These broken words the menials move
(For marvels still the vulgar love);
And, Marmion giving license cold,
His tale the host thus gladly told.

XVI. His conscience slept-he deem'd hier well, And safe secured in distant cell; But, waken'd by her favourite lay, And that strange Palmer's boding say,' That fell so ominous and drear, Full on the object of his fear, To aid remorse's venom'd throes, Dark tales of convent vengeance rose; And Constance, late betray'd and scorn'd, All lovely on his soul returu'd ; Lovely as when, at treacherous call, She left her conveni's peaceful wall, Crimson'd with shame, with terror mute, Dreading alike escape, pursuit, Till love, victorious o'er alarms, Hid fears and blushes in his arms.


THE HOST'S TALE. « A clerk could tell what years have flowo Since Alexander filld our throne (Third monarch of that warlike name), And eke the time when here he came To seek Sir Hugo, then our lord : A braver never drew a sword; A wiser never at the hour Of midnight, spoke the word of power ;, The saine, whom ancient records call The founder of the goblin-hall. (3) I would, Sir Knight, your longer stay Gave you that cavern to survey. Of lofty roof, and ample size, Beneath the castle deep it lies: To hew the living rock profound, The floor to pave, the arch to round, There never toild a mortal arm, It all was wrought by word and charm; And I have heard my grandsire say, That the wild clamour and affray Of those dread artisans of hell, Who labour'd under Hugo's spell Sounded as loud as ocean's war, Among the caverns of Dunbar.

XVII. « Alas !» he thought, « how changed that mien! How changed these timid looks have been, Since years of guilt and of disguise, Have steeld her brow, and arm'd her eyes! No more of virgin terror speaks The blood that mantles in her cheeks ; Fierce, and unfeminine, are there, Frenzy for joy, for grief despair; And I the cause--for whom were given Her peace on earth, her hopes in heaverr! « Would,» thought he, as the picture grows, « I on its stalk had left the rose ! O why should man's success remove The very charms that wake his love! Her convent's peaceful solitude Is now a prison harsh and rude; And, pent within the narrow cell, How will her spirit chafe and swell! How brook the stern monastic laws! The penance how-and I the cause! Vigil and scourge-perchance even worse !»--And iwicc le rose to cry « to borse!» And twice his sovereigo's mandate came, Like damp upon a kindling flame; And twice he thought, « Gave I not charge She should be safe, though not at large ? Tliey durst not, for their island, shred One golden ringlet from her head.»

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« The king Lord Gifford's castle sought,
Deep labouring with uncertain thoughit:
Even then he muster'd all his host,
To meet upon the western coast;
For Norse and Danish galleys plied
Their oars within the Frith of Clyde.
There floated Haco's banner trim,
Above Norweyan warriors grim, (4)
Savage of heart, and large of limb;
Threatening both continent and isle,
Bute, Arran, Cunninghame, and Kyle.
Lord Gifford, deep beneath the ground,
Heard Alexander's bugle sound,
And carried not his garb to change,
But, in his wizard habit strange, (5)
Came forth,

,-a quaint and fearful sight!
Flis mantle lined with fox-skins white;
His high and wrinkled forehead bore
A pointed cap, such as of yore
Clerks say that Pharaoh's magi wore;
His shoes were mark'd with cross and spell,
Upon his breast a pentacle; (6)
His zone, of virgin parchment thin,
Or, as some tell, of dead man's skin,
Bore many a planetary sign,
Combust, and retrograde, and trine;
And in his hand he held, prepared,
A naked sword without a guard.

XVIII. While thus in Marmion's bosom strove Repentance and reviving love, Like whirlwinds, whose conteuding sway I've seen Loch-Vennachar obey, 'Their host the Palmer's speech had heard, And, talkative, took up the word :

Ay, reverend pilgrim, you, who stray From Scotland's simple land away,

To visit realms afar,
Full often learn the art to know
Of future weal, or future woe,

By word, or sign, or star.
Yet might a knight his fortune hcar,
If, knight-like, he despises fear,
Not far from hence;-if fathers old
Aright our hamlet legend cold.

