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And Lothian heard the regent's order,
The ceaseless sound of steel;
Sent forth the larum peal;
Far downward, in the castle-yard,
Ride out, ride out,
The foe to scout!
That ever are true and stoul.-
While loud the harness rang,
The ready horsemen sprang;
And out! ard out!
In hasty route,
And east, and west, and north,
XXXI. The noble dame, amid the broil, Shared the gray seneschal's high toil, And spoke of danger with a smile; Chcerd the young knights, and council sage Meld with the chiefs of riper age. No tidings of the foe were brought, Nor of his numbers knew they aught, Nor in what time the truce he sought.
Some said, that there were thousands ten, And others ween'd that it was nought
But Leven Clans, or Tynedale men,
Might drive them lightly back agen.
Ceased the high sound—the listening throng Applaud the master of the
Ay, once he had—but he was dead !»-
And ruddy blush'd the heaven ;
All flaring and uneven.
From Soltra and Dumpender Law; Bale, beacon-fagot. · Mount for Branksome was the gathering word of the Scotts. I Need-fire, beacon, • Tarn, a mountain lake. * Earn, a Scottish eagle. 6 Cairn, a pile of stones.
1. Sweet Teviot! on thy silver tide
The glaring bale-fires blaze no more; No longer steel-clad warriors ride
Along thy wild and willow'd shore; Where'er thou windst, by dale or hill, All, all is peaceful, all is still,
'Bowne, make ready. * Protection-inopey exacted by freebooters.
As if thy waves, since Time was born, Since first they roll'd upon the Tweed, Had only heard the shepherd's reed,
Nor started at the bugle-horn.
Which, though it change in ceaseless flow, Retains each grief, retains each crime,
Its earliest course was doom'd to know;
Low as that tide lias ebbid with me,
Fell by the side of great Dundee. (1)
VI. Thus to the Ladye did Tinlinn show The tidings of the English foe. « Belted Will Howard (2) is marching here, And hot Lord Dacre, (S) with many a spear, And all the German hackbut-men,' (9) Who have long lain at Askerten. They cross'd the Liddel at curfew hour, And burnt my little lonely lower; The fiend receive their souls therefor! It had not been burnt this year and more. Barn-yard and dwelling, blazing bright, Served to guide me on my flight; But I was chased the livelong night. Black John of Akeshaw, and Fergus Grame, Full fast upon my traces came, Until I turn'd at Priesthaugh Scrogg, And shot their horses in the bog, Slew Fergus with my lance outrightI had him long at high despite, He drove my cows last Fastern's night.»
Full wide and far was terror spread ;
The peasant left his lowly shed. (2) The frightend flocks and herds were pent Beneath the peel's rude battlement; And maids and matrons dropp'd the tear, While ready warriors seized the spear. From Branksome's towers, the watchman's eye Dun wreaths of distant smoke can spy, Which, curling in the rising sun, Show'd southern ravage (3) was begun.
« Prepare ye all for blows and blood! Watt Tinlion, (4) from the Liddel side,
Comes wading through the flood, Full oft the 'Tynedale snatchers knock At his lone gate, and prove the lock; It was but last St Barnabright They sieged him a whole summer night, But fled at morning; well they knew, In vain he never twang'd the yew. Right sharp has been the evening shower, That drove him from his Liddel tower ; And, by my faith,» the gate-ward said, « I think 't will prove a warden-raid.»!
Three hours would bring to Teviot's strand Three thousand armed Englishmen.
Meanwhile, full many a warlike band, From Teviot, Aill, and Ectrick shade, Came in, their chief's defence to aid. There was saddling and mounting in haste,
There was pricking o'er moor and lea, Jle that was last at the trysting-place
Was but lightly held of his gay ladye.
V. While thus he spoke, the bold yeoman Enter'd the echoing barbican. He led a small and shaggy nag, That through a bog, from hag to hag,? Could bound like any Bilhope stag. (5) It borc bis wife and children twain; A half-clothed serf3 was all their train. His wife, stout, ruddy, and dark-brow'd, Of silver broach and bracelet proud, (6) Laugh'd to her friends among the crowd. An inroad commanded by the warden in person. The broken cround in a bog,
From dreary Gamescleugh's dusky height, His ready lances Thirlestane brave
Array'd bencath a banner bright. (10)
For faith 'mid feudal jars;
Would march to southern wars:
With many a moss-trooper, came on;
Without the bend of Murdieston. (1)
Before their father's band;
Came trooping down the Todshawhill;
And by the sword they hold it still.
—« Dear to me is my bonny white steed,
The frudal superior, in certain cases, was entitled to the lest horse of the vascal, in name of llerior, or llerezeld.
Beshrew thy heart, of the Beattisons' clan
From Woodhouselie to Chester-glen,
Their gathering word was Bellenden, (13)
And ligh her heart of pride arose ;
And learn to face his foes.
