal times, upon a broader scale, and in the course of a more interesting story, will not be unacceptable to the public.
The Poem opens about the commencement of August, and concludes with the defeat of Flodden, 9th September, 1513.
becaused on the private eputation whining its suiccekindness. Yoxs honoured wi
And, foaming brown with doubled speed,
Spurned at the sordid lust of pelf, Hurries its waters to the Tweed.
And served his Albion for herself: No longer Autumn's glowing red
Who, when the frantic crowd amain
Strained at subjection's bursting rein,
O'er their wild mood full conquest gained, Fair Tweed reflects their purple gleam;
The pride he would not crush restrained,
Showed their fierce zeal a worthier cause, Away hath passed the heather-bell,
And brought the freeman's arm to aid the free. That bloomed so rich on Needpath-fell; Sallow his brow, and russet bare
man's laws. Are now the sister heights of Yare.
Had'st thou but lived, thongh stripped of power The sheep, before the pinching heaven,
A watchman on the lonely tower, To sheltered dale and down are driven,
Thy thrilling trump had roused the land, Where yet some faded herbage pines,
When frand or danger were at hand; And yet a watery subeam shines:
By thee, as by the beacon-light, In meek despondency they eye
Our pilots had kept course aright; The withered sward and wintry sky,
As some proud column, though alone. And far beneath their summer hill,
Thy strength had propp'd the tottering throne. Stray sadly by Glenkinnon's rill:
Now is the stately column broke, The shepherd'shifts his mantle's fold,
The beacon-light is quenched in smoke, And wraps him closer from the cold ;
The trumpet's silver sound is still,
The warder silent on the hill!
Oh, think, how to his latest day,
When death, just hovering, claimed his prey,
With Palinure's unaltered mood, My imps, though hardy, bold, and wild,
Firm at his dangerous post he stood; As best befits the mountain child,
Each call for needful rest repelled, Feel the sad influence of the hour,
With dying hand the rudder held, And wail the daisy's vanished fiowei';
Till, in his fall, with fateful sway, Their summer gambols tell, and mourn,
The steerage of the realm gave way: And anxious ask,-Will spring return,
Then, while on Britain's thousand plains,
One unpolluted church remains,
The bloody tocsin's maddening sound,
But still, upon the hallowed day, Again shall paint your summer bower;
Convoke the swains to praise and pray: Again the hawthorn shall supply
While faith and civil peace are dear, The garlands you delight to tie;
Grace this cold marble with a tear,
He, who preserved them, PITT, lies here!
Nor yet suppress the generous sigh,
Beeanse his rival slumbers nigh;
Nor be thy regurescat dumb, To mute and to material things
Lest it be said o'er Fox's tomb, New life revolving summer brings ,
For talents mourn, untimely lost, The genial call dead Nature hears,
When best employed and wanted most; And in her glory re-appears.
Mourn genius high, and lore profound, But oh! my country's wintry state
And wit that loved to play, not wound; What second spring shall renovate?
And all the reasoning powers divine, What powerful call shall bid arise
To penetrate, resolve, combine; The buried warlike, and the wise!
And feelings keen, and fancy's glow,The mind, that thought for Britain's weal,
They sleep with him who sleeps below; The hand, that grasped the victor steel?
And, if thou mourn'st, they could not save The vernal sin new life bestows
From error him who owns this grave, Even on the meanest flower that blows;
Be every harsher thonght suppressed But vainly, vainly, may he shine,
And sacred be the last long rest. Where Glory weeps o'er Nelson's shrine,
Here, where the end of earthly things And vainly pierce the solemn gloom,
Lay's heroes, patriots, bards, and kings: That shrouds, O PITT, thy hallowed tomb!
Where stiff the hand, and still the tongue, Deep graved in every British heart,
Of those who fought, and spoke, and sung: O never let those names depart !
Here, where the fretted aisles prolong Say to your sons,-Lo, here his grave,
The distant notes of holy song, Who victor died on Gadite wave;
As if some angel spoke agen, To him, as to the burning levin,
All peace on earth, goodwill to men; Short, bright, resistless course was given;
If ever from an English heart, Whero'er his country's foes were found,
O here let prejudice depart, Was heard the fated thunder's sound,
And partial feeling cast aside, Till barst the bolt on yonder shore,
Record, that Fox a Briton died ! Rolled, blazed, destroyed,-and was no more.
When Europe crouched to France's yoke,
And Austria bent, and Prussia broke, Nor mourn ye less his perished worth,
And the firm Russian's purpose brave Who bade the conqueror go forth.
