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From the sound of Teviot's tide,
The Ladye knew it well!
And he call'd on the Spirit of the Fell.
XV. hi Vert spin it. * Sleep'st thou, brother?» Mountain spirit. - —w Brother, nay— On my hills the moon-beams play, From Craig-cross to Skelfhill-pen, By every rill, in every glen, Merry elves their morrice pacing, To aerial minstrelsy, Emerald rings on brown heath tracing, Trip it deft and merrily, Up, and mark their nimble feet! Up, and list their music sweet!»
“Tears of an imprison'd maiden
Mix with my polluted stream; Margaret of Branksome, sorrow-laden,
Mourns beneath the moon's pale beam. Tell me, thou, who view'st the stars, When shall cease these feudal jars? What shall be the maiden's fate? Who shall be the maiden's mate?»
“Arthur's slow wain his course doth roll
But no kind influence deign they shower
On Teviot's tide, and Branksome's tower, Till pride be quell'd, and love be free.” .
XVIII. The unearthly voices ceased, And the heavy sound was still:— It died on the river's breast, It died on the side of the hill. But round Lord David's tower The sound still floated near; For it rung in the Ladye's bower, And it rung in the Ladye's ear. She raised her stately head, And her heart throbb'd high with pride:– * Your mountains shall bend, And your streams ascend, * Ere Margaret be our foeman's bride!”
- XIX. The Ladye sought the lofty hall, Where many a bold retainer lay,
And, with jocund din, among them all,
XX. . The Ladye forgot her purpose high One moment—and no more; One moment gazed with a mother's eye, As she paused at the arched door: Then, from amid the armed train, She call'd to her William of Deloraine. (15)
XXI. A stark moss-trooping Scott was he, As eer couch'd Border lance by knee: Through Solway sands, through Tarrass moss, Blindfold he knew the paths to cross; By wily turns, by desperate bounds, Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds; (16) In Eske, or Liddel, fords were none, But he would ride them, one by one; Alike to him was time or tide, December's snow, or July's pride; Alike to him was tide or time, Moonless midnight, or matin prime: Steady of heart and stout of hand, As ever drove prey from Cumberland; Five times outlaw'd had be been, By England's king and Scotland's queen.
XXii. « Sir William of Deloraine, good at need, Mount thee on the wightest steed; Spare not to spur, nor stint to ride, Until you come to fair Tweedside; And in Melrose's holy pile Seek thou the monk of St Mary's aisle. Greet the father well from me; Say, that the fated hour is come, And to-night he shall watch with thee, o win the treasure of the tomb: For this will be St Michael's night, And, though stars be dim, the moon is bright; And the cross, of bloody red, Will point to the grave of the Mighty Dead.
XXIII. & What he gives thee, see thou keep, stay not thou for food or sleep : Be it scroll, or be it book, Into it, knight, thou must not look; If thou readest, thou art lorn Better thou hadst meer been horn.”
Foray, a predatory inroad. * Alluding to the armorial bearings of the Scotts und Cars.
XXIV. “0 swiftly can speed my dapple-gray steed, Which drinks of the Teviot clear! Ere break of day,” the warrior gan say, “Again will I be here: . And safer by none may thy errand be done, Than, noble dame, by me; Letter nor line know I never a one, Were 't my neck-verse at Hairibee.”
XXV. Soon in his saddle sate he fast, And soon the steep descent he past, Soon cross'd the sounding barbican,” And soon the Teviot side he won. Eastward the wooded path he rode, Green hazels o'er his basnet nod; He pass'd the Peel' of Goldiland, And cross'd old Borthwick's roaring strand; Dimly he view'd the Moat-hill's mound, (17) Where Druid shades still slitted round: In Hawick twinkled many a light;. Behind him soon they set in night; And soon he spurr'd his courser keen, Beneath the tower of Hazeldean. (18)
The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark;-f
And, guided by the tinkling rill,
And gain'd the moor at Horsliehill;
xxvii. A moment now he slack'd his speed, A moment breathed his panting steed, Drew saddle-girth and corslet band, And loosend in the sheath his brand. On Minto-crags the moon-beams glint, (19) Where Barnhill hew'd his bed of flint; Who flung his outlaw'd limbs to rest Where falcons hang their giddy nest, Mid cliffs from whence his eagle eye For many a league his prey could spy; Cliffs, doubling, on their echoes borne, The terrors of the robber's horn; Cliffs which, for many a later year, The warbling Doric reed shall hear, When some sad swain shall teach the grove, Ambition is no cure for love!
Down from the lakes did raving come,
Never heavier man and horse
Stemm'd a midnight torrent's force.
Now Bowden Moor the march-man won,
And sternly shook his plumed head, As glanced his eye o'er Halidon;” (21)
For on his soul the slaughter red Of that unhallow'd morn arose, When first the Scott and Car were foes; When royal James beheld the fray, Prize to the victor of the day; When Home and Douglas, in the van, Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan, Till gallant Cessford's heart-blood dear Reck'd on dark Elliot's Border spear.
xxxi. In bitter mood he spurred fast, And soon the hated heath was past; And far beneath, in lustre wan, Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran: (22) Like some tall rock, with lichens gray, Rose, dimly huge, the dark abbaye. When Hawick he pass'd, had curfew rung, Now midnight lauds” were in Melrose sung. The sound, upon the fitful gale, In solemn wise did rise and fail, Like that wild harp, whose magic tone Is waken'd by the winds alone. But when Melrose he reach'd, 't was silence all, He meetly stabled his steed in stall, And sought the convent's lonely wall.
