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190

Of forayers, who with headlong force
Down from that strength had spurred their horse,
Their southern rapine to renew
Far in the distant Cheviots blue,
And, home returning, filled the hall
With revel, wassail-rout, and brawl.
Methought that still with trump and clang
The gateway's broken arches rang;
Methought grim features, seamed with scars,
Glared through the window's rusty bars,
And ever, by the winter hearth,
Old tales I heard of woe or mirth,
Of lovers' sleights, of ladies' charms,
Of witches' spells, of warriors' arms;
Of patriot battles, won of old
By Wallace wight and Bruce the bold;
Of later fields of feud and fight,
When, pouring from their Highland height,
The Scottish clans in headlong sway
Had swept the scarlet ranks away.
While stretched at length upon the floor,
Again I fought each combat o'er,
Pebbles and shells, in order laid,
The mimic ranks of war displayed ;
And onward still the Scottish Lion bore,
And still the scattered Southron fled before.

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Still, with vain fondness, could I trace
Anew each kind familiar face
That brightened at our evening fire !
From the thatched mansion's gray-haired sire,
Wise without learning, plain and good,
And sprung of Scotland's gentler blood;
Whose eye in age, quick, clear, and keen,
Showed what in youth its glance had been;

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Whose doom discording neighbors sought,
Content with equity unbought;
To him the venerable priest,
Our frequent and familiar guest,
Whose life and manners well could paint
Alike the student and the saint,
Alas! whose speech too oft I broke
With gambol rude and timeless joke :
For I was wayward, bold, and wild,
A self-willed imp, a grandame's child,
But half a plague, and half a jest,
Was still endured, beloved, caressed.

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From me, thus nurtured, dost thou ask
The classic poet's well-conned task ?
Nay, Erskine, nay - on the

on the wild hill
Let the wild heath-bell flourish still ;
Cherish the tulip, prune the vine,
But freely let the woodbine twine,
And leave untrimmed the eglantine :
Nay, my friend, nay - since oft thy praise
Hath given fresh vigor to my lays,
Since oft thy judgment could refine
My flattened thought or cumbrous line,
Still kind, as is thy wont, attend,
And in the minstrel spare the friend.
Though wild as cloud, as stream, as gale,
Flow forth, flow unrestrained, my tale !

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THE livelong day Lord Marmion rode ;
The mountain path the Palmer showed
By glen and streamlet winded still,
Where stunted birches hid the rill.
They might not choose the lowland road,
For the Merse forayers were abroad,

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Who, fired with hate and thirst of prey,
Had scarcely failed to bar their way.
Oft on the trampling band from crown
Of some tall cliff the deer looked down ;
On wing of jet from his repose
In the deep heath the blackcock rose ;
Sprung from the gorse the timid roe,
Nor waited for the bending bow;
And when the stony path began
By which the naked peak they wan,
Up flew the snowy ptarmigan.
The noon had long been passed before
They gained the height of Lammermoor ;
Thence winding down the northern way,
Before them at the close of day
Old Gifford's towers and hamlet lay.

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II.

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No summons calls them to the tower,
To spend the hospitable hour.
To Scotland's camp the lord was gone ;
His cautious dame, in bower alone,
Dreaded her castle to unclose,
So late, to unknown friends or foes.

On through the hamlet as they paced,
Before a porch whose front was graced
With bush and flagon trimly placed,

Lord Marmion drew his rein :
The village inn seemed large, though rude ;
Its cheerful fire and hearty food

Might well relieve his train.
Down from their seats the horsemen sprung,
With jingling spurs the court-yard rung;
They bind their horses to the stall,

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For forage, food, and firing call,
And various clamor fills the hall :
Weighing the labor with the cost,
Toils everywhere the bustling host.

III.

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Soon, by the chimney's merry blaze,
Through the rude hostel might you gaze,
Might see where in dark nook aloof
The rafters of the sooty roof

Bore wealth of winter cheer;
Of sea-fowl dried, and solands store,
And gammons of the tusky boar,

And savory haunch of deer.
The chimney arch projected wide;
Above, around it, and beside,

Were tools for housewives' hand;
Nor wanted, in that martial day,
The implements of Scottish fray,

The buckler, lance, and brand.
Beneath its shade, the place of state,
On oaken settle Marmion sate,
And viewed around the blazing hearth
His followers mix in noisy mirth;
Whom with brown ale, in jolly tide,
From ancient vessels ranged aside,
Full actively their host supplied.

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IV.

Theirs was the glee of martial breast,
And laughter theirs at little jest ;
And oft Lord Marmion deigned to aid,
And mingle in the mirth they made;

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