Was bartered by a timorous slave, And launched that thunderbolt of war
Even then dishonour's peace he spurned, On Egypt, Hafnia,* Trafalgar:
The sullied olive-branch returned, Who, born to guide such high emprize,
Stood for his country's glory fast, For Britain's weal was early wise;
And nailed her colours to the mast. Alas! to whom the Almighty gave,
Heaven, to reward his firmness, gave For Britain's sins an early grave:
A portion in this honoured grave: His worth, who, in his mightiest hour,
And ne'er held marble in its trust A bauble held the pride of power,
Of two such wondrous men the dust.
With more than mortal powers endowed, * Copenhagen.
How high they soared above the crowd!
Theirs was no common party race,
Of one, who, in his simple mind,
May boast of book-learned taste refined.
But thon, my friend, canst fitly tell
(For few have read romance so well), Looked up the noblest of the land,
How still the legendary lay Till through the British world were known
O'er poet's bosom holds its sway; The names of PITT and Fox alone.
How on the ancient minstrel strain Spells of such force no wizard grave
Time lays his palsied hand in vain; F'er framed in dark Thessalian cave,
And how our hearts at doughty deeds, Though his could drain the ocean dry,
By warriors wrought in steely weeds, And force the planets from the sky.
Still throb for fear and pity's sake; These spells are spent, and, spent with these,
As when the champion of the Lake The wine of life is on the lees.
Enter Margana's fated house, Genins, and taste, and talent gone,
Or in the Chapel Perilous, For ever tombed beneath the stone,
Despising spells and demons' force, Where,-taming thought to human pride!
Holds converse with the unburied corse : The mighty chiefs sleep side by side.
Or when, Dame Ganore's grace to move Drop upon Fox's grave the tear,
(Alas! that lawless was their love), 'Twill trickle to his rival's bier ;
He sought proud Tarquin in his den, O'er Pitt's the mournful requiem sound,
And freed full sixty knights; or when, And Fox's shall the notes rebound.
A sinful man, and unconfessed, The solemn echo seems to cry,
He took the Sangreal's holy quest, * Here let their discord with them die:
And slumbering, saw his vision high, Speak not for those a separate doom,
He might not view with waking eye. Whom fate made brothers in the tomb,
Scorned not such legends to prolong; But search the land of living men,
They gleam through Spenser's elfin dream, Where wilt thou find their like agen?"
And mix in Milton's heavenly theme;
Had raised the Table Round again,
But that a ribald king and court Of dying Nature bid you rise;
Bade him toil on, to make them sport; Not even your Britain's groans can pierce
Demanded for their niggard pay, The leaden silence of your hearse :
Fit for their souls, a looser lay, Then, o how impotent and vain
Licentious satire, song, and play: This grateful tributary strain;
The world defrauded of the high design, Though not unmarked from northern cline,
Profaned the God-given strength, and marred Ye heard the Border Minstrel's rhyme: His Gothic harp has o'er you rung:
the lofty line. The bard you deigned to praise, your deathless Warmed by such names, well may we then, names has sung.
Though dwindled sons of little men,
Essay to break a feeble lance Stay yet, Illusion, stay a while,
In the fair fields of old romance; My wildered fancy still beguile!
Or seek the moated castle's cell, From this high theme how can I part,
Where long through talisman and spell, Ere half unloaded is my heart !
While tyrants ruled, and damsels wept, For all the tears e'er sorrow drew,
Thy Genius, Chivalry, hath slept: And all the raptures fancy knew,
Their sound the harpings of the North,
Till he awake and sally forth,
In all his arms, with all his train,
Fay, giant, dragon, squire, and dwarf, In one spring-tide of ecstacy,
And wizard with his wand of might, It will not be-it may not last
And errant-maid on palfrey white. The vision of enchantment's past :
Around the Genius weave their spells, Like frost-work in the morning ray,
Pure Love, who scarce his passion tells; The fancied fabric melts away
Mystery, half veiled and half revealed; Each Gothic arch, memorial-stone,
And Honour, with his spotless shield; And long, dim, lofty aisle, are gone,
Attention, with fixed eye; and Fear, And, lingering last, deception dear,
That loves the tale she shrinks to hear; The choir's high sounds die on my ear.
And gentle Conrtesy: and Faith, Now slow return the lonely down,
Unchanged by sufferings, time, or do The silent pastures bleak and brown,
And Valour, lion-mettled lord,
Leaning upon his own good sword.
