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- xxviii. “Ah! noble lords !» he, breathless, said, « What treason has your march betray'd? 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-shaw;" The lances, waving in his train, Clothe the dun heath like autumn grain; And on the Liddel's northern straud, 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 Isave risen with haughty Home. An exile from Northumberland, In Liddesdale I 've wander'd long; But still my heart was with merry England, And cannot brook my country's wront;; And hard I've spurr'd all night to show The mustering of the coming foe.”—
* XXIX. & 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 display'd, 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!»
XXX. * Yet hear,” quoth Howard, a calmly hear, Nor deem my words the words of fear; For who, in field or foray slack, Saw the blanche lion (20) e'er fall back? But thus to risk our lorder 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, (21) and if he gain, He gains for us; but if he's cross'd, 'T is but a single warrior lost: The rest, retreating as they came, Avoid defeat, and death, and shame,”
XXXI. Ill could the haughty Dacre brook His brother-warden's sage rebuke; And yet his forward step he staid, And slow and sullenly obey'd. But ne'er again the Corder side Did these two lords in friendship ride; And this slight discontent, men say, Cost blood upon another day.
weapon-shaw, the military array of a country.
XXXII. The pursuivant-at-arms again Before the castle took his stand; His trumpet call d, with parleving strain, The leaders of the Scottish band; And he defied, in Musgrave's right, Stout Deleraine 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 Wanquish the knight of Deloraine, Your youthful chieftain, Franksome'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 unharm’d, In peaceful march, like men unarm'd, Shall straight retreat to Cumberland.”
XXXIII. Unconscious of the near relief, - The proffer pleased each Scottish chief, Though much the Ladye sage gainsaid; For though their hearts were brave and true, From Jedwood's recent sack they knew Ilow 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 fix d 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.
XXXIV. I know titlit well, that, in their lay, , Full many minstrels sing and say, Such combat should be made on horse, On foaming steed, in full career, Will brand to aid, when as the spear Should sliver in the course : But he, the jovial harper, (22) taught Mie, yet a youth, how it was fought, In guise which now I say; Ile knew each ordinance and clause Of black Lord Archibald's battle laws, In the old Douglas' day. (23) He brook'd not, he, that scofiing tongue Should tax his miustrelsy 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 stand with blood; Where still the thorn's white branches wave, Memorial o'er his rival's grave.
Why should I tell the rigid doom,
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?
And I, alas ! survive alone,
To muse o'er rivalries of yore,
He paused: the listening dames again Applaud the hoary Minstrel's strain. With many a word of kindly cheer,In pity half, and half sincere, Marvell'd the duchess how so well His legendary song could tell— Of ancient deeds, so long forgot; Of feuds, whose memory was not, Of forests, now laid waste and bare: Of towers, which harbour now the hare; Of manners, long since changed and gone; Of chiefs, who under their gray stone So long had slept, that sickle Fame Had blotted from her rolls their name, And twined round some new minion's head The fading wreath for which they bled; In sooth, 't was strange, this old man's verse; Could call them from their marble hearse.
The harper smiled, well pleased; for ne'er Was flattery lost on poet's ear. A simple race! they waste their toil For the vain tribute of a smile; Ecn when in age their flame expires, Her dulcet breath can fan its fires; Their drooping fancy wakes at praise, And strives to trim the short-lived blaze.
Smiled then, well pleased, the aged man, And thus his tale continued ran.
Call it not vain-they do not err,
Who say, that, when the poet dies, Mute Nature mourns her worshipper,
And celebrates his obsequies; Who say, tall cliff, and cavern lone, For the departed bard make moan; That mountains weep in crystal rill; That flowers in tears of balm distill: Through his loved groves that breezes sigh, And oaks in deeper groan reply; And rivers teach their rushing wave To murmur dirges round his grave.
II. Not that, in sooth, o'er mortal uru. Those things inanimate can mourn; But that the stream, the wood, the gale, Is vocal with the plaintive wail Of those, who, else forgotten long, Lived in the poet's faithful song. And, with the poet's parting breath, Whose memory feels a second death. The maid's pale shade, who wails her lot, That love, true love, should be forgot, From rose and hawthorn shakes the tear Upon the gentle minstrel's bier' The phantom knight, his glory fled, Mourns o'er the field he heap'd with dead; a Mounts the wild blast that sweeps amain, And shrieks along the battle-plain: The chief, whose antique crownlet long Still sparkled in the feudal song, Now, from the mountain's misty throne, a Sees, in the thanedom once his own, His ashes undistinguish'd lie, His place, his power, his memory die: His groans the lonely caverns fill, His tears of rage impel the rill; All mourn the minstrel's harp unstrung, Their name unknown, their praise unsung.
iii. Scarcely the irot assault was staid, The terms of truce were scarcely made, When they could spy, from Branksome's towers, The advancing march of martial powers: Thick clouds of dust afar appear'd, And trampling steeds were faintly heard; Bright spears, above the columns dun, Glanced momentary to the sun; And feudal banners fair display'd The bands that moved to Branksome's aid.
