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Straight took he forth the parchment broad,
Which Marmion's high commission showd:
« Our Borders sack'd by many a raid,
Our peaceful liegemen robb’d,» he said;
« On day of truce our warden slain,
Stout Barton kill'd, his vessels ta'en-
Unworthy were we here to reign,
Should these for vengeance cry in vain;
Our full defiance, hate, and scorn,
Our herald has to llenry borne.» !
He paused, and led where Douglas stood,
And with stern eye
I mean that Douglas, sixth of yore,
Who coronet of Angus bore,
And, when his blood and heart were highi,
Did the third James in camp defy,
And all his minions led to die
On Lauder's dreary flat :
Princes and favourites long grew tame,
Ånd trembled at the liomely name
Of Archibald Bell-the-Cat; (13)
The same who left the dusky vale
Of Hermitage in Liddesdale,
Its dungeons, and its towers,
Where Bothwell's turrets brave the air,
And Bothwell bank is blooming fair,
To fix his princely bowers.
he had laid down His armour for the peaceful gown,
And for a staff his brand;
Yet often would flash forth the fire,
That could, in youth, a monarch's ire
And minion's pride withstand;
And even that day, at council board,
Unapt to sooth his sovereigo's mood,
Against the war had Angus stood,
And chafed his royal lord. (14)
His giaot-form, like ruin'd tower,
Though fallin its muscles' brawny vaunt,
Huge-boned, and tall, and grim, and gaunt, Seemd o'er the gaudy scene to lower : His locks and beard in silver grew; His eye-brows kept their sable hue. Near Douglas when the monarch stood, His bitter speech he thus pursued : « Lord Marmion, since these letters say, That in the north you needs must stay, While slightest hopes of peace remain, Uncourteous speech it were, and stern, To say,—Return to Lindisfarn, Until my herald come again.Then rest you in Tantallon Hold ;(15) Your host shall be the Douglas bold, A chief unlike his sires of old. He wears their motto on his blade, (16) Their blazon o'er his towers display'd; Yet loves his sovereign to oppose, More than to face his country's foes. And, I bethink me, by Saint Stephen,
But e'en this morn to me was given A prize, the first fruits of the war, Ta'eu by a galley from Dunbar,
A bevy of the maids of heaven.
XII. The monarch o'er the syren hung, And beat the measure as she sung; And, pressing closer, and more near, He whisper'd praises in her car. In loud applause the courtiers vied; And ladies wink'd, and spoke aside. The witching dame to Marmion threw
A glance, where seemd to reign The pride that claims applauses due, And of her royal conquest, too,
A real or feign'd disdain : Familiar was the look, and told, Marmion and she were friends of old. The king observed their meeting eyes, With something like displeas'd surprise ; For monarchs ill can rivals brook, Even in a word; or smile, or look.
Under your guard, these holy maids
Shall safe return to cloister shades,
And, while they at Tantallon stay,
Requiem for Cochran's soul may say.»
And, with the slaughter'd favourite's name,
Across the monarch's brow there came
A cloud of jre, remorse, and shame.
And to his nobles loud did call,-
« Lords, to the dance, –a hall! a hall!»!
Himself his cloak and sword flung by,
And led Dame Heron gallantly;
And minstrels, at the royal order,
Rung out--- Blue Bonnets o'er the Border.»
XVI. In answer nought could Angus speak; His proud heart swelld well nigh to break : He turn'd aside, and down his cheek
A burning tear there stole. His land the monarch sudden took, That sight his kind heart could not brook ;
« Now, by the Bruce's soul, Angus, my hasty speech forgive! For sure as doth leis spirit live, As he said of the Douglas old,
That never king did subject hold,
In speech more free, in war more bold,
More tender, and more true;'
Forgive me, Douglas, once again.»-
And, while the king his hand did strain,
The old man's icars fell down like rain.
lo scize the moment Marmion tried,
And whisperd to the king aside :
« Oh! let such tears unwonted plead
For respite short from dubious deed!
