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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'agrd man. After meet rest, again begun.
If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,
Go visit it by the pale nmon-Hght;
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; (i)
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave;
Then go—but go alone the while—
Then view St David's ruin'd pile; (a)
And, home returning, soothly swear.
Was never scene so sad and fair!
To fence the rights of fair Melrose;
Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose. (i)
« The Lulyc of Branksomc greets thee by me, Says, that the fated hour i> come,
Awcniajfte. vitor of the talari.
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,
Aud his blue eyes gleam d wild and wide; w And darest thou, warrior, seek to see
What heaven and hell alike would hide T My breast, in belt of iron pent,
With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn.
My knees those flinty stones have worn;
In ceaseless prayer and penance dri<\
Then, dariug warrior, follow men*
« Penance, father, will I none;
Prayer know I hardly one;
For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,
Save to patter an Ave Mary,
Wheu I ride on a Border foray : (4)
Other prayer can I none;
So speed me my errand, and let me be gone."
Again ou the knight look'd the churchman old.
And again he sigl>cd heavily;
And fought in Spain aud Italy.
high :— Now slow aud faint, he led the way, Where, cloisterd round, the garden lay; The pillard arches were over their ln-.nl, And beneath their feel were the bones of the dead. ('»,
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 lung on the lovely moou,
Theu into the night he looked forth; And red and bright the streamers light
Were dancing in the gtowiug north. So liad he seen, in fair Castile,
The youth in glittering squadrons start;
Ami hurl the unexpected dart. (6)
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.
HlmzDj a scutcheon and banner, riven,
Aroand the screened altar's pale;
Aadtbioe, dark knight of Liddcsdalei (8) <> fading honours of the dead! ('Ligh ambition, Jowly laid!
Tfo mooQ on the east oriel shone (<>)
Byfoliaged tracery combined;
la many a freakish knot, had twined;
^tae image on the glass was dyed; lull in die midst, his cross of red InumplHM .Michael brandished,
iod trampled the Apostate's pride, ft* moon-beam kies'd the holy paue, Atd threw on the pavement a bloody stain.
■kr sate tliem dowu ou a marble stone,
•la th(sf fir climes, it was my lot
To meet the wondrous Michael Scott; (11)
A*uard of such dreaded fame, tat*ben, in Salamanca's cave,(i2) "'»listed his magic wand to wave,
The bells would ring in Notre Dame! (i3)
And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone : (14) wttospnak them were a deadly siu; W for having but thought them my heart within,
A treble penance must be done.
• Vben Michael lay on his dying bed, ta conscience was awakened;
"«"!, |fe prnjmioni from whlcli the arches •print;, nsunllv
He bethought liim of his sinful deed,
« 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 Uranksorne's need;
And when lhat need was past and o'er,
Agaiu the volume to restore.
I buried him on St Michael's night.
When trfc 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 bends from the wizard's grave.
««It was a night of woe and dread. When Michael iu the tomb I laid! Strange sounds along the chancel past.
The banners waved without a blast*
—Still spoke the monk when the bell toll'd one!—
I tell you, lhat a braver mail
Than William of Dclorainc, good at need,
Against a foe ne'er spurr'd a siecd;
Yet somewhat was he chill'd with dread,
And his hair did bristle upon his head.
« I.o, warrior! now the cross of red
That lamp shall burn unqucnchably, (i5)
U11 til 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 sigu with his wither'd hand,
The grave's huge portal lo expand.
With beating heart to the task he went;
His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent;
With bar of iron heaved amain,
Till the toil-drops fell from his brows, like rain.
It was by dint of passing strength
That he moved the massy stone at length.
I would you had been there to see
How the light broke forth so gloriously,
Stream'd upward to the chancel roof,
And through the galleries far aloof!
No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright:
It shone like heaven's own blessed light;
And, issuing from the tomb,
And kiss'd his waviug plume.
Before their eyes the wizard lay,
As if lie had rtot been dead a day.
His hoary beard in silver rot I'd,
He seem'd some seventy winters old;
A palmer's amice wrapp'd him round.
With a wrought Spanish baldric bound.
Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea;
The lamp was placed beside his knee:
Often had William of Deloraine #
And neither known remorse nor awe;
When this strange scene of death he saw.
And when the prirst his death-prayer had pray'd,
Thus unto Deloraine he said:—
cc Now speed thee what thou hast to do.
Or, warrior, we may dearly rue;
For those, thou mayst uot look upon,
Are gathering fast round the yawning stone !»>—
Then Deloraine, in terror, took
From the cold baud the mighty book.
With iron clasp'd, and with iron bouud:
He thought, as he took it, the dead man
frown'd; (ifi) Rut the glare of the sepulchral light, Perchance, had dazzled the warrior's sight.
When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb,
The night return'd in double gloom,
For the moon had gone down,and the stars were few;
And as the knight and priest withdrew,
With wavering steps and dizzy brain,
They hardly might the postern gain.
T is said, as through the aisles they past,
They heard strange noises on the blast;
And through the cloister-galleries small,
Which at mid-height thread the chancel wall,
Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran.