I saw him draw a cross-bow stiff, And his true arrow struck afar
The raven's nest upon the cliff;
The red cross, on a southern breast,
Behind, in close array, and fast, 'The Kendal archers, all in
green, Obedient to the bugle blast,
Advancing from the wood were seen. To back and guard the archer band, Lord Dacre's bill-men were at hand : A hardy race, on Iribing bred, With kirtles white, and crosses red, Array'd beneath the banner tall, That stream'd o'er Acre's conquer'd wall; And minstrels, as they march'd in order, Play'd «Noble Lord Dacre, he dwells on the Border.»
XIV. Well may you think, the wily page Cared not to face the Ladye sage. He counterfeited childish fear, And shriek d, and shed full many a tear, And moand and plain'd in manner wild.
The attendants to the Ladye told, Some fairy sure had changed the child,
That wont to be so free and bold. Then wrathiful was the noble dame; She blush'd blood-red for very shame; « Hence! ere the clan his faininess view; Hence with the weakling to Buccleuch!Watt Tinlinn, thou shall be his guide To Rangleburn's lonely side. Sure some fell fiend has cursed our line, That coward should e'er be son of mine!»
Moved on to fight, in dark array,
And sold their blood for foreign pay; The camp their home, their law the sword, They knew no country, own'd no lord. (14) They were not arm'd like England's sons, But bore the levin-darting guns ; Buff coats, all frounced and 'broidered o'er, And morsing-horns, and scarfs they wore; Each better knee was bared, to aid The warriors in the escalade ; And, as they marched, in rugged tongue, Sounds of Teutonic feuds they sung.
But, as a shallow brook they cross'd,
And fled, and shouted, « Lost! lost! lost!»
many a youthful knight, full keen
XVI. Soon on the hill's steep verge he stood, That looks o'er Branksome's towers and wood; Aud martial murmurs, from below, Proclaim'd the approaching southern foe. Through the dark wood, in mingled tone, Were Border-pipes and bugles blown; The coursers' neighing he could ken, And measured tread of marching men, While broke at times the solemn hum, The Almayn's sullen kettle-drum; And banners tall, of crimson sheen,
Above the copse appear; And, glistening through the hawthorns green,
Shine helm, and shield, and spear.
XX. Now every English eye, intent, On Branksome's armed towers was bent : So near they were, that they might know The straining harsh of each cross-bow; On baulement and bartizan Gleam'd axe,
and spear, and partisan; Falcon and culver, on each tower, Stood prompt their deadly hail to shower; And flashing armour frequent broke From eddying whirls of sable smoke, Where, upon tower and turret-head, The seething pitch and molten lead Reek'd, like a witch's cauldron red. While yet they gaze, the bridges fall, The wicket opes, and from the wall Rides forth the hoary seneschal.
XVII. Light forayers, first, to view the ground, Spurr'd their fleet coursers loosely round;
+ Powder-flasks. a Ancient pieces of artillery,
XXI. Armed he rode, all save the head, His white beard o'er his breast-plate spread; Unbroke by age, erect his seat, He ruled his ea ger courser's gait; Forced him, with chasten'd fire, to prance, And, high curvetting, slow advance : In sign of truce, his better hand Display'd a peeled willow wand; His squire, attending in the rear, Bore high a gauntlet on a spear. (15) When they espied him riding out, Lord Howard and Lord Dacre stout Sped to the front of their array, To hear what this old kuight should say.
XXII. « Ye English warden lords, of you Demands the Ladye of Buccleuch, Why, 'gainst the truce of Border-tide, In hostile guise ye dare to ride, With Kendal bow, and Gilsland brand, Aud all yon mercenary band, Upon the bounds of fair Scotland? My Ladye redes you, swith return; And, if but one poor straw you burn, Or do our towers so much molest, As scare one swallow from her nest, St Mary! but we'll light a brand, Shall warm your hearths in Cumberland.»
Harried the lands of Richard Musgrave,
Take our defiance loud and high :
His bugle Wat of Harden blew;
« St Mary for the young Buccleuch!» The English war-cry answer'd 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-note loud was blown; But, ere a gray-goose shaft had flowo,
A horseman gallop'd from the rear.
May 'l.please thy dame, Sir Seneschal,
XXIV. « le irks, high dame, my noble lords, 'Gainst ladye fair to draw their swords ; But yet they may not tamely see, All through the western wardenry, Your law-contemning kinsmen ride, And burn and spoil the Border side; And ill bescems your rank and birth To make your towers a flemen's-firth.' We claim from thee William of Deloraine, That he may suffer march-treason pain ;-(16) It was but last St Cuthbert's even He prick'd to Stapleton on Leven,
An asylum for outlaws. Border treason.
1 Plundered. 2 Note of assault. 3 Lyke-wake, the watching a corpse previous to interment.