Well has thy fair achievement shown,
A worthy meed may thus be won:
Ytene's* oaks-beneath whose shade Prompt on unequal tasks to run,
Their theme the merry minstrels made,
Of Ascapart, and Bevis bold, Thns Nature disciplines her son:
And that Red King, who wild of old. Meeter, she says, for me to stray,
Through Boldrewood the chase he led, And waste the solitary day,
By his loved huntsman's arrow bledIn plucking from yon fen the reed,
Ytene's oaks have heard again
Renewed such legendary strain :
For thon hast sung, how he of Ganl,
That Amadis so famed in hall, As from the field, beneath her pail,
For Oriana, foiled in fight
The Necromancer's felon might;
* The New Forest in Hampshire, anciently so Though oft he stop in rustic fear,
called. Lest his old legends tire the ear
+ William Rufus,
in onill not be enchathe mornayine
retulures i conse Chillie ton
The Hankiwiustrine turbines?
And well in modern verse hast wove
Along the bridge Lord Marmion rode,
Proudly his red-roan charger trod,
His helm hung at the saddle-bow;
The scar on his brown cheek revealed
A token true of Bosworth field;
His eyebrow dark, and brow of fire,
Showed spirit proud, and prompt to ire;
Yet lines of thought upon his cheek, 1.
Did deep design and counsel speak. Day set on Norham's castled steep,
His forehead, by his casque worn bare, And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep,
His thick moustache, and curly hair, And Cheviot's mountains lone:
Coal-black, and grizzled here and there, The battled towers, the Donjon Keep,
But more through toil than age; The loophole grates were captives weep,
His square-turned joints, and strenth of limb, The flanking walls that round it sweep,
Showed him no carpet-knight so trim, In yellow lustre shone.
But, in close fight, à champion grim, The warriors on the turrets high,
In camps a leader sage.
Well armed was he from head to heel,
In mail, and plate, of Milan steel; In lines of dazzling light.
But his strong helm, of mighty cost,
Was all with burnish'd gold emboss'd;
Amid the plumage of the crest,
A falcon hovered on her nest, Now faded, as the fading ray
With wings outspread, and forward breast; Less bright, and less, was flung;
E'en such a falcon, on his shield, The evening gale had scarce the power
Soared sable in an azure field: To wave it on the Donjon tower,
The golden legend bore a right, So heavily it hung.
" Who checks at me, to death is dight." The scouts had parted on their search,
Blue was the charger's broidered rein; The castle gates were barr'd;
Blue ribbons decked his arching mane ; Above the gloomy portal arch,
The knightly housing's ample fold
Was velvet blue, and trapp'd with gold.
Behind him rode two gallant squires,
Of noble name, and knightly sires;
They burned the gilded spurs to claim ;
For well could cach a war-horse tame, He looks abroad, and soon appears,
Could draw the bow, the sword could sway. O'er Horncliff-hill, a plump* of spears,
And lightly bear the ring away ; Beneath a penon gay;
Nor less with courteous precepts stored, A horseman darting froin the crowd,
Could dance in hall, and carve at board, Like lightning from a summer cloud,
And frame love-ditties passing rare,
And sing them to a lady fair.
Four men-at-arms came at their backs, His bugle-horn he blew :
With halbert, bill, and battle-axe: The Warder hasted from the wall,
They bure Lord Marmion's lance so strong And warned the Captain in the hall
And led his sumpter-mules along, For well the blast he knew;
And ambling palfrey, when at need And joyfully that Knight did call,
Ilim listed case his battle-steed.
The last and trustiest of the four,
Like swallow's tails, in shape and hue, “Now broach ye a pipe of Malvoisie,
Flutter'd the streamer glossy blue, Bring pasties of the doe,
Where, blazoned sable, as before, And quickly make the entrance free,
The towering falcon seeined to soar. And bid my heralds ready be,
Last, twenty yeomen, two and two, And every minstrel sound his glee,
In hosen black, and jerkins blue, And all our trumpets blow;
With falcons broider'd on each breast, And, from the platform, spare ye not
Attended on their lord's behest. To fire a noble salvo-shot:
Each, chosen for an archer good Lord Marmion waits below."
Knew hunting-craft by lake or wood: Then to the castle's lower ward
Each one a six-foot bow could bend, Sped forty yeomen tall,
And far a cloth-yard shaft could send; The iron-studded gates unbarred,
Each held a boar-spear tough and strong, Raised the portcullis' ponderous guard,
And at their belts their quivers rung. The lofty palisade unsparred,
Their dusty palfreys and array, And let the drawbridge fall.