XXI. « Dire dealings with the fiendish race Had mark'd strange lives upon his face;

The moor around is brown and bare,
The space within is green and fair.
The spot our village children know,
For there the earliest wild-flowers grow;
But woe betide the wandering wight,
That treads its circles in the night!
The breadth across, a bowshot clear,
Gives ample space for full career;
Opposed to the four points of heaven,
By four deep gaps are entrance given.
The southernmost our monarch past,
Halted, and blew a gallant blast;
And on the north, within the ring,
Appeard the form of England's king,
Who then, a thousand leagues afar,
In Palestine waged holy war:
Yet arms like England's did he wield,
Alike the leopards in the shield,
Alike his Syrian courser's frame,
The rider's length of limb the same:
Long afterwards did Scotland know,
Fell Edward' was her deadliest foe.

Vigil and fast had worn him grim;
His eye-sighe dazzled seem'd, and dim,
As one unused to upper day;
Even his own menials with dismay
Beheld, Sir Knight, the griesly sire,
In this unwonted wild attire ;
Unwonted—for traditions run,
He seldom thus beheld the sun.

I know,' he said, his voice was hoarse,
And broken seem'd its hollow force, -

I know the cause, although untold,
Why the king seeks his vassal's hold:
Vainly from me my liege would know
His kingdom's future weal or woe;
But yet, if strong his arm and heart,
His courage may do more than art.

«' Of middle air the demons proud,
Who ride upon the racking cloud,
Can read, in fix'd or wandering star,
The issue of events a far,
But still their sullen aid withhold,
Save when by mightier force control d.
Such late I summond to my hall:
And though so potent was the call,
That scarce the deepest nook of hell,
J deem'd a refuge from the spell;
Yet, obstinate in silence still,
The haughty demon mocks my

But thou, -who little know'st thy might,
As born upon that blessed night,
When yawning graves, and dying groan,
Proclaim'd hell's empire overthrown,-(7)
With untaught valour shalt compel
Response denied to magic spell: –

Gramercy,' quotin our monarch free,
• Place him but front to front with me,
And, by this good and honour'd brand,
The gift of Cæur-de-Lion's hand,
Soothly I swear, that, tide what tide,
The demon shall a buffet bide.'
His bearing bold the wizard view'd,
And thus, well pleased, his speech renewd:-
* There spoke the blood of Malcolm!-mark:
Forth pacing hence at midnight dark,
The rampart seek, whose circling crown
Crests the ascent of yonder down:
A southern entrance shalt thou find;
There halt, and there thy bagle wind,
And trust thine elfin foe to see,
Jn guise of thy worst enemy:
Couch then thy lance, and spur thy steed-
Upon him! and Saint George to speed !
Jf he go dowo, thou soon shall know
Whate'er these airy sprites can show;-
If thy heart fail thee in the strife,
I am no warrant for thy life.' —

XXIII. « Soon as the midnight bell did ring, Alone, and arm'd, forth rode the king To that old camp's deserted round: Sir Knight, you well might mark the mound, Left hand the town,--the Pictish race, The trench, long since, in blood did trace ;

« The vision made our monarch start,
But soon he mann'd his noble heart,
And, in the first career they ran,
The elfin knight fell, horse and man;
Yet did a splinter of his lance
Through Alexander's visor glance,
And razed the skin-a puny wound.
The king, light leapiog to the ground,
With naked blade his phantom foe
Compellid the future war to show.
Of Largs he saw the glorious plain,
Where still gigantic bones remain,

Memorial of the Danish war;
Himself he saw, amid the field, .
On high his brandislı'd war-axe wield,

And strike proud Haco from his car;
While all around the shadowy kings
Denmark's grim ravens cower'd their wings.
'Tis said, that, in that awful night,
Remoter visions met his sight,
Fore-showing future conquests far,
When our sons' sons wage northern war;
A royal city, tower, and spire,
Redden'd the midnight sky with fire,
And shouting crews her navy bore
Triumphant to the victor shore.
Such signs may learned clerks explain,
They pass the wit of simple swain.

XXV. « The joyful king turn'd home again, Headed his host, and quell'd the Dane; But yearly, when return d the night Of his strange combat with the sprite,

His wound must bleed and smart; Lord Gifford then would gibing say, * Bold as ye were, my liege, ye pay

The penance of your start.' Long since, beneath Dunfermline's nave, King Alexander fills his grave,

Edward I., suraamed Longsbanks.