IV. Vails not to tell each hardy clan, From the fair Middle Marches came; The Bloody Heart blazed in the van, Announcing Douglas, dreaded name! (1) "Wails not to tell what steeds did spurn, Where the Seven Spears of Wedderburne (2) Their men in battle-order set; And Swinton laid the lance in rest, That tamed of yore the sparkling crest Of Clarence's Plantagenet. (3) Nor lists I say what hundreds more, From the rich Merse and Lammermore, And Tweed's fair borders, to the war, Beneath the crest of old Dunbar, And Hepburn's mingled banners, come, Down the steep mountain glittering far, And shouting still, « A Home a Home!” (4)
W. Now squire and knight, from Branksome sent, On many a courteous message went; To every chief and lord they paid Meet thanks for prompt and powerful aid; And told them,-how a truce was made,
And how a day of fight was ta'en
WI. Now, noble dame, perchance you ask, How these two hostile armies met? Deeming it were no easy task To keep the truee which howe was set: Where martial spirits, all on fire, Breathed only blood and mortal ire. By mutual inroads, nutual blows, ly habit, and Joy nation, foes, They met on Teviot's strand: They met, and sate them mingled down, Without a threat, without a frown, As brothers meet in foreign land: The hands, the spear that lately grasp'd, Still in the mailed gauntlet clasp'd, Were interchanged in greeting dear; Wisors were rais'd, and faces shown, And many a friend, to friend made known, Partook of social cheer. Some drove the jolly bowl about; With dice and draughts some chased the day; And some, with many a merry shout, In riot, revelry, and rout, Pursued the foot-ball play. (5)
VII. Yet, be it known, had bugles blown, Or sign of war been seen, Those bands, so fair together ranged, Those hands, so frankly interchanged, Had dyed with gore the green: The merry shout by Teviot side Had sunk in war-cries wild and wide, And in the groan of death; And whingers, now in friendship bare, The social meal to part and share, Had found a bloody sheath. Twixt truce and war such sudden change Was not infrequent, nor held strange, In the old Border day: (6) But yet on Branksome's towers and town, In peaceful merriment, sunk down The sun's declining ray.
Soon through the latticed windows tall
IX. Less frequent heard, and fainter still, At length the various clamours died; And you might hear, from Branksome hill, No sound but Teviot's rushing tide: Save, when the changing sentinel The challenge of his watch could tell; And save where, through the dark profound, The clanging axe and hammer's sound Rung from the nether lawn; For many a busy hand toil'd there, Strong pales to shape, and beams to square The lists dread barriers to prepare Against the morrow's dawn.
X. Margaret from hall did soon retreat, Despite the dame's reproving eye; Nor mark'd she, as she left her seat, Full many a stifled sigh: For many a noble warrior strove To win the Flower of Teviot's love, And many a bold ally.— With throbbing head and anxious heart, All in her lonely bower apart, In broken sleep she lay: By times, from silken couch she rose; While yet the banner'd hosts repose, She view'd the dawning day: Of all the hundreds sunk to rest, First woke the loveliest and the best.
xi. She gazed upon the inner court, Which in the tower's tall shadow lay; Where coursers' clang, and stamp, and snort, Had rung the livelong yesterday; Now still as death; till, stalking slow, The jinglint; spurs announced his tread, A stately warrior pass'd below; But when he raised his plumed head— Blessed Mary! can it be?— Secure, as if in Ousemam bowers, He walks through Iranksome's hostile towers, With fearless step and free. She dared not sign, she dared not speak— Oh! if one page's slumbers break, His blood the price must pay ! Not all the pearls Queen Mary wears, Not Margaret's yet more precious tears, Shall buy his life a day.
Xii. Yet was his hazard small; for well You may bethink you of the spell
Of that sly urchin page; This to his lord he did impart, And made him seem, by glamour art, A knight from Hermitage: Unchallenged, thus, the warder's post, The court, unchallenged, thus he cross'd, For all the vassalage: But, o' what magic's quaint disguise Could blind fair Margaret's azure eyes! She started from her seat; While with surprise and fear she strove, And both could scarcely master love— Lord Henry's at her feet.
XIII. Oft have I mused, what purpose bad That vile malicious urchin had To bring this meeting round; For happy love's a heavenly sight, And by a vile malignant sprite In such no joy is found ; And oft I've deem’d, perchance he thought Their erring passion might have wrought Sorrow, and sin, and shame: And death to Cranstoun's gallant knight, And to the gentle ladye bright, Disgrace, and loss of fame. But earthly spirit could not tell The heart of them that lowed so well. True love's the gift which God has given To man alone beneath the heaven. It is not fantasy's hot fire, Whose wishes, soon as granted, fly; It liveth not in fierce desire, With dead desire it doth not die; It is the secret sympathy, The silver link, the silken tie, Which heart to heart, and mind to mind, In body and in soul can bind.— Now leave we Margaret and her knight, To tell you of the approaching fight.