Showed they had marched a wcary way.
in his dark analisadecade,
* This word properly applies to a flight of 'Tis meet that I should tell you now, waterfowl; but is applied, by analogy, to a body | How fairly armed, and ordered how, of horse.
The soldiers of the guard,
To welcome noble Marmion,
can reach a spearhey lead,
Minstrels and trumpeters were there,
Have set on Sir Albany Featherstonhaugh, The gunner held his linstock yare,
And taken his life at the Deadman's-shaw."* For welcome-shot prepared:
Scantly Lord Marmion's ear conld brook Entered the train, and such a clang,
The harper's barbarous lay ; As then through all his turrets rang,
Yet much he praised the pains he took, Old Norhain never heard.
And well those pains did pay ; x.
For lady's suit, and minst rel's strain,
By knight should ne'er be heard in ynin.
“Now, good Lord Marmion,” Heron says,
" of your fair courtesy, A blithe salute, in martial sort, The minstrels well might sound,
I pray you bide some little space, For, as Lord Marinion crossed the court,
In this poor tower with me. He scattered angels round.
Here may you keep your arms from rust, * Welcome to Norham, Marmion!
May breathe your war-horse well;
Seldom hath pass'd a week but giust
Or feat of arms befell:
The Scots can rein a mettled steed,
And love to couch a spear;-
St. George! a stirring life they lead,
That have such neighbours near, With silver scutcheon round their neck.
Then stay with us a little space, Stood on the steps of stone,
Our northern wars to learn ; By which you reach the Donjon gate,
I pray you for your lady's grace."
Lord Marmion's brow grew stern.
. xv. They hailed him Lord of Fontenaye,
The Captain marked his altered look,
And gave a squire the sign ;
A mighty wassel bowl he took, Gave them a chain of twelve marks weight,
And crown'd it high with wine.
“Now pledge me here, Lord Marmion! All as he lighted down. "Now largesse, largesse,* Lord Marmion.
But first I pray thee fair,
Where hast thou left that page of thine, Knight of the crest of gold !
That used to serve thy cup of wine, A blazon'd shield, in battle won,
Whose beauty was so rare?
When last in Raby towers we met,
The boy I closely eyed,
And often marked his cheeks were wet
With tears he fain would hide:
His was no rugged horse-boy's hand, And the heralds loudly cried, -
To burnish shield, or sharpen brand, “Room, lordlings, room for Lord Marmion,
Or saddle battle-steed;
But meeter seemed for lady fair,
To fan her cheek, or curl her hair,
Or through embroidery, rich and rare, There, vainly, Ralph de Wilton strove
The slender silk to lead; 'Gainst Marmion's force to stand;
His skin was fair, his ringlets gold, To him he lost his lady-love,
His bosom--when he sigh'd, And to the king his land.
The russet doublet's rugged fold Ourselves beheld the listed field,
Could scarce repel its pride! A sight both sad and fair;
Say, hast thou given that lovely youth We saw Lord Marmion pierce his shield,
To serve in lady's bower? And saw his saddle bare;
Or was the gentle page, in sooth, We saw the victor win the crest,
A gentle paramour?"
Lord Marmion ill could brook such jest;
He rolled his kindling eye, Room, room, ye gentles gay,
With pain his rising wrath suppressed, For him who conquered in the right,
Yet made a calm reply: Marmion of Fontenaye !"
" That boy thou thought'st so goodly fair,
He might not brook the northern air'.
More of his fate if thou would'st learn.
I left him sick in Lindisfarn: Sir Hugh the Heron bold,
Enough of him.-But, Heron, say, Baron of Twisell, and of Ford,
Why does thy lovely lady gay And Captain of the Hold.
Disdain to grace the hall to-day? He led Lord Marmion to the deas
Or has that dame, so fair and sage, Raised o'er the pavement high,
Gone on some pious pilgrimage!" And placed him in the upper place
He spoke in covert scorn, for fame
Whispered light tales of Heron's dame.
Careless the Knight replied, And Hard-riding Dick,
"No bird, whose feathers gaily flaunt, And Hughie of Hawdon, and Will o'the Wall, Delights in cage to bide ;
Ther the lists know the elm of youMarnujo
saddle ballerce his shiel
We saw the
* The cry by which the heralds expressed their thanks for the bounty of the nobles.
* The rest of this old ballad may be found in the note.