And voices unlike the voice of man;
As if the fiends kept holiday,
Because these spells were brought to day.
I rannot tell how the truth may be;
I say the tale as t was said to me.
XXIII « Now hie thee hence,M the father said, « And when we are on death-bed laid, O may Our dear I.adye, and sweet St John, Forgive our souls for the deed we have donc!»
The monk return'd him to his cell.
And many a prayer and penance sped;
When the convent met at the noontide bell.
Before the cross was the body laid.
With hands clasp'd fast, as if still he pray'd.
The knight breathed free in the morning wind,
Tiip sun had brighten'd Cheviot gray.
The sun had brighteu'd the Carter's ■ side. And soon beneath the rising day
Smiled Branksome towers and Teviot tide. The wild birds told their warbling tale,
And waken'd every flower that blows; And peeped forth the violet pale,
And spread her breast the mountain rose And lovelier tlian the rose so red,
Yet paler than the violet pale, She early left her sleepless bed,
The fairest maid of Teviotdale.
Why docs fair Margaret so early awake.
And don her kirtle so hastilie: And the silken knots, which in hurry she tve make,
Why tremble her slender fingers to tie; Why does she stop, and look often around,
As she glides down the secret stair;
As he rouses him up from his lair;
The ladye steps in doubt and dread,
Lest her watchful mother hear her tread:
The ladye caresses the rough blood-hound,
Lest hi? voice should waken the castle round:
The watchman's bugle is not blown,
For he was her foster-father's son:
And she glides through the green-wood at dawn
light, To meet Baron Henry, her own true knight.
The knight and ladye f.iir arc met.
And under the hawthorn's boughs arc s«t.
A fairer p-iir were never seen
To meet beneath the hawthorn green.
A mountain on ihc border r*f Knjliad, above Jedburgh.
He was waspish, arch, and litberlie,
And he of his service was full fain;
For once he had been la'en or slain,
All between Home and Hermitage
Talk'd of Lord Cranstoun's goblin-page.
For [be baron went on pilgrimage,
To Mary's chapel of the Lowes:
And be would pay his vows.
The trysting-place was Newark Lee.
They were three hundred spears and three.
And now, in Branksomc's good green-wood.
As under the aged oak be stood,
The baron's courser pricks his ears,
As if a distant noise he hears;
The Dwarf waves his long lean arm on high,
And signs to the lovers to part and fly;
No time was then to vow or sigh.
Fair Margaret, through the hazel grove,
Flew like the startled cushat-dove :'
The Dwarf the stirrup held, and rein;
Vaulted the knight on bis steed amain,
And, pondering deep that morning's scene,
Rode eastward through the hawthorns green.
While thus he pourd the lengthen d tale,
And said I that my limbs were old;
And thai I might not sing of love?—
So foul, so false a recreant prove!
In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed;
In war, he mounts the warrior's steed;
In halls, in gay attire is seen;
In hamlets, dances on the green.
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove.
And men below, and saints above;
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween,
While, pondering deep the lender scene,
lie rode through Brauksome's hawthorn green.
Bu( (he page shouted wild and shrill— And scarce his helmet could he don.
When downward from the shady hill
His armour red with many a stain:
For it was William of Delorahie.
Hut no whit weary did he seem,
When, dancing in the sunny beam,
He mark'd the crane on the baron's crest; (t)
For his ready spear was in his rest.
Few were the words, and stern and high,
That mark'd the foemen's feudal hale,
Gave signal soon of dire debate.
In rapid round the baron bent;
He sigh'd a sigh, and pray'd a prayer; The prayer was to his patron saint,
The sigh was to his ladye fair. Stout Dclorainc nor sigh'd nor pray'd, Nor saint nor ladye call'd to aid; But he sloop'd his head, and couch'd his spear, And spurr'd his steed to full career. The meeting of these champions proud Seemd like the bursting thunder-cloud.
Stern was the dint the Borderer lent;
The stately baron backwards bent;
Bent backwards to his horses tail,
And his plumes went scattering on the galr;
The touglp ash spear, so stout and true,
Into a thousand Hinders (lew.
But Cranstoun's lance, of more avail,
Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's mail;
Through shield, and jack, and acton pa^t,
Deep in his bosom broke at last.—
Still sate the warrior saddle-fast,
Till, stumbling in the mortal shock,
Down weut the steed, the girthiug brokr,
Hurl'd on a heap lay man and horse.
The barou onward pass'd his course;
Nor knew—so giddy roll'd his brain—
His foe lay strelch'd upon the plain.
But when he rein'd his courser round,
Lie senseless as the bloody clay,
And there beside the warrior stay,
Away in speed Lord Cranstoun rode;
The gobliu-page behind abode;
His lord's command he ne'er withstood.
Though small his pleasure to do good.
As the corslet off he took,
The Dwarf espied the mighty book!
Much he marvell'd, a knight of pride
Like a book-bosom d priest should ride: (a)
He thought not lo search or staunch the wound,
Until the secret he had found.
The iron band, the iron clasp,