Our Lady give him rest!
Yet still the mighty spear and shield
The elfin warrior doch wield,

Upon the Brown hill's breast;(8)
And many a knight bath proved his chance,
In the charm'd ring to break a lance,

But all have foully sped;
Save two, as legends tell, and they
Were Wallace wight, and Gilbert Hay.-

Gentles, my tale is said.»

Saint George, who graced my sire's chapelle, Down from his steed of marble fell,

A weary wight forlorn ? The flattering chaplains all agree, The champion left his steed to me. I would, the omen's truth to slow, That I could meet this elfin foe! Blithe would I battle, for the right To ask one question at the sprite:Vain thought! for elves, if elves there be, An empty race, by fount or sea, To dasling waters dance and sing, Or round the green oak wlieel their ring.»Thus speaking, be his steed bestrode, And from the hostel slowly rode.

The quaighs' were deep, the liquor strong
And on the tale the yeoman-throng,
Had made a comment sage and long,

But Marmion gave a sign ;
And, with their lord, the squires retire;
The rest, around the hostel fire,

Their drowsy limbs recline;
For pillow, underneath each head,
The quiver and the targe were laid.
Deep slumbering on the hostel floor,
Oppress'd with toil and ale, they snore :
The dying flame, in fitful change,
Threw on the group its shadows strange.

XXVII. A part, and nestling in the hay Of a waste loft, Fitz-Eustace lay; Scarce, by the pale moon-light, were seen The foldings of his mantle green: Lightly he dreamt, as youth will dream, Of sport by thicket, or by stream, Of hawk or hound, of ring or glove, Or, lighter yet, of lady's love. A cautious tread his slumber broke, And close beside him, when he woke, In moon-beam half, and half in gloom, Stood a tall form, with nodding plume; But, ere his dagger Eustace drew, His master Marmion's voice he knew.

Fitz-Eustace follow'd him abroad,
And mark'd him pace the village road,
And listen'd to his horse's tramp,

Till, by the lessening sound,
He judged that of the Pictish camp

Lord Marmion sought the round.
Wonder it seemd, in the squire's eyes,
That one, so wary held, and wise, -
Of whom't was said, he scarce received
For gospel what the church believed, -

Should, stirr'd by idle tale,
Ride forth in silence of the night,
As hoping half to meet á sprite,

Array'd in plate and mail.
For little did Fitz-Eustace know,
That passions, in contending flow,

Unfix the strongest mind;
Wearied from doubt to doubt to flee,
We welcome fond credulity,

Guide confident, though blinds

XXVIII. -« Fitz-Eustace! rise, I cannot rest; Yon churl's wild legend haunts my breast, And graver thoughts have chafed my mood : The air must cool my feverish blood; And fain would. I ride forth, to see The scene of elfin chivalry. Arise, and saddle me my steed: And, gentle Eustacé, take good heed Thou dost not rouse these drowsy slaves; I would not that the prating knaves Had cause for saying, o'er their ale, That I could credit such a tale.»— Then softly down the steps they slid, Eustace the stable-door undid, And, darkling, Marmion's steed array'd, While, whispering, thus the baron said:

Little for this Fitz-Eustace cared,
But, patient, waited till he heard,
At distance, prick'd to utmost speed,
The foot-tramp of a flying steed,

Come town-ward rushing on :
First, dead, as if on (urf it trode,
Then clattering on the village road,
In other pace than forth he yode,'

Return'd Lord Marmion.
Down hastily he sprung from selle,
And, in his haste, well nigh he fell;
To the squire's haud the rein he threw,
And spoke no word as he withdrew:
But yet the moon-light did betray,
The falcon crest was soild with clay;
Avd plainly might Fitz-Eustace see,
By stains

upon the charger's knee,
And his left side, that on the moor
He had not kept his footing sure.
Long musing on these wond'rous signs,
At length to rest the squire reclines-
Broken and short; for still, between,
Would dreams of terror intervene :
Eustace did ne'er so blithely mark

The first notes of the morning lark. " Used by old poels for went.

XXIX. « Did'st never, good my youth, hear tell

That on the hour when I was born,

"A wooden cup, composed of staves hooped together.




Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest. An ancient minstrel sagely said, « Where is the life which late we led!» That motley clown in Ardea wood, Whom humorous Jaques with envy view'd, Not even that clown could amplify, On this trite text, so long as I. Eleven years, we now may tell, Since we have known each other well; Since, riding side by side, our hand First drew the voluntary brand; And sure, through many a varied scene, Unkindness never came between. Away these winged years have flown, To join the mass of ages gone; And though deep mark'd, like all below, With chequer'd shades of joy and woe; Though thou o'er realms and seas hast ranged, Mark'd cities lost, and empires changed, While here, at home, my narrower ken Somewhat of manners saw, Though varying wishes, hopes, and fears, Feverd the progress of these years, Yet now days, weeks, and months, but seem The recollection of a dream; So still we glide down to the sea, Of fathomless eternity.

When the tired ploughman, dry and warm, Hears, half-asleep, the rising storm Hurling the hail and sleeted rain Against the casement's tinkling pane; The sounds that drive wild deer, and fox, To shelter in the brake and rocks, Are warnings which the shepherd ask To dismal, and to dangerous task. Oft he looks forth, and hopes, in vain, The blast may sink in mellowing rain ; Till, dark above and white below, Decided drives the flaky snow, And forth the hardy swain must go. Long, with dejected look and whine, To leave the hearth his dogs repine ; Whistling and cheering them to aid, Around his back he wreathes the plaid: His flock he gathers, and be guides To open downs and mountain-sides, Where fiercest though the tempest blow, Least deeply lies the drift below. The blast, that whistles o'er the fells, Stiffens his locks to icicles ; Oft he looks back, while, streaming far, llis cottage window seems a star,Loses its feeble gleam,--and then Turns patient to the blast again, And, facing to the tempest's sweep, Drives through the gloom his lagging sheep. If fails his heart, if his limbs fails Benumbing death is in the gale ; His patlis, his landmarks, all unknown, Close to the hut, no more his own, Close to the aid he sought in vain, The morn may find the stiffen'd-swain : (1) The widow sees, at dawning pale, His orphans raise their feeble wail ; And, close beside him, in the snow, Poor Yarrow, partner of their woe, Couches upon his master's breast, And licks his cheek, to break his rest.

and men;

Even now it scarcely seems a day, Since first I tuned this idle lay; A task so often thrown aside, When leisure graver cares denied, That now, November's dreary gale, Whose voice inspired my opening tale, That same November gale once more Whicls the dry leaves on Yarrow shore. Their vex'd boughs streaming to the sky, Once more our naked birches sigh, And Blackhouse heights, and Ettrick Pen, Have donn'd their wintry shrouds again; and mountain dark, and flooded mead, Bid us forsake the banks of Tweed. Earlier than wont along the sky, Mix'd with the rack, the snow-mists fly; The shepherd, who, in summer sun, Has something of our envy won, As thou with pencil, I with pen; The features traced of bill and glen; He who, outstretch'd the livelong day, At ease among the heath-flowers lay, View'd the light clouds with vacant look, Or slumber'd o'er his tatter'd book, Or idly busied him to guide His angle o'er the lessen d tide ;At midnight now, the snowy plain Finds sterner labour for the swain.

Who envies now the shepherd's lot, His healthy fare, his rural cot, His summer couch by green-wood tree, His rustic kirn's' loud revelry, His native hill-notes, tuned on high, To Marion of the blithesome eye; His crook, his scrip, his oaten reed, And all Arcadia's golden creed?

Changes not so with us, my Skene,
Of human life the varying scene ?
Our youthful summer oft we see
Dance by on wings of game and glee,
While the dark storm reserves its rage,

the winter of our age :
As he, the ancient chief of Troy,
His manlıood spent in peace and joy;
But Grecian fires, and loud alarms,
Callid ancient Priam forth to arms.
Then happy those—since each must drain
His share of pleasure, share of pain..
Then happy those, beloved of Heaven,

To whom the miogled cup is given; 1 The Scottish Harvest-boma.