A child will wecp a bramble's smart,
A maid to see her sparrow part,
A stripling for a woman's heart:
But woe awaits a country, when
She sees the tears of bearded men.
Tben, oli! wliat omen, dark and high,
When Douglas wets his manly eye!»-
Leave we these revels now, to tell
What to Saint Hilda's maids befel,
Whose galley, as they sail'd again
To Whitby, by a Scot was ta en.
Now at Dun-Edin did they bide,
Till James should of their fate decide;
And soon, by his command,
Were geutly summon d, to prepare
To journey under Marmion's care,
As escort bonour'd, safe, and fair,
Again to English land. The abbess told her chaplet o'er, Nor knew whichi saint she should implore ; For, when she thought of Constance, sore
She fear'd Lord Marmion's mood. And judge what Clara must have felt! The sword, that hung in Marmion's belt,
Had drunk De Wilton's blood.
Unwittingly, King James had given,
As guard to Whitby's shades,
The man most dreaded under heaven
By these defeuceless maids;
Yet what petition could avail,
Or who would listen to the tale
Of woman, prisoner, and nun,
Mid bustle of a war begun?
They deenid it hopeless to avoid
The convoy of their dangerous guide.
XVII. Displeased was James, that stranger view'd And tamper'd with his changing mood. « Laugh those that can, weep those that may,» Thus did the fiery monarch say, « Sonthward I march by break of day; And if within Tantallon strong, The good Lord Marmion tarries long, Perchance our meeting next inay fall At Tamworth, in his castle-ball.» The haughty Marmion felt the taunt, And answer'd, grave, the royal vaunt: « Much honour'd were my humble home, If in its halls King James should come; But Nottingham has archers good, And Yorkshire men are stern of mood; Northumbrian prickers wild and rude. On Derby hills the paths are stecp; In Ouse and Tyne the fords are deep: And many a banner will be torn, And many a kniglit to earth be borne, And many a sheaf of arrows spent, Ere Scotland's king shall cross the Trent: Yet
pause, brave prince, while yet you may.»The monarch lightly turn'd away,
! 0, Dowglas ! Dowglas!
Tondir and irew.
XIX. Their lodging, so the king assignd, To Marmion's, as their guardian, join'd; And thus it fell, that, passing nigh, The Palmer caught the abbess' eye,
Who warn'd him by a scroll, She liad a secret to reveal, That much concern'd the church's weal,
And health of sinner's soul;
And, with deep charge of secrecy,
She named a place to meet,
Within an open balcony,
That hung from dizzy pitch and high,
Above the stately street;
To which, as common to each home,
At night they might in secret come.
At night, in secret, there they came.
The Palmer and the holy dame.
The moon among the clouds rode high,
And all the city hum was by.
Upon the street, where late before
Did din, of war and warriors roar,
You might have heard a pebble fall,
A beetle hum, a cricket sing,
An owlet flap his boding wiug
On Giles's steeple tall. · The ancient cry to make room for a dance, or pageant.
The antique buildings, climbing high,
Whose Gothic frontlets sought the sky,
Were here wrapt deep in shade;
There on their brows the moon-beam broke,
Through the frint wreaths of silvery smoke,
And on the casements play'd.
And other light was none to see,
Save torches gliding far,
Before some chieftain of degree,
Who left the royal revelry
To bowne him for the w...-
A solemn scene the abbess chose!
A solemn hour, her secret to disclose.
With Clare alone he credence won,
Who, rather than wed Marmjon,
Did to Saint Hilda's shrine repair,
To give our house her livings fair,
And die a vesial vot'ress there-
The impulse from the earth was given,
But bent her to the paths of heaven.
A purer beart, a lovelier maid,
Ne'er shelter'd her jo Whitby's shade,
No, not since Saxon Edeltled;
Only one trace of cartily strain,
That for lier lover's loss
She cherishes a sorrow vain,
And murmurs at the cross.
And then hier heritage,-it goes
Along the banks of Tame;
Deep fields of grain the reaper mows,
In meadows rich the heifer lows,
The falconer, and huntsinan, knows
Its woodlands for the game.