Here paused the harp; and with its swell The master's fire and courage fell: Dejectedly, and low, he bowd, And, gazing timid on the crowd, He seem'd to seek, in every eye, If they approved his minstrelsy; And, diffident of present praise, Somewhat he spoke of former days, And how old age, and wandering long, Had done his hand and harp some wrong.
• Harded, or barbed,—applied to a horse accoutred with defensive arinour.
* Ilalidon-hill, on which the battle of Melrose was fought.
* Lauds, the midnight service of the catholic church.
The duchess, and her daughters fair, And every gentle ladye there, Each after each, in due degree, Gave praises to his melody; His hand was true, his voice was clear, And much they long d the rest to hear. Encouraged thus, the aged man, After meet rest, again began.
- I. If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moon-light; For the gay beams of lightsome day Gild but to flout the ruins gray. When the broken arches are black in night, And each shafted oriel glimmers white; When the cold light's uncertain shower Streams on the ruin’d central tower; When buttress and buttress alternately Seem framed of ebon and ivory; - When silver edges the imagery, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die; (1) When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to loot o'er the dead man's grave; Then go—but go alone the while– Then view St David's ruin'd pile; (2) And, home returning, soothly swear, Was never scene so sad and fair :
Short halt did Deloraine make there;
To fence the rights of fair Melrose;
Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose. (3)
III. Bold Deloraine his errand said; The porter bent his humble head; With torch in hand, and feet unshod, And noiseless step, the path he trod: The arched cloisters far and wide Rang to the warrior's elanking stride; Till, stooping low his lofty crest, He'enter'd the cell of the ancient priest, And lifted his barred aventayle,' To hail the Monk of St Mary's aisle.
IV. . “The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me; Says, that the fated hour is come,
'Aventagle, visor of the helmet.
And that to-night I shall watch with thee, To win the treasure of the tomb.”—
From sackcloth couch the monk arose,
A hundred years had flung their snows
And strangely on the knight look'd he,
And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide; “And darest thou, warrior, seek to see
What heaven and hell alike would hide? My breast, in belt of iron pent,
With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn, For threescore years, in penance spent,
My knees those flinty stones have worn; Yet all too little to atone For knowing what should ne'er be known. , Wouldst thou thy every future year
In ceaseless prayer and penance drie, Yet wait thy latter end with fear—
Then, daring warrior, follow me!»
« Penance, father, will I none;
- • WII.
Again on the knight look'd the churchman old,
And again he sighed heavily;
And fought in Spain and Italy.
Now slow and faint, he sed the way,
VIII. Spreading herbs and flowerets bright Glisten'd with the dew of night; Nor herb nor floweret glisten'd there, But was carved in the cloister'd arches as fair. . The monk gazed long on the lovely moon, Thon into the night he looked forth ; And red and bright the streamers light Were dancing in the glowing north. So had he seen, in fair Castile, The youth in glittering squadrons start; Sudden the flying jennet wheel, And hurl the unexpected dart. (6) He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright, That spirits were riding the northern light.
IX. By a steel-clenched postern door, They enter'd now the chancel tall; The darken'd roof rose high aloof On pillars, lofty, and light, and small:
The key-stone, that lock'd each ribbed aisle,
Full many a scutcheon and banner, riven,
Around the screened altar's pale;
And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale! (8) O fading honours of the dead! 0 high ambition, lowly laid!
XI. The moon on the east oriel shone (9) Through slender shafts of shapely stone, By foliaged tracery combined ; Thou wouldst have thought some fairy's hand Twixt poplars straight the ozier wand, In many a freakish knot, had twined; Then framed a spell, when the work was done, And changed the willow-wreaths to stone. The silver light, so pale and faint, Show'd many a prophet, and many a saint, Whose image on the glass was dyed; Full in the midst, his cross of red Triumphant Michael brandished, And trampled the Apostate's pride. The moon-bcam kiss'd the holy pane, And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.
. Niii. • In these far climes, it was my lot To meet the wond rous Michael Scott; (11) A wizard of such dreaded fame, That when, in Salamanca's cave, (12) Him listed his magic wand to wave, The bells would ring in Notre Dame! (13) Some of his skill he taught to me; And, warrior, I could say to thee The words that cleft Eildon hills in three, And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone: (14) But to speak them were a deadly sin; And for having but thought them my heart within, A treble penance must be done.
XIV. « When Michael lay on his dying bed, His conscience was awakened;
• Corbells, the projections from which the arches spring, usually cut in a fantastic face, or mask.
He bethought him of his sinful deed,
XV. * I swore to bury his mighty book, That never mortal might therein look; And never to tell where it was hid, Save at his chief of Branksome's need; And when that need was past and o'er, Again the volume to restore. I buried him on St Michael's night, When the bell told one, and the moon was bright, And I dug his chamber among the dead, When the floor of the chancel was stained red, That his patron's cross might over him wave, And scare the fiends from the wizard's grave.
XVI. • It was a night of woe and dread, When Michael in the tomb I laid! Strange sounds along the chancel past, The banners waved without a blasto. — —Still spoke the monk when the bell toll'd one!— I tell you, that a braver man Than William of Deloraine, good at need, Against a foe ne'er spurr'd a steed; Yet somewhat was he chill'd with dread, And his hair did bristle upon his head.
XVII. « Lo, warrior' now the cross of red Points to the grave of the mighty dead; Within it burns a wonderous light, To chase the spirits that love the night: That lamp shall burn unquenchably, (15) Until the eternal doom shall be.”— Slow moved the monk to the broad flag-stone, Which the bloody cross was traced upon; He pointed to a secret nook; An iron bar the warrior took; And the monk made a sign with his wither'd hand, The grave's huge portal to expand.
With beating heart to the task he went;
And, issuing from the tomb,
And kiss'd his waving plume.