When red hath set the beamless sun, Through heavy vapours dank and dun;

Careless we heard, what now. I hear,
The wild blast sighing deep and drear,
When fires were bright, and lamps beam'd gay,
And ladies tuned the lovely lay;
And he was held a laggard soul,
Who shunnid to quaff the sparkling bowl.
Then he, whose absence we deplore,
Who breathes the gaies of Devon's shore,
The longer missd, bewail'd the more ;
And thou, and J, and dear-loved R--,
And one whose name I may not say, -
For not Mimosa's tender tree'
Shrinks sooper from the touch than he,-
In merry chorus well combined,
Wjih laughter drownd the whiştling wind.
Mirth was within; and Care, without,
Might gnaw her nails to hear our shout.
Not but amid the buxorn scene
Some grave discourse might intervene-
Of the good horse that bore him best,
His shoulder, hoof, and arching crest :
For, like Mad Tom's,' our chiefest care
Was horse to ride, and weapon wear.
Such nights we've had ; and, though the game
Of manhood be more sober tame,
And though the field-day, or the drill,
Seem less important now—yet still
Such may we hope to share again.
The sprightly thought inspires my strain !
And mark, how like a horseman true,
Lord Marmion's march I thus' renew.

Whose lenient sorrows find relief,
Whose joys are chasten'd by their grief.
And such a lot, my Skene, was thine,
When thou of late wert doom'd to twine,-
Just when thy bridal hour was by,
The cypress with the myrtle tie.
Just on thy bride her sire had smiled,
And bless'd the union of his child,
When love must change its joyous cheer,
And wipe affection's filial tear.
Nor did the actions, next his end,
Speak more the father than the friend :
Scarce had lamented Forbes

paid (2)
The tribute to his Minstrel's shade;
The tale of friendship scarce was told;
Ere the narrator's heart was cold
Far may we search before we find
A heart so manly and so kind !
But not around his honour'd urn,
Shall friends alone and kindred mourn ;
The thousand eyes his care had dried
Pour at his name a bitter tide;
And frequent falls ibe grateful dew,
For benefits the world ne'er knew.
If mortal charity dare claim
The Almighty's attributed name,
Inscribe above his mouldering clay,
« The widow's shield, the orphan's stay.»
Nor, though it wake thy sorrow, deem
My verse intrudes on this sad theme;
For sacred was the pen that wrote,

Thy father's friend forget thou not :»
And grateful title may I plead,
For many a kindly word and deed,
To bring my tribute to his grave:-
'Tis litde--but 't is all I have.

To thee, perchance, this rambling strain
Recals our summer walks again ;
When, doing nonght,-and, to speak true,
Not anxious to find aught to do,
The wild unbounded hills we ranged,
While oft our talk its topic changed,
And, desultory as our way,
Ranged, unconfined, from grave to gay.
Even when it flaggd, as oft will chance,
No effort made to break its trance,
- We could right pleasantly pursue
Our sports in social silence too;
Thou gravely labouring to portray
The blighted oak’s fantastic spray;
I spelling o'er, with much delight,
The legend of that antique knight,
Tirante by name, yclept the White.
At either's feet a trusty squire,
Pandour and Camp, with eyes of fire,
Jealous, each other's motions yiew'd,
And scarce suppress'd their ancient feud.
The laverock whistled from the cloud;
The stream was lively, but not loud ;
From the white thorn the May-flower shed
Its dewy fragrance round our head :
Not Ariel lived more merrily,
Under the blossom d bough, ihan we.

And blithesome nights, too, bave been ours, When winter stript the summer's bowers.



Eustace, I said, did blithely mark

first notes of the merry lark.
The lark sung shrill, the cock he crew,
And loudly Marmion's bagles blew,
And with their light and lively call,
Brought groom and yeoman to the stall.
Whistling they came, and free of heart,

But soon their mood was changed ;
Complaint was heard on 'every part

of something disarranged. Some clamour'd loud for armour lost; Some brawld and wrangled with the host;

By Becket's bones, cried one, « I fear That some false Scht has stol'n my spear!» Young Blount, Lord Marmion's second squire, Found his sleed wet with sweat and mire; Although the rated horse-boy sware, Last night he dress'd him sleek and fair. While chafed the impatient squire like thunder, Old Hubert shouts, in fear and wonder, « Help, gentle Blount! help, comrades all! Bevis lies dying in his stall: To Marmion who the plight dare tell, Of the good steed he loves so well ?»—

See King Lear.

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