Shame were it to Saint Hilda dear,
And I, her humble vot'ress here,
Should do a deadly sin.
Her temple spoil'd before mine eyes,
If this false Marmion such a prize
By my consent should win;
Yet hath our boisterous monarch sworn,
That Clare shall from our house bę torn:
And grievous cause have I to fear,
Such mandate doth Lord Marmion bear.
« O, holy Palmer !» she began,-
« For sure he must be sainted man,
Whose blessed feet lave trode the ground
Where the Redeemer's tomb is found;
For his dear church's sake, my tale
Attend, nor deem of light avail,"
Though I must speak of worldly love,-
How vain to those who wed above!
De Wilton and Lord Marmion wood
Clara de Clare, of Gloster's blood
(Idle it were of Whiby's dame,
To say of that same blood I came);-
And once, when jealous rage was high,
Lord Marmion said despiteously,
Wilton was traitor in his heart,
And had made league with Martin Swart, ' (17)
When he came here on Simnel's part;
And only cowardice did restrain
Ilis rebel aid on Stokefield's plain,-
And down he ilırew his glove:----the thing
Was tried, as wont, before the king;
Where fraukly did De Wilton own,
That Swart in Guelders he had known;
And that between them then there went
Some scroll of courteous compliment.
For this be to his castle sent;
But when his messenger returo d,
Judge bow De Wilton's fury buru'd !
For in his packet there were laid
Letters that claim'd disloyal aid,
And proved King Henry's cause betray'd.
His fame thus blighted, in the fieid
He strove to clear, by spear and shield;—
To clear his firme in vain he strove,
For wonderous are Uis
Perchance some form was unobserved:
Perchance in prayer, or faith, he swerved ; (18)
Else how could guiltless champion quail;
Or how the blessed ordeal fail ?
« Now, prisoner, helpless, and betray'd
To evil power, I claim thine aid,
By every step that thou hast trod
To holy shrine and grotio dim,
By every martyr's tortured limb,
By angel, saint, and seraphim,
And by the chureh of God!
For mark:- When Wilton was betray'd,
And with his squire forged letters laid,
She was,-alas! that sinful maid,
By whom the deed was done, 0! shame and horror to be said,
She was-a perjured nun!
No clerk in all the land, like her,
Traced quaint and varying character,
Perchance you may a marvel deem,
That Mirmion's paramour (For suclı vile thing slie was) should scheme
Her lover's nuptial hour;
But o'er him thus she hoped to gain,
As privy to his honour's stain,
For this shie secretly retain'd
Each proof that might the plot reveal,
Tostructions with his hand and seal; And thus Saint Hilda deign'd,
Through sioner's perfidy impure,
Ber house's glory to secure, And Clare's immortal weal.
« His squire, who now De Wilton saw
As recreant doom'd to suffer law,
Repentant, owad in vain,
That, while he had the scrolls in care,
A stranger maiden, passing, fair,
Had dreuclid him with a beverage rare;
His words no faith could gain. 1 A German general, who commanded the auxiliaries sent by the Duchess of Burgundy with Lambert Simpel. Ile was defoutait and killed at Stok Sold.
XXIV. « 'T were long, and needless, here to cell. Ilow to my hand these papers fell;
With me they must not stay.
Saint Hilda keep her abbess true!
Who knows what outrage he might do,
While journeying by the way?-
O blessed saint, if e'er again
I venturous leave thy calm domain,
To travel or by land or main,
Deep penance may I pay!-
Now, saintly Palmer, mark my prayer;
I give this packet to thy care,
For thee to stop they will not dare :
Aud 0! with cautious speed!
To Wolsey's hand the papers bring,
That he may show them to the king;
And, for thy well-earn d mced,
Thou holy man, at Whitby's shrine
A weekly mass shall still be chine,
While priest can sing and read..