Their warning blast the bugles blew,
The pipe's shrill port" aroused each clan; In haste, the deadly strife to view,
The trooping warriors eager ran:
Meantime full anxious was the dame;
But, yet not long the strife—for, lo! Himself, the Knight of Doloraine, Strong, as it seem’d, and free from pain,
' A martial piece of music adapted to the bagpipes.
In armour sheath'd from top to toe, Appeard, and craved the combat due. The dame her charm successful knew," And the fierce chiefs their claims withdrew.
XVI. when for the lists they sought the plain, The stately Ladye's silken rein Did noble Howard hold ; Unarmed by her side he walk'd, And much, in courteous phrase, they talk'd Of feats of arms of old. * Costly his garb—his Flemish ruff Fell o'er his doublet, shaped of buff, With satin slash'd and lined; Tawny his boot, and gold his spur, His cloak was all of Poland fur; His hose with silver twined: His Bilboa blade, by Marchmen felt, Hung in a broad and studded belt; Hence, in rude phrase, the Borderers still Call'd noble Howard, Belted Will.
- XWii, Behind Lord Howard and the dame, Fair Margaret on her palfrey came, Whose foot-cloth swept the ground; White was her wimple, and her veil, And her loose locks a chaplet pale Of whitest roses bound. The lordly Angus, by her side, In courtesy to cheer her tried; Without his aid, her hand in vain Had strove to guide her broider'd rein. He deem’d, she shudder'd at the sight Of warriors met for mortal fight; But cause of terror, all unguess'd, Was fluttering in her gentle breast, When, in their chairs of crimson placed, The dame and she the barriers graced.
Prize of the field, the young Buccleuch,
That none, while lasts the strife, Should dare, by look, or sign, or word, Aid to a champion to afford,
On peril of his life;
Amends from Deloraine to crave,
He sayeth that William of Deloraine
This with his sword he will maintain,
XX. scottish in Eftal.d. Isere standeth William of Deloraine, Good knight and true, of noble strain, Who sayeth, that foul treason's stain, Since he bore arms, ne'er soil'd his coat; And that, so help him God above, He will on Musgrave's body prove, He lies most foully in his throat. LoR d back E. Forward, brave champions, to the light! Sound trumpets!— Load home. ——“God defend the right!» Then, Teviot! how thine echoes rang When bugle-sound and trumpet-clang Let loose the martial foes, And in mid list, with shield poised high, And measured step and wary eye, The combatants did close.
XXI. ill would it suit your gentle ear, Ye lovely listeners, to hear How to the axe the helms did sound, And blood pour’d down from many a wound; For desperate was the strife and long, And either warrior fierce and strong. But, were each dame a listening knight, I well could tell how warriors fight; For I have seen war's lightning flashing, Seen the claymore with bayonet clashing, Seen through red blood the war-horse dashing,
And scorn d, amid the reeling strife,
To yield a step for death or life.
XXII. T is done, "t is done that fatal blow Has stretch'd him on the bloody plain ; He strives to rise—Brave Musgrave, no! Thence never shalt thou rise again : He chokes in blood—some friendly hand Undo the visor's barred band, Unfix the gorget's iron clasp, And bive him room for life to gasp;0, bootless aid!—haste, holy friar, Haste, ere the sinner shall expire! Of all his guilt let him be shriven, And smooth his path from earth to heaven! XXIII. In haste the holy friar sped – His naked foot was dyed with red, As through the lists he ran ; Unmindful of the shouts on high, That hail'd the conqueror's victory, He raised the dying inan; Loose waved his silver beard and hair, As o'er him he kneel'd down in prayer;
And still the crucisix on high -
XXIV. As if exhausted in the fight, Or musing o'er the piteous sight, The silent victor stands; His beaver did he not unclasp, Mark'd not the shouts, felt not the grasp Of tra tulating hands. When lo! strange cries of wild surprise, Mingled with seeming terror, rise Among the Scottish bands; And all, amid the throng d array, In panie haste gave open way To a half-naked ghastly man, Who downward from the castle ran : He cross d the barriers at a bound, And wild and haggard look d around, As dizzy, and in pain; And all, upon the armed ground, Knew William of Deloraine ! Each ladye sprung from seat with speed; Vaulted each marshal from his steed; « And who art thou,” they cried, « Who hast this battle fought and won to His plumed helm was soon undone— « Cranstoun of Teviot sides For this fair prize I've fought and won,” And to the Ladye led her son.
Full of the rescued boy she kiss'd,
—For Howard was a generous foe—
The Ladye would the feud forego, And deign to bless the nuptial hour Of Cranstoun's Lord and Teviot's Flower.
- XXVI. She look'd to river, look'd to hill, Thought on the Spirits prophecy, Then broke her silence stern and still,— « Not you, but Fate, has vanquish'd me; Their influence kindly stars may shower. On Teviot's tide and 13ranksome's tower, For pride is quell'd, and love is free.” She took fair Margaret by the hand, Who, breathless, trembling, scarce might stand; Thai land to Cranstoun's lord gave she* As I am true to thee and thine, Do thou be true to me and mine !