What ail'st thou?-Speak!»— For as lie took
The charge, a strong emotion shook
His frame; and, ere reply,
They heard a faint, yet sbrilly tone,
Like distant clarion feebly blown,
That on the breeze did die ;
And loud the abbess shriek din fear,
Saint Withold save us !--What is here?
Look at yon City Cross!
See on its battled tower appear
Phantoms, that scutcheons seem to rear,
And blazon'd bampers toss !»—
At his tribunal to appear,
I summon one and all :
I cite you by each deadly sin,
That e'er hath soild your hearts within;
I cite you by each brutal lust,
That e'er defiled your eartIrly dust, —
By wrath, by pride, by fear,
By each o'ermastering passion's tone,
By the dark grave, and dying groan!
When forty days are pass'd and gone,
you, at your monarch's throne
To answer and appear.»-
Then thunder d forth a roll of pames:
The first was thine, unhappy James!
Then all thy nobles came;
Crawford, Glencairn, Montrose, Argyle,
Ross, Bothwell, Forbes, Lennox, Lyle, -
Why should I tell their separate style?
Each chief of birth and fame,
Of Lowland, Highland, Border, Isle,
Foredoom'd to Flodden's carnage-pile,
Was cited there by name;
And Marmion, Lord of Fontenaye,
Of Lutterward, and Scrivelbaye,
De Wilton, erst of Aberley,
The self-same thundering voice did say, -
But then another spoke: Thy fatal summons I deny, And thine infernal lord defy, Appealing me to Him on high,
Who burst the sinner's yoke.»--
At that dread accent, with a scream,
Parted the pageant like a dream,
The summoner was gone.
Prone on her face the abbess fell,
And fast, and fast, her beads did tell;
Her nuns came startled by the yell,
And found her there alone.
She mark'd not, at the scene aghast,
What time, or how, the Palmer pass'd.
Dun-Edin's Cross, (19) a pillard stone,
Rose on a turret octagon;
(But now is razed that monument,
Whence royal edict rang,
And voice of Scotland's law was sent
In glorious trumpel-clany.
0! be his tomb as lead to lead,
Upon its dull destroyer's liçad !-
A minstrel's malison is said.--)
Then on its battlements they saw
A vision, passing nature's law,
Strange, wild, and dimly seen;
Figures that seem'd to rise and die,
Gibber and sign, advance and fly,
While nought confirm d could ear or eye
Discern of sound or mien. Yet darkly did it seem, as there Heralds and pursuivants prepare, With trumpet sound, and blazon'd fair,
A summons to proclaim;
But indistinct the pageant proud,
As fancy forms of midnight cloud,
When flings the moon upon her shroud
A wavering tinge of flame;
It flits, expands, and shifts, till loud,
From midmost of the spectre crowd,
This awful summons came:-(20)
XXVII. Shift we the scene. The camp doth move,
Dun-Edin's streets are empty now,
Save when, for weal of those they love,
To pray the prayer, and vow the vow,
The tottering child, the anxious fair,
The gray-hair'd sire, with pious care
To chapels and to shrines repair.
Where is the Palmer now ? and where
The abbess, Marmion, and Clare?-
Bold Douglas! to Tantallon fair
They journey in thy charge :
Lord Marmion rode on his right hand,
The Palmer still was with the band :
Angus, like Lindesay, did command,
That none should roam at large.
But in that Palmer's alterd mjen
A wonderous change might now be seen;
Freely he spoke of war,
Of marvels wrought by single band,
When lified for a native land;
And still look'd high, as if he plann'd
Some desperate deed afar.
His courser would he feed and stroke,
And, tucking up his sable frock,
XXVI. « Prince, prelate, potentate, and peer,
Whose names I now shall call, Scottish, or foreigner, give car! Subjects of him who sent me here,
Would first his metal bold provoke,
Then sooth or quell his pride.
Old Hubert said, that never one
He saw, excepe Lord Marmion,
A steed so fairly ride.
Some half-hour's march behind, there came,
By Eustace govern d fair,
A troop escorting Hilda's dame,
With all her núns,
No audience had Lord Marmion sought;
Ever he feard to aggravate
Clara de Clare's suspicious hate ;
And safer 't was, he thought,
To wait till, from the nuns removed,
The influence of kinsmen loved
And suit by Henry's self approved,
Her slow consent had wrought.
His was no flickering tlame, that dies
Unless when fann'd by looks and sighs,
And lighted oft at ladies' eyes;
He longd to stretch his wide command
O'er luckless Clara's ample land :
Besides, when Wilton with him vied,
Although the pang of humbled pride
The place of jealousy supplied,
Yet conquest, by that meanness won
He almost loathed to think upon,
Led him, at times, to hate the cause
Which made him burst through honour's laws.
If e'er he loved, 't was her alone,
Who died within that vault of stone.
And now, when close at hand they saw
North Berwick's town, and lofty Law,
Fitz-Eustace bade them pause a while
Before a venerable pile, (21)
Whose turrets view'd afar
The lofty Bass, the Lambie Isle,
The ocean's peace or war.
At tolling of a bell, forth came
The convent's venerable dame,
And pray'd St Hilda's Abbess rest
With her, a loved and honour'd guest,
Till Douglas should a bark prepare
To waft her back to Whitby fair.
Glad was the abbess, you may guess,
And thank'd the Scottish prioress :
And tedious' were to tell, I ween,
The courteous speech that pass d between.
O'erjoy'd the nuns their palfreys leave;
But when fair Clara did intend,
Like them, from horseback to descend,
Fitz-Eustace said, --« 1 grieve,
Fair lady, grieve e'en from my heart,
Such gentle company to part;-
Think not discourtesy,
But lords' commands must be obey'd;
And Marmion and the Douglas said,
That you must wend with me.
Lord Marmion hath a letter broad,
Which to the Scoltish earl he show'd,
Commanding, that beneath his care,
Without delay, you shall repair
To your good kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.»
XXX. The startled abbess loud exclaim'd; But she at whom the blow was aim'd Grew pale as death, and cold as lead;She deem'd she heard her death-doom read. « Cheer thee, my child!» the abbess said,
They dare not tear thee from my hand,
To ride alone with armed band.»-
Nay, loly mother, nay,»
Fitz-Eustace said, « the lovely Clare
Will be in Lady Angus' care,
Jo Scotland while we slay;
And, when we move, an easy ride
Will bring us to the English side,
Female attendance to provide
Befitting Gloster's heir ;
Nor thinks, nor dreams
noble lord, By slightest look, or act, or word,
To harass Lady Clare ;
Her faithful guardian he will be,
Nor sue for slightest courtesy
That even to stranger falls,
Till he shall place lier, safe and free,
Within her kinsman's halls.»—
He spoke, and bluslid with earnest grace;
His faith was painted on his face,
And Clare's worst fear relieved.
The lady abbess loud exclaim'd
On Henry, and the Douglas blamed,
Entreated, threaten'd, grieved;
To martyr, saint, and prophet pray'd,
Against Lord Marmion inveiglid,
And call'd the prioress to aid,
To curse with candle, bell, and book.
Her head the grave Cistertian shook :
« The Douglas and the king,» she said,
«In their commands will be obey'd;
Grieve not, nor dream that barm can fall
The maiden in Tantallon hall.».
The abbess, seeing strife was vain,
Assumed her wonted state again,-
For much of state she had, -
Composed her veil, and raised her head,
And ---- Bid,» in solemn voice she said,
« Thy master bold and bad,
The records of bis house turn o'er,
And, when he there shall written see,
That one of his own ancestry
Drove the monks forth of Coventry, (22) Bid him his fate explore !
Prancing in pride of earthly trust,
His charger hursd him to the dust,
And, by a base plebeian thrust,
He died his band before.
God judge 'twixt Marmion and me;
He is a chief of high degree,
And I a poor recluse;
Yet oft, in holy writ, we see
Even such weak minister as me
May the oppressor bruise :
For thus, inspired, did Judith slay
The mighty in his sin,
And Jael thus, and Deborals,»—
Here hasty